In a world where most of fitness is over-sexed, over-oiled and over sold, you’d be forgiven for thinking that looking good naked was just about eating #epic meals and destroying the latest HIIT workout.
Chances are no one would blame you for thinking that fitness was a series of instantaneous changes;
Drop 10lbs now: our best 15 minute workout ever*
Flat belly fast: your 28 day plan*
Beach muscle now: the 15 minute plan*
*By the way, these are actual titles from popular fitness magazines.
If social media and fitness mags are your guide to fitness you might even think getting fit is a walk in the park.
Better yet a shortcut through the park.
A sexy shortcut where everyone is oiled up, leaned down and ripped AF.
The reality is somewhat less sexy than you’ve been led to believe. In fact, the reality of looking good naked is boring a lot of the time.
It’s a process concerned with consistency, habits and choice.
You could say, looking good naked is the habit of consistently making the choices you need to, not the ones you want to.
Why this disparity?
Partly because a lot of what you see on social media are half truths or even outright lies.
But mostly because no one really wants to believe that getting fit might require more effort than they’re willing to put in.
Everyone wants a shortcut, and no one wants to wait.
*Bubble bursting time*
If you really want to change your body, you need to get real.
Real about what it requires from you, namely commitment and hard work.
It takes unsexy habits to get you looking good naked. There is no way under, over or around this fact.
So, buckle up, knuckle down and get ready to learn what you really need to do to get the body you want.
5 Unsexy Habits to Get You Looking Good Naked
The rest of this article is dedicated to the 5 simple but important unsexy habits.
These habits will be the difference between changing your body or treading water.
More than this, these habits will allow you to maintain and improve upon the changes you make for as long as you want or need to.
Unsexy Habit #1 – Counting Calories
Counting calories, also known as, CICO or calories in calories out, energy balance, “why are you being so strict?”, “what do you mean you can’t have another biscuit?” and “you need to relax a bit” is the cornerstone of any change you’ll make.
Regardless of what you hear or think you know, calories are important.
Sure, they may not be perfect, and food packaging guidelines and companies certainly don’t help, but they are your baseline and will be the decider of the rest of your success.
You see, thanks to something called the energy balance equation, the number of calories you eat in relation to the amount you use for energy directly influences whether you lose or gain weight.
This in turn impacts your overall body composition, you know, muscle, fat, etc…
They matter so much that you need to know how many you’re eating every day.
You also need to know (at least roughly) how many you’re using for energy every day too.
To help you figure this out the following calculations can give you a pretty accurate starting point for your daily calorie needs based on your goal;
Fat Loss = bodyweight in lbs x 12
Muscle Gain = bodyweight in lbs x 16
Once you know this you need to offset it against how many calories, you’re eating to either gain or lose weight.
For example, if your goal is fat loss then you need to make sure the number of calories you eat per day is less than the number of calories you use for energy.
Counting calories makes this possible.
Unsexy Habit #2 – Weighing Yourself Daily
The simple scale is often seen in one of two ways;
The devil himself who given half a chance will steal your soul and your progress
A piece of machinery that will hold you accountable to your actions
Believe the first and you’ll fumble your way through weight change, maybe seeing some results but probably not.
Believe the second and you gain an invaluable tool on your fitness journey that can encourage and inform you when used properly.
That last bit was important…when used properly.
I agree that the scale is not absolute.
Nor can it always show you the whole picture.
However, it is an important tool for understanding what’s happening over time and whether you need to make a change.
How do you know if you need to make a change?
When eating and training to look good naked there are guidelines for the speed at which you should lose or gain weight.
These guidelines help you lose fat and maintain muscle OR build muscle and minimise fat gain.
Both are important.
Weight Loss – Aim to lose 1% of your total bodyweight per week
Weight Gain – Aim to gain 0.25 – 1 lbs per week
Adhere to this and you’ll be on the right track.
However, this comes with a warning.
Weight change is not linear.
This means even when you’re doing everything right and on track to lose or gain weight you might not see it in the day to day.
This is because your weight can and will fluctuate (water, food, stress, sleep, clothing) on a regular basis.
However, this doesn’t mean the scale is unfit for purpose.
The scale is a tool, an informational tool.
Which means when you weight yourself daily in the same conditions and take a weekly average it will show how your weight is changing over time
You can then use this information to adjust your calorie intake, exercise regime or even leave everything exactly how it is if you’re on track.
Unsexy Habit #3 – Eating the Same Foods
This is perhaps the height of un-sexiness in many people’s eyes.
Eating the same thing every day, a week at a time.
When I suggest to people that they should structure their diet this way, or better yet tell them this is how I eat, they recoil in shock, surprise and even disgust.
Their voices shake, their knees buckle and they breakout in shouts of “why, how could you?”
At which point I respond by telling them that I know variety is the spice of life, but if variety is making you miserable with your body what do you have to lose from trying something different.
