Nowadays, in the daily hustle and bustle, very few of us truly have time to pay attention to our lifestyle choices. We are running from one errand to another, only having a quick (and not so healthy) lunch on the go and what little free time we have, we spend being inactive, scrolling through social media or watching Netflix, lying on the couch. Eating this way and not being physically active enough, it’s no wonder our shape and our wellbeing start to suffer.
What most of us do in these situations is, of course, look up effective diets and workout plans. But what makes this infinitely more complicated is that we, humans, are all different and that also means we have different needs and what works for one person might not work for the other. So, before you try yet another “quick and effective” diet just to end up disappointed, you should learn about what your body really needs and what works for you in particular. Here are a few tips on how to personalize your workout and diet plans, and hopefully they will help you get there.
A Perfect Workout Plan
To create the perfect workout plan for you, you have several things to take into account: first of all, your own goals and aims for taking up this endeavor, your body’s natural inclinations and needs that manifest in its shape and behavior, as well as the time and effort you are ready and able to devote to working out regularly, which is not always within our control. Making sure the exercises that you choose are in line with these needs and requirements and everything is working like a well-oiled machine is going to be where you need to put in some brain work.
What Are Your Goals?
Above all, you should pin down the exact goals you want to achieve with your diet and workout routine. If you feel like you have put on a few extra pounds lately, you might want to aim for weight loss. If you’re not really bothered by your weight but you feel like you lack strength and muscle, you should focus your aim on building muscle. Are you just trying to create a healthier lifestyle because admittedly, you have been slacking off in that department? You’ll have no problem focusing on just that.
For weight loss, the most effective type of exercise is weight training or strength training. These types of training essentially burn calories and are known to be helpful for weight loss. It’s important to remember that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can even do at home with little to no equipment, which is perfect for beginners.
For building muscle, lifting weights is the most effective way, in which case you will probably need a gym membership to have access to all the equipment. So, whether there is a good gym near your home should also be taken into account. In addition, just lifting weights won’t suffice, as you’ll need to work your whole body in the process of building muscle – including your legs (with squats or lunges, for example) and your core (eg. with planks).
For simply keeping fit and healthy, your best bet is a combination of exercises that involve aerobic exercises, balance and flexibility training, as well as a strength exercise. You can combine, for instance, yoga with a bit of aerobics. You have great freedom when putting together your routine.
Determine Your Body Type
Most of us are well aware that there are many different body types. However, did you know this is also an essential factor when trying to determine what kind of workout and diet plan you should follow? The three main body types are ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. Try to determine which category you belong to, or whether you’re a mix between two. What your body type will mean in terms of your exercise plan is that your goals need to work together with it.
Ectomorph (or thin) bodies, for instance, don’t do too well in exercise, so it’s important not to overdo it and avoid HIIT while always paying attention to your form to avoid injuries. The mesomorph (muscular) body type is more athletic, and since it adjusts to physical exercise well, you’ll need to change up your routine more often.
Still, you won’t have problems with recovery and you can push yourself more. As for the endomorph (curvy) body type, keeping consistent and not skipping the gym is ever so important to keep in shape. HIIT is a great choice if you have this body type, and you can also take advantage of your great muscle endurance, but cardio is not really your cup of tea.
One of the more difficult parts of adding a regular exercise routine to your daily schedule is finding the time. If you’re a busy working woman or perhaps even a mother, you might think this is impossible, but that is not true. Those who are not blessed with a lot of free time can still manage to bring in exercise to their lives through various methods. For instance, if you just want to keep regularly active and work your full body, cycling to work could be a great time-saving solution.
Nowadays, you can get bicycle parts online and even accessories so you won’t have to run around town, trying to find what you need. At the same time, some people find it easier to keep themselves to regular exercise if they pay for a gym membership and treat it as an important appointment. Whichever works for you and your schedule personally is the best way.
Make Up for What You Lack
A lot of people make the mistake of ignoring their own bodies when they try to follow certain exercise routines. Personalizing your workout can make a huge difference though. If you are struggling with any exercise, you could be putting yourself at risk of injury or you might just be making it harder for yourself than it needs to be. For instance, if your shoulders are not the best, instead of barbell bench presses, you can do floor presses with the same effect. You can always make up for what you lack in another department.
