The other day we published the Ultimate You Manifesto which contained 10 principles that will help you strive towards greatness and the best version of yourself using effective, realistic, and healthy actions.
Lesson 1: Be consistent and realistic.
When most people think about getting in shape, losing weight, building muscle, and living a healthier lifestyle in general they make two very big mistakes:
They think it’s going to be harder than it actually is, and they think it’s going to be quicker than it actually is.
Rather than hyping yourself up when preparing to make the “lifestyle change” as if you are about to go to a different planet, you need to be realistic about what it’s actually going to take.
Yes, it will probably take a bit longer, BUT it will also probably be much easier than you think – as long as you stay committed.
This means you to find a plan that is sustainable and can be applied consistently, rather than super intensely for only a short period of time.
Forget the perfect plan – because that only works when things are going perfectly in perfect conditions.
If you put too much strain on yourself with an exhausting exercise plan and a too restrictive diet, you will end up crashing and burning as soon as life throws you even the tiniest hurdle.
Our most successful Ultimate You Challengers know that if they want to come out on top at the end of the 8-week challenge they need to find a realistic plan that they can apply consistently for long-term results.
Lesson 2: Know what’s important.
There is a lot of “noise” out there about what exercise routine you should do or what diet you should follow.
The unsexy truth is that above all else you need to get the fundamental basics down first.
These are the vital few – where 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions.
Our most successful Ultimate You Challengers know that there is no secret trick – just pure hard work, determination, and consistency.
Here are their top tips for mastering the basics and prioritising what is really important:
1. Eat real food first: Focus on food quality and nutrient density to help minimize deficiencies, support proper bodily functions, and increase satiety.
2. Eat to match your lifestyle: If you’re very active, you need to eat enough to fuel that activity. If you’re sedentary and sit at a desk all day, you probably need to eat less than you think you should. If you’re somewhere in between, make changes slowly and consistently to find out what works.
3. Move more daily: Those who take 5,000 steps or less per day are considered sedentary. Those who take 10,000 steps or more a day are considered highly active. If you can, track your daily movement with some kind of fitness tracking device or your smartphone’s built-in pedometer.
4. Add in regular, purposeful exercise: While your goal might be to lose weight, you will want to maintain and even build lean muscle mass to give yourself strength, increase your metabolism, and reduce chance of injury. Weight-lifting is great if you have access to gym equipment, otherwise simple body weight movements can go a long way. Perform purposeful exercise regularly and consistently, throwing in some variety such as running, swimming, hiking, or some kind of sport in between.
5. Sleep well: Getting enough sleep is incredibly important, but the quality of sleep is often underrated. Apart from aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep a night, try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning whenever possible. Avoid coffee and caffeine after lunch time, moderate your alcohol intake, decrease bright light exposure during the evening before bed (especially from computers, phones, tablets, and TVs), and make your room as dark as possible as night when sleeping.
6. Supplement wisely: Supplements are called a supplement for a reason, they are there to supplement your food intake and healthy lifestyle – not replace it. There is no miracle pill or fat-burner that is going to do all the work for you. Get up and earn your results yourself. Use supplements only when they are really necessary or to compliment your already healthy diet.
7. De-stress: There is a joke in my family that every time we watch the news we stop losing fat. Why? Well the news is usually pretty depressing and stressful. This leads to a rise in cortisol and a host of other unfavourable physiological changes that immediately negatively impact your ability to lose fat efficiently. Plus cravings… Enough said! Stress is a normal part of our lives and our bodies are well equipped to deal with it. However chronic stress is hugely detrimental and you should regularly make an effort to de-stress, have fun, laugh a lot, and enjoy life.
Lesson 3: Rely on commitment not motivation.
Relying on motivation is a recipe for disaster.
Imagine if we only picked up our kids from school when we felt happy or only went to work when we felt relaxed....
Silly right? But then so many only go to gym or eat well when they feel motivated to do so.
