Today we are giving you some insight into the practical advice and lessons from those who have successfully applied these principles during our Sleekgeek 8-Week Transformation Challenge.
Lesson 1: Be consistent and realistic.
When most people think about getting in shape they make two very big mistakes:
- They think it’s going to be harder than it actually is, and
- They think it’s going to be quicker than it actually is.
What this means is that you may benefit from strategies that are less dramatic and more sustainable.
You should be able to apply them consistently over a longer period of time, rather than super intensely for only a short period of time.
Forget the “perfect plan” – because it tends to be quite stressful and exhausting, something that only works when things are going perfectly in perfect conditions. As soon as life throws you even the tiniest hurdle you are likely to crash and burn.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard and be aggressive with your goals, it just means you need to be smart and able to distinguish between “perfect” and “realistic”.
Our most successful challengers know that if they want to come out on top at the end of the 8-week challenge they need to find a realistic plan that they can apply consistently for long-term results. You should do the same, whether you are taking part in the transformation challenge or just looking for transform for life.
Lesson 2: Know what’s important.
There is a lot of “noise” out there about what exercise routine you should do or what diet you should follow.
The unsexy truth is that above all else, you need to get the fundamental basics down first.
These are the vital few. Where 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions.
Our most successful challengers know that there is no secret trick, magic pill, or short cut. There is just pure hard work, dedication, and consistency.
Here are their top tips for prioritising what is really important:
- Eat real food first: Focus on food quality and nutrient density to help minimize deficiencies, support proper bodily functions, and increase satiety.
- Eat to match your lifestyle: If you’re very active, you need to eat enough to fuel that activity. If you’re very sedentary and sit at a desk all day, you probably need to eat less than you think you should. If you’re somewhere in between, make changes slowly and consistently to find out what works.
- Move more daily: Those who take 5,000 steps or less per day are considered sedentary with higher risk for obesity, disease, and early death – even if you gym for an hour every day. Those who take 10,000 steps or more a day are considered highly active and typically have less body fat and better overall health. Find a way to slowly increase and maintain your level of non-exercise physical activity on a daily basis. Try tracking your daily movement with some kind of fitness tracking device or your smartphone’s built-in pedometer.
- Add in regular, purposeful exercise: While your goal might be to lose weight, you will want to maintain and even build lean muscle mass to give yourself strength, increase your metabolism, and reduce chance of injury. Weight-lifting is great if you have access to gym equipment, otherwise simple body weight movements can go a long way. Perform purposeful exercise regularly and consistently, throwing in some variety such as running, swimming, hiking, or some kind of sport in between.
- Sleep well: Getting enough sleep is incredibly important, but the quality of sleep is often overlooked. Apart from aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep a night, try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning whenever possible. If you get too little sleep, do your best to catch it up and recover that “sleep debt” as soon as possible. Avoid coffee and caffeine after lunch time, moderate your alcohol intake, decrease bright light exposure during the evening before bed (especially from computers, phones, tablets, and TVs), avoid hitting the snooze button, and make your room as dark as possible as night when sleeping.
- Supplement wisely: Supplements are called a supplement for a reason, they are there to supplement your food intake and healthy lifestyle – not replace it. Despite what supplement companies and the media would like you to think, there is no miracle pill or fat-burner that is going to do all the work for you. Get up and earn your results yourself. Use supplements only when they are really necessary, and rather stick to those that have been reputably tried and tested, rather than jumping on what seems to be the next best thing.
- De-stress: There is a joke in my family that every time we watch the news we stop losing fat. Why? Well the news is usually pretty depressing and stressful. This leads to a rise in cortisol and a host of other unfavourable physiological changes that immediately negatively impact your ability to lose fat efficiently. Plus cravings… Enough said! Stress is a normal part of our lives and our bodies are well equipped to deal with it. However chronic stress is hugely detrimental and you should regularly make an effort to de-stress, have fun, laugh a lot, and enjoy life.
Lesson 3: Rely on commitment not motivation.
Relying on motivation is a recipe for disaster.
Imagine if we only picked up our kids from school when we felt happy or only went to work when we felt relaxed….
Silly right? But then so many only go to gym or eat well when they feel motivated to do so.
Our most successful Ultimate You challengers know that nobody feels motivated to exercise at 5am on a Monday morning in the cold and dark. They know that there are going to be as many (if not more) tough times as easy times, so they stick to their commitment of achieving their goals rather than relying on their current emotional state.
There is a story about Comrades marathon champion Bruce Fordyce and how he made a deal with himself. He would get up early, get dressed, and get out the front door to go for his run regardless of how he felt that day. The deal was that if by the time he got to the first lamp post he still wanted to quit and go back to bed, he could. Did he ever quit? No. Once he got going he realized it really wasn’t that bad, and often started to enjoy it.
So instead of relying on self-generated motivation and willpower, make a commitment to yourself, set a goal, and build or find a system (like the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge) that will keep you accountable and on track.
Lesson 4: Put something up at stake.
Have you ever been on holiday somewhere where you happened to get injured or fall really sick?
If so, there is a good chance you still forced yourself to make the most of the holiday anyways by going out sightseeing in absolute misery and suffering when all you want to do is curl up in bed.
Well, you spent a good sum of money on that holiday and you sure as heck were going to get your money’s worth even if it wasn’t what you felt like doing, right?
The same applies to just about anything else.
Want to be healthier? Find something to put up at stake that will benefit you at the same time.
An entry into the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenge ranges from R399 to R699 at the time of publishing this article. While it’s not an unreasonable price at all (considering the amazing exercise plans, nutrition plans, and expert support you get throughout the challenge), it is certainly enough to get you to take the challenge seriously.
Our most successful challengers strongly believe in putting some skin in the game to help them solidify their commitment and force them to make the most of it whether they felt like it 2 weeks later or not.
Tim Ferriss has another method for helping him stick to his goals: He chooses an “anti-charity” (a charity that he is against) and puts up x-amount of money to be donated to them if he doesn’t stick to his goal or achieve it in a given timeframe. It’s brutal, but highly effective.
Find how you can put something up at stake and use that to help you keep on track.
Lesson 5: Build a support structure.
Building a solid support structure will make your journey so much easier, both in good times and in bad.
Helen Keller once hit the nail on the head by saying “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
You are who you have coffee with. Life is enriched by who you surround yourself with. If you want to stay comfy, spend time with those who are a slave to their fears and excuses. If you want to be better, spend time with those who are great or are at least trying to get there. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Who is going to help you become your best?
This is the fundamental reason that our challengers have so much success. The whole community operates as one giant support structure.
Even though challengers are competing with each other to produce the best results over 8 weeks, they are also working together by sharing goals, successes, advice, and inspiration to help one another.
Every challenge our challengers buddy up, forming accountability and support teams to win bonus prizes.
You can do the same by finding friends, family, co-workers, or even people online in our free Sleekgeek support group.
We look forward to seeing you in the 8-Week Challenge to level up and Be Your Own Hero.