Many of us have body goals — a certain way we dream of looking, little tweaks we’d love to make here and there, or even people we admire for their physique.
Everyone is different. You may want leaner thighs, six-pack abs, or a more slim waist. The man next to you may want to put more muscle on his body or lose some weight around his stomach.
So the question is, can we achieve these body goals?
Let’s start with the bad news…
Unfortunately, there’s actually no way you can spot-reduce fat. If you want to lose a few centimetres from your waist, you’ll need to shed fat from your whole body to do so.
The waistline (as well as the thighs, butt and arms) is commonly perceived as where many feel they tend to store excess fat. The only way to change this is to invest the time and effort into changing your lifestyle — namely your diet and exercise patterns — to reduce the fat from head to toe.
The good news?
The good news is: you can define your core muscles and sculpt the muscles around your hips so, when you do shed your excess body fat, you’ll have the waistline you’ve been working for!
Here’s an effective three-step approach:
- Start with abdominal exercises which recruit key muscle groups and require serious core control, including squats, deadlifts, lunges and rowing. These will quickly build strength and definition.
- Next, add in some HIIT training, to boost your metabolism and help you shed fat.
- Finally, the cherry on top: targeted ab exercises, including side planks, forearm planks, leg raises and weighted crunches. These movements can give your waistline the definition you’re looking for.
An even more effective strategy…
However, the best strategy for achieving a slim waist is consistently maintaining a healthy, balanced weight and feeling confident and healthy in your own skin. Consistently eating healthily and exercising regularly in ways that make you feel great is key.
Fat deposits around your waist can be caused by many factors: genetics, stress, undereating or overeating, hormonal changes, or even poor quality diet.
Therefore the most effective thing you can do is prioritise wholefoods in your diet, and reduce your intake of processed and refined foods. Focus on including lean proteins, healthy sources of fat, plenty of fibre, and complex carbohydrates each day.
Swap your sugary beverages out for water or herbal tea — this can save so many empty calories throughout your day and is a simple switch to make.
Reducing stress can also help manage excess fat, so schedule in some time for YOU! Plan an activity you love each week, whether that means taking a long, hot bath, or going out for a bushwalk with your friends. Show yourself some love, and take some time out to disconnect and de-stress.
Finally, find an exercise routine that works for you. This can involve some trial and error, but the key is to find something you love and look forward to. This is the workout routine you’ll be able to maintain consistently, and therefore the one that will achieve the best results.
The expert trainers at Fitness First can help you develop a fitness routine that suits your goals and tastes. Get a free five-day trial at your nearest club today to try a bunch of classes and find the right option for you!
The bottom line…
But first and foremost, when you do start to have these all-too-common thoughts about changing your body dramatically, or wanting to look more like others, it’s time to check in with yourself. Where are these thoughts coming from?
Do you really think you’d feel happier if you lost five kilos, if it meant you couldn’t enjoy your favourite foods? Would you feel that much more confident if your waist was two centimetres smaller, even if it involved missing out on socialising with your friends?
The truth is, sometimes the body goals we set for ourselves are unrealistic, and often unhealthy. Everyone is born with a different set of genetics, a different metabolism, and a unique, beautiful body. Instead of scrutinising all the things you hate about your body, try to appreciate all the things it does for you. It’s your home on this earth, it allows you to move and breathe and eat and laugh and connect with others. Enjoy it!
You can’t compare yourself to others — whether it’s your friends or random influencers you see online. You are beautifully individual, and it’s what makes you, YOU.
Instead of focusing on losing those last few kilos, or shedding a few centimetres from your waist, worry about making sure you feel as good as possible in your own body.