A Perfect Diet
To complement a perfect exercise routine, you also need to implement a diet that is just what your body needs. Unfortunately, workout in itself won’t work its magic if your eating habits undermine the efforts you put in at the gym. In the same way, just with dieting but devoting little to no attention to your exercise routine, you can’t expect to achieve great results. Starving yourself is not an option in any case, as staying healthy should always remain your priority. So, to eat both healthy and in a way that fits you, you should keep your goals, your exercise habits and your body’s preferences in mind.
Again: Your Goal Is Essential
When putting together your meal plans, the goals you’ve established in the beginning come into play again. If weight loss is your aim, your main objective will be creating a calorie deficit. Still, you’ll need to feel full to go on, which you can achieve with the help of fiber-packed foods, such as fruits and veggies. Quinoa, peppers, and berries are going to be some of your best friends.
If gaining some muscle is your main goal, you actually need to eat more of certain things, such as protein. Lean meat, eggs, chickpeas, and nuts are going to come in handy here, just to name a few examples. If you simply want to maintain your weight in a healthy manner, the most important job you’ll have is making sure your diet is balanced and has just enough of everything you need.
Categorize your favorite foods into three categories: protein/calcium-rich foods, fruits/veggies and carbohydrates/whole grains, and then combine items from each category to make sure your diet is balanced and varied. You will find that none of the prefabricated diet plans fit flawlessly like a puzzle piece, which is why you will most likely combine various diets to create your own.
Make Sure You Know What You Can Eat
Most of us spend our entire lives never stopping for a second to wonder whether we might be sensitive to some foods. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, stomachache, bloating, headache and other such woes often, there is a chance that your body is not so happy with something you are eating.
Food allergies are very common, with the most frequent allergens being wheat, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and soy, but there are less common ones as well. You can have some tests done at the doctor’s to make sure you can eat all of these safely, or you can do a test yourself where you eliminate these foods from your diet for a period of time and see whether you notice any difference. Once you know if you have any food allergies, you can put together a diet that won’t harm you more than it benefits you.
Identify Your Cravings – And Compensate for Them
One of the most basic rules we should live by is listening to what our bodies tell us and appeasing them. When your body is tired, naturally, you rest. So when your body is craving some type of food, is it the best decision to deny it completely? Well, both no and yes.
Your body’s cravings do reflect what it needs, but if it’s, for example, sugar, you don’t have to reach for that donut right away. You can also appease some of this craving in a healthy way. For instance, look for fruit that also has sugar. Applying this principle will help you steer clear of unhealthy foods while still not depriving yourself of what you want.
Your Body Type Plays a Role Here Too
Do you remember the body types we mentioned earlier? Well, the body type you have can tell you a lot about what you should and should not eat as much of, too. If you belong to the ectomorph group, you will learn that more than half of your calories should come from carbs, as your metabolism is quick to process them.
If you’re trying to gain muscle with this body type, you should especially pay attention to your protein intake as your muscles will need it to recover. In addition, for this body type, several meals (as much as 5-6) are recommended a day, so always have some healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up.
With a mesomorph body type, you should approximately eat the same amount of carbs, proteins, and fats. Endomorph bodies, on the other hand, should eat more healthy fats than other body types as they can process them better, as opposed to carbs whose intake they should limit. Since this body type is more sensitive to insulin, carbs will be stored instead of used, so make sure you eat your carbs before you head to work out and try to have those carbs mostly from vegetables.
Turn to a Dietician
If all this calculation looks a bit too overwhelming, you still don’t have to give up. There are professionals out there whose job is exactly tailoring diets to your own needs, and you might benefit from contacting a dietician for this purpose. They will make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need based on your lifestyle while also working towards your weight goal at the same time. Just make sure the dietician you decide to work together with is a registered professional.
Of course, there are tons of other diet theories that claim to tell you what you should and should not eat. Be it based on your blood type or something else, before following any diet blindly, evaluate your own personal needs as that is the best way to really create a personalized diet that will work better. Now that you know all the factors that you should combine into one comprehensive diet and workout plan, hopefully, you’ll have an easier time understanding just why your previous diets did not work and what you should do differently. Good luck!