Welcome to the 26 Transformation Tips that will take you from point A to point Z in your fitness journey! A total transformation is more than just physical, as you’ll see in the next few minutes, a true metamorphosis takes mind, soul, and body. If you are dedicated to making each of the following a lifestyle and a habit, you are sure to see the changes you’ve been dreaming of. So sit back, soak in these 26 Fitness Transformation Tips, then get up and get to work!
26 Fitness Transformation Tips From A to Z
Make yourself publicly accountable. When others are watching your progress, you’re more likely to follow through on your commitments. So put yourself out there! Tell your family and friends that you’ve made a decision to lose weight. Post it on social media. Tell your workmates. Team up with a buddy who has a similar goal to lose weight. Hire a personal trainer. Knowing others are counting on you and supporting you will help you work hard to reach your goals. Accountability tops of the list for fitness transformation tips for these reasons.
More importantly, hold yourself accountable to the most important person involved—you. You are the direct beneficiary of all your hard work. Once you’ve reached your weight-loss goals, you will feel better and look better. Honor your commitment to yourself.
One of the perks of accountability is the chance to celebrate! As you make progress, tell your friends and family. Share it with your colleagues. High-five your personal trainer. Take a selfie and post it on social media.
Celebrate your commitment with a gift to yourself as well. Consider a non-food reward such as new workout gear or a massage. You deserve it!
2. Healthy Breakfast
If you want to lose weight, you have to eat breakfast. Daily breakfast is a habit for the “successful losers” who belong to The National Weight Control Registry—people who have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year.
But pay close attention to the kind of breakfast you’re eating. Limit foods that are high-fat, high- calorie and high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. Bacon and sausage, pancakes and doughnuts may be traditional breakfast foods, but they’re devoid of important vitamins and nutrients and high in calories and fat.
Your breakfast should include a healthy source of protein, such as eggs, turkey, low-fat dairy products or nuts. Include high-fiber foods such as oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables, which will help satisfy your hunger until lunch. A piece of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices is a great breakfast, as is a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit. Or try a smoothie with protein powder.
Some people don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning—typically because they’ve eaten too much the night before. But your body has been without food for seven to eight hours; it’s time to break the fast and fuel your day!
One of the best ways to lose weight is to engage in cardiovascular exercise. By including cardio as a regular part of your workout program, you can burn fat and calories.
Some simple ideas for cardiovascular exercise are running or speed walking on the treadmill. The stationary bike, stair climber, elliptical trainer and rowing machine are all great options as well. Be sure to maximize your workout on these machines by adjusting the resistance or increasing the incline. The tougher the resistance, the more you increase your heart rate, which results in burning more fat.
To make your cardio most effective, try HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. Short bursts of very intense exercise alternating with short rest periods will torch calories far more quickly than steady-state cardiovascular exercise.
Losing weight is a trifecta of disciplines: weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and diet. You cannot exercise regularly but still order the double cheeseburger with bacon every day for lunch and expect to lose weight.
Stay away from processed foods—packaged entrees, fast food, cookies, crackers and most things with a label. Aim to buy whole foods as near as possible to their original state—from the tree or ground. Cook at home so that you can control the amount of added sugar, sodium, and fat.
So what should you be eating? Incorporate as many vegetables as possible into your diet, along with fruit, lean proteins, and whole grains. You can still indulge in some healthy favorites, but make them a smaller part of your diet. The 80-20 rule works for many: Make 80 percent of your food choices healthy ones.
Eat smaller portions and eat more frequently—yes, more often!—to stoke the fire of your metabolism. Digesting food burns calories that are diverted to energy rather than stored as fat.
Obesity is a serious health problem in this country, leading to an epidemic of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders. But we can’t simply quit eating; it’s impossible to go cold turkey on this habit.
Instead, aim to eat healthy. This doesn’t mean boring, bland foods. There’s a world of spices to lend kick and flavor. Experiment with texture—crunchy and chewy foods can be very satisfying. As you retrain your taste buds with less fat and sugar, you’ll find that simple foods can be delicious, nutritious and satisfying choices. It’s just a matter of finding what is tasty for you; foods that are healthy and that you enjoy.