Our most successful Ultimate You Challengers know that nobody feels motivated to exercise at 5am on a Monday morning in the cold and dark. They know that there are going to be as many (if not more) tough times as easy times, so they stick to their commitment of achieving their goals rather than relying on their current emotional state.
There is a story about Comrades marathon champion Bruce Fordyce and how he made a deal with himself. He would get up early, get dressed, and get out the front door to go for his run regardless of how he felt that day. The deal was that if by the time he got to the first lamp post he still wanted to quit and go back to bed, he could. Did he ever quit? No. Once he got going he realized it really wasn’t that bad, and often started to enjoy it.
So instead of relying on self-generated motivation and willpower, make a commitment to yourself, set a goal, and build or find a system (like the Ultimate You 8-Week Challenge) that will keep you accountable and on track.
Lesson 4: Put something at stake.
Have you ever been on holiday somewhere where you happened to fall really sick?
If so, there is a good chance you still forced yourself to make the most of the holiday anyways by going out sightseeing in absolute misery and suffering when all you want to do is curl up in bed.
Well, you spent a good sum of money on that holiday and you sure as heck were going to get your money’s worth even if it wasn’t what you felt like doing, right?
The same applies to just about anything else.
Want to be healthier? Find something to put up at stake that will benefit you at the same time.
An entry into the Ultimate You Challenge costs R599. While it’s not an unreasonable price at all (considering the amazing exercise plans, nutrition plans, and expert support you get throughout the challenge), it is certainly enough to get you to take the challenge seriously.
Our most successful Ultimate You Challengers strongly believe in putting some skin in the game to help them solidify their commitment and force them to make the most of it whether they felt like it 2 weeks later or not.
Tim Ferriss has another method for helping him stick to his goals: He chooses an “anti-charity” (a charity that he is against) and puts up x-amount of money to be donated to them if he doesn’t stick to his goal or achieve it in a given timeframe. It’s brutal, but highly effective.
Find how you can put something up at stake and use that to help you keep on track.
Lesson 5: Do what actually works.
There are a LOT of plans out there with different methods for helping you lose weight and build muscle.
Some have been around for years, while others have popped up overnight.
Many of the latest plans look fancy, sound great, and make enormous promises. Many of the latest plans also don’t actually work and haven’t stood the test of time.
While it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest research and discoveries when it comes to health and fitness, it is even more important that you are confident in its ability to help you achieve your goals. How does the plan earn its confidence?
It’s been used successfully by many others and it produces actual results for YOU.
Our most successful Ultimate You Challengers don’t always jump for the latest and greatest plan. Rather, they look at what has stood the test of time, look at who they trust recommends it, and makes sure it’s a plan that actually gets them results.
It doesn’t matter how fancy, or refreshingly different, or "sciencey" a plan is, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work and you are just wasting your time.
We have a wide variety of plans available for our challengers that have been tried and tested over 12 different challenges to date. We know what works, and our challengers are proof of the results.
The next step:
To help you along the way you can join the 30-day challenge is a way to get you motivated to change your life for the better. But if you're serious about a healthier you this year, sign up for the SleekGeek 8-week challenge that has all the support, diet and exercise plans and rewards to get you in top shape (and looking great) by mid March as well as R 155, 000 worth prizes up for grabs.
BONUS LESSON: Build a support structure.
Building a solid support structure will make your journey so much easier, both in good times and in bad.
Helen Keller once hit the nail on the head by saying: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
This is the fundamental reason that our UltimateYou challengers have so much success. It operates as one giant support structure.
Even though challengers are competing with each other to produce the best results over 8 weeks, they are also working together by sharing goals, successes, advice, and inspiration to help one another.
Every challenge our challengers buddy up, forming accountability and support teams. We even have a R10,000 Wellness Warehouse voucher for the best pair of buddies and a R10,000 Braun kitchen makeover for the best couple.
You can do the same by finding friends, family, co-workers, or even people online in our free Ultimate You support group.