ARTICLE: Key factors that helped me succeed
Eating well and training for a set period of time is something that many people can manage, particularly if there is a set target to work towards like a wedding or big birthday. However, the struggle is always in maintaining this process long term, staying fit for life and maintaining a healthy body weight. Over the last 6 years I have worked towards achieving this in a way that allows me to still enjoy life to the max! Here are a few of the key factors that helped me do that.
When it came to exercise there were two key factors that have helped me stay on track long term. The first was to stop trying to train excessively and the second was finding a love for Calisthenics. Previously, when I was trying to get in shape I would train 5-6 days a week and would feel incredibly guilty if I missed a session, which I did, regularly, Training that amount is fine if you have the free time, but most people do not have that time available to them. Therefore, I decided to train just 4 days a week but to commit to doing it every single week. 4 training sessions a week was far more manageable and since committing to this number the consistency I have been able to build week after week is incredible. Other than a period of sickness I cannot remember the last time I did not do 4 sessions a week in over 5 years!
Finding a passion for Calisthenics has been a key factor as well for so many reasons! Not only is it convenient and timely, because I can do it anywhere, but it has made me want to push the boundaries of what my body can do more and more. For me, Calisthenics combines aesthetics and body performance in a way that I had not found before. Lifting weights can provide similar benefits, but I just did not connect with it the same way. I worried more about injuries, about availability of resources and focused on the weight and not on myself. With Calisthenics, I feel much more in tune with my body, its strengths and weaknesses and how powerful it can be. After successfully running marathons, doing crossfit for a long time and doing weight lifting I have also never been in better shape than I am now doing Calisthenics. That is not a criticism of the other disciplines, it is just a love for body weight training and what I feel I get from training in this way.
When it comes to nutrition, the most, and I mean most, important factor is that I removed any diet mentality that I had previously had. I simply accepted that to stay the body weight I wanted I would need to cut down on junk food and eat healthy meals, not just for a period of time, but all the time. I also decided that my healthy meals would be about home cooking, using natural ingredients and only making meals that I enjoyed eating. As an Italian, this includes lots of mediterranean dishes, fresh meat, fish, vegetables and even “non traditional diet food” like pasta, risotto and potatoes. Just no junk and no artificial food. Eating meals that make me happy stop me from missing junk food and I never ever feel like I am on a diet. In fact, I feel as though this is the best I have ever eaten, I look forward to every single meal!
This shift in mindset is so important. In the past I adopted the traditional feast or famine approach to losing weight. When I wanted to drop a few pounds I just ate much less and then when I was off the diet I just went back to eating what I had before and that was too much. Now every day is the same, aside from the odd overindulgence, and my weight has been virtually the same for a long long time. The benefit of this is that weight, food and diets are no longer a stress in the way they used to be. I don’t look to a big event and have to start crash dieting for it, I can wear my favourite dresses all the time (if only there was the opportunity) and, most importantly, I am much happier. I used to feel ruled by dieting and it was exhausting!
These strategies helped me succeed and I hope they can help some of you too. No matter what way you do it, the beginning is always going to be tough, but if you can put in the work to make these fundamental changes you wont need to diet again!
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