I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but a good looking cover doesn’t hurt… especially when it comes to attracting women.
I mean, seriously, you can like fuck up your approach… and lose steam 15 minutes in… but if you’ve got a great presence, the girl will still be interested in you. I got this concept of “presence” from Brad P.
Part of having a great presence is taking care of your body (other parts: body language, fashion, grooming).
Anyway, the reason I’m even bringing all this up at all is because I just found out I passed my personal trainer final exam. I’m now a certified personal trainer! Puh-Pow
In celebration, I wanna share some stuff I learned along the way about getting fit and staying fit.
Yes, yes, I know. Personality attracts women more than physical looks. You’re absolutely right. But like I said, having a nice physique doesn’t hurt either.
For one, women read into things. They’ll ask, “What does this guy’s physical appearance SAY about him?” Where we’re like “Ooh, nice tits,” they’re like “He’s wearing white socks with black shoes… what’s THAT say about him?”
So, if you’ve got your health handled, what message do you send? Exactly. You’ve got your life handled, too. That’s attractive.
For two, more important than attracting women, getting a nice body is important because, well, the woman is kinda right. Get your health together, and it’s a good sign you’re getting your life together, too. Making time to exercise and eating right honest-to-God helps you get your whole LIFE into shape.
For three, a woman who takes care of herself is attractive to us…
Same damn thing for them.
And for four, probably the best part of it all, getting your health handled gives you an added strut of confidence to your inner-game. Sweet.
Oh, one last thing before I spill the good stuff.
I got my certificate through ISSA (Internal Sports Science Association)…
There’s a lot of places to become a trainer, but most of them are crap. There’s only five or seven places that’s recognized as credible… and ISSA is one of them. The textbook I had to read was 600 pages and my final exam was a practicum (110 pages of written) and 200 multiple choice questions. They’re serious.
So, here’s the good stuff. You only really need three things to get a kick-ass physique. They are:
1. Right Food
2. Right Exercise
Eat right AND exercise consistently. You’ll get damn good results from that. No short cuts or magic bullets. Just good old fashioned work. Then, if you wanna keep the results you got, make all this a lifelong habit.
Now let’s take each of these three things and break it down.
I remember this one time I was trying to lose weight and I exercised every day. After about a month or so I was the same weight. I was like “what the hell?” Then I looked at what I had been eating.
Um, no wonder I wasn’t losing weight.
Exercise all you want, but if your diet sucks, you ain’t gonna be losing any weight.
Not only that, I had this girlfriend once who told me she ate whatever she wanted while exercising and she lost weight. Yeah, right. But let’s say the miraculous happened. Guess what happened after she stopped exercising? Welcome back thirty pounds!
Abs are made in the kitchen. 70% of losing weight and keeping it off is in what you what.
How do you eat right? Here’s the Top Ten List I follow.
1. Find Out How Many Calories Your Body Burns A Day, and Eat Within That. Here’s a way you can figure this out right now:
STEP 1: Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). If you were to lay down all day and do nothing, this is the number of calories you would burn. It’s the basic amount of calories you need to be alive: breathe, pump blood, grow hair, blink.
_________________ (Your Body Weight) x 10 = _________________ (BMR in calories)
STEP 2: Calculate your daily activity burn. These are the calories you need for your daily movement, but without the exercise.
_______________ (Your BMR) x 20% = ___________________ (Your Daily Activity Burn)
STEP 3. Add the calories you need for exercise. You’ll burn anywhere between 300 – 600 calories, depending on how long and how intense you exercise. Let’s take the number 300.
_________ (Your BMR) + ________ (Daily Activity Burn) + 300 = ______ (Energy Amount)
STEP 4. Find your energy amount in the table below to determine your daily caloric needs.
YOUR DAILY CALORIC NEEDS = ______________________
Eat that amount in calories each day.
It’s a numbers game. Expend more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. 3,500 calories make up a pound of fat. Burn 200-300 of these fat calories a day, and you’ll get there. It’ll take some time. 90 days of this and you’ll see awesome results.
Oh, and by the way, as you lose weight, your daily caloric needs will change. So, recalculate when necessary.
2. Eat 5- 6 Meals a Day. Divide “Your Daily Caloric Needs” by either 5 or 6. Eat that many calories for each meal.
The idea is simple. When you eat a lot of small meals throughout the day, your body is working a lot. Your body becomes like a sauna… which burns more calories. When you don’t eat a lot, your body thinks “starvation mode.” Instead of burning the calories, it starts storing them up so you don’t starve later. Your metabolism drops. Eat more meals (each of moderate size), and your metabolism rises.