You shouldn’t skip meals to lose weight; you’ll be starving your body of the nutrition that it needs to function properly. In fact, the opposite is true: You should eat six or so small, nutritious meals throughout the day. Many people get into trouble when they go too long without eating, get too hungry and binge on everything in sight. Enjoy regular snacks and make every bite count toward your daily balance of protein, low-fat dairy, healthy carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
6. Stay Focused
To be successful in any endeavor requires focus. If you don’t give 100 percent, you will not succeed. The same holds true for losing weight. It may be all-consuming at first—a lifestyle overhaul.
Much like when you first learned to drive, every decision requires your full attention. As you learn what to prioritize, and certain choices become second nature, you can narrow your efforts. But continue to focus on your goal, even in the face of short-term temptation. A buffet or a party could derail your efforts completely; but with focus, you can avoid the potholes and continue on the road to success!
7. Set Realistic Goals
Goal-setting is the key to success in life. If you want to lose weight, you must have a goal. Then, you must have a plan on how to reach your goal. How much weight do I want to lose? What
is the right weight-loss plan for me? Should I start a diet program? Do I want to join a gym? Should I hire a personal trainer? Your answers to these questions will help you identify the steps toward your goal.
Set realistic goals for yourself. All of us would love to grace the cover of Men’s Fitness or Shape Magazine. The truth is the people who make the covers of those magazines are usually in the entertainment business. They’re paid to look a certain way. Good for them! But your motivation for losing weight and getting in shape should be because YOU want a healthy lifestyle. Good for YOU!
8. Happiness is key
Attitude is everything in life. Life is going to have its ups and downs. The important thing is how you respond to those ups and downs.
Most people say, “If I could just accomplish this, then I would be so happy.” Or, “Once I get this, then I’ll be happy.” The truth is, happiness needs to come first. Having a positive mental approach to losing weight will be instrumental in reaching your goals.
Scientifically, exercise helps improve your mood. Through exercise, the body releases endorphins, which are “feel-good” hormones. Exercise also decreases your level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, making you feel happier. This can make you want to continue working out, which leads to shedding those extra pounds even faster.
9. Invest in Yourself
Getting in the best shape of your life, and maintaining it, is a great investment in yourself. You’re increasing the odds that you live a long and healthy life. Getting healthy and staying healthy gives you the ability to accomplish other goals in your life.
Being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle typically leads to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, depression, hypertension, cancer and other health problems. Why would you voluntarily subject yourself to these diseases when you have the power to do something to avoid them? Losing weight and starting a fitness program takes hard work, but anything worth having is worth working hard to get.
On the other hand, the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle typically include an increased energy level, fewer health problems, an improved mental and emotional state, more confidence, increased productivity and much more. So go ahead and make the investment of a lifetime; invest in yourself.
10. Keep a Journal
Start a journal to document your journey toward your weight-loss goals. Your journal should include details regarding your diet, cardio exercise, and weight training. Let’s discuss each of these individually.
Diet: You might find that scheduling your meals each day will help you stay on track. List exactly what your meals will include and when you will eat. Also, document any snacks you will eat between meals and what time you will eat them. Include “bonus meals or snacks” as a reward for working hard.
Cardio exercise: Document the days you’ll do cardiovascular exercise. Include how long you’ll exercise on that day. For example, on Tuesdays go for a run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. On Thursdays take a cardio class at City Fitness gym for an hour.
Weight training: The journal should include which days you plan to hit the weights and which days are your rest days. Additionally, you should document what your workouts will consist of each day. For example, Mondays are for biceps and triceps; Wednesdays are for back and chest, etc.
The key is to create a blueprint for success. Do not deviate from it. No excuses. Your journal is your roadmap to hitting your weight-loss goals. If you don’t read your map, how will you reach your destination?
