by Mike Howard
Vancouver personal trainer Mike Howard joins the Burn the Fat guest blogger roster this month with 50 amazing fat loss and fitness tips to help you have an amazing year. Like a lot of professional trainers, Mike is passionate about his craft, so he’s always thinking about exercise and nutrition. He’s also keenly aware of how valuable our time is. So, as he was sitting in the airport waiting for a delayed flight to arrive, he decided to use the time productively, he opened up his laptop and just started writing his first post for Burn the Fat Blog. He brainstormed his best fat loss and fitness tips, and for a list that he told me was “random,” this is some amazingly insightful advice. If you apply just a handful of these tips, there’s no doubt, you’ll get better and faster results with much less stress.
50 Amazing Fat Loss and Fitness Tips
1. Slow down… enjoy, savor and nurture the process of preparing and eating food.
2. Do some form of squat or deadlift variation at least 3x/week.
3. Move often… move with intent.
4. Nail the basics… Don’t get wrapped up in the minutiae. Success is about mastering fundamentals.
5. Self-talk is powerful. Use “I choose/choose not to” rather than “I have to/can’t”. This is the genesis of personal accountability and sustainable health.
6. All diets work (or fail): What “works” is consistent adherence. Find an eating pattern that is nutrient-dense and that gets you into an energy deficit.
7. You don’t need to “cleanse” or “detox”… EVER. Your organs do a wonderful job of that.
8. Eating 6x per day can work well… so can eating only 3x per day. Customize your meal frequency to suit your lifestyle.
9. “Bodybuilding” can be (and often is) “functional”. What most people perceive as “functional” training is in comparison pretty useless.
10. Have only 10 minutes for a workout? Spend 2-3 minutes on mobility/warm-up then jump into a metabolic circuit. Pick 2-6 exercises multi-joint exercises and repeat – little-to-no rest.
11. Yoga and Pilates can be effective but if your goal is fat loss or performance-based – they should be “extra’s” when you’ve done your strength/metabolic/cardio work.
12. Fat loss simplified: Get in a deficit and get adequate protein – the rest is details.
13. Foam rollers, muscle rollers and other myofascial release tools are your friends. Make them part of every workout.
14. Your thoughts and your environment shape your behavior. Nurture them and use them to your advantage.
15. There is a fine line between open-mindedness and gullibility. Be skeptically open-minded but not so much that your brain falls out.
16. Have an exercise and nutrition mission statement. Having a clear idea of why you are doing what you do will solidify your habits as your core values – rather than just abstract thoughts.
17. You will never regret working out once it’s done. You will, however regret skipping it.
18. Set aside 7-10 minutes every morning to prepare food for the day.
19. Hit a grocery store at lunch or on the way home rather than a drive-through.
20. Need a 5 minute grocery store fix? Mixed nuts, beef jerky, flavored tuna (grab a plastic fork too).
21. Moderation: It’s less than you think it is.
22. Enter into and re-commit to your health journey knowing that it won’t be easy
23. Definition of insanity? Doing the same things this year as you did last year and expecting a different result.
24. Work out because you love your body – not because you hate it.
25. No single food (or category of foods) makes you fat and no single food (or category of foods) will make you thin.
26. Educate yourself: Read, absorb and apply the information to your situation.
27. Do something daily for your posture and mobility. This may be as simple as getting away from your desk more frequently.
28. 2 bad days can ruin 5 good ones: Use your weekends to capitalize on healthy living instead of an excuse to “let lose”.
29. Learn the difference between “hunger“ and “appetite”. Hunger is a physiological response placated by eating enough while appetite compels us to eat beyond that point.
30. Comparison is the thief of joy. You are unique and you and you alone should be your only barometer.
31. Vitamin D, fish oil a multivitamin/mineral and protein powder are “bordering-on-necessary” front line supplements.
32. Write down what you eat. Be specific and honest. Food logging creates instant self-awareness and accountability.
33. Only 10 minutes to train? Pick 6 exercises and superset them with minimal rest in between sets.
34. Treat workouts like work commitments in that they are set in stone. Take this a step further, however and treat your training sessions like “rewards” for a day of work.
35. Every exercise trend oversells itself. There is a place for zumba, pilates, dance-fitness, P90x, crossfit, etc but no one system is right or better overall for anyone.
36. Attack your weaknesses and challenge yourself until form breaks – not until you’ve completed an arbitrary amount of reps.
37. Pubmed: It knows more than your guru.
38. Be aware of your posture and how you carry yourself in seated, standing, walking, running or training. Awareness is AT LEAST half the battle.
39. Your true test is not keeping on track when you are motivated and life is smooth but rather keeping at it when life throws you curve balls and you don’t feel motivated.
40. To help organize your eating – try designating foods on different nights to simplify things; ie. Meatless Monday, chicken on Tuesday, fish on Wednesday, etc…
41. Join a challenge. While getting and keeping fit is a lifestyle with no time-constraints, transformation challenges can provide the right platform to propel you towards your goals.
42. A new body won’t change who you are as a person. It is not a missing link to happiness or fulfillment. It IS, however, capable of many amazing physical and psychological benefits that can make you feel better about whom you already are and what you are capable of.
43. Long-term success often comes down to preventing lapses from turning into full-blown re-lapses. You will slip and stumble. Get back up – as many times as it takes.
44. Strength training is your front-line intervention for health benefits. Make it your foundational form of exercise.
45. Learn 3-4 good healthy and quick recipes. These can be your go-to meals when in a pinch.
46. Populations have not only subsisted but THRIVED on diets both low in carbs and high in carbs. It is silly to think that there is one eating pattern that is universally superior.
47. If you are capable of moving faster – DO IT! You will gain more benefit in a shorter period of time.
48. There is no universally-decided-upon definition of “clean eating.”Strive to eat well most of the time and allow for occasional indulgences and “dirty” foods. Try not to categorize foods as “good” and “bad.”
49. Learn the finer points of some of the more complex lifts (squats, deadlifts, pulls, pushes) – even if you hire a trainer for a few sessions.
50. Have fun… no matter what your path, learn to be process-oriented rather than product oriented. Enjoy the journey and don’t put much stock in the “when.”
About Mike Howard
Mike has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1996 – amassing more than 10,000 hours of in-the-trenches experience helping people achieve phenomenal health.
He has worked with a diverse number of individuals of varying ages, goals and abilities. Mike specializes in fat loss, corrective exercise and youth fitness. His approach is comprehensive, individualized and results-oriented. A dedicated and lifelong student, Mike is on the cutting edge of exercise and nutritional science and designs strategies to help people get fast, efficient and long-lasting results.
In addition to personal training and coaching youth, Mike is an accomplished writer, with over 350 articles to his credit. He has been published in Diet Blog, The Vancouver Sun, Impact magazine and has been a guest on the Good Life Show, with Jesse Dylan — an internationally syndicated radio show.