By Holly Perkins
I had an incredible conversation recently about women and happiness with a prominent and gifted doctor who lives in Los Angeles. She says that, in her experience, roughly 90 percent of women are unhappy with the way that they look. WHAT?!?!?!?
This is a huge, problem and I want to do whatever I can to single-handedly change this sitch! It breaks my heart into a million pieces to know that so many women are out there feeling bummed about their appearance.
(Looking to gain muscle and a sexy, toned body? In her book, Lift to Get Lean, Holly Perkins, certified strength and conditioning specialist, explains how you can score a slim figure in four weeks.)
If you’re anything like me, you might have responded by saying, “Well, nobody is perfectly happy with her appearance” as though it’s impossible.
I didn’t start feeling good about my appearance until I was 40. As the big birthday approached, I was so sick of myself because I had let many goals fade away. I got lazy and decided that my goals weren’t all that important. As 40 approached, I felt so ashamed for giving up on my goals. It made me sick to know that I was capable of more and better but that I wasn’t doing the work necessary to get there.
Even though I had been in the fitness industry for almost 20 years, I learned some interesting things about body transformation during my quest to get to a place I was happy with. Keep these things in mind if you get frustrated or discouraged in your fitness endeavors.
1. You must take massive action.
Your body is designed with homeostasis in mind. So in order to override your body’s desire to stay put, you have to train your brain to take new action that is clear and definitive. “Kinda watching your diet” won’t cut it if you want to lose 10 pounds. I realized that I had start taking definitive and consistent action every single day in order to create change. If I wasn’t fully “in,” I was fully “out.”
2. It requires consistency…and more consistency to convince your body that you are serious about these changes.
You know how it seems like it takes so much effort to get into shape, and then after a short vacation you feel like you’ve dropped a few fitness levels? Well, it’s actually true—and I had to confront this fact big time. In order to take my body to the next level, I had to get really consistent with the number of days I worked out and the intensity of those workouts. I needed to give my body just enough rest to recover, but not so much that I lost ground.
3. It takes a full 10 days to see the results from any new action in your program.
This applies to a new diet strategy or a new workout. While your body is resistant to change, it is also very good at adapting. If it receives the same stimulus over and over, it will eventually cooperate with you and adapt. If you are eager to try out a new strategy, say Paleo, one day on the program is not going to show you the full effects of the diet. You need to follow any plan for a full 10 days in order to see the beginnings of true results.
4. For women, visible change is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise.
There is a saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” and it’s true. I learned to be very strategic and conscious with my diet, and I’m now able to follow a specific macronutrient breakdown for 10 days and see dramatic changes in my body. If I eat a certain way, my abs will bust out loud and clear. If I eat a different way, I will see noticeable increases in muscle size. It all comes down to the percentages of protein, fat and carbs that I eat for a period of time.
5. Carbs are neither “good” or “bad,” but the way you eat them makes a huge difference.
During my training, I discovered that I had to make sure I was getting a solid amount of carbs before and after my workouts in order to perform well, feel well, and get the best results.
6. Sports-specific supplements can help to fill holes and boost performance and recovery.
I love to workout. Despite this, I used to suffer from low energy; I almost never felt fired up, energetically, for a strength-training session. I believed that this was simply a fact of my own personal physiology and that there was nothing to do about it. Throughout my body transformation, I discovered the certain sports supplements helped me tremendously. With the right combination (called a “stack”), I was discernibly stronger and able to feel well even during really intense workouts.
7. The slower you begin, the faster the results.
The ego is a powerful part of your personality. Its job is to convince you that you are amazing and wonderful and super fit! Eighty-five percent of new clients come to me believing that they are in better shape than they are. I found that the same applied to me! Before my body transformation, I wasn’t as strong and fit as I thought I was! My enthusiasm in the gym meant that I had a tendency to work too hard in the beginning. Once I eased up on my efforts in the gym, I noticed that I progressed much faster.
8. Change is uncomfortable.
Part of changing your body is learning to embrace change and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. When a workout would get really hard, I noticed that I would find some reason to give up. I would give up on a hard set or I would give up and go home when I was tired. Then I realized that, in order to become something different, I would have to override this system that wasn’t working for me. Rather than getting scared of chinups, I would tell myself that all I had to do was try. And if my try failed, that was just fine! But one day my try would turn into a success (and it did!).
9. Age means nothing.
At 30, I was plagued with general aches and pains. “Well, you are in your thirties now, “ a friend said, and I agreed. But the truth was, I was just out of shape. As 40 approached, I had more body fat than normal. “Well, I am turning 40 soon. I guess this is what happens,” I said to myself. Then, I challenge that silly thinking and got into the best shape of my entire life. I am more fit now than I was in my twenties, more energetic than I was in my thirties, and leaner than I was at 39. Don’t allow yourself the disservice of believing that age influences your ability to get fit or change your body. It does not.
10. Sugar and alcohol will seriously slow your progress.
I do believe that life should be fun and that, in moderation, sugar and alcohol are just fine. However, body transformation is much harder—like, way harder—with even small amount of these. I noticed that my body would shift out of fat-burning mode and into an unstable sort of energy whenever I ate more than a small amount of either. Ultimately, I found that if I was aiming for true body transformation, I didn’t have time to be out of fat-burning mode. I decided that I was either all in, or all out. And alcohol and sugar did not fit into the picture of “all in.”
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