Ultimate Performance are the world’s leading personal trainers for a reason – we know how to get results. Over the years we have worked with tens of thousands of clients and helped them achieve remarkable body transformation results in almost-unbelievable time frames.
Every personal training client who comes through our doors has a unique set of motivations, goals and challenges which require a unique approach to get results. But while every goal is different, there are some clear and universal habits that lay the foundation for body transformation success in every single client we work with.
Here we list the top 10 habits that every successful client at Ultimate Performance follows to achieve incredible transformation results:
Forget all the nonsense you read online, diet doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, there’s a golden rule of thumb we preach to all of our clients at Ultimate Performance – that’s ‘eat from the land’.
If followed, this simple but powerful mantra can change most people’s health, productivity, body composition, digestion, sleep and sex drives profoundly for the better.
Don’t fall into the trap of following complicated diets that restrict entire food groups – just consume foods that come from a farm, not a factory.
Processed foods are not evil in moderation, but every single person would look, feel and perform better if the majority of their meals comprised of ‘whole’ foods and nutrient-dense ingredients that came from the land.
A big problem in advanced societies the world over is that we eat too much, move too little.
There is now an overabundance of tasty, cheap and convenient foods at our fingertips, 24 hours a day.
Portion sizes have increased and so consumption has increased along with it – where we used to eat until satisfied, we now eat until we are stuffed.
The bottom line is that calories count when it comes to health and fitness and as portion sizes increased, so too do calorie counts.
While for most people there is no need to count calories (unless you have a very specific body composition goal) most people would do best using portion control.
Every body transformation client at Ultimate Performance is advised to eat a good source of protein at every meal.
Why? The primary reason is to do with body composition.
If we are looking to achieve a lean and muscular aesthetic when losing weight, we want to only lose fat but preserve the muscle we have.
Protein is responsible for the repair and regrowth of muscle tissue – so getting a good source of protein in at every meal is important to preserve the muscle we have, especially if we’re in a calorie deficit.
Not only that, but protein is really satiating. This means it will help you feel full for a lot longer, so you don’t get hungry between meals, fall off the wagon and snack on calorie-laden junk foods that will dent your weight loss efforts.
Men should aim to eat between 30-50g of protein per meal.
Women should aim to eat between 20-30g of protein per meal.
Body transformation success and sustainable weight management comes from putting a bit of planning and preparation into your diet.
If you have a diet or meal plan, prepping your meals for the day well in advance is a cornerstone of success.
By having your meals prepared ready means you’re less likely to be left stuck without a go-to healthy meal when hunger sets in when you are more likely to grab the nearest takeaway convenience food which won’t benefit your fitness goals.
caught short without a healthy meal, where it’s likely you will grab the nearest convenience food which often won’t benefit your weight loss goals.
It’s so much harder to lose sight of your goals and eat something sub-optimal if you have all your healthy meals planned, prepped and ready to go when you’re hungry.
Two simple tips to help you become a food prep master are:
Making sure you’re drinking enough water is a crucial part of any weight loss plan for many reasons.
Firstly, water ensures your brain and body are functioning optimally – remember, dehydration regulates every cellular process in the body.
Not consuming enough water during the day dents muscle protein synthesis and even 3% dehydration can impair your strength, power and performance output in the gym.
More specific to weight loss, not getting enough water means your liver will metabolise less fat as it has to step in and assume some of the functions of your kidneys when dehydration sets in.
Water plays a more prosaic role too when it comes to weight loss – it will help fill you up more, stave off hunger and keep you from overeating.
A useful tip anyone can use is drinking a glass or two of water 10 minutes before you eat a meal – it really helps with dietary adherence and curtails overeating.
A good daily water intake target to aim for is around 1 litre per 25kg of bodyweight.
Being more active doesn’t just mean going to the gym for an hour. If you want to lose fat, you need to increase your activity levels throughout the day.
Most people think all they need to do is a quick hour in the gym to get in shape, but if they are sedentary the other 23 hours a day, their overall energy expenditure (calorie burn) will be low.
How active you are daily is a huge determinant of whether you successfully lose weight or not, and whether you keep it off.
One of the biggest weight loss tools in our arsenal with clients at Ultimate Performance is something called ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’ (NEAT).
Put simply, this is the energy expended doing anything active that isn’t formal exercise, so anything from shopping and cleaning, to walking the dog or playing with the children.
Boosting your NEAT levels can be a game-changer when it comes to weight loss.
NEAT can actually account for anywhere between 15-50% of your total energy expenditure throughout the day – and can be the difference between you being in calorie maintenance or calorie deficit.
We always advise clients to aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day and build in activities like walking to work, taking the stairs and carrying the shopping home to their routine which boost the calorie burn far more than a quick session in the gym.
Want to know one of the fastest and most effective ways to change your body shape? Weight training!
Thousands of our clients have experienced the transformative effect of a progressive, intelligently-designed and challenging weight training programme at Ultimate Performance.
A programme which focuses on big ‘compound’ exercises like the squat, deadlifts and pull-ups, will help you recruit more muscle mass and burn more calories in training.
If maximising fat loss and speeding up the body transformation process is your goal, these multi-joint exercises should be prioritized above isolation exercises, like leg extensions and biceps curls.
Lifting heavy weights (and remember ‘heavy’ is relative to everyone) is the most effective way to achieve your transformation – just doing 100 reps with a 2kg dumbbell isn’t going to be enough to stimulate the muscle growth needed to improve body composition.
Beginners would benefit most from starting with a full-body weight training programme 3 times per week.
Improving your sleep quality is the best free performance-enhancing tool we have at our disposal.
Research shows that sleep quality is very much linked to weight loss and weight gain time and time again in the research.
Studies show that shorter sleepers tend to have higher Body Mass Indexes, higher body fat percentages and higher amounts of central (visceral) body fat.
Sleep deprivation also reduces our ability to control hunger and satiety and increases the likelihood that we will reach for higher calorie foods that make managing our weight more challenging.
There are many cost-free things we can do to improve sleep, such as setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time which helps better regulate your circadian rhythm, aiming to stop using technology and screens at least an hour before bed which can impact sleep onset and quality, and setting a cut-off time for stimulant consumption 6-8 hours before bed.
Research demonstrates clearly that chronic stress is bad for your health.
However, stress comes in myriad forms – not just work deadlines.
Many different stressors can beset your body and impact your health – emotional stress, environmental stress, as well as stressors from foods, chemicals, the environment and sickness.
When left unchecked, long-term elevated stress levels can be damaging to your health and manifest themselves in many ways from gut issues, anxiety, sleep disorders and high blood pressure, and the associated health problems that can come downstream of it.
The Stress Cup infographic (below) demonstrates what we should be aiming for. Whilst we all aim to strive for the cup on the right, the reality tends to be somewhere in the middle. Stress and lack of sleep severely hinder your recovery capacity.
The more we can optimise our lifestyle, i.e. better diet, deeper sleep and reduced stress, the quicker we’ll recover, and the faster we can improve our physiques.
Methods like mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, CBT and improving sleep quality can be good tools for better managing stress.
One of the main things that kills off motivation and causes 99% of people to give up on fitness goals is not seeing any tangible progress.
But most people are not closely tracking key metrics of progress. And so, if you are not tracking progress, how do you know if you are making progress at all?