We see the pictures of all our favourite athletes, models, celebrities and fitness professionals looking lean every single day on social media and in the news.
All the photos posted of these girls makes it look like they walk around with a flat, lean stomachs 24/7. You’d think that they somehow they maintained incredible, photo shoot ready physiques all the time.
It can get pretty disheartening, as, for the rest of us, even if we’re lean, it can feel like one day we’re looking awesome, and the next we’re bloated, puffier, pale and perhaps don’t even look like we train!
What’s the secret – how do the people on the Internet and in magazines make it seem so effortless? And how can you do the same?
It’s All About Consistency
Let’s equate this to preparing for a bodybuilding contest.
For the girls entering these contests, they’re primary goal is to look they’re absolute best for one day.
Although you probably want to lose some weight and get stronger and have no interest in phsique athletes; these people are the best at getting very lean very fast.
So lets have a look at what works for them.
Obviously if your a physique athlete stepping on stage, you want to look as lean and defined as possible, so it’s vital to bring your A-game.
The key to doing this, is consistency.
Many people talk about using extreme protocols to get stage-ready, and throw around ideas like dehydration, sodium and water loading or depletion, using diuretics, special foods, and either massively restricting, or massively loading carbs.
The truth is, the best way to achieve your ideal look is consistency.
Above all, you need to keep the main aspects of your diet the same. Your body doesn’t like change, and any drastic swings in hydration or sodium levels and carb stores can throw it off balance, and cause you to look bloated, puffy or washed out.
Sodium is essential.
It’s a vital nutrient that your body needs, and plays an important role in maintaining electrolyte levels, blood volume, and helping muscles contract.
While throwing a load of salt on every single meal might not be the best idea, if you’re training (and therefore frequently sweating) you probably need more sodium than the average person.
People react to sodium differently though, so the best thing to do is to track your sodium intake for a couple of weeks, and then take an average.
Take note of how you look on different days too. Perhaps on a higher sodium day you looked extra dry and lean and your muscles popped, or perhaps you look “spilled” and a bit flabby? If it’s the former, then you know you probably look best with a higher sodium intake and if it’s the latter, you may be sodium sensitive.
One of the dumbest things any competitor can do is to keep water intake low.
There are instances (such as when trying to make a weight cut-off) where a little water manipulation and dehydration can come into play, but seeing how dangerous this can be, and how crucial water is for the human body, it’s not a sensible practice to employ.
Plus, just like with sodium, if you’re training hard, you need to keep hydrated.
Do the same thing here – monitor your fluid intake (remembering that it’s not just plain water that counts – tea, coffee and diet drinks are all fluid too) and take an average. Aim to stick to around about this each day.
You’re probably seeing a pattern start to emerge here, but your fibre intake shouldn’t change too much day to day either.
Once again, take an average over the course of two weeks, and aim to stick to within 5-10 grams of this from now on.
With fibre, you may find that if you have too much, you get bloated and gassy and your stomach looks slightly distended, but too little and you’ll also get bloated and maybe even constipated, which makes your stomach bulge, so you’ve got to find that balance.
Once again, consistency is the name of the game.
Even if we’re not allergic to certain foods, some foods can cause odd reactions, and make you retain water or get a bit puffy. Likewise, some foods can make you look great and give you a pump. It’s a good idea to experiment a bit when you don’t have any upcoming situations where you want to look your absolute best (such as a holiday, wedding, event etc).
Use this experiment period to see how you react to different foods so you know what you react well to and what will help you look your best.
HIT YOUR MACROS
This should probably have been point number one, but the most important factor in looking your best every single day is hitting your macros.
While you can’t be dieting and in a calorie deficit all the time, if you really are concerned with looking lean year round, you need to be eating around about maintenance, or in just a small surplus if you want to build muscle but don’t want to add fat. Progress may take longer like this, but it’s the trade off you have to make.
Want to look your best? Train!
There’s not one person among us who looks worse after a workout than they did going in.
Even if you’re not that lean yet, getting a pump and delivering blood to your muscles makes you look more defined and toned. Why do you think even guys who don’t lift often hit the gym on a Friday night before going out on the town for a quick blast of bench presses and biceps curls!?
I’ll start how I finished and say that staying consistent is key.
The more rigid you can be with your sodium, fluid and fibre levels, while working to the specifics that suit you best, the better. Keep tracking your macros, stay within a few hundred calories either side of maintenance and get your training in.
While you may not look in photo shoot condition every minute of every day, there’s certainly no need to get too out of shape. If you train hard and care about your physique, you should always be comfortable with how you look.
Yet another reason that implementing a sustainable routine is so important.
How do you ever expect to make fantastic progress, achieve amazing results AND keep them for a long time if the plan you implement is something that you can’t stick to for a long time?
It just can’t happen.
So let’s work something out.
We’ll get you sorted with the sort of routine that is going to allow you to excel in the most optimal way possible, without placing horrendous limitations & restrictions on your already fantastic life & lifestyle.
You can have your cake & eat it too.
It’s what I do.
I create nutritional programs that mould seamlessly into my clients’ schedules & nutrition recommendations that allow sustainability & the utmost enjoyment.
You could say I bake cakes & sell them at the local fair.
If you want to look your very best day in, day out, come to my stall.
I’ve got the perfect baked item just for you.