1. Stop drinking juices/mixers (eat the food instead; higher fiber content!). And when you do have fruit, try to have it with protein!
2. Eat according to your lifestyle, not according to someone else’s. 3 Meals/day works. So does 6. But 6 doesn’t work if you can’t get 6 meals a day in (because you don’t have access to a microwave at work/etc). 3-4 works for me, and on workout days I add a shake in pre or post-workout.
3. Buy a big water bottle (or get one from us!). And drink lots of water. 2% dehydration (which isn’t a lot) can affect hunger pangs, concentration, and performance in the gym.
4. Avoid FADS. Buying gluten-free cookies, breads etc is NOT necessarily going to make your belly go bye-bye. Understand that carbohydrate sources (potatoes, rice, quinoa) matter, and, while gluten allergies are real, the thing that’s probably causing your belly to bloat is too many calories, not necessarily too much gluten.
5. Having alcohol with food? In that meal, don’t consume bread/starchy carbs. This has been a helpful rule of mine, and instead of the bread basket or starchy appetizer, I opt for a side of veggies.
6. Cook your food. Because THEN you know what’s in it =)
7. Speaking of cooking, when you do cook, cook in bulk. Even eggs (make them in a muffin pan, with other tasty things like spinach, mushrooms, peppers etc) can be made in advance and in bulk.
8. Consuming fat can make you fat. But the RIGHT fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, butter) in the right proportions, can also help you lose fat. Understand that calories from fat are higher (9 calories per gram) than carbs or protein (4 calories per gram for each).
9. Consuming carbs can also make you fat. However, a low-carb diet isn’t the sure-fire solution here, especially if you’re trying to maximize your workouts simultaneously. Your muscles desperately need carbs for your workouts! Pre and post-workout carbs (oatmeal, two pieces of rye toast, sweet potato, fruit, rice) are essential for performance and recovery!
10. ADVANCED: “What gets measured, gets managed” – Peter Drucker. Use Myfitnesspal OR Fitocracy OR Fitocracy macros (superhero with gadgets? Try all 3!) to track your progress in the kitchen, progress in the gym, and ensure your ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins are aligned with your goals.
1. Warmup! An injury is sometimes preventable, other times not. But, take the 5-10 minutes to prepare your body for the increased stress it’s about to go through (sample warmup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRPoUv3CfrU)
2. Big lifts, big gains: lifting heavy is one of the best ways to keep yourself sane. Why? It functions as anger management, a learning/humbling experience, and a muscle-maintainer. Safest lifts? Trap bar deadlift, front squat, Turkish getup, chinup, kettlebell swing, ab wheel, and many more.
3. Aerobic exercise is dead: burns less calories/fat than you think, and wastes your time. Unless you mentally/psychologically benefit from 30-60 others in a crowded bicycle studio, your results will happen sooner if you focus on shorter bursts of sprints and intervals. Plus if you’re tired from it, lessens your willpower to cook/choose great foods instead of giving in to temptation.
4. Aerobic exercise is ALIVE: ONLY if you’re also preparing to run a race should this be considered a foundational activity. It has the greatest potential for growth out of the energy systems and without a good aerobic base, you’ll have a tough time being efficient at lower and middle heart rates.
5. Workout when you feel best: not a morning person? Workout at night. Try not to force yourself upon a routine that you won’t like doing. Enjoy the process at a time you can safely commit to. Also, if you’re too tired at the end of the day, consider working out first thing to ensure you get that workout in.
6. Crazy busy during the week but weekends are free!? Try the 1 + 2 Program = Get ONE workout in during the week, let’s say a Wednesday, and two during the weekend. On Friday after work, do a workout that includes upper and lower body, and same thing on Sunday AM. Or, Saturday AM = do upper body exercises only, Sunday AM lower body exercises only. This is a cool way to switch things up and still push yourself.
1. Surround yourself with people who believe in your goal(s): there are plenty of people who have ‘tried everything’ etc. Surround yourself with those who are either successfully engaged in the process, those who help others (coaches) or even a co-worker, frien or teammate. Tough to soar like an eagle if you hang with a bunch of turkeys.
2. Results will happen: trust the process! Strength first, performance/ability/coordination second, fat loss third, muscle gain fourth. The body (and mind) is extremely resistant to change, so understand that this order is NORMAL, and that a 6-8 week Transformation is usually setting the foundation for a future full of lifestyle changes. Not necessarily before and after pictures, but jeans fitting different, people commenting on skin tone, energy levels, performance, etc are all metrics to be measured. Bodyfat and scale weight are just a few, but not the only ones we use.
3. One bad meal: have it at night. Yep – I said it. Having a bad breakfast leads some to say, ‘Oh, well I fell off the wagon today, I’ll just stay off it today and get back on tomorrow’. A 3000 calorie surplus (excess calories compared to what you should be eating in one day) CAN negate a whole week of perfect eating. But one meal? Have it at night. Just not as a reward, not as a start to your day, or you ‘deserve’ it. Life happens. Don’t make yourself a monkey who deserves a treat though. Just enjoy the many pleasures in life, without guilt, and without shame. You’re human, after all.
4. One meal at a time: people can be in a bad place, have bad days, be in bad moods, etc. But every bodybuilder, bikini competitor, fit mom/dad or athlete all started ONE MEAL at a time, regardless of mood. Then another happened, and suddenly they felt better. Consistency is key, and understanding that NOT being consistent, even at first, is okay. Keep on striving to improve your awareness, knowledge, and performance in the gym. Your mood is important, but your next meal can also change that!
5. Fitness is a Skill: IF THIS IS THE ONLY THING YOU READ, GREAT - THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Cooks don’t become master chefs overnight. They have mentors, practice cooking, travel to learn the craft, and eventually, with many years of time spent in the kitchen, the hard work and effort pays off. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
Fitness is the same way, and potentially more intensive because there are so many skills involved. Think about it – kettlebells? Skill. Aerobic base? Skill. Olympic lifting? Skill. Swimming? Skill. Cooking 6 chicken breasts without having them get too dry for the next day? Skill. Resisting temptation while your friends get wasted at the bar and you’re alternating seltzer water with lime and a vodka sodas so that you ensure you get a early morning workout in? Skill.
Prioritization, adaptation, dedication – these are all hallmarks to any weight training program, but in addition, they are skills acquired as you age, as you learn, and as you figure out what truly is important in order to change your body, mind and soul.
The media may portray it differently, but fitness takes MORE than 90 days, MORE than a pill, MORE than a post-workout protein shake, MORE than running a marathon. Understanding this, and that each day provides an opportunity to get better (hopefully some of these bullet points can help!), will only increase the chances of lifelong enjoyment, results, and ultimately, success.
Trust the process,