Kickboxing is a fantastic way to lose weight and get physically fit. This sport combines aerobic exercise with martial arts and boxing. According to the American Council on Exercise, Kickboxing is a full-body workout that challenges all of the major muscle groups. Kickboxing also improves aerobic capacity, reduces stress, improves focus, boosts endurance and promotes gains in overall balance, stability and strength.
Thanks to constant punching, jabbing, kicking, bobbing and weaving, you can burn hundreds of calories per hour, making kickboxing an intense workout. The Harvard Medical School’s website shows that a 155-pound person can burn around 372 calories in just a half-hour of kickboxing. (Your specific calorie burn is dependent on your fitness level.)
But take precautions if you decide to begin kickboxing, to avoid injury. Be sure to learn proper technique. Common injuries with this sport include sore wrists and elbows, pulled muscles, sprained knees, and ankles. Learn from a professional instructor and speak to your doctor before starting a kickboxing routine.
12. Lifestyle Change
A complete lifestyle change might be in order if you want to lose weight and keep the weight off. Begin analyzing what you eat, how often you eat during the day and the size of each meal portion. Learn how many calories your body needs, and balance that with how many calories you typically eat. Evaluate how much physical exercise you’re currently getting. If the answer is none, you’ll want to begin a regular exercise program. Keep in mind that your physical activity doesn’t need to be overly strenuous to be effective. You don’t need to spend hours on end in the gym to reach your weight-loss goals.
This won’t always be easy. You’ll need the support of family and friends to stick to your weight-loss goals. But changes in your lifestyle are necessary to reach and maintain your new healthy weight.
In January of every year, gyms all across the country are filled with people who have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get back in shape. For many, that resolution only lasts a few weeks into the New Year.
The key is finding your motivation. Why exactly do you want to lose weight? Do you want to look good in your swimsuit this summer? Are you going on vacation? Are you getting married later in the year? Is your health suffering from being overweight?
Understanding the reason why you want to lose weight will be powerfully motivating. You’ll en- counter plenty of reasons to give up: Life gets in the way. Deadlines at work require overtime. Family situations may arise. Document why you’re motivated to lose weight in your journal. Whenever you feel like giving up, read it.
If necessary, make adjustments to your workout schedule, but do not quit. Most people find that losing weight, physical exercise and feeling healthy are all things that give them the energy to deal with life’s challenges.
Have you ever noticed how much cheaper it is to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy? Just take a look at the lunch specials at any fast-food restaurant—burgers and fried foods abound. A healthy lunch alternative typically costs around three times as much.
Eating healthy may necessitate an increase in your food budget. With that said, the value of nutritious, healthy food choices cannot be overstated. Eating the right foods—a good balance of macronutrients—throughout the day is a critical component to helping you reach your weight-loss goals.
Many fad diets lead to unhealthy weight loss followed by weight gain. But a healthy weight-loss program will encourage good nutrition. Benefits in addition to weight loss can include improved cholesterol, reduced blood pressure and an increase in overall energy.
Consider these cost-effective options: buying in bulk and freezing fresh produce; joining a CSA, or community-supported agriculture program so that you can share costs with others; or even gardening, growing your own produce.
It can be difficult to carve out time during the day to work out. You hit the snooze too many times before work; you have to take the kids to soccer after work; the roads are icy.
So look for the opportunity. Keep a pair of gym shoes and spare socks in your car at all times. While the kids are practicing soccer, walk laps around the field. When the weather is bad, shovel the drive—it’s cardio exercise! If you miss your morning workout, use the commercials in the evening for sit-ups, pushups and jumping jacks.
Weight loss waits for no one. Seize the day! Grab every opportunity to stay active. You’ll see the little pockets in your day in an entirely new way.
16. Be Persistent
There are no shortcuts to losing weight. You can’t buy weight loss. You can’t rent it. No one can do it for you. And the results aren’t immediate. It takes time, hard work and dedication. You have to be driven to succeed.
