Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
Six pack abs. A toned, trim and sleek physique. A tight butt. That’s the image we all have in our head when we think of building the body of a “fitness influencer.”
Have you ever thought to yourself after scrolling through Instagram “I want some of that” or “I wish I had that physique.”
While having all of things might falsely make us think “I’ll be happy when….I get that body/build those glutes/get those abs,” have you ever thought of the trade-offs and the costs involved in getting to those lower body fat percentage levels?
In this blog post I’m going to discuss the trade-offs involved in building a toned, trim & lean physique to allow you to consider how you can get the body you want while living the life you want.
Building the Body of Your Choice
Whatever your ideal physique looks like, there’s two important points to remember if you want to get there:
1.It’s not going to be as difficult as you think.
Most people dread starting out on their fitness journeys because they feel they have to change everything at once.
“Does this mean I can’t eat chocolate?” “Do I have to exercise everyday of the week?” “Am I still allowed have pizza at the weekend?” When I tell some of my clients starting out that I just want them to focus on one task and one habit only, it tends to help rid them of the overwhelm they felt prior to starting. The word focus itself is an acronym for Follow One Course Until Successful.
2.It’s going to take longer than you think.
However, another common problem is the fact that we’re addicted to immediacy. You don’t want to cook dinner? Grab a takeaway. Not feeling like studying the entire chapter? Read a summary. But you can’t hire someone to do your push ups for you. You have to do them yourself. And after you do them or after you complete a 10 minute core circuit, you’re probably not going to see abs when you lift up your top afterwards (depending on your bodyfat percentage of course!).
Change takes time. And if you really want to create change in your body, you need to understand the process of delayed gratification - doing something difficult now and experiencing the rewards later.
A lot of the things we do if for short term pleasure and we suffer the consequences later. Smoking being a good example. You get that nicotine hit now for short term pleasure but later on in life, you run the risk of getting lung cancer.
Fitness, on the other hand is the opposite. You do the difficult work now – like a workout and reap the rewards later when you see changes in your physique from remaining consistent.
Before I dive into how you can get yourself down to a lean & aesthetic physique, it’s important you are clear on the following:
To kickstart the process, it all starts with changing your behaviours. What you decide to change and how much you actually decide to change is up to you.
What’s a healthy bodyfat percentage to aim for?
For Irish men, a report from the Department of Health showed that only 34% of men aged between 25-34 have a “normal weight” in comparison to 47% of women. This means that a lot of Irish adults are carrying excessive body fat.
To make the process easier to understand, I’ll align your next steps to your current estimated bodyfat percentage levels to give you a general guide with some actionable steps.
It is important for you to have a way or metric of measuring your success. Pictures are great for a visual while things like tape measurements and calipers will give you more specificity.
Women >30% bodyfaT, MEN >20% BODYFAT
Maintaining this level of fitness doesn’t require much thought or work. You may find your energy levels are quite low. Your weekly habits might look something along the lines of:
Women 25-30% bodyfat, MEN 15-20% BODYFAT
If you’re currently sitting in this bracket, exercise is pretty easy and enjoyable for you. You look good but are not super lean. If you want to step things up a level, you’ll need to do more of the following:
Women 23-25% bodyfaT, MEN 13-15% BODYFAT
You find this maintainable. You have a good structure Monday-Friday and on weekends, you tend to be more lenient without going to town on it.
Women 20-22% bodyfaT, MEN 10-12% BODYFAT
If you fall within the realms of this physique, it’s likely a lot of your results come down to making habitual changes over time. You feel fit and energised and have a balanced diet. You do pay close attention to your diet allowing for some flexibility and you are aware of the commitment it takes with your training but you’re content to do so.
Women 15-19% bodyfat, MEN 5-9% BODYFAT
If you ever strive to get to that next level of leanness (like the Instagram influencers), you’ll likely be doing some or all of the following. Note the time commitment involved in measuring out your food, exercising and how it can be difficult to enjoy any social events with the exception of maybe grabbing a coffee.
My Own Experience
At the moment, I probably fall in the 10-12% category and find this very easy to maintain. I have built up good habits over time and I enjoy exercising for the mental benefits as much as the physical benefits. I don’t feel like I’m “on a diet”, rather it’s more of a lifestyle for me.
In the past I have been leaner. While I wasn’t nearly lean enough to step on stage (nor was this a goal of mine), I likely feel around the 9% bodyfat percentage mark. It can be difficult sometimes looking back at older pictures wishing I could get back down to those levels again but everything comes at a cost.
I’m not willing at the moment to track nearly every calorie to the gram 7x a week like I used to. Nor am I willing to give up my Saturday and Sunday pancake stack! So that’s an agreement I’m willing to make with myself. Currently, I’m not going to be as lean as I was previously but I’m also not as rigid – I have much more flexibility and I’m happy to live like this.
What about you? What are you ready, willing and able to do?
Everything comes at a cost. There’s trade-offs to everything we do. It’s important for you to have an understanding of where you want to go and what you’re willing to do to get there. That will be your start point.
From there, focus on changing one habit at a time. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed and quitting after 2 weeks. Change is a gradual process and slowly build yourself up.
Thanks for reading.
This is just a general guide. A start point & something to get you thinking. If you want a tailored, specific and individual guide, that’s where a coach comes in - someone who can put it all together for you.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, then book your free consultation call today.
What’s the purpose of the consultation call? To deep dive into your health & exercise history, your goals and decide if we’d be a good fit for each other. If we are a good fit, we can get working on your personalised program so you can finally make the changes you’ve always desired.
Claim your free consultation call today.
Adrian McDonnell -
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