If you are reading past the heading then you are in the correct frame of mind to make this change to become healthier, happier or change your appearance….. But you have a burning question inside. Where do you start? What do you do?
Each magazine we open these days has eating plans in or a way to exercise. The gym has personal trainers, google has unlimited video’s and websites, your Dr has injections that you can use, slimmers tea’s left right and center, supplement brands have 12 week challenges and then obviously the invasive treatments that should be your absolute last resort.
I mean where do you go? What do you need? Who do you trust? And is this going to be a waste of money?
Well the following is my point of view on all these questions that I have experienced and got answers to and what my decisions where which definitely gave me the results that I needed.
You are a unique individual right, your blood type is not the same as your bff’s, your lifestyle is not the same and your genetics are not the same and you have injuries to take into consideration that is different to someone else’s. So why would you get optimal results from an eating plan or training plan that has been formulated for the average person in mind be it online or in a magazine .
You might be able to follow these plans and see results yes, but are these the results you really want and for how long will you see results week in and week out? And when are you planning on stopping with this plan? What would your benchmark or goal be – a dress, a number on a scale? Is that a true reflection of what has happened to your body.
So before you start anything you need to decide what your goal is going to be and how it will be measured. We use anything from vision boards to clothing items to digits to set goals. But are these goals accurately measurable to give you the best and most accurate perception of your progress. So before we start with where to go lets discuss your goals and your vision of what you want to achieve.
There are a few goals that I have heard plenty of woman use and methods to monitor progress that I would like to discuss with you.
HAVING A DRESS (CLOTHING ITEM) THAT YOU NEED TO FIT INTO BY A CERTAIN DATE OR THAT YOU USE TO WEAR OR WOULD LOVE TO WEAR.
I won’t trust any form of clothing to keep as a benchmark – in summer my legs swell up when its hot and sometimes I cant fit into my skinny jeans, or just when I have finished exercising my calves are a bit too “pumped” and those jeans just don’t want to fit and other times it is the week just before my menstrual cycle starts and I am as bloated as a 30 day old beached whale and feel like I have picked up 5kg’s. On the other hand stretched clothing can make me feel like I have lost weight.
Ladies please also take into consideration that most clothing items these days stretch. I wore exactly the same size clothing in the pictures above…. due to stretchable fabrics however there is a clear difference in my appearance.
THE WHITE ELEPHANT IN YOUR BATHROOM OR UNDER YOUR BED OR THE MONSTER OF A MACHINE LURKING AROUND THE CORNER IN THE RESTROOMS AT THE GYM THAT YOU WILL ONLY CLIMB ON WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND AND WHEN YOU DO BEFORE YOU EVEN LOOK AT THE DIGITS GET A SEMI ANXIETY ATTACK ON – AKA THE SCALE.
Now this piece of equipment is genius……………. IN THE KITCHEN!!!! and that is about it, well as far as I can think at this point. The first mistake everyone makes is they weigh themselves randomly when they feel like it or when they have time. Ever heard of consistency is key… Well it is.
I suggest that you should only weigh yourself first thing in the morning after waking up and after using the “ladies” on the same day each week. For me it is on a Saturday Morning before I see my coach because they require the weight of the morning of your consultation however the best time would be Friday Mornings as usually we all binge the weeks stresses away on a Friday evening, so you kinda better off seeing the Friday morning weight compared to the Saturday morning weight which might have increased due to the bucket of ice cream or pizza you had Friday evening.
I have found week in and week out that my weight fluctuates the entire week and during different times of the day depending on what I consumed. And I will prove this in my a post to follow.
Your weight might differ due to where you are in your menstrual cycle. It might differ if you have gained muscle or water in which case you will climb on that scale and be heavier and think immediately that you have become fatter. However it probably was just water retention or if you do weight training possibly and hopefully a gain in lean muscle mass. So therefore a scale is really not a true reflection of what is going on in or on your body.
I don’t trust mirrors, I don’t trust scales nor clothing to tell me what is going on.
Photos – Yes (only if you are consistent in where,when and how you take it, what you are wearing and taking into consideration the lighting and your skin color, the way you stand) but the best for me is a combination of using progress pictures together with a Body fat% measurement done by means of a skin fold test done by my coach- FACTS!
Advantages of a skin fold test:
- Easy to use once skill has been mastered
- Does not require much time
- Noninvasive method
- Inexpensive way of estimating percent body fat
Disadvantages of a skin fold test:
- Technical sources of error
- Mostly concerned with subcutaneous fat (under the skin)
- May not be an ideal measurement for those who are extremely obese and very lean
I’ve only had my Bf% done by the coaches that I have used since I have been on my fitness journey however personal trainers should be skilled to do this for you, biokineticist, Sports nutritionist and maybe even a nurse or a Dr. If you are up for it you can do the research and do it yourself.
This percentage should be used as a point of reference for future use to compare yourself to ONLY.
The reason why I say this and why its so important that you understand that its such a personal benchmark that once again we are all different and that people use various methods in calculating Bf% therefore get it done by the same person as well every time. For example with my first coach I was at 23%, the week after I went to another coach and I was 15% just because of the difference in how they do their calculation.
More importantly which I can not emphasize enough is to NEVER EVER compare your bf% to someone else’s for the same reason as mentioned above. Another reason is your actual appearance. One girl might compete at a BF% of 15% because she is not prone to cellulite or she is petite, her age or she does not have a lot of muscle while the girl next to her on the stage might compete on 9% BF because she just looks better at 9% than 15%.
And lastly which to me is the absolute most important to keep in mind with skin fold test is that the goal is not to get your bf% as low as you possibly can get it. Because in actual fact its unhealthy. A skin fold test should only be used to monitor together with your actual appearance (by using progress photos) whether you are still maintaining your weight, whether you are gaining fat or increasing lean muscle mass.
“in my early days in the fitness industry my muscle mass was very very little, the person that coached me never required progress pictures but only focused on getting my bf% as low as possible and I ended up looking very very skinny and actually as if I had an eating disorder. I then learnt that with my small frame and limited cellulite that it is not necessary for my bf% to be extremely low as it is just not a healthy picture ON ME. I have never competed below a 15% bf (fitness bikini) as I look emaciated. And I now use photos TOGETHER with bf% skin fold test to monitor my progress and to keep me on track. A skin fold test for my own piece of mind and photos to see actually what my physique looks like. This might change in the future as this is a learning process but for now this is it”