Think of a horse that grazes throughout the day. They’re lean. Now think of a bear that binges and then goes for days or even months without eating. They’re fat. Same thing with us. By the way, I got that image from Bill Phillips, author of “Body For Life.”
Okay, well, maybe not THAT image, but you know what I mean.
Anyway… to get a lean body you want to be a grazer, not a binger. So, graze. Meaning, eat a small meal or a snack every 2 hours (no more than 3 hours). That’s about how long it takes for your body to digest a meal.
Here’s another reason to eat 5 – 6 “meals” a day. There’s less of a temptation to binge. When you let a long time pass between meals, don’t you get super-hungry? I do! I mean, after starving yourself, you can’t even help it. You WANT to binge. But if the time between your meals is small, like two hours, you’re more likely to eat a moderate meal. It’s all about moderation.
That’s one of my favorite sayings by the ancient Greeks: “Everything in moderation.” It’s here in America, land of “Super-Size,” where our food portions are so huge. Everything is either Jumbo Size, Super Size, Extra Large or a Double Big Gulp. But our bodies just don’t NEED that much food. It feels weird at first to stop eating when you’re full. But that’s the secret. Eat only as much as you NEED.
I’ve got a great story about this.
A college girlfriend I had, who may or may not have been a little chubby… and who I may or may have expressed I wanted to breakup (not because of the weight) before we left for summer break… came back after the break not chubby anymore. I was like “holy shit!” I asked her how she did it. She said she had listened to her body. She said when her body said it was full, she stopped eating. And she looked great. We still broke up. But that’s another story.
3. For Each Meal Eat Carbs, Protein, and Fat.
It’s not just the quantity of calories that matters though. The QUALITY of proteins is just as, if not MORE important. What does that mean? In EACH meal/snack eat protein, carbs, and unsaturated fat.
Let’s take each one of those groups.
First, carbs. They are THE primary source of fuel. If you don’t eat enough carbs, your body will eat your fat deposits. That’s why the Atkins diet can work at first. The only thing is after your body eats fat, if it still doesn’t have carbs to chow down on, your body starting chowing down on your muscle (and other protein) for fuel. That’s why the Atkins diet can be so damn dangerous. You might lose a ton of weight at first, but chances are high you’ll lose muscle, too.
Another girlfriend I had (man I’m talking a lot about my girlfriends here, huh) told me a story I’ll never forget. She had cut protein out of her diet to lose weight. I can’t remember why. Maybe she was a vegetarian or something. I don’t remember. Anyway, when she noticed she was losing hair, that’s when she decided to starting eating protein again. Hair is made out of protein after all. After she put protein back into her diet, her hair grew back. Thankfully.
Which brings us to the next thing we need in our diet. Protein.
Your body is constantly changing. In 3 months you’ll have a new skeleton, in 5 days a new stomach lining, in 6 weeks your cells in your liver are replaced, in 1 month you’ll have new skin, and in a year 98% of your atoms will be replaced. Now, where does your body get the stuff to replace the old cells with? From the food you eat. Specifically, PROTEIN. Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids build your body.
And if you want to gain muscle? Holy crap, protein is a MUST. You tear down your muscle when you lift, but you need protein to build the muscles back bigger and stronger. Whey protein and cottage cheese (surprisingly) are great sources of protein. So are eggs, white meat, fish, and natural almonds.
Finally, we need unsaturated fat, too. Unsaturated fat is the body’s second preferred source of fuel (after carbs are used up). They also pad vital organs and your skeleton, make up cell membranes, and they help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K. Stay away from saturated fats, though. They clog the arteries. Unsaturated fat is where it’s at.
But how much of each… carbs, protein, and fat… does the body need?
There’s a ratio I learned from ISSA that’s killer. It goes like this. Eat 3 parts carbs, 2 parts protein, 1 part fat. Now, what does THAT mean?
Imagine a pie and cut it into six pieces. Three pieces would be carbs, two pieces would be protein, and only one piece would be fat. This is how you can figure out your own ratio right now:
STEP 1. Calculate how many calories are in a part.
