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6 Simple Steps To Achieve Your Best Body In Your Twenties

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 14 June 2021
Hits: 1693

I have shared many great articles over the past years showing how people simple ways to prevent or overcome various health problems. It is fair to say that a majority of these articles relate more to people aged in their 40s plus, as most of the health problems we see tend to become very obvious as we age. We tend to forget that people in their 20s face many different struggles, and in this modern age of technology advancing at an astonishingly rapid rate we can take for granted the health problems affecting them. In this article I asked our trainer Kim Logan who is in 25 to explore the big problems facing our young generation today.

For everyone currently living in their 20s no doubt like me, you grew up with the internet and social media being a big part of your life. Every fitness exercise or method, health or diet topic you could possibly want to know about, is easily accessible through a quick Google search or more recently through Instagram, YouTube and even Tik-Tok. Some of this information is good, some okay, and a lot terrible and even damaging. Mix that questionable information with billions of photos and videos of celebrities and social media influencers showing their most picture perfect self, with their seemingly easy to follow diets and exercise routines, most of us twenty somethings are left confused about what is right.

Thoughts of “how can this person achieve this body and I struggle so hard to do the same?” or “Why is it easy for them and not for me?” 

While we are all aware most images these days are face tuned to oblivion, or at least filtered and once you hit a certain level of fame and wealth plastic surgery is not only more accessible but almost expected, we are still told in one or another through hustle culture that if we try hard enough we can achieve the bodies we want.

I feel the question not asked enough isn’t, is this really possible? But rather, is the work even worth it? In my experience it’s not even close to worth it.

My health fitness journey started off at 17 years old with very healthy intentions of trying to get my life together, trying to be healthier and more in control in general. Along the way between ages 18 and 25 there were some very unhealthy detours to obsessive health trends where I was almost fearful of anything that could be considered unhealthy to restrictive low carb dieting on top 1-2 hour heavy workouts while thinking the whole time “this is healthy, this is what healthy people do”.

Yes, I was eating fruits and vegies, I was eating enough protein and working out most days but I also experienced anxiety eating out with friends if the food wasn’t my idea of healthy and I always felt like I had to “make up” for eating that food in my next workout. I would push myself through days or weeks of thought consuming sugar cravings until I’d eventually think “stuff it” and binge.

I’d keep pushing myself to bigger and better workouts which left me feeling exhausted and resentful. While most people looked at me and said I was so healthy or I was so good, the reality behind it all was very unhealthy, it was destructive. All these unhealthy behaviours and habits all triggered be me trying to attain a certain image of the kind of personal trainer I thought I should be, following celebrity trainers mantras of work harder, do more and you’ll succeed.

Eventually, I found my way to an exercise routine and diet that not only worked for me physically as well as mentally and emotionally and what may surprise many is it has a little to do with the specific diet I follow and the exercise routine I do but more to do with my attitude and intentions towards food and exercise now. Changing my intentions and approach to nutrition and exercise from what will make me look good, to what will make me feel good was the game-changer. I focus on what is healthy for my body to function and thrive provides me with the body I used to struggle and restrict for. What previously took so much effort to obtain, is now effortless.

What I learnt through my years of fitness and diet mistakes is even if you are one of the very few that actually do achieve an Instagram perfect body, the damage physically, mentally and emotionally is not worth carrying with you for years after and can take just as long to undo as it did to learn. The easier route to body goals is the lifelong path of cultivating a lifestyle with small healthy daily habits that allow you to feel peaceful and grounded majority of days.

In this article I will explain the 6 steps you can take to rid yourself of the toxic habits that keep you bouncing between diets and routines leaving you feeling stressed and miserable and create the healthy lifestyle with minimised stress and drama.

Step one: Define your goals and who your goal is for

Everyone has a goal of what they want to achieve when they start working out, or when they jump on a new diet trend. The goals usually are something like “I want to lose weight” or “I want a bigger butt” or “I want to be my best self”. The main issue with all of these goals is they are too vague.

We know the most achievable goals are the specific goals, but we also know the most achievable goals are the ones that serve you. I’ll often ask why do you want to achieve this goal and most of the time I receive the answers “I want to feel confident” or “I want to feel good about myself” but why can’t you feel confident now?

Why can’t you feel good about yourself now? Why do you need to weigh less or have a bigger butt to feel more confident or feel good about yourself?

