5 mistakes that stop busy people getting lean

About 80% of the clients who visit us at New Image have the goal of getting lean but are struggling to get there on their own.

Our clients are super motivated, successful and busy people who have achieved great things in their lives outside the gym. But often their success comes at a toll to their health.

There are some key mistakes that we see repeatedly, especially amongst busy people with successful careers, big family commitments and busy social lives.

And no matter how determined people are to reach their goals, it’s really hard to get lean without eliminating these behaviours. The good news is, with some forward planning and habit change, these obstacles can be overcome to create your dream body.

1) Skipping meals

Skipping breakfast or lunch to skimp on calories is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, with interest. For most people, skipping meals usually leads to overeating and making poor food choices later. I know you think you don’t have the time, especially if you’re racing out the door in the morning to get kids to school and rush to work. But a little bit of forward planning and some good no fuss options can make all the difference.

The first step if your eating is all over the place is to create some structure. In theory, any structure will work, as long as you stick to it. But the one that makes most sense socially is three proper meals a day.

Science proves that fasting protocols work, but once again, in theory. Compliance and consistency are what we aim for, and a three meal a day structure is what most people cope best with.

2) Mindless eating

Along with forgetting or not prioritising proper meals, the other calorie creep culprit for busy people is mindless eating. This is when food is in front of you, you’re concentrating on something else, so it just goes in your mouth. Or you’re rushing around so you shovel food in on the road or at your desk without appreciating it or noticing your fullness signals. Parents preparing meals for kids, sneaking bites and devouring leftovers, are big offenders!

Most of us significantly underestimate the amount of food we eat over the course of the day, and it’s the little nibbles here and there, plus overly generous portion sizes, that cause us problems.

3) Rewarding with food and booze

We’ve all done it. You get home from a huge day at work and pour a giant glass of wine. Or you pat yourself on the back for kicking goals at work with chips on the couch in front of the tv. After all, you deserve it, right?

Absolutely you do! Many of our clients see big changes just by swapping out these rewards for non food or alcohol treats. It takes a little bit of creativity and habit change, but learning to care for yourself in ways other than eating and drinking saves a lot of calories and ultimately shifts your relationship with food.

3) Undervaluing sleep

Sleep is just as important in the equation for getting lean as nutrition and exercise. In fact, as it informs your ability to perform the other two optimally, I’d dare say sleep is the most important factor. We need 7-8 hours EVERY single night. If you are not doing this at the moment (we’re all guilty) this is the number one change you can make NOW to move the needle on your body composition goals.

4) Overanalysing and overcomplicating

Smart, busy, successful people haven’t got to where they are by dumbing things down and simplifying. Many of our clients who are thriving in their careers also have this terrible habit of overcomplicating their health and fitness. They devour health and fitness information, can tell you everything about the latest fads and trends in the fitness world, and are COMPLETELY overwhelmed by it. It’s paralysing.

Most people who are not athletes will see enormous gains by keeping things verrrry simple and getting right back to basics. This, for most people, will mean three balanced meals a day, booze only on the weekends, and a walk every day. Making these simple changes for 80% of the population will make a big difference.

Get the basics right first, and then we can tweak and optimise to really amplify your results.

5) Not having a plan with training

Gyms across the country are full of motivated people, with the best intentions in the world, turning up and hoping for the best.

Some people believe that pounding the cardio machines for hours will give them the body they want (boring), and others swing around big weights with improper form and injure themselves. Many spend money on gym memberships that they never use because they have no idea what to do when they get there.

For most people who are sedentary, just getting moving is a great start towards changing body composition. But to really be at the top of your game and create your best body, training consistently in the right modalities is key.

If getting lean and toned is your goal, an ideal training plan will include slow and steady cardio, high intensity interval training, and strength training with big compound movements like squats and deadlifts. You’ll need to push yourself sometimes to a level which is beyond your comfort zone to see results, but you’ll also need to incorporate rest and recovery.

The people who shift weight and keep it off have very regimented habits and routines around both food and exercise. I know it sounds boring, but this is the approach that gets results.

If you’re serious about getting lean and being at the top of your game, contact us for a free trial to learn how we can design a time smart program for you.

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