The summer season is coming up, which means beaches, bikinis, and more time spent outside. Many of us switch from bulking to leaning down. This, of course, means a change in training programs. A bit of thought and effort should go into laying the groundwork for a new plan. This will make tracking progress easier and more fun. You’ll also rest assured that you’re committing yourself to a program that will help you achieve your goals. Here are 5 easy tips:
Choose a goal and program that aligns with your lifestyle.
This one is key! Looking to gain muscle, but only have 3 days a week and 30-minute windows to train? While it’s not impossible, it’s also not very likely you’ll be successful in achieving this goal. Goals must align with our lifestyles. If you can only train 3 days per week, aim to get stronger or leaner with total body workouts or big, compound movements. A program must also align with your lifestyle. If the programming calls for a lot of equipment and you work out at home, you’ll have some troubles with exercise variations. Training should be challenging, try to make everything else easier. This will also eliminate excuses.
Know your starting point and be realistic.
This is the time to be honest with you. If you’re looking to lean down, the average progress should be about 1 lb. a week (if you’re weighing in). Inches are lost relatively quickly in the first part of a program, and will fluctuate or stall as the weeks go by. If you’re looking to gain muscle, it can be a slow process. There is no such thing as a “get fit quick” plan! But almost anything is possible with time and effort, and tracking progress will help you immensely.
Choose your methods for keeping track of progress.
If I could recommend one thing, it would be to step away from your scale. While it can be used as a weekly reference point, most people are not happy with the number on the scale. If you’re gaining muscle and losing fat, the scale may actually go up – even though you’re making progress! My top three methods for tracking are calipers, measurements, and pictures. Choose one or two and stick with it. Measure every 2-3 weeks. I like pictures, as the side-by side comparisons can be impressive. Keep in mind, you see yourself in the mirror every day, so you’re not always aware of the great changes you’re making!
Aim for the 90/10 rule.
Let’s face it, no one is perfect. We all have slip ups; days that we miss, and can lack motivation. This is all part of being human. You should try to make good choices most of the time. Forgive yourself and move on from over-indulgences on food or from skipping one workout. I think the real problem is when we fall off the wagon and stay there. After an unplanned cheat meal, go back to your normal eating plan. Use the extra calories to fuel your workouts. Boom – problem solved! You’ll continue to make progress!
Set ways to remain accountable.
Accountability helps us stay on track. There are plenty of ways to connect and check in. Download an app like Pact or Lark. Pact pays you when you accomplish a goal. However, you’ll have to pay if you quit and don’t accomplish your goal. Lark keeps in touch with you and asks you how your training is going. It also asks you about meals. Social media is a good way to stay accountable. Join a group and meet new people who have similar goals. Find a gym buddy. You’re less likely to skip the gym if you know someone is waiting for you!
Get your goals in gear, and make this your best summer yet!
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Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!