In 2019, I prepared for months to get into the best shape I could for one of Asia’s biggest physique competitions. And it paid off: I was in incredible shape. But soon after, my biggest fear happened: after my competition, my physique went completely 180 degrees - I became terribly out of shape.
It took me over 4 months to get ridiculously lean and ripped, and it took me only a few weeks to undo all my hard work, ending up in even worse condition than I started. I became fat and sluggish. So, what happened?
The answer: my habits.
I’d like to share some of the poor habits that negatively changed my health and physique.
The number one most important thing that I believe impacted the condition of my health and physique was how well I stayed on track with my plan. Whether it was making sure I went to the gym a certain number of days per week or eating clean, healthy food every day, I was able to get in excellent shape during those 4 months before competition because I stayed consistent every day with my training and my diet.
After my competition, I became very inconsistent. I would have a burst of motivation to go to the gym for 1 or 2 days, then I would just take a break from exercise for a week or more. Then, I’d start again when I just felt like it. With food, I was also inconsistent by eating healthy for 1 day, then I’d lose discipline and binge on unhealthy food for a couple days. This is the type of inconsistency that led to ruining my physique after my competition.
This is the type of bad habit that will lead to nowhere.
Not Prioritizing Sleep
Sleep plays a significant role in your health in numerous ways. One important way is how your lack of energy impacts the rest of your day’s activities, or lack thereof. When one cuts their sleep time short, their ability to exercise properly is affected. Their focus isn’t as sharp and may affect motivation to perform at optimal levels.
Another important factor is how it affects your body’s metabolism. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes hormonal imbalances in your body, increased inflammation, and numerous negative responses.
Think of sleep as nutrition for your brain. Not prioritizing sleep will directly impact how your body regulates itself, and thus your health is sacrificed.
Eating Processed Foods
Everyone knows the impact of food and their health. But what difference does it make if someone eats processed foods versus unprocessed foods?
To put it simply: a significant difference.
Processed foods essentially means that it has gone through a process to alter a food’s taste, texture, shelf life, or some other factor. Often, this process will strip away important nutrients and vitamins of a food and, at the same time, change the food’s impact on your body. This negative impact includes spiking your body’s insulin levels, which makes it easy for you to gain fat.
During my time after my competition, I was very prone to eating processed foods with unnatural ingredients. It made a big impact on not only my body fat, but also my mood. Once I began eliminating processed foods and began eating natural, unprocessed foods, my body started to noticeably change for the better.
Habits are choices. Often, good habits are difficult to establish. By making good choices over and over, habits then can be formed. My mistake was choosing wrong options after my competition repeatedly, and thus forming bad habits. Once I started making better choices, like eating healthy, natural foods, I formed good habits that dramatically changed how I looked and felt.
One of the easiest ways to stay consistent with your diet, is to always have those healthy unprocessed foods available. That is why I choose Only Natural, so I always have high-quality, fresh, and healthy meals ready to eat in a matter of minutes. Leaving no room for excuses.