First off, I’d like to apologise for the title. I do not want to teach anyone to get “toned”, as this isn’t a real thing in sports physiology. Muscle tone is a defined as an internal muscle-fibre contraction. This means a constant state of contraction. Physiologically speaking, I don’t think any of you want to be constantly flexing without any relaxation, right? Have you ever seen a bodybuilding competitor have to flex for 5 straight minutes? They’re hurting after…bad.
So to rephrase this, how about we speak about getting “lean”. This means decreasing your body fat percentage while still maintaining or increasing muscle bulk. Conversely, why don’t we just focus on getting healthy and fit? If you focus too much on the way you look, you will be subject to many mental health disorders, such as orthorexia, which is something we definitely want to avoid!
My biggest piece of advice is a lifestyle change. Don’t jump to any fad diets (i.e. cleanses or detoxes), and don’t begin to exercise excessively. Both will be impossible to maintain and usually lead to a relapse afterwards with even more weight gain than before, as a result.
The best way to do this is to take it in baby steps. Here are my top 5 pieces of advice for those who want to plunge into a healthier lifestyle:
- Get a fitness tracker- although they aren’t fully accurate, they help to motivate individuals to get on their feet more. If you get a popular brand such as FitBit you will be able to compete with your friends and family for who can achieve the most steps. I have noticed this anecdotally benefiting many close people in my life, such as my boyfriend’s mother. Since she got her FitBit she has been unstoppable and wins the challenges every week (I thought I was the active one….guess not!).She also told me: “I’ve had my fitbit for 2 months now and have gone from a resting heart rate of 75 to my current reading now of 60 . I’m losing weight and feeling stronger ..“
- THROW OUT all the junk food in your house– yes, throw it out. Don’t “get rid of it” by eating it, and telling yourself you’ll start when it’s gone. Just get rid of it. This way, you’ll have to physically leave to go to the store if you crave that late-night ice cream, or a massive pizza for dinner, thus making it less likely that you’ll indulge.
- Conscious eating- This phrase has been brought to be by Sam, the lovely HR girl from The Good Guru. During our meeting, she announced that she believes in conscious eating, whereas you take into account everything you put in your body, but don’t limit yourself. “I had a slice of cake for lunch? Maybe I should have a salad for dinner instead”. This is much better than fully limiting yourself, and not allowing yourself to enjoy any of the finer things in life.
- Set yourself at least one short-term and one long-term goal. Short term could be something like “not to have chips this week” while long-term might be something like “run a 10km in 6 months” or “squat 40kg by May 1”. Nothing will motivate you better than when you know you’re working towards a goal.
- LIFT WEIGHTS!- No matter if you are male OR female, weights will not make you bulky, look manly, or increase your testosterone to unmanageable levels. They will however help build you a perky bottom, decrease your bat wings and increase your confidence. I lift heavy, and I am 5’3 and 48kg…it won’t kill you, I promise.
These are my starter tips and tricks. Over the weeks, let’s build it up and get you on the right track to a healthy and fit lifestyle!
Stay fit xx