The anticipation is great - the expectation drives you to believe that it will be life-changing moment when you pull into parking lot, and walk into the gym with bravado. This is the moment everything changes. Your new body and revitalized health is on the other side of that glass door. All you got to do is walk through.
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I remember the time when I said to myself, "enough is enough." It was the moment I decided that I was going to change my health and fitness. I was fired up for a moment. And then, I realized that I would soon have to figure out how to do it too.
Maybe you can relate?
It's taken me years to wrestle through the mistakes and setbacks. But, it's my turn to pay it forward.
This article is geared for the person on the brink of personal greatness. The one who is on the edge, ready to decide, but just needs a little encouragement and guidance to jump. If that sounds like you, good on ya' mate.
I'm proud of you. If no one else has your back, I'm here for you.
What you're about to read was designed for you to consume easily. Meaning, you can pick any point on this list and start it today. I don't want to confuse you or burden you with too much decision. Instead, the goal is to keep the momentum going while implement practical strategies along the way.
The reason why you're reading this is because you want results. You need advice that works presented to you in a way that makes sense. I assure you, you've come to the right place.
I know this is a big deal for you - that's why we're going to keep it simple. And that's also why you're going to succeed. You might still feel like a newbie or a player coming out of retirement, but you after this, you'll have a toolbox of knowledge and guidance to take you across the finish line and finally get the results you've always wanted.
Mike Rashid, Marc Lobliner and Big Rob attack the back.
How to Transform Your Body
1. Build your meals around proteinA high protein diet does not only keeps hunger controlled, but it also requires the most amount of energy to digest. This is known as the Thermic Effect of food. In fact, the body burns twice as many calories to digest protein in comparison to carbohydrates or fat.
The practical way to make sure you get protein at each meal would be to include two palms full of protein for men and one palm full of protein for women at each meal. Having a protein shake between meals would suffice as well. If you prefer suggestions in numbers, men should aim for about 30-40g of protein per meal and women should aim for 20-30g of protein per meal.
2. Get more Vitamin DIf you're
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3. Include healthy fats dailyFats play a critical role in fat loss. You need a sufficient amount of fat to support a healthy metabolism, hormone production and to absorb important vitamins A and D. Including healthy fats also help keep you full longer.
In addition to getting fats from animal protein (whole eggs, grass fed beef, wild caught salmon), cooking with coconut oil, use olive oil for your salad dressing, top meals with sliced avocado and snacking on nuts are all practical ways to get healthy fats in each day.
4. Get your green onEating your greens is advice that dates back to your childhood days. While our parents and grandparents may have missed the boat on a lot of things when it comes to nutrition, there's usually one thing they were right about - eating your veggies.
But the most common roadblock to eating veggies is inconvenience. You won't find many people who have the patience or desire to chomp on an entire bowl of raw kale. If that sounds like you, don't worry.
There are two practical ways to get around this. One is to take a superfood supplement. Within seconds you can get a ton of nutrients and a nice dose of superfoods by shaking up on serving of a greens powder with water.
The second option, while a little more involved, can pack the nutrients and the protein all in one shot. Throw a handful of greens (spinach or kale) into a blender with 2 cups of almond milk, some frozen berries, 2 tablespoons of flaxseed and a scoop of protein powder, then blend it all up and drink.
5. HydrateThe simple, but often overlooked nutrition tip is drinking enough water. Staying hydrated will not only allow you to train hard in the gym, but it will also keep you sharp at work allowing cognition to fire on all cylinders.
Aim to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces of water each day.
6. Master the basicsThe squat, bench and deadlift get all the attention - rightfully so. These movements are the timeless exercises that have stood the test of time. They aren't going anywhere. But, in order to train these lifts properly with the amount of intensity needed to induce change, you've got to master the basic movements first.
You've got to learn how to squat, how to push-up and how to pull before you load the bar. Think of it this way. A child learns how to crawl before they can run. In the same fashion, you must learn how to use your body before you attempt large loads.
If you're completely new to the gym or you're returning to the gym after a layoff, here are some movements to focus on before you go out and try to set PR's:
- Bodyweight squats
- Goblet squats
- Box squats (no weight)
- Push ups against a wall
- Incline push ups
- Assisted push ups
- Assisted dips
- Bench dips
- Kettbelles swings
- TRX bodyweight rows
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7. Master the basics (again)Once you've had some time to train your kinesthetic awareness, it's time to master the basics again. This time, you'll be moving the barbell. By taking the time to learn how to use the barbell properly, you'll have a lifetime of knowledge you can use for the rest of your training career.
Learn how to squat, bench, deadlift and press a barbell. A timeless read on this subject is Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
8. Trade long runs for short burstsYou can do five hours of steady-state or 90 minutes of alternating sprints. Both will produce similar results in aerobic capacity (your body's ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles. However, if burning fat is your aim, sprints have the advantage.
A timeless study done in 1994 shows this. Subject did either 20 weeks of steady state cardio or 15 weeks of sprint training. The group that did sprints lost nine times more body fat in comparison to the group who did steady state for 20 weeks.
9. Steady state cardio has a purposeSteady state cardio shouldn't be shunned completely though. If used properly, it can be beneficial.
To quicken the recovery process so you can rebuild the muscle and get back in the gym is heavily reliant on a few things: How fast oxygen and nutrients can be shuttled into the damaged muscle and the rate at which the waste product caused by lifting is removed.
Since high intensity workouts cause metabolic waste to be built up in the muscle, the oxidative nature of LISS (low intensity steady state) increases blood flow that assist in shuttling away these byproduct without causing further muscle damage.
Doing one or two steady state sessions a week will suffice.
10. Add finishersThe base of any body composition plan should be a strength training program. Getting strong is the first priority. But building a beautiful body is probably a close second. To tackle these at the same time, train your main lifts first in your workout.
Then add a blistering finisher on the backside of your training session (this will allow you trade long cardio sessions for short bursts of effort). By doing so you send your heart rate through the roof triggering the metabolic responses that cause muscular growth and kickstart fat loss.
You can keep these finishers short, but potent - six to 12 minutes is all you need. Thirty second of work followed by sixty seconds of rest is a simple, but extremely practical way to fulfill those six to 12 minutes. The medium on how you choose to execute is on you. Pick your poison.
11. Accumulate five hoursA study done at the University of Wyoming of 1,500 people showed that those who accumulated at least 5 hours a week of training were most satisfied with their body composition. If you're new or just coming back to the gym, starting with less than that is fine - and perhaps necessary.
However, as you build up your tolerance, make it your aim to eventually work up to five hours of training per week.
12. Sleep like a beastJust five days of less than five-hours of sleep can lead to overeating. We tend to hang our hats on productivity and getting things done. In doing so, one of the first things that get neglected is quality sleep. We figure if we sleep less, we can get more done.
But the research shows otherwise.
Chronic under-sleeping causes a cascade of hormonal issues that can lead to fat gain around the stomach, irritability, and ravenous cravings for calorie dense foods. Moreover, its been noted that not getting enough sleep is comparable to being drunk. In fact, one study found that cognitive performance was akin to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%.
For your health, for your body composition, for your productivity and for your overall well-being, it's vital you get enough sleep. Here are some practical ways to do that:
- Set an alarm to go to bed
- Keep your room dark as possible
- Get off all electronic devices one hour before bed
- Keep your room cool