Kanav Vohra, a fitness, food and lifestyle trainer, has trained thousands of people over the years and understands the challenges that present themselves in starting and maintaining a fitness journey. We asked him to share his top fitness and lifestyle hacks and recommendations to get us to move more, eat better, and live a healthier life.
- Take it slow: Changing one’s diet, health, and workouts at maximum intensity all at once can get very stressful and overwhelming. If there is one beginner’s fitness tip I can give you today, take it slow. The aim is to be as consistent as possible with your changes and not do everything at once.
Start with one thing at a time, and slowly add the changes to your lifestyle. Starting at a manageable pace increases the chances of making each change you make permanent.
Having short goals will set a sense of routine. This routine will soon turn into a habit. After you’ve realised that any form of exercise/activity has become a habit for you, you can slowly increase the intensity and variation.
- Choose a workout you enjoy: Many of us have built a stigma around physical exercise. Workouts for most are tedious and boring. One reason is that we hardly ever choose a physical activity that we enjoy. I suggest you engage in an activity you enjoy, even if it burns fewer calories than the typical workouts you see. You may feel like you are burning fewer calories in the short term, but the exercise you stick to the longest will burn you the most calories in a long time. The form of exercise you don’t quit and stick to consistently will reap you the most results.
- Remember that you will mess up as a beginner: Yes, you read that right. It’s a brutal yet undeniable fact. We often think that the fitness journey is supposed to be about perfection, but it’s not.
I can’t count the number of times I restarted a diet because I messed something up while doing it. It could be as small as taking a bite of a cookie or having my favourite dessert instead of fruit. Early on, I would feel that these little “mistakes” would cost me my entire progress. I wish I knew back then that a perfect run doesn’t exist. I wish I knew that it’s okay to mess up and that it is normal.
The fitness/weight loss journey isn’t a tight rope you’re walking on where one lousy move means you’ll fall and have to start all over again. It’s a journey where you’re supposed to mess up and make mistakes. What we need to do is learn from those mistakes, make the necessary adjustments and keep going.
The only way to fail in this journey is if you altogether quit.
- No good/bad foods: Enjoy everything in moderation.
Let’s make sure we’re on the same page about one thing – “junk food” doesn’t inherently make you gain weight. The only way to gain weight is to eat too many calories consistently, and it doesn’t matter if those calories come from “clean” or “junk” food. There are also no “good” or “bad” foods. Every food has its own set of nutrients and calories. Some foods are high in nutrients and lower in calories, like apples and oranges, and some foods are lower in nutrients but higher in calories like chocolates and ice cream. The difference doesn’t make them good or bad; they are what they are.
Of course, it’s wise to eat more nutrient-rich foods as they tend to help you lead a healthy life. Does that mean you should avoid chocolate bars at all costs? Of course not. It just means overall in your diet, you should include more fruits, veggies, lean protein, and fewer foods like chocolates. Just more or less, not all or nothing. It all comes down to portions and moderation. It’s absolutely fine to include “junk” food in your diet. The question is how much and how often. A 100% clean approach is not recommended for weight loss as that’s not a diet. That’s pure imprisonment and very unrealistic for the rest of your life. There I said it 🙌🏻
- Plan your evening meal: My favourite tip for staying consistent with your diet/planned calorie intake is pre-plan your evening meal.
In my years of coaching, I have found that the evening meal is generally where people tend to go “wrong” and end up overeating or binging. This happens as no proper meal has been made or planned (as in the case of breakfast and lunch). Many of us eat anything available, most of the time pre-packaged food that is easy and quick.
This small habit will take you a long way in your fitness journey. Planning these meals will give you a lot more control over your diet and calorie intake.
Losing weight isn’t about getting there as fast as you can. It’s about being aware of your eating and moving habits. It’s not a one-time adjustment; it’s a lifetime adjustment. It’s a change for life. Make the adjustments that fit your life and coincide with your long term fitness goals. Don’t worry about messing up. Just make sure you keep getting back on track, and never, never, never quit!
Picture Credit : Nadine Primeau on unsplash