Best Self Series – How to Get Your Body Fit and Healthy

Now that your general health and attitude is improving (See our Articles on “Healthy Eating and Supplements”, and on “A Happy Mind Makes a Happy Self”, you may want to work on your physique. Whether you’re male or female, and whether you want to lose weight, tone or bulk up, below are some practices that may help.

TO LOSE WEIGHT

Don’t stop eating

Losing weight does not mean you should stop eating. In fact, this will only slow your metabolism, encouraging your body to cling onto fat. Instead, decrease your calorific intake; on a diet, women should still eat at least 1,200 calories (kcl) for normal body functions, whilst men should aim for 1,800. If you’re working out, this number should be increased according to how much exercise you do and how many calories you burn. For instance, a female jogging for 45 minutes and burning around 300 kcl is left with just 900 kcl for normal system repair and maintenance. Therefore, upping intake to 1,500 kcl– an additional 300 kcl– will make up for the calories lost. Remember, at LEAST 1,200 calories should be stored and not used for exercise (also called netting). Click here for estimates on how many calories you may lose when working out.

Eat more slowly

If you’re finding it hard to eat less food, eat more slowly. It takes a while for the body to register when we are full; this is why we can sometimes feel overfull even though we initially felt content.

Up calorific intake to break a plateau

If weight loss slows, you may want to try kick-starting your metabolism by increasing the amount of calories you net for a day or two; for instance, increase from 1,200 kcl to 1,600 kcl (excluding the calories you burn from a workout).

 

TONING

Resistance training

If you want to create lean muscle, you should focus on resistance training. Pilates exercises such as kickbacks, resistance plies and clamshells are good for toning and firming. Belts will create enough resistance to build lean muscle.

Pilates Exercise health

Rights; Mateus Lunardi Dutra

Weights

If you use weights, keep the weight you lift light and use a high number of repetitions; about 15-20. Or, if your weights are larger, do 5-8 reps. This will prevent significant muscle mass gain.

Cardio

Low intensity cardio for about 45 minutes will help burn fat. Jogging and long-distance is your friend; imagine a marathon runner’s physique compared to that of a sprinter.

Food

Training on an empty stomach will help you burn fat, but make sure to consume protein afterwards and enough calories to help repair broken muscle fibres; workouts cause minute tears in the muscle that are later rebuilt.

 

BULKING

Strength Training

Deadlifts, brench presses and squats and lunges with barbells will help create bulk. Lift as many times as you are able and heavy if you wish, but remember that your workout is not a contest to see how much you can lift. Lift a comfortable weight that will fatigue the muscle, and up weights every few weeks only if you want to, remembering that larger weights do not necessarily mean larger muscles – as long as you lift to fatigue, whether the weights are low or heavy, muscle will develop.

Cardio

Many who wish to bulk avoid cardio completely but sprinting and HIIT (high intensity interval training) should be fine as long as you are consuming enough calories.

Food

Ensure you net enough calories, or you won’t bulk. Before a workout, have carbs, and then consume protein afterwards to build.

REMEMBER

  • Don’t workout every day; workouts cause minute tears in the muscle fibres and some days are needed for them to rebuild and develop. Aim to do muscle training two days a week and on the days you don’t muscle train, rest or do cardio.
  • Always remember to stretch before and after workouts to avoid future aches and discomfort.