Tried to lose weight and get back into shape but not got the results you were hoping for? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Here’s what might have gone wrong and how to fix it to start taking giant strides towards the leaner, stronger and fitter body you want, says New Body Plan editorial director Joe Warner
The fail: You’re in denial
As in, you’re denying yourself the foods you love. If you suddenly tell yourself that you can’t eat your favourite foods then you’re setting yourself up for failure. All you’ll do is fixate on the stuff you can’t have and rely on willpower, which is only a finite resource, to resist temptation. And when your willpower runs out, which it will, you’re likely to binge on the stuff that you’ve been trying to avoid. You’ll get disheartened and think you’ve failed.
The fix: Use the 90% Nutrition Rule
You didn’t fail. Your diet approach did. So instead of putting your favourite foods on the banned list, try the New Body Plan 90% Nutrition guide to eat for fat loss. It’s simple, easy and sustainable.
The fail: Your system is unsustainable
If you’re following a diet that cuts out entire food groups, such as fat or carbohydrates, or one that’s ultra-restrictive, such as a juice diet or an ultra-low-calorie plan then you may see some initial progress but that progress is unsustainable. For example, when you cut out carbs you’ll probably lose weight but it’s likely to be water weight rather than body fat. If you go low fat then you’ll inhibit your uptake of fat-soluble vitamins and also potentially compromise the production of the male sex hormone testosterone. A juice diet is likely to leave you protein deficient, which risks your body breaking down muscle tissue to use as fuel, while ultra-low calorie diets are dangerous, and will leave you feeling miserable, sluggish and prime your body to get fatter, not leaner.
The fix: Get some balance
The smartest most sustainable nutrition strategy, which is also the one that will help you to lose the most body fat, is to eat a mixture of protein, carbs and healthy fats. You do need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat but if you follow our 90% Nutrition Rule while doing three or four workouts a week then you’ll be burning more calories than you consume. In short, you’ll lose fat without the sacrifice and suffering, which sounds preferable, right?
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The fail: You’re a cardio king
If you think that the best way to burn off your belly is to lace up your trainers and go for jog then you’re running down the wrong path. Yes, jogging is good for you but it’s not the most effective way to change your body composition. For a start, it won’t do anything to give you more muscular arms, broader shoulders, a bigger chest or defined abs. It’s also not the most efficient way of shrinking your waistline.
The fix: Lift and HIIT
High intensity interval training, which involves short periods of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest (and is included in all of our plans) will burn more calories than steady-state cardio because you torch them while you train and also long after your session has finished. Lifting weights will also burn calories and help you to build a lean and muscular physique.
The fail: You hate your plan
If you don’t enjoy the exercise regime you’re on then sooner or later, you’ll ditch it. The good news is that it is possible to find a plan that you’ll enjoy, as New Body Plan graduate Darren Smith, 35, discovered. “My advice to anyone thinking of doing the plan is to embrace it and enjoy it,” he says. “Doing a body transformation programme can be quite daunting, especially if you’re new to training. But it’s such an enjoyable process and when you’re getting results doing something that you enjoy, there’s no better feeling. Just stick with it and the results will come.”
The fix: Pick a plan you’ll love
A big part of what determines whether or not you’ll enjoy a plan relies on the people who put the plan together in the first place. An inexperienced or ineffective coach will create a plan that’s either too demanding, too repetitive or missing the programme design qualities that will make the most of your efforts. Our coaching team has gone to great lengths to create a progressive plan that gets more challenging as you get fitter, is structured to maximise motivation and manipulates key workout variables to ensure that you get the results that you want.