Before gently encouraging them to get up off the floor and seriously ask themselves “is it worth it?”
If the way you’re currently doing things isn’t working, is it still worth doing?
Hint: it’s not.
Trust me, all it brings is stress and disappointment.
Maybe you need to find this out for yourself, if you do then no worries, I get it and you can move on to the next unsexy habit.
It’s ok, go…I’ll see you there.
If you’re still here then that means you’re ready to try something new, something different.
On that note, welcome to the unsexy club, here’s your membership card and access to all the secrets the other members already know;
Consistency in your diet is the secret to success
Routine is the secret to effortless consistency
Reduced decision making is the secret to easy routines
Or in other words…
If you want to stick to your diet on a regular basis, eating the same thing everyday is the easiest, way to do this and reduces the number of decisions you need to make about food and calories
Essentially it boils your decisions down to ‘what do I want to eat?’ and you’ll make this decision once a week.
After that you eat the food you’ve decided on (and cooked in advance) when you want to eat it, you hit your calorie goal and see gradual but substantial changes in your body over time.
For me this means after I’ve decided what to eat at the weekend, made a shopping list and bought the food I no longer need to think about my diet.
I know that I’m going to hit my calories goals.
Besides who can be bothered with making a different, new meal every night…?!
Which is why you eat so many takeaways and ready meals.
If you want to make this fitness thing work for you and look good naked with the lights on (lights off doesn’t count) then you’ve got to get on board.
As an added bonus you’ll save money, time and effort which can then be used for your training.
Unsexy Habit #4 – Training Consistently
Did you see that transition?
Ok, never mind.
Before we talk training, we first need to look at all the things that do not count as training consistently;
Training 8x a month if you train 4x in the first and last weeks of the month
Doing a HIIT workout on Monday, Yoga on Wednesday & strength training on Friday
Training every week for 3 months and then stopping
Doing lots of cardio but not much else
Anything else that includes only training now and then
Anything that doesn’t contribute to your goals
Note: training here relates to regular strength training in pursuit of building a better body, looking good naked or any other aesthetic goal you have
Another note: staring at yourself in the mirror, going topless in public gyms or any other kind of stupidity does not make you sexy. Keeping your head down, working hard and getting results does.
Are we on the same page?
Onward we go.
It really doesn’t matter if your goal is to strip off fat or pack on lean muscle, training consistently is important for both;
If you’re losing fat you want to maintain your muscle mass, so you look great naked instead of losing it and keeping the lights off.
If you’re building muscle, you want to maximise your muscle gain and minimise your fat gain for the same reasons.
Once your diet is in check, training becomes the next most important step to achieving this.
This is primarily because of a little something that has a big impact.
It’s called progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the steady increase of stimulus you place on your body over time to give it a reason to either get, or stay strong and muscular
You can do this by increasing the weight you lift every time you hit your set and rep goal.
Think of progressive overload as the reason your body will maintain or build muscle in the presence of a suitable diet.
Pretty great stuff, right?!
Here’s the problem – you can’t apply progressive overload if you don’t train consistently.
If you’re only doing workouts every other week, you’ll find it difficult to add weight to the bar, maintain your strength and make any kind of meaningful progress.
However, if you train 2 – 4 times a week consistently then you’ll be able to regularly add weight to the bar and get significantly stronger over time.
With this new strength comes muscle.
Now, training consistently whilst simple in theory can present problems in reality for some people.
To make things easier let me be clear with how to train consistently.
To train consistently you need to train even when you’re;
Ill (it’s ok to train in some circumstances)
Feeling lazy, unmotivated or bored
Any other time you need to but can’t be bothered
Basically, you need to train as many times as you’ve committed to and if you can’t then you need to reduce the amount of times you train per week.
There’s no point in having your diet in order if you training is a mess.
Embrace the unsexy, sort your training out and get really sexy.
Unsexy Habit #5 – Saying No
The word no is a fundamental part of our vocab.
Small children say it all the time, drug campaigns encourage you to use it and the entirety of the UK population are either screaming “no deal Brexit” or “no Brexit”.
In short, it’s used all the time.
I’ve used it 9 times in this article so far.
Yet when you need to tell yourself no (10 times) it suddenly becomes impossible.
You’re out with a friend or two for dinner and a good catch up.
Pizza is on the menu but you’re not worried.
You’ve already allocated a generous number of calories to this dinner in anticipation of eating more than normal. A smart idea as you’ll be able to enjoy your pizza guilt and worry free and still be within your calorie goal for the day.
*You have dinner, it’s great – blah, blah, blah*
The plates have been cleared and you’re feeling stuffed, your mate (who isn’t counting calories or dieting or particularly caring about fitness and his body) suggests getting dessert.
What do you say?