As much as we like to play the part of the empowered care-free person we cannot truly embody this identity if we don’t believe our bodies are worth being proud of at any point. No amount of glute kickbacks, crunches, and grams of protein consumed will change how much confidence you are worth, you have to change how much you see yourself as worth being confident. So evaluate your goal here, is it specific? Is it for you or is it to gain worth?

Examples of more effective goals are:

  1. Completing 10 full push ups on your toes.
  2. Complete one full pull up.
  3. Eating two different vegetables at lunch and dinner Monday – Thursday.

All these goals are specific, measurable, achievable and most importantly they serve to help you feel healthy, strong, fit. Read my article from 2020 in the link below to see more on this.

Step two: Evaluate what’s influencing you

Most of us have heard time and time again how bad social media is for self-esteem, though I would challenge this idea. I don’t believe for a second social media is bad for self-esteem or that influencers are out to make you hate yourself. Social media platforms are out to get your attention by any way possible, what you click, tap, and share is what social media and most influencers will promote. Whatever you pay attention to and how you respond to pictures of social media influencers is a reflection of your own mental and emotional state.

When I hear someone say social media makes them feel bad I just think, can’t you unfollow the people that make you feel bad? To say social media makes you feel bad is handing the remote to your emotions over to a company or influencer. The second you give up control of how you feel you are at the whim of the person who sells you fit teas and a waist cincher as the miracle product that will finally help you be your best self. Take back the remote to your emotions by unfollowing or unsubscribing any person that leaves you siting in a pool of negative emotions and thoughts. Then address what those thoughts are and how they impact your life and body.

Follow people that leave you feeling inspired and uplifted, your personality is the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with (that includes people you see on social media). Decide for yourself who you want to see and who will help you feel empowered and capable.

Step three: Decide what can go to the back burner

I believe that one overlooked part of changing and creating habits is that it takes time and a bit energy especially at the beginning. To change or add a habit into your life needs extra head space and time which something has else to go on autopilot so you have the space for yourself. For the people pleasers of the world who struggle to do things for themselves this may be hard to do, though as the old saying goes “you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself”. So even if this is temporary take back some time, energy, and space for yourself to do something that will help you thrive.

There are a number of ways you can create space, energy and time.  Watch one or two less hours of TV per day or week to clear time over your weekend for “you time”. If clearing time for yourself seems too challenging get your family or friends involved in one of the changes you want to make by going for a walk with your coffee catch up instead of sitting at the café. Whatever way feels reasonable to you, create enough space to allow your habit to grow so you don’t feel exhausted and resentful about yet another thing to do in your life. Put your needs first so you can feel better.

Read the article – How to change bad habits into good habits for more detail on this

Step four: Pick a small nutrition goal with reasonable expectations

Our bodies are the foundation for everything we do in life and the food we put into our foods is the energy for everything we do. I will never be the trainer that says “food is fuel” and your “body is temple” while there is truth in these sayings I find them far too limiting even for myself. Food isn’t just physical, it is mental, emotional, social and cultural, so I have to find a way of eating that works for you holistically.

Most diets fail because their far too restrictive. Assuming you are successful on 12 week diet plan most people end up binging post diet sending themselves right back to where they started and end up on the rollercoaster of yo-yo dieting. What I end up seeing over and over is people trying restrictive diets and seeing some progress but then falling off the diet at some point leading to feelings of guilt and or shame.

Most people are convinced the diet works because they saw some change and they need to try harder. This is a damaging mentality to have with food. It is very true that if you can’t do a diet long term then it’s not a good diet for you. Because the diets works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you, and that’s not because you didn’t try hard enough. We all have different needs so trying different ways of eating and monitoring how you feel physically and mentally along the way to find what works for you specifically is the key.

For some cutting out meat and dairy may be too restrictive, for others reducing carbs may be too restrictive. If you feel miserable or resentful because of a diet then simply, it is not the right diet for you. We all have an understanding of what is healthy so start with simple things like eating more fruits and vegetables at each meal, or if processed packaged foods are daily part of your diet try to reduce that by a day or two. Always keeping in mind that dramatic overnight changes are not the norm and it will take a little time to see big changes, so stayed focused on the little improvements and celebrate those wins.

Read the articles below with more information relating to healthy eating.

Step five: Pick a small exercise goal with reasonable expectations

Many exercise plans that are promoted online are time consuming and complicated. Over the last 10 years the idea that if a routine is highly complicated and super scientific targeting every muscle from your gluteus maximus to your stapedius then it’s not a good exercise plan is simply not true.

