Stay in Shape – Year Round
Kerrie Donaghy USN Body and Lifestyle Manager shares her hints and tips on how to stay in shape year round minus the pressure of competition prep!
Getting in awesome shape is half the battle …. Staying in shape year round is a completely different kind of challenge.
I am going to tell you in this article how to ditch the offseason/onseason mentality and stay in shape year round looking and feeling lean fit and healthy!
It is now time to stop actually being on a ‘diet’ and begin to shift your mind set towards a more realistic balanced frame where living on a calorie restricted plan is not essential to stay lean.
You now want to create a healthy lifestyle where you can realistically maintain your hard earned physique without feeling the pinch of competition prep. This pursuit does require an element of consistency and commitment however living on low carb days , restricting yourself to extremes and tiring yourself out is not part of this new phase in your fitness journey.
Clean unprocessed foods are still going to be your best friend, and keeping tabs on how they are prepared is still up there in the priority list however there wont be as much pressure and you certainly can have your treats which we will discuss later.
Its time to find out how to embrace your healthy lifestyle , strike the balance , and not feel like your living in a world of fitness and restictions you can not escape!
COUNT YOUR MACROS
To get in shape in the first place you will have likely been tracking all your calories and more importantly tracking your macronutrients (protein , carbs , fats ) . Do not over look this moving into your staying in shape lifestyle these elements are still important and key to keeping in shape year round.
As a competitor generally you will have weighed each meal for example your morning oats, your uncooked chicken and your portions of rice. This is essential to getting competitors closer to those stage ready aesthetic goals. Hopefully now by going through that process yourself you are in a position to be able to eye ball those measurements allowing you to be more approximate. In this case your aim here is to easily track your calories and macros via App My Fitness Pal with a lot less stress and pressure than when on full swing cutting season.
MONITOR CARB INTAKE
If you want to keep visible abs on a daily basis you are going to have to monitor your daily carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately you can not go down the road of eating whatever carbs you want whenever and telling yourself ‘oh its just me balancing my lifestyle’
With that in mind, the majority of your carbs should be used for energy and recovery just before and after training sessions. The remainder of your carbs should be distributed in smaller amounts throughout your day.
Consume faster-acting simple carbohydrates (along with protein) right after your training. Complex carbs like those found in whole grains, brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes, and quinoa digest more slowly and don’t spike your insulin as dramatically, making them better choices throughout the day.
CHOOSE SUPPLEMENTS THAT MATCH YOUR NEEDS
Assuming you want to stay lean and slowly gain muscle over time, consider the following:
USN Precision Whey Protein specifically post workout
The above USN supplements have been shown to support muscle growth, fight fatigue, help you burn more body fat, and increase mental drive.
USN ISOLEAN – post fasted cardio workout each morning
LIPO XT – one capsule before morning cardio and one capsule 30 minutes before lunch meal
PURE PROTEIN GF1 – one shake daily generally post workout in evening or during the day between meals
Diet Whey Bar/Whey Wafer – generally used now and then to help keep my sweet tooth at bay as a healthy alternative to chocolate bars.
Occasional Treats are all part of the lifestyle and balance. Where most fail is over indulgence by going all out and having a ‘cheat weekend’ so to speak.
Ideally you want to be having some kind of reward for your hard work and this reward should really depend on your metabolism. Personally I am not a fan of the word ‘ Cheat Meal’ I prefer to have my reward guilt free and not feel like I suddenly have to splurge out on lots of junk for hours. An enjoyable moderate indulgence which allows you to get back on track straight away while satisfying your little desire to have that special thing you would not normally consume on a daily basis.
KEEP BURNING CALORIES
A firm favourite of mine is HIIT training otherwise known as High-intensity interval training.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) simply means alternating all-out work intervals with slower recovery periods, which has been shown to not only elevate the number of calories you burn during your workout, but boost your metabolism during the 24 hours afterward. HIIT also takes less time than traditional steady-state cardio so if your as busy as me in life this is the way forward.
Example HIIT Session Beginner:
After your cardio warm-up, perform a HIIT session by completing all-out effort for 30 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of low-intensity effort, for anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
As you get better, lengthen the work interval, reduce the recovery interval, increase the degree of effort, and/or lengthen the duration of your workout.
HIIT can be performed outdoors with running, hill sprints, on a track for distance intervals or indoors on the treadmill, elliptical training, or stair-stepper.
It should be done 3-5 times per week to really benefit.
CHANGE YOUR TRAINING
There are so many different ways to train. Changing your goals and your training will allow you to open your mind set new challenges and learn new things.
I like to switch my training around and base much of this on performance. Working on a 6 week basis I set myself training goals with a variety of different training methods to keep myself on my A-Game and moving forward.
Full body sessions in a Functional setting have allowed me to set not only fitness goals but allowing me to maintain a good element of strength in my lifts. I have then switched things up adding running and changing my goals again to certain times and distances and switching my routes up.
My lifting sessions I play around with and go for strength phases where I track my lifts and switch my carbs about to try and get those numbers up. Then when I feel I am getting too used to this I take it down and hit endurance workouts to shock my bodyand give me a fresh challenge.
The best advice I can give to anyone in their training is to create a plan that you know will challenge you while being realistic towards your own personal goals. Enjoy the change and track your progress. Try training in new places and sample different ways of doing things until you find what works best for you. And when you find it do not get too comfortable – always look for that next mission and most of all enjoy it.
While remaining lean long after you bring your body fat down is your goal, the point at which you ultimately settle has to be both realistic and healthy. If you’re killing yourself 24/7 to stay at a ludicrously low body-fat level, you should readjust your goal.
How lean should you get
You have to find a point at which you enjoy your training, can realistically follow an eating plan, and live a balanced life. That’s where you’ll ultimately settle. That may be 6 percent body fat for some, 10 percent for others. Don’t get hung up on the numbers—find the combination of elements that works best for you.
Again, if you’re not embracing the lifestyle, you ultimately won’t be successful at it.
Ultimately how you look on the outside and how you feel on the inside boils down to the choices you make each and every day of your life. The food you choose to consume, the training effort you put in the gym, the supplements you choose to take and the lifestyle you wish to live.
When you reach a point where you do not have to think as hard about it all and you find yourself staying in great shape realistically with very little stress. Those decisions are so powerful there is no stopping you and you know you are in complete control no matter what …. That is when you have nailed exactly how to stay in year round shape and that lifestyle will be with you forever.
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