No, right? <-- (11 times)
You said yes didn’t you…
Look, ok, sometimes you can say yes and maybe you’ll be closer to maintenance calories or even go over your calories a bit and in the long run it won’t matter, at all.
However, most of the time you should practice saying no (12 times).
Because I’m sadistic and don’t want you to enjoy yourself?...
No (13 times but who’s even counting anymore)
But because being able to say no (yeah seriously I’m not counting anymore) at the right time is the difference between occasionally overindulging and blowing the damn lid off every time you break routine.
It’s the difference between standing at the top of cliff enjoying the view and tumbling down head over heels to get a better look.
It’s the difference between looking good naked and being dissatisfied with your body.
You get it don’t you.
Either way, it’s a big difference.
You know, it’s the whole reason you decided to read this 2,500+ word article in the first place.
The problem is it’s not sexy to say no.
It’s not sexy to be disciplined, to stick to your guns and your goals.
It’s sexy to stuff your face, still have abs and present it all in a stupid freaking filter (Instagram much).
Expect the truth is, lots of those guys showing off insane meals, don’t actually eat them. Instead, they say no;
No to the stupidly huge calorie dense meals
No to breaking the routine
No to being inconsistent
Instead, they embrace the unsexy.
They count their calories, weigh themselves daily, eat the same meals, train consistently and say no, a lot.
Then…they lie to you about it.
Pretty shitty right.
Don’t worry though because now you know, you know it all, every single unsexy truth has been laid bare.
From here it’s simple.
You have a choice, blue pill or red pill style, you can either;
Do unsexy things and get sexy results
Do sexy things and get unsexy results.
It’s time to make a decision…
The Problem with Un-sexiness
I hope you’ve made your decision; it should be pretty damn easy.
But if for whatever reason you’re still deciding then let’s talk about something else whist you do that.
Let’s talk about the problem with un-sexiness.
In particular, the social, internal and even familial pressure you might face when you start following unsexy habits.
You see when you try to better yourself or set yourself apart from the norm, people notice.
Often, they notice big time.
However, this doesn’t always translate into support.
In fact, it often manifests itself in negative ways; opposition, resistance and doubt.
It’s not uncommon for your change to make others feel uncomfortable, they might even make you feel uncomfortable.
The end result is usually sabotage, self and otherwise.
This can come in many forms;
Mocking or belittling your efforts
Trying to bring you down to their level
Self-doubt and questioning
In short, you need to be strong to be unsexy, but where do you draw this strength from…?
I’m glad you asked.
This strength can come from;
A group of likeminded people supporting you
Confidence in your choices
Finding proof and/or vindication in your results.
Look, I hope I haven’t put you off.
It wasn’t my intention.
The truth is, every time you find something worth doing there will be layers of difficulty attached.
It’s these layers that make following through even more worth it.
“Am I Doing the Right Thing?”, “Is it Working?” & Other Questions You’ll Ask Yourself
Yeah that’s right, no segue this time.
I wanted to make sure you’re still awake, you’re nearly 3,000 words deep and we’re not quite done yet.
As you pick up these unsexy habits and begin to make real change, you’ll have questions.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“Is it really working?”
“Why I don’t I look ripped/lean/chiselled/toned yet?”
“But some other dude said I should do X, Y or Z and he’s way more muscly than you, shouldn’t I do that?”
I wasn’t expecting you to ask that last question.
It’s ok, I’m not offended.
Here’s my take;
If what that ‘other dude’ says resonates with you and he has the physique you want to achieve then go for it.
There’ll be no hard feelings here.
However, be aware of your behaviour.
Are you switching from one thing to another?
Do you do this a lot?
If so, this is classic ’looking busy but going nowhere syndrome’.
You know doing lots of different things for short periods of time without actually doing much of anything or seeing results…AKA fitness no man’s land.
Anyway, it’s just something to think about.
Now, back to the other questions.
I think I can kind of answer them altogether as they all follow as single theme; time.
More to the point, time and experience.
Look, I know it may not always seem like what you’re doing is working but real change is accumulative not instantaneous.
This means it takes time (often more than you think or would like).
With that time comes experience.
This means you get better at;
Understanding your body
Adjusting your diet
Tweaking your training
Trusting the process
Generally optimising your experience
All of these things feed back into your progress making it easier and easier as time passes.
But it all starts with adopting unsexy habits.
I don’t feel like you need me to do this, but it feels weird to end without it, so here we go.
Unsexy habits are the key to actually looking good naked and all ‘sexy’ methods are distractions from your goal.
This means you need to focus on;
Weighing yourself daily
Eating the same things
As you begin to adopt these unsexy habits and see results it’s only normal to meet resistance. When this happens look for support in other like minded people, yourself and your results to overcome this.
Realise that real change takes time but as this time passes, you’ll gain invaluable experience that will teach and guide you.
Most importantly realise that the sooner you accept these unsexy habits the sooner you’ll begin seeing results.