There’s a lot of fitness misinformation out there right now, and this means people are never really sure what they are supposed to do to get great results. You’ve got fitness influencers telling you that you need this crazy supplement and those gym accessories, and then you need a fridge full of healthy food, a wardrobe full of great workout gear, and probably even an Apple watch to top it all off.
Here, we’re really going to simplify it for you. You definitely don’t need to spend a massive amount of money on your fitness journey. You can get fit with a decent pair of shoes and the great outdoors, if you want to keep it especially simple! However, if you’re looking to lose a little fat, build a little muscle, and get the body you’ve always wanted on a budget, then read on.
Even more important than the gym, is how and what you eat. Sorry, it’s true! You simply cannot out-train a less than optimal diet, and if you try to do that then you’re making your life harder. Your diet doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’, but you should be making smart choices the majority of the time – get your vegetables and fruit, and try to eat foods that are filling yet good for you.
You don’t need a special ‘meal plan’ to tell you how to eat either. The problem with meal plans is that you will likely not continue eating the same way forever. They are unsustainable, and often boring. It’s much better to know how much of each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats) you need so that you can start deciding what to eat yourself. Below you’ll find some pointers:
- Use a macro calculator so that you know how much protein, carbs, and fats you need (they will total your daily calories, so if you hit your macros then you don’t need to worry about calories).
- Download an app like MyFitnessPal – you only need the free version. Just ignore the calorie amounts it tries to give you, as it’ll often give you the lowest of the low. You don't need to starve to get great results!
- Start learning to read nutritional labels on packaging. Try to buy items that are high in protein or well balanced. Be mindful of things that are high in fat/carbs, like nuts or rice, and plan to have them with something that is high in protein so you get a balanced meal/snack. You can often just scan the food you’re going to eat into the app, but check to make sure the amounts are correct, as this isn't always the case.
This is the only real way to get results. Following fad diets never works. Being in control of your macronutrients will give you peace of mind as you know you’re getting what you need. You can also eat this way for life – it’s sustainable. You don’t need to be anal about every little thing, but do stay mindful and be honest with yourself. Two big spoons of mayonnaise with your dinner should be tracked as it’s high in calories. Ketchup isn't as high, so it doesn’t matter as much.
You don’t need a gym membership to reach your fitness goals. The gym obviously helps, but with commitment, you can get results at home. Try bodyweight exercises, and buy a kettlebell or two if you like. There are apps that can give you home workouts for free! You should also focus on not just working out and getting stronger, but also just getting your activity levels up each day. Try to hit 8,000-10,000 steps. Again, you can find apps to help you track.
In the gym or while working out, you’ll only burn about 5% of your daily calories. By making sure you’re as active as possible each day, you won’t even realize you’re working out.
You don’t need every supplement under the sun, but there are a few that can help you. Brands like muscle rage offer protein powder and creatine, which can both assist with your goals. Protein powder will help to get your protein intake up, maintaining and building muscle, as well as keeping you fuller for longer. Creatine is one of the only supplements with studies to back it, too!
Your sleep is so important to your progress, so make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours a night – no less! Your body repairs while it sleeps.
Finally, keep your stress levels under control. Try meditation, as silly as it may seem to you at first. Putting a holistic focus on your health and wellbeing will make a huge difference without having to spend a fortune!