____________ (Your Daily Caloric Needs) / 6 = ___________ (Calories per “slice”)
STEP 2. Calculate how many calories you need from each nutrient
How many calories from fat
__________________________ x 1 part = _________________ (Fat)
How many calories from protein
__________________________ x 2 parts = __________________ (Protein)
How many calories from carbs
__________________________ x 3 parts = ___________________ (Carbs)
STEP 3. Convert the calories into grams
Fat grams per day
________ (calories from fat) / 9 calories per gram of fat = ___________ (Fat grams per day)
Protein grams per day
_______ (calories from protein) / 4 calories per gram of protein = ______ (Protein grams per day)
Carb grams per day
_______ (calories from carbs) / 4 calories per gram of carb = ________ (Carb grams per day)
STEP 4. Calculate how much of each nutrient you need per meal
Fat grams per meal
________ (Fat grams per day) / 5 or 6 meals = _____________ (Fat grams per meal)
Protein grams per meal
_______ (Protein grams per day) / 5 or 6 meals = __________ (Protein grams per meal)
Carb grams per meal
_______ (Carb grams per day) / 5 or 6 meals = ____________ (Carb grams per meal)
Now, make sure to eat that amount of carbs, protein, and unsaturated fat in each meal/snack you eat.
4. Add Veggies to (at least) 2 Meals, And Fruits To (at least) 1 Meal.
This is another gem I got from Bill Phillips, and it works. Add a portion of vegetables to at least 2 meals every day (a portion is the amount of food that could fit into the palm of your hand). Add at least one portion of fruit to a meal every day.
5. Drink 64 Ounces Of Water Per Day.
Here’s a tip I learned from Eben Pagan the world-famous information-business entrepreneur (and the guy behind David DeAngelo). Drink 16 ounces of water when you first get up. Then drink three more of these glasses throughout the day. That’s a total of about 64 ounces of water total each day (4 16-ounce glasses or 8 8-ounce glasses of water total).
I take just 3 supplements: multi-vitamin, anti-oxidant (OPC3 or a cup of green tea works), and Omega-3 (for the heart). I also drink protein shakes and eat power bars as “snacks” between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
7. Cheat Once A Week.
Once a week, cheat. Eat WHATEVER you want. Go to town. Have fun. You deserve it. Incorporating some crap actually helps you to keep eating healthy. There’s less temptation for it later.
Plus, after a few months of eating healthy, you’ll compare how your body feels after binging on crap versus eating in moderation. You won’t like it. You’ll feel the difference. And you won’t be able to wait to the healthy stuff. No joke.
So, it’s a psychological trick. Like Carl Jung once said, “What your resist, persists. What you allow to be disappears.” Allowing the crap (once a week, mind you) can actually help it to disappear.
8. Eat Within 1 Hour Of Waking Up. This revs up your metabolism for the rest of your day. That’s why they say breakfast is the most important part of the day. It sets a solid foundation for the rest of the day.
9. Don’t Eat Within 2 Hours Before Going To Sleep. It can give you a belly ache, true. More important, it allows your body to burn off fat while you sleep, instead of the food you just ate. Your metabolism obviously slows down while you sleep, so the chances of your body storing the food you just ate as fat are higher, too.
10. Journal Your 5 -6 Meals At First Until It Becomes A Habit. When starting out, it helps to keep a food journal each day. It ensures you eat 5 -6 times a day, keeps you accountable, and helps to establish a eating habit that lasts the rest of your life. I made a link to a food journal that you can download at the end of this post. Check it out.
Now, here’s the flip side to eating right. You’ve gotta exercise, too.
Another time, way back before I discovered what an exercise was, I was trying to lose my McDonald’s Coca-Cola Belly. ALL I did was eat below what my body burned in calories per day.
And that worked. I did lose weight. But…
…I had no muscle, and no shape to my body.
Muscle changes the shape of your body. Abs are made in the kitchen, yes, but exercise SHAPES your body. And it keeps your body working well and tuned up.
So, how do you exercise? Here’s another Top Ten List. It’s based on the famous “F.I.T.T. Principle” of gym rats everywhere.
1. FREQUENCY: Exercise between 5 – 6 days a week. Rest on the 7th day. Alternate between cardio and weight lifting each day.
If you only do cardio you look like a marathon runner. If you only do weights you look like a body builder. Combine the two you get the body of a gymnast or swimmer:
From what I hear, women like that body the best.
::: Cardio :::
Bill Phillips has a great suggestion for this. Break your intensity into 10 levels. Level 1: sitting on a couch watching TV. Level 10: balls to wall everything you got. You only need like 20 minutes of cardio if you incorporate the higher levels of intensities.