Like most people in their 20s as of 2021 grew up with obesity epidemic as the hot health topic and the message eat less move more was blasted all over the place and seemed to be the only way to good health if even you were already at a healthy weight. Workouts got longer or required more days to complete. These factors along with the popularity of body building style split workouts the workouts become extremely time consuming and complicated.

This also fed the obsession with the aesthetic of very specific body parts, workouts targeting one body part each day is all over the place. These complicated and time consuming workouts are not sustainable long term and doing leg and ab workouts 3 days a week can actually do more harm to your body than good. Most workouts cater to aesthetics “mirror muscles” not to how the body is meant to function which is holistically as unit.

Spending an entire hour exercising just your legs or glutes can overtime stiffen up the muscle lead to hip and back pain, hip impingement, and even a disc bulge with painful sciatica! No matter how great you look it’s not worth living with joint pain or numbness and tingling through your legs.

Read this article for more detail on this – How constant ab and butt gripping ruins stability of joints

Even looking long term into the future, older age muscle stiffness can make you more prone to injury from falls.

Learning to move correctly not only will prevent short and long term pain and injury but it is also a massive time saver to incorporate multiple muscles in one exercise. You get a more efficient and effective workout in a shorter time through incorporating a single arm cable row with and lunge or a squat and press that not only improves your strength but also your balance, stability, power and co-ordination. All of this is great for improving movement efficiency and brain function. The more efficient you move and challenge your muscles working together the easier it is to keep your body in balance and pain free.

Grab a copy of the free report below that explains how to use functional training methods to improve how you move.

I also suggest to read the following articles for more information on this topic.

Step 6: keep evaluating

As life continues on, our day to day lives change and therefore our needs change. It is important to stay on top of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and keep conscious of any habit that may not serve you well anymore.

Generally, when it comes to life, we know we’re not always going to be at our absolute best. For a while everything is running fine but most of the time we have to constantly adapt to the things that come up in life. If we know that change is inevitable in every part of our life why do we expect this to be any different with health and fitness?

Realise that while something may have worked for months or years it is possible that it may stop working and that it is okay to let go of that exercise routine or diet for something that will work better. Don’t waste time trying to force something to fit into your life or make yourself fit into a routine, as this will only lead to stress and resentment in the long term. Keeping a journal or tracker is a great way to stay on top of how you feel when life gets busy as it does sometimes.

I like to use the dial method that Nick explains in this article – How to stay on track when life throws you a curveball

Summary

All of these steps are not short term quick-fix solutions to help you get sick pack abs overnight, or help you feel the best you ever have in under a week. That is unrealistic. These are guides that you can use to make slow gradual change that will help you feel good in our own skin long, long term. The expectation shouldn’t be to feel vibrant and ecstatically happy every single day which no exercise or diet plan could do for you.

The expectation should be to feel at peace with yourself, to know that the internal challenges of frustration and comparison will eventually burn out. Keep your goals clear and just for you, clear your space of negative chatter that leaves you feeling worse off. Create a strong energy and foundation for your life through a healthy realistic diet and a manageable but effective workout routine. Keep evaluating your life and how you feel, if you start to feel bad or resentful figure out what’s not working and move to something different as quickly as possible.

The effort will be well worth it.

Additional Resources to Help You with Exercise & Nutrition

Make sure you get a copy of our detailed report below that features everything you need to know about improving your health. We discuss weight loss, stress, the immune system, heart health, lung capacity and more. I created this report in September 2020 to include ALL of the relevant information relating to exercise and nutrition for improving our immune health. This is not about fitness but about improving your overall health vitality. Click here to download your instant PDF copy.  

If you do need specific help with your exercise program please feel free to reach out to me for help by clicking the image below and we can set you up with your individualised program. I conduct online training sessions regularly and these sessions are all with myself. You can see more about this by clicking here

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 15 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specializes in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise. Kim Logan is a personal trainer who works with Nick at No Regrets and has over 8 years experience in the fitness industry specializing in Women's health and mental health.

References:

  • Atomic Habits - By James Clear
  • Kiss The Frog - By Brian Tracy
  • Give Yourself More - By Georgie Fear & Aleisha Fetters
  • Movement - By Gray Cook
  • Corrective Exercise Solutions for the Hip & Shoulder - by Evan Osar
  • Athletic Body in Balance - by Gray Cook
  • Assessment & Treatment Of Muscle Imbalance - By Vladimir Janda
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek
  • Scientific Core Conditioning Correspondence Course - By Paul Chek
  • Advanced Program Design - By Paul Chek