Persistence is a requirement. The definition of persistence is “continuing steadfastly in a purpose especially in spite of opposition.” Make no mistake; there will be opposition. So take a cue from the best: Athletes say that before a competition, they think about scoring a goal, hitting the ball or crossing the finish line. They mentally see themselves completing the task. So do the same thing yourself! See yourself hitting your weight-loss goals: See yourself at the beach, or on vacation in that new bathing suit, or in your new board shorts with a flat stomach. Envision it every day. Then execute!
17. Quality of Workout
Losing weight and getting in shape is like saving money: The more money you put in the bank, the more money you have. You get out what you put in. The same holds true with fitness.
The harder you work, and the more you stay on track; the better your results will be. Make the most out of your workouts. Cheating is for chumps! Go hard or stay home. If you haphazardly go through the motions, you’re wasting your time. But if you give your all to your workouts, you’ll see results.
The best way to ensure you’re getting in quality workouts is to hire a personal trainer. Your person- al trainer will make sure you’re giving the maximum amount of effort. A trainer will not let you cheat on your workouts. A personal trainer will keep you honest and on track!
18. Reward Yourself
So you’ve been busting your butt at the gym, eating clean, denying yourself your favorite junk foods, getting up early in the morning, getting to bed early in the evening to get a full night’s sleep, and it’s been worthwhile. You’re losing weight! You feel great! Your clothes are even starting to fit better! You’re starting to see a new “you.”
Although you haven’t hit your weight-loss goal yet, it’s okay to reward yourself for all of your hard work so far. All work and no play make Johnny (or Janie) a dull boy or girl. In fact, you should reward yourself for progress made.
If you’re a paragon of willpower, you might be able to indulge in your favorite foods for a day, or take a few days off from the gym. But if you think the temptation might be too much, consider some rewards that support your new healthy habits—some new clothes for your smaller size, some new music for your workout, a new water bottle. And don’t forget to share the good news with those to whom you’ve made yourself accountable!
19. Get Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation says that as Americans, we are not getting enough sleep. Too little sleep affects your thyroid, stress hormones, your memory, and metabolism. A prolonged lack of sleep can cause weight gain, depression, and high blood-sugar levels, causing an increased risk of diabetes. Other medical problems include an increased risk of cancer, accelerated aging, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
There isn’t a specific rule as to how much sleep is considered “enough,” though most people need between seven and nine hours. The important thing is that you feel rested the following day, and you can function at your best. See how long you sleep without needing an alarm to wake you and use that as a guide.
So get some sleep! You need it. Your body recovers from your workouts during sleep.
And a lack of sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Getting a good night’s rest will allow you to stay on track with your weight-loss goal. Set a time for bed and stick to it. Avoid watching TV, working or surfing the Internet before bed. These activities keep your brain active. Start winding down two hours before your scheduled bedtime. Keep the room cool and make your room as dark and quiet as possible.
20. Track Your Progress
Many people say that the last 10 pounds are the hardest to lose. Tracking your progress will help you measure how far you’ve come. Seeing results in this way will help you stay motivated to keep going until you have reached your goal.
What tools can you use to track your progress? Most people use a scale to see how much weight they’ve lost. A scale may work early on in your fitness program. But over time the scale may not tell the entire story, especially so if you’ve included weight training in your regimen. As you’re burning fat and lifting weights, your body is transforming. As your muscles grow, your weight may begin to stabilize, as muscles weigh more than fat.
A better way to track your weight-loss progress might be to test your body fat percentage. A trainer can help you, whether through calipers or bio-impedance.
21. Understand Your Body
The human body operates much like a fine-tuned, high-performance sports car. If you want it to fire on all cylinders, you have to take care of it. You have to put in premium gasoline and get regular oil changes and tune-ups. If you don’t, it will break down, and the repairs will be very expensive.
Professional athletes are extremely in tune with their bodies; they understand their bodies.
Even though you’re not a world-class athlete, you should understand your body too. Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel muscle strains from working out? Are you pushing yourself in a healthy way? Are getting the nutrition your body needs?
