Jessica's 10 Steps to a Leaner You


1. Drink your water!  You’ve heard it before, but if you’re not drinking enough water, your body will tend to hold on to, and retain, unwanted body fat.  Keep in mind that only water will replace water in your body.  Many people will count their green tea as water, I would encourage you not to do that. Drink green tea for the health benefits however make sure you have had an adequate amount of water for the day as well.  

2. Lift!!!!!!!  It never ceases to amaze me that I am still explaining to female clients that lifting weights will not make you look manly or bulky.  Because we have less testosterone, female athletes have to work VERY hard and follow very specific meal plans in order to build muscle. This takes time, perseverance, and sacrifice. Because of the natural hormone balance in a female body it is impossible to naturally achieve a manly or bulky look. To get the toned look that you may be admiring on certain fitness models or competitors, you will need to lift often, and with intensity. Fitness Athletes also follow very specific meal plans, and take supplements to promote muscle growth and fat loss in addition to weight training and a balanced amount of cardio. Be realistic in your goals as these athletes have invested, dedicated and sacrificed often times years into building their physiques.
Muscle is much more compact, tighter and smaller than fat, I can guarantee the more muscle you have the better you will look.  For the record this year in my competitive fitness career I have been the smallest and leanest I have ever been yet weighed the most!!!!
If you are not yet convinced here are 3 more great reasons to lift weights.

A) Resistance training is the best way to change your body. It's not an opinion; it's a matter of science. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, just three sessions per week of strength training can reduce your body fat by 3 percent in just 10 weeks—and that's assuming absolutely no changes to what you eat.
B) Adding muscle is the most sure-fire way to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that after six months of lifting weights—just three days per week—you experience a 7 percent increase in resting metabolism. You burn fat as you exercise, and once you're out of the gym and in the office, you continue burning more calories.
C) The post-workout-calorie-burn process can last anywhere from 24-48 hours after you leave the gym. If you lift weights every other day, three times per week, then your metabolism is elevated seven days per week. Even the best cardio program can't offer that.

3. Now that we have established that the more muscle you have the better you will look and the smaller you will be..... this brings me to my next point and probably the most important aspect of building a better you.  Nutrition.  The biggest obstacle you will face is mastering your nutrition.  This is where you start.  Don’t wait to “find the time to exercise”  instead start with your nutrition.  You will need to start a healthy eating plan that is conducive to fat loss and muscle gain.  This is not an easy task, sometimes its boring you are eating to fuel muscle growth as oppose to eating for fun, this may require discipline and you will have make choices (the difference between what you want now and what you want MOST)
Jessica MacMillan IFBB Figure Pro Push Up

4. Calculate your macros and divide this over 5 - 6 meals.  Make sure you are eating the right amount of protein vegan or non, carbohydrates, and fats for your activity level weight and goals.  By simple increasing your protein to the proper amount you can help to improve your metabolism and be sure your body is not snacking on any valuable lean muscle through out your days.  Remember protein contains the amino acid building blocks your body requires to build lean muscle and burn calories.  We are not just talking about steak, chicken and fish. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are other great sources in addition to some grains and legumes. Personally, I always include a quality 100% whey isolate into my meal plans especially after a weight training session.
*Tip: Aim for 1g of protein per pound of ideal body weight and eat veggies with every meal.

5. If fat loss is your goal identify and eliminate all sugar and refined grains from your diet even artificial sugar.  I suggest switching to stevia, an all natural sweetener that can aid in balancing blood sugar levels.  Eating high glycemic breads and sugars will push up your insulin levels causing you to store fat rather that release it, even artificial sweeteners have shown to increase insulin levels. Your body cannot burn fat in the presence of insulin.   

6. In addition you may need to consider the amount of food you are consuming. Be mindful of potion sizes and what the proper portion size for you build is. If you are not seeing results and yet you feel as though you are eating all the right foods, you may be taking in more than you’re expending.  To lose fat you will need to create a deficit. Many people underestimate their food consumption. It is a proven fact that people who learn to track their diets have a higher rate of success. Take the time to write down everything you put into your mouth and do your calculations.

7. Don’t do anything drastic, if you drastically cut all your carbs, starve yourself, or cut too many calories at once in an effort to to lose weight at a faster pace, you may see an initial loss of water weight and unfortunately muscle as well. Complex carbs are very important for muscle growth and preservation! Keep them clean but don’t cut them completely, if you are a normal human being, eliminating “carbs” will often lead to binging and muscle loss, defeating the purpose of a sustainable weight loss.  The bounce back from any quick weight loss method or scheme creates a much bigger problem usually leaving people with a higher body fat percentage and much more weight to lose. Take the time to do it right! FAT LOSS is what you want for permanent results and it is just not possible to do that quickly. Fat loss is not as fast as you can.

8. Allow yourself treats when you need them just try to fit them in with your daily caloric amounts.  Having a few treats a week will be better than a entire weekend of binging.   

9. Quit weighing yourself.  While there is a time to measure your progress, obsessing over your weight weekly can be demotivating.  Remember, lasting fat loss and results will time.  You can only control nutrition and your activities, not the rate at which you see pounds come down on the scale.  Do the right thing and trust the process.  If you have done your calculations correctly and do not have an underlying medical condition, it will work.  If you are unsure of what or how much you should be eating or what you should be doing I suggest enlisting the help of professionals, knowledgeable Nutritionists and Personal Trainers are worthwhile investments when it comes to long term fat loss and success.  
To look like an athlete, you will want to think like one. For example, most athletes are more concerned about increasing their performance, strength, and skills rather than what the scale is going to read this week.  The athletic physiques we admire are mere side effects of their ultimate goals.  Instead of focussing on the number on the scale try setting a goal to up your weights a little each week, go a bit further, incorporate intervals, learn an new skill, or sport, learn how to properly perform a new exercise such as a squat or a dead lift.  Over time the new confidence from overcoming challenges, doing what you couldn’t a few weeks ago and breaking personal records will be the motivation that keeps you going.  Lets face it if your only motivation is watching for the needle on the scale to move up or down each week that is going to get old really quick, there are plenty of things that can affect those numbers and sometimes it takes a little while for your progress to show up on the scale. The average person trying to “lose weight” will many times give up after four weeks of scale watching. Change your attitude and perspective, be encouraged about what you are learning to do instead of discouraged about a certain number you haven’t seen on the scale, which may have very little to do with your actual progress.  

10. Be consistent and don’t give up.  Don’t give up everyone has bad days.  The important thing is to move forward, what matters most is doing the right thing most of the time.  Over the course of a year to six months a few bad days or weeks won’t matter.   What does matter is the choices you make the majority of the time.  Remember success is not all or nothing it is a series of small choices and changes that add up.  Be conscious of the choices you are making, often its the small changes that add up to the biggest results.