10 ways to build a better body
Boost your self confidence and build a better body with these tips
Do you ever stand in front of the mirror dreaming about having the ‘perfect’ body? Nipping here and tucking there. Or do you believe your life would be so much better if you could just have Jennifer Anniston’s bikini body or could look as good as ‘Miss fitness’ who works in the cubicle next to you?
Well these certainly aren’t signs of a positive body image, but many of us think this way and wish we possessed qualities we don’t already have. The grass is always greener after all, right? But why sit there wishing for something better when you can make the most of what you have?
Here are 10 ways to build a better body (and it isn’t only about diet and exercise!)...
1. Reconnect with your body
Appreciate how your body works by trying yoga or stretching. The fluid movements involved in these activities are great for getting in touch with the wonders of your body and its many parts.
2. Work your muscles at home
Basic, no-equipment exercises will get you started on your road to having a better body. Squats, tricep dips, lunges, push ups, wall-sits, calf-raises, planks and abdominal crunches are some great exercises to do at home. Do three sets of each at 10 to 20 reps for each exercise and try to do it at least once or twice a week.
3. Don’t forget the cardio
If you want to make some real progress, your exercise program should also include at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to five times per week, with some stretching before and after to help the body with recovery and flexibility. Try activities like brisk walks, jogging, swimming, cycling, rollerblading, gym class or a game of tennis or squash.
4. You are what you eat
This saying has more truth in it than almost any other! If your goal is to look toned, trim and terrific – then you need to have an honest awareness of what you are putting into your mouth each and every day.
Sure, allow yourself the odd treat here and there, and certainly don’t go on any fad diets, but base your diet on nutritious and wholesome foods that will give you the energy to complete your exercise. Eating well will ensure your body is looking great on the outside, as well as working well on the inside.
5. Wear clothes for your body type
When we feel negatively about our bodies, we tend to dress in baggy or shabby clothes and wait until we lose weight to buy something we like. But why? Feel good now and find attractive clothes that fit your current size. Try clothes on before you buy and make sure they fit well in all areas. Treating yourself will make you feel renewed and motivated.
6. Look at your body as a whole
Most of us judge our body parts individually. Our thighs are too fat, our lips are too thin or our breasts are too small. Try to experience and view your body as a whole, rather than separate parts that need improvement. Choose clothes that flatter your entire figure – don’t neglect your not-so-favourite parts.
7. Be positive
How your body looks is based a lot on perception. If you walk out of the house thinking you don’t look your best, your body and posture will reflect this. Your attitude will be coming through in your appearance. So when you leave the house each day, smile and look the best you can be. See your body as beautiful and cherish it for what it enables you to do every day. Have confidence as you walk and stand tall. Your body will have a much different look this way.
8. Indulge in body pleasures
If you are exercising hard to get your body into good shape, you should treat it every now and then too. Go and get a massage to alleviate any tension or stress you may be feeling. Or if you don’t fancy the massage, take a long, hot bath and soak your worries and any muscle soreness away.
9. Your body is unique and so are you
Recognise that people are born with different genes, and come in all shapes and sizes. Your body is unique to any other. Know that as you are working to build a better body, that you’re already lucky to look as good as you do right now. Make the most of what you have and enjoy!
10. Track your progress
Once you’ve decided on how you want to build your better body, I recommend assessing your current state then tracking your progress along the way. Here are a few ways to get a well-rounded and accurate picture of the current state of your body:
If weight loss is one of your goals, weigh yourself before you begin and track your progress weekly. Weigh yourself at the same time of the day on the same set of scales for the most accurate result. Don’t weigh in daily, as hormone levels and other factors can lead to fluctuations.
Although skin fold assessments are based on a population average, measuring key areas such as your bicep, tricep, stomach and back can show you how much fat loss you have achieved. This is often more accurate than what the scales say. Compare your skin folds at the beginning of your program and then again at two months. Best to get a fitness professional to help you with this.
You will know if your clothes are feeling on the loose or tight side. So note the size of your clothes and how they are fitting at the beginning of your program and then again after two months to see how you are going.
To gauge flexibility, see if you can touch your toes standing without bending your knees. To measure your general strength try 10 push -ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 tricep-dips and 10 lunges now, and see how much easier these are in two or three months. To test your cardio fitness, go for a jog and see how long you can last before having to walk. Time yourself now and again in a couple of months.
Is your digestive system working well? Do you have the energy to do all the things you want to? And do you generally feel happy, healthy and fit? Ask these sorts of questions to assess your body’s health too.
Want to lose weight and be rewarded for it? Do the 12-week BodyBlitz challenge!