What does it really take to become your best?
If you're a reader of my blog then I'm sure you're up to speed on my thoughts. So I wanted to find out what others, who have also achieved their goals, thought the answer to this question was.
I asked my clients what they discovered to be their biggest 'ah-ha', or 'ligtbulb' moment, when working with my HPL programme. When I heard their answers, I knew I had to share them with you, as all of these tips are incredibly important.
Everyone I work with comes from various parts of the country, with different backgrounds and starting points. Yet they all share the exact same goal - to look, feel and perform at their best.
So this is their 10 top tips to transforming their bodies and improving their health - HPL style of course!
Top Tip #1: Food is not the enemy by Jade Elliot
Ensure you are eating good nutrition frequently enough to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it requires. Good nutrition is not about starving the body.
The food you eat should energise you, make you productive and feeling good at the same time. If you get hungry every couple of hours, then that is your body telling you it needs the nutrients in order to perform at the level you ask.
"As soon as I started eating more of the good stuff, especially adding more good fats into my diet, I felt so much better, more capable, stronger inside and out. I finally felt in control.
The most important thing I have learnt is food is not the enemy."
Top Tip #2: Consistency matters by Richard Troupe
One of the most important aspects to improving your nutrition and health is accepting your current position. By understanding were you currently are with your goals, you can then begin to put the right steps in place for better progress.
Once you start improving your daily habits, it's simply a case of becoming as consistent as possible to them. Use your current situation as motivation to continually drive you forward while staying on the right path to success.
"It has instilled the most important process for me personally that I have perhaps neglected in the past: being honest with myself, in terms of my health and physique, and being consistent with my approach to nutrition and training.
This major moment of realisation, has resulted in a better, healthier, stronger and more confident version of me."
Top Tip #3: Real food is the priority by Rita Yeung
Base most of your meals on real single ingredient food choices to provide you with higher quality nutrients and to keep you fuller for longer. Avoid meal replacement shakes (unless homemade) and drinks containing calories.
Supplements should not make up the bulk of your diet. Real food comes first and lots of it.
"I was introduced to a way of eating that I actually grew up with. My parents always cooked from scratch, never cooked with processed foods and cooked with ingredients grown in their own garden.
I’d just gotten lazy through being a mum to 3 children and looking for quick and easy ways to feed the family. Now I am conscientious about what my family and I eat and it seems to have rubbed off on them too."
Top Tip #4: Stop guessing by Mark Wilkinson
No matter what level you are currently at with your nutrition, a daily food log will provide so many benefits. The purpose of this food log is to help best inform your decisions.
It also kick starts an incredibly powerful habit building tool for you too. There is a lot of value in the actual act of tracking food intake. It's a behaviour that truly takes minutes a day to do, but each and every time you pull out your app or diary, you remind yourself of your healthy living desires and strategies.
"No matter how well and how healthy you eat if you are not tracking the amount of food that you are taking in then you are just guessing.
By doing this I was able to be consistent with my targets and move towards my goals faster and in a more controlled manner."
Top Tip #5: Train smarter, not harder by Natalie Maddison
Tradition has it we must exercise longer and harder if we are to be fit and healthy - this is wrong. By learning how to exercise smarter, not harder, you discover the most effective tools that will help change your body.
It's time to forget about the overcomplicated and timely training programmes and replace these with simple, effective and realistic exercises that deliver the best results. Weight training workouts have continually been proven to improve body composition more than cardio training alone.
"I went from running for miles both outside and on a treadmill, yet wondering why I was reasonably fit but still fat, to bench pressing and squatting with very limited cardio. I also lost 2 stone!"
Top Tip #6: Pictures speak a thousand words by Chris Polin
Many people can fall into the trap of basing all of their progress on what the measurements say each day or week. While these can be a great tool for long term progress, nothing beats the importance of regular pictures too.
As the saying goes, 'a picture speaks a thousand words', and when the measurements aren't showing a true reflection of your results, you can be sure that a set of pictures will.
"My biggest 'ah-ha' moment was the first time I saw my picture compared to my starting shots first month in.
Numbers are great for telling you how you're getting along, but seeing that first picture made me realise 'ok, this is working!"
Top Tip #7: Never starve by Pat de Reyes
Many popular diets or protocols are so strict or restrictive they leave the follower drastically under eating for long periods of time. Eventually this can even feel like the norm. At first this might bring some results, but with time progress comes to a complete halt and it no longer works.
Therefore it's important to always eat the correct amount of calories your body needs to optimally perform. Only then should you make some small short term adjustments in relation to your goals.
"As for my lightbulb moment it would be when you regularly increased my calories over a period of time and I didn't gain weight.
You helped me to see that I wasn't eating enough."
Top Tip #8: Keep it simple by Alex Witkowska
It can quickly feel overwhelming by the amount of changes that we need to make in order to improve our bodies and health. We can all change, and it's not as hard as we typically make it out to be.
If you want to improve your nutrition, then make one small step that will help you do that.
It's not about overhauling your entire life to see change.
"My biggest 'ah-ha' moment was learning about all the available tools we currently have to make our changes easier and more simple.
I always had a bad habit of not food shopping each week, so I now use the home delivery service so that I always have the right foods when I need them."
Top Tip #9: Enjoy the process by Chris Richardson
If you don't enjoy the process then what's the point!
Good nutrition is not about eating to a strict, boring and rigid meal plan. It's not eating foods you don’t like because they are 'healthy'. And it's not avoiding foods you enjoy because they might be 'bad' for you.
Instead your diet should be maintainable, balanced and you actually enjoy the journey of self improvement.
"I used to eat 8 low fat meals a day, train 6 days a week for months at a time and still never get anywhere close to having abs.
Now, the way I view food has completely changed, my meals are varied and tasty from breakfast to dinner."
Top Tip #10: Make it a lifestyle by Jade Robinson
Good nutrition and training should become a lifestyle, and no longer a short term fix to your problems.
If you apply the previous 9 top tips then you will quickly realise how much easier healthy living and smarter training can be.
Whenever you start making changes and creating a better routine to reach your goals, always ask yourself this question - 'can I keep doing this for the long term?'
If the answer is no, then perhaps look to a better approach to solve that problem. The result will be that in 4 weeks, 4 months or even 4 years you still have the results to show for making those changes.
"I have learnt not only how to achieve the body and lifestyle I wanted but more importantly how to maintain it.
It gave me the confidence I needed to get back to my active lifestyle without feeling like it is a chore."