Losing weight is different for everyone. Have you seen people who have lost too much weight? Lose the appropriate amount of weight for you, for your body type. Although you are trying to lose weight, make sure that you still maintain the proper amount of calories for your body type, along with a nutritious diet. Otherwise, just like that expensive sports car, repairs to your body are expensive. You can always buy another car, but you only get one “you,” so take care of yourself.
22. Small Victories
Setting small goals will allow you to celebrate small victories. Maybe the most important of the 26 fitness transformation tip. This is especially true if you’re trying to lose a significant amount of weight. If you need to lose 30 pounds or more, it will take longer to see results. Setting small goals and celebrating small victories will encourage you to persist in your overall plan to get fit and healthy.
As you increase the length or speed of your daily walks, celebrate that victory! Each time you swap an unhealthy meal or snack for a healthy one is another small victory. Celebrate it and stay with it!
Water is essential to the body. Staying properly hydrated keeps the organs functioning properly, provides for efficient muscle performance during physical exercise and keeps the body lubricated. Water is absolutely vital for your overall health. So be sure to drink it throughout the day.
Studies show that drinking water also aids in weight loss. Dr. Brenda Davy, associate professor at Virginia Tech, found that people who drink two glasses of water 20 to 30 minutes prior to each meal lost weight faster than people who didn’t. A word of caution: Drinking massive amounts of water can cause hyponatremia, in which sodium levels in the blood plunge to life-threatening levels. Stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it.
Although science shows that drinking water aids in losing weight, some people just don’t like drinking water. They’d prefer a sports drink, iced tea or soda; they need flavor. They feel that water is tasteless. Try dropping in a slice of lemon, an orange or multiple fruits to add flavor to your water. Over time, you’ll prefer drinking water over most other drinks. And it is much better for you than any other beverage!
24. TRX Bands
TRX Bands provide a fun way to exercise and strengthen your muscles. These bands focus on leveraging your body weight against gravity to perform countless exercises. Using the TRX Suspension Training program, you’ll get a total-body workout, build a strong core and increase muscle endurance. Given the plethora of exercises to choose from, you’ll want to hire a trainer to help you select a workout program specifically to help you meet your goals.
TRX Bands can be used for speed and agility training, core fitness, body weight training, functional training, flexibility and mobility, and endurance. People of all skill levels can benefit from these bands. You can work out at your own pace. Once you get familiar with the exercises, you can change things up to intensify the workout.
The TRX training system offers a program called HIIT, which stands for high-intensity interval training. This workout program includes high-intensity exercises at maximum effort for specific periods of time and short rest periods between movements. This kind of exercising burns more calories and produces greater improvements in strength and endurance than lower-intensity workouts. The key to ensuring the best possible results is to push yourself as hard as you can for short periods of time, then repeat the process, allowing for limited recovery periods.
Yoga is great for weight loss. Yoga consists of vinyasas, or various series of movements, interspersed with specific poses, to stretch the muscles and increase muscle strength and flexibility. Power yoga can be a great cardiovascular exercise. Yoga is an amazing stress reliever as well, which can help you manage your cravings and stay on track with your diet.
The mindfulness that yoga helps develop can also improve your eating habits. A study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that practicing yoga is associated with mindful eating and that mindful eaters are less likely to be obese. So Namaste, friends!
26. Zumba Classes
Zumba is a fun, fast-paced, high-energy, aerobic exercise program that encourages dancing your way to weight loss. The class employs up-tempo Latin music, incorporating merengue, salsa dancing, even hip-hop and belly dancing to burn calories and tone and strengthen the muscles. Over the years, Zumba has grown in popularity all over the country.
Classes typically last an hour and are designed to provide an intense cardio workout—you can burn from 500 to 800 calories during a single class.
Instructors personalize their classes by choreographing their routines. This is what makes Zumba classes so much fun. The music is loud, and everyone is dancing—the energy is contagious. You can’t help but enjoy yourself! Even if you don’t enjoy working out, Zumba may very well change how you look at aerobic exercise forever. Just be prepared to sweat, have fun, and dance the night, or rather, the fat away.