10 Keys to Success in Fitness and Nutrition

**Note: This post originally came from my old blog site. Sharing this information with as many people as possible is essential, since everyone can benefit from it I'm trying to spread the word of healthy lifestyles as much as possible. ** The tools you need to find success with your fitness and fuel are perennial. The simple rules will always be what you need to start with before exploring the more advanced realms of the sciences of F&F.

These rules are adapted from my education with Precision Nutrition. Visit the PN website for some cool free video courses to get you started with your fat loss goals.

Here it is! The list of 10 keys that you should think about while starting on your way to your fitness and nutrition goals.

1 – Maybe You Don’t Know

You say that you know that you need to make changes to your diet or exercise program, because what you're doing isn’t helping you to achieve the goals that you want. But maybe you don’t know. Saying “I know, I know” is a mental shortcut used to shut off our brains and avoid acting on changes that are needed. You say you know you need to eat more vegetables, or go to the gym more often, but do you actually do it?

2- Match your behaviours and goals.

With regards to PN or any other diet or exercise program, it is best to adhere to your program principles 90% of the time. If you eat 6 meals a day, you should follow your principles 37 – 38 meals out of the 42 in the week. If you have 5 workouts per week, that’s only one missed workout every two weeks. So obviously if you have less time to eat or workout each week, you have to adhere to it better!

3- Understand that you’ll see peaks and valleys

If you don’t have a big goal with health and fitness, it’s ok to relax your compliance a bit from 90%. The more lofty the goal, obviously the more strict your program will need to be.

Periodization of your nutrition and exercise are necessary to continue to see results over the long-term, both for psychological and physiological reasons.

On reaching your goals: “What we often forget, though, is that every mountain is surrounded by two valleys. In the journey of life we have to come back down off the mountaintops to move forward. This means that we spend much of our lives in the valleys. The secret is in knowing that it’s OK and normal to spend some time in the valleys.”

4- Start Small and Slow if Necessary

If this is your first time trying to live a “healthy lifestyle,” don’t be afraid to start small and make a couple of changes at a time.  Slowly make changes from one day to the next, or even one week to the next. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all.

Start by eating a bit more frequently. Then add in some additional fruits and veggies. Then add in a bit more protein. Then start using good fats. And so on.

5- Start Basic, then Individualize

I always start with the basics over the first few weeks before getting into more individualization.

For the first week start by making a few changes that you think will be beneficial, whether diet or fitness wise.

Individualization of diet will depend on: 1) The sports or exercises you take part in. More physical activity may require diet adjustments to attain your body composition goals

2) Your body type. Depending on your genetics, your body will handle carbs, fats and proteins differently.

3) Your response to adopting new and healthier habits

6- If you have specific goals, measure them

Some examples to measure:

Body composition – body weight, body fat percentage, lean body mass

Body part girths – thigh, waist, upper arm, etc.

Athetic performance – strength, speed, power endurance, etc.

Blood variables – cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure

7-  Measurement and Expectations

Weekly progress doesn’t go on indefinitely and progress may come in bursts. Likely if this is your first time starting a healthier lifestyle regime, you will have great progress over the first couple of weeks, but things may stagnate. Keep in mind that the health changes on the inside are just as important as the physical changes you see on the outside.

8- The numbers Paradox

Numbers AREN’T everything. You can’t be exercising and eating healthier strictly for cosmetic purposes! This can lead to disordered eating and exercise patterns and that’s not what I want to see happen to anybody! Admittedly, we all are probably doing this for some superficial reasons, but you should also be doing this to improve health, longevity, performance, energy levels, etc. This is a lifelong commitment, not a marathon diet session where you lose a bunch of weight and then go back to eating junk food. You won’t accomplish anything doing that and it may actually do more harm than good. You will be much happier if you pay attention to the other benefits you see from adopting a healthier lifestyle than if you just stare at the changes on the bathroom scale.

9- Reasonable Progress

Progress should be expected to come over months and years, not weeks! Understand what reasonable progress is and don’t get impatient if things seem to be moving slowly. Losing a pound a week, or for building muscle, gaining a pound every week or two are attainable for beginners. As you progress your changes will slow due to homeostatic mechanisms (your body will act to maintain your body weight at a set point and will resist further changes from this set point).

Appreciate the other benefits you get from your new healthier lifestyle: less stress, you get sick less often, you have more energy, you feel better overall, etc.

Following the Precision Nutrition principles, you can typically expect to lose 30 lbs of fat over 6 months, but results as great as 50 lbs in the same time period are pretty common. It will depend on several factors, such as adherence and genetics.

10- Maintain your rate of progress

No one can continue to lose body fat forever. You can’t be at -3 % body fat.  As you begin to plateau you will need to monitor your food intake more closely. You may have to decrease your intake a bit or increase your exercise volume or intensity.

Keep these rules in mind when you're trying to lose weight and your success won't be far off.

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What simple tip do you like to stand by when you're working towards a goal or giving advice to someone else on fitness or nutrition? Leave a comment below!