So as the nights draw in and the morning get darker we hope you enjoyed the summer as we move into autumn.  Looking back over your holiday pictures wearing your swim suit was you pleased with body shape and size?  This time of year is a great time to reflect on your goals and refocus on the basics to ensure you are making good progress.  Many of the following points we have outlined before but focusing on these simple things can make huge differences in your health and appearance.

Keep yourself hydrated!

When we ask clients how much they drink, their normal assumption is that they are consuming enough.  However, while they may be consuming enough to stop themselves from feeling thirsty, this may not well be the optimum amount.  An easy rule of thumb is to consume 37.5ml of liquid per kilo of body weight e.g. 37.5 x 100kg = 3.75 litres.  If your body is not used to handling this much water increase your intake over the next 2-4 weeks.  Opt for water instead of fizzy drinks or coffee to maintain blood sugar levels, keeping that body-fat off your hips.

Only consume ‘good’ Carbohydrates

Eating the right carbohydrates is the key to success in achieving weight loss  or body fat reduction goals.  By consuming ‘good’ carbohydrates you not only keep your blood sugar levels constant promoting insulin sensitivity, but you will also be consuming many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Limit or eliminate white carbohydrates: bagels, breads, pastas, rice and products containing white flour.  When you limit these foods, replace them with a good source of protein.  Remember it’s not about how many calories you are consuming, it’s about where those calories are coming from; calories from a doughnut are not the same as calories from an apple.  Eating low Glycaemic foods (GL) will help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  Take a look at our previous article “Why you should only consume ‘good’ carbohydrates” for more information on GL.

Increase your sleep and recovery time

Sleep and rest are probably some of the most underrated factors in achieving your goals and promoting optimal health.  The following are reasons why you should consider getting to bed earlier or taking a nap where possible:

Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation in the body which may contribute to joint soreness. Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone, other important hormones involved in repairing tissue.  Lack of sleep increases both insulin and cortisol, leading to increased mid-section fat deposits, and insulin resistance.  Poor sleep increases breast cancer risk.  Poor sleepers receive fewer promotions, earn less, miss more days of work, and have decreased productivity.

You should be aiming for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night.  A simple step is to sleep in a bat cave.  The smallest amount of light can affect your circadian rhythm such as the stand-by light on the television.  Turn off the TV at the plug and invest in a sleeping mask to help improve the quality of your sleep.  Taking magnesium is a great supplement to help to calm the nervous system and have a more restful night’s sleep.

The protein goal

To achieve great results in improving health and promoting fat loss adequate protein is a must.  Protein is not only used for the building and repairing of muscle but also for detoxification which aids fat loss.  Look to consume good quality protein every meal to increase your daily intake.  Optimal consumption for men is a minimum of 3.3grams per kilogram of body weight and 1.98grams for a female.  To some, this will seem like a lot to consume but aim for 6-7 meals throughout the day.  Start slow if intake is not near optimal levels and increase your consumption over the next few weeks and months.

Set yourself a short term goal

Get your body fat and weight tested so we can establish a short term goal.  Look to drop 1-2% of body fat in a month and by Christmas you could be 6% leaner with a total change to your body shape and composition.  Keeping your goals manageable and realistic is key to keeping you focused and on track