Do you want to achieve the body of your dreams? Here’s how to build a great workout and nutrition plan to help you achieve your goals.
Wouldn’t it be great if losing weight and building muscle was as easy as magazines and diet pill commercials proclaimed it to be?
If it were, everyone would be fit, lean, and muscular.
However, that’s not the reality of the world we live in. In fact, in America, nearly 72% of adults (over 20 years old) are overweight or obese. Sadly, Americans who are obese make up well over half of that demographic.
But how do we fix it? When 7 in 10 Americans struggle with being overweight, clearly it’s not easy.
Fortunately, we’ve got your back.
Everything you need to lose weight, build muscle, and get healthy is in this article.
Read on for everything you need to know about building your own workout and nutrition plan!
The Necessity of Any Great Workout and Nutrition Plan: Goals
Before you start out on any venture, you need to know your endpoint. What’s your purpose?
Committing to a workout and nutrition plan takes hard work, dedication, willpower, and consistency.
To throw yourself into it and have any hope of being successful, you need to have a goal. More importantly, you need to have strong goals that transcend laziness, bad days, excuses, and all the nay-sayers.
Your goals need to be realistic, achievable, and clear. They also need to be measurable. Setting subjective, immeasurable goals will get you nowhere.
For example, saying “I want to look better by next month” leaves too much up to personal perception. Depending on the day, your feelings about how you look can vary wildly.
On the other hand, saying “I will make it to the gym four days a week and lose 1-2 pounds a week” is measurable and tangible.
You need to set small, milestone goals to keep you motivated. These goals will all line up with the big-picture, ultimate goal but will serve as little confidence boosters along the way as you check them off.
The absolute most important part of goal setting is the why. Why do you want to achieve your goals?
We’re not talking about the superficial why that sounds like “I want to lose weight to look better.”
We’re talking about the deeper desire and reason behind it all. What’s the why that’s going to get you through to the end?
This why sounds more like, “I want to lose weight because my spouse cheated on me and I need my confidence back.”
Dig deep, find your true motivation.
Naturally, The what comes next. What is your ultimate goal? What are the milestone goals that are going to lead to it?
This step is important because it defines your workout and nutrition plan. If your goal is to lose weight and get lean, your program needs to reflect that. Remember, these goals need to be clear, tangible, and attainable.
Next, you need to give yourself a reasonable timeline for each goal, small and large.
Deadlines make us work harder, but if they’re too far away, we’ll procrastinate. Therefore, set challenging but realistic deadlines for yourself to keep you moving. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to put it off until tomorrow.
Unfortunately, there’s an endless amount of tomorrows and endless amount of excuses for why that’s when we’ll start.
Now, you need to figure out The How.
How are you going to complete these goals? What are the steps you’re going to take to make it happen?
This is where you start planning out your workout and nutrition plan. Essentially, the entirety of the plan is The How.
The “What Ifs”
We don’t live in a perfect world, far from it. The only way to succeed is to accept it and move on.
For your workout and nutrition plan to prevail against all odds, you need to identify any obstacles that may come up along the way.
They include things like working late, forgetting your workout clothes, babysitter emergencies, not having time to food prep, etc.
Once you identify the things that will give you viable excuses to skip workouts or healthy meals, figure out how you’re going to get past them. Decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle those situations.
The Workout and Nutrition Plan
Your workout and nutrition plan will be 100% based on your goals.
No matter what they are, however, there are 3 principles required for success.
The expression, “consistency is king,” is not an exaggeration. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, without consistent effort, you’re going nowhere fast.
2. Work Ethic
How hard you push in the gym will be evident in the physical changes in your body, both in performance and in appearance.
Simply put, if it’s easy, you’re not doing it right.
Get a journal or notebook and track everything. Every set of every exercise needs to be written down.
By tracking your workouts, you can ensure you’re doing better each week.
Too many people workout day after day and never improve. They simply have nothing to compare each workout to.
On that note, you also need to track everything you’re putting in your body. Know the calories you’re consuming and know the content of them.
The macronutrient breakdown is very important. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
There are fantastic smartphone apps that will track your stats for free!
For those trying to build muscle and get stronger, be happy, because your path is much clearer than those trying to lose weight.
The formula for strength and muscle gain is simple—eat more than you need and lift more than you did last week.
Simple as it is, let’s break it down.
In the fitness world, food is everything. That’s not to say exercise isn’t important, but diet is absolutely vital.
To build muscle, you need to be in a caloric surplus every day. Don’t get crazy with it or you will put on more fat than muscle. Men should aim for about 250 extra calories a day, while women should aim for 125.
You need to calculate how many calories you burn a day, including your workout, and add your calories to it.
A good BMR calculator will take your daily activity into account when determining your BMR.
Once you determine your caloric needs, take a look at your macronutrients. Aim for 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 20% fat.
If you want to put on muscle, you need resistance training. While bodyweight exercises can build strength, nothing compares to heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and presses.
Progressive overload training mixed with periodization is a sure-fire way to gain substantial strength and muscle. Progressive overload means doing more than you did the week before, be it more reps or more weight.
Periodization means periodically changing up the sets. Basically, don’t do three sets of 10 every week for the rest of your life.
If you don’t like public gyms, you could consider building a home gym. Just understand that the equipment isn’t cheap.
Based on your goals, find the perfect workout program and start getting after it. If you’re new to weightlifting, consider hiring a trainer to show you the ropes and make sure you’re lifting safely.
For Weight Loss
As mentioned above, weight loss can be a little trickier than building muscle. While the standard formula of calories out vs. calories in is still valid, there are many other factors that come into play.
For example, women have a harder time losing weight. Additionally, health and hormonal issues such as hypothyroidism can make it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it.
Finally, mental issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression can have similar effects.
All factors considered, to lose weight, you still need to adhere to burning more calories than you consume each day. This forces your body to feed off of its fat stores for energy.
Your goal should be to come in at a caloric deficit of 20%. Use the same link as above to find your BMR.
The quality of food that you eat is also important to help with your weight loss and metabolic rate.
Don’t jump into extreme dieting, however, as it can have long-term negative effects on your weight and your overall health.
For great recipes and articles about food, check out Mealz, a website dedicated to healthy eating!
It may sound anti-intuitive, but those trying to lose weight also need resistance training, not just cardio.
Our metabolisms run faster and more efficiently when we have lean muscle mass. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is and the more calories your body will naturally burn every day.
This doesn’t mean you need to be a bodybuilder or powerlifter, it just means that our bodies function much better with muscle!
Find a healthy split between resistance training and cardio for your program.
Remember, Everyone Struggles
When you find yourself on the Struggle Bus, remember, you’re not alone.
Fitness goals are tough. You have to be in it for the long haul and there are thousands of obstacles and temptations along the way. That’s why our overweight and obesity statistics are so high in America.
However, building the right workout and nutrition plan will get you moving on the right track towards beating the odds!
Remember, there’s always help out there for any level of nutrition and fitness goal—you just have to look for it! Good luck!