Everyone wants a trim and fit appearance, period. You never hear someone say "did you see that guys beer belly?, that's what I want" No, you hear about Mario Lopez or Ryan Reynolds lean physique and six pack abs. Then the term Genetics comes into play, "oh they just have good genes, I can't look like that cause of my genes"
While it is true that it is easier for some, that does not mean that it is impossible for all. (Will write a future post on this topic)
Here are 5 changes that I have made to improve my own fitness goals and that I feel will help anyone when applied consistently.
1: Training: Lifting Heavy Weight (close to my max for very low reps) in a Reverse Pyramiad Training Style (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/randy2.htm) 3 days a week.
2: Rest: I used to always feel like one day off from the gym would throw everything out of whack. This is sooo not true. When working out (specifically lifting Heavy) your muscles are taxed and stimulated to grow, but this does'nt happen while your in the gym. While you sleep your body releases growth hormone which helps to repair muscle tissue and begin to grow (which is why 8 hours of sleep is so important).
Lack of rest/sleep on the other hand is extremely detrimental to your progress in the gym. If your muscles cannot be repaired to grow with proper rest, then they won't and you will be spinning your wheels in the gym.
3:Diet: Abs are made in the Kitchen, not in the gym. (this is probably the most truthful statement when it comes to fitness) If you fuel your body properly to grow, you will be amazed at the changes and how quickly they come about. Check out http://www.leangains.com/ or http://www.bodybuilding.com/ to learn more about effective dieting for muscle growth and lean mass.
4: Water: It is recommended that an active individual consume half of their bodyweight in ounces of water. that means a 200lb man should be taking in around 100 ounces of water a day. That's a lot of trips to the bathroom, and for good reason. Flushing toxins out of your body will cleanse your skin and keep you looking youthful as well as decrease the amount of water your body retains due to your sodium levels.
5: Consistency: Anything you do in life that your successful at takes consistency in it's performance. The same is true when it comes to fitness. It may takes some time, but small rewards will be noted on the way to your ultimate goal. You are where you are in life because of consistency and patience.
That's all for now, good luck in achieving your fitness goals.....