Tips to get you back on track after the holidays
Like most others, you gained weight during the holiday season. You told yourself it wasn’t going to happen this year, but it did. So now it’s January, the holidays are over, you’re depressed about the way you look, and you’ve got a long winter ahead. To many, getting in shape seems almost overwhelming.
Where do I start? What should I do? What should I eat? Should I take supplements? Should I start cardio, weight training, or both? Should I join a gym?
These are just a few of the questions that most people ask when thinking about getting into shape. The following should help you get on the right path to a healthier, stronger you.
1. MAKE THE COMMITMENT
You must decide if this is something you truly want and whether or not you are willing to make a firm commitment to yourself. Getting out of shape doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect to get in shape overnight.
You must understand that getting into shape and becoming healthy is not a part-time job. Losing body fat, gaining muscle, or just wanting to look better must be a lifestyle. If you don't make changes in your lifestyle, you are destined for failure.
It's not easy, but getting into shape doesn't mean that you're destined for a life of misery. In fact, the longer and harder you work, the more in tune with your body you become and the easier it gets. The more progress you make, the more motivated you'll be.
2. BIG GOALS, LITTLE GOALS
Once you've made the commitment, you need to set a goal. This goal should be what you ultimately want to accomplish. It's what I call the "big goal." This could be any of a thousand things: shredded abs in 10 weeks, to lose 20 pounds in four months, to lose 50 pounds in one year. Whatever your big goal is, make sure that it's reasonable. For instance, if you're 30 pounds overweight, don't expect to be shredded in a month. It may take four to six months, and depending on your genetics, motivation and lifestyle, it may not happen at all. This is not meant to discourage anyone. You can always improve your health and the way you look. I just want to emphasize the importance of being realistic.
In order to reach your big goal, you must set smaller goals. These small goals must be made daily and weekly. Look at the smaller goals as rungs on a ladder. Using and attaining your small goals will be a fantastic motivational factor. Having a big goal without smaller, more attainable goals will greatly increase your chances of losing your drive and will eventually result in failure.
Arnold said, “The mind is the strongest muscle.” Your mind is your greatest ally on the road to success. Once you set your big goal, you need to use your mind to visualize how you want to look. You must be able to go as far as imagining how you feel once the goal is attained.
The concept of visualization may seem odd to some; however, it may surprise you to know that some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and businessmen use visualization to attain their levels of success. For example, Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medal winner and world record holder, said that he actually sees himself running with perfect form and then winning the race before it has even begun.
To help you visualize, put pictures of role models up on your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator. Write your goals on a piece of paper and keep it in plain site so you are constantly reminded, especially in your weakest moments. You'll be amazed at how small exercises like this can help in a huge way.
4. JOIN A GYM
Motivation and knowledge are the two biggest reasons to become a member of a gym. Nothing can motivate you like a gym with a high-energy atmosphere. You get off work and you're beat. The last thing you want to do is cardio or lift some weight. But you get to the gym because it's right on your way home from work. You walk through the door and the music is pumping. Christine, who is usually at the front desk in the evening, greets you at the door by name with a big smile. You make your way to the locker room, stopping briefly to say hi to some guys who you've gotten to know while working out over the last few weeks. Once you're dressed you make your way over to the treadmill to warm up. Once on the treadmill, you can't help but notice that Jamie Eason, whose interview you read on Bullz-Eye.com, is on the treadmill next to you. Now you're wide-awake and ready to get one step closer to your goals. While you're working out, a staff member notices you're doing triceps pushdowns incorrectly and shows you the right way to perform them. On your way out of the gym, after a great workout, Christine tells you she's noticed you've made some good gains and look really good. "Cha Ching!"
What do you think would happen if you worked out at home? You get off work and you're beat. You pull into you driveway, get out of your car and open the door to a quiet home. You put some comfortable clothes on, grab something to eat and sit on the couch to watch some news. The next thing you know you wake up with clicker in your hand and it's 9:30. Time to go to bed.
5. PREPARE YOUR FOOD IN ADVANCE
You’re less likely to fall off the wagon if there is quality food already made. A major contributor to eating crap is the convenience. People are just inherently lazy. To combat this, always have an array of food ready to eat. Foods like chicken, beef, rice, cottage cheese, salad, etc. should always be in your fridge.
6. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
Does this realy need an explanation? If it does, you’re a moron. These foods are void of any nutritive value and contain many ingredients that should be avoided at all costs.
7. EAT MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY
Consume at least four meals per day. Your goal should be six meals. Your body will process food much more efficiently and you’re less likely to eat junk. Eating multiple times per day will also control your insulin, which is the fat storage hormone. The higher your insulin levels, the more fat you will store.
8. EAT PROTEIN
Protein repairs and maintains everything in our bodies, from hormones to muscles. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are eight essential amino acids, “essential” meaning we have to ingest these for survival because our bodies cannot manufacture them. If your protein intake is low, your body will get the essential aminos it needs from your muscle tissue.
How much protein should you consume? I recommend 1 g/lb of lean body weight. However, if you train intensely (which is how you should train), you need upwards of 1.5 to 2 g/lb. Can you possibly do this without getting fat?
Protein, like fat, has little to do with getting fat, in and of itself. You see, a calorie is not a calorie. A calorie of a carbohydrate does not equate to a calorie of protein when being metabolized in our bodies. Protein calories are not likely to be stored as fat when compared to carbs. This is mainly due to the fact that proteins require a lot of energy to metabolize and assimilate. It takes much more energy to process protein than it does carbs. And as an added bonus, protein helps stimulate the secretion of glucagon, which reduces the fat storage effects of insulin.
To put it quite simply, if you do not consume enough protein, you will not only put a halt to your efforts to have a leaner more muscular body, you can actually lose some of the muscle you’re working so hard to get.
9. EAT HEALTHY FATS
- Only use oils that are labeled “Cold Pressed,” “Expellar Pressed” or “Extra Virgin”
- Use coconut oil for cooking or frying. It’s the most stable and by far the most healthy.
- Use peanut oil, sesame oil or olive oil for cooking if you do not want to use tropical or animal fats. These oils can also be used for one time frying.
- Use butter, not margerine.
- Consume foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like wild caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout.
10. DO NOT CONSUME...
- Any product that contains “hydrogenated vegetable oil,” “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “shortening” listed as one of the ingredients. These products contain trans fats which decades of research have show to be detrimental to health.
- Any products that contains “vegetable oil” as one of the ingredients. Unfortunately, polyunsaturated fats cause many health problems. One of the biggest reasons polyunsaturated fats are so unhealthy is because they are very susceptible to becoming oxidized or rancid when exposed to heat and light. The polyunsaturated oils you buy in grocery stores are already rancid from the extraction process.
- Any soy products or ingredients. The United States Food and Drug Administrations Poisonous Plant Database, which contains references to the scientific literature describing studies of the toxic properties and effects of plants and plant parts, lists 288 records under "Soy". The deleterious effects soy has on our bodies is well known and backed by mounds of evidence.
- Any product that contains “fructose” or “high fructose corn syrup.” The consumption of the “fat carb,” as it is referred to, mirrors the obesity epidemic in the United States. Many experts agree there is no safe form of manmade fructose.
11. CONTROL YOUR CARBOHYDRATE CONSUMPTION
Around the world, there is no correlation between protein or fat consumption and obesity. There is a very strong correlation, however, between sugar consumption, obesity and diabetes.
In the USA, we’ve gotten heavier each year since 1964. This is when our consumption of carbohydrates started to rise dramatically. As our sugar consumption went up each year, our waistlines got bigger. As a nation we are the heaviest we’ve ever been with no end in sight.
Macronutrients are not created equal. They are metabolized, assimilated, utilized and stored in different ways. Carbohydrates are a good fuel source for the body; however, it is important to understand they are a nonessential nutrient, meaning unlike protein and fat, we do not have to ingest them to live and be healthy. On the contrary, carbs in the quantities Americans eat them can and will lead to a very unhealthy existence.
Does this mean we should stop eating carbs altogether? No. I am just saying -- warning -- that if you do not watch the amounts and types of carbs you eat, you may be kissing your waistline, and especially your health, good bye.
12. PERFORM A TOTAL BODY WORKOUT TWICE A WEEK
Adding or even maintaining muscle cannot be accomplished without weight training. If time is of the essence, execute the Bullz-Eye Big Ten two to three times per week. You do not need to be in the gym four or five days a week, two or three hours at a time to add quality muscle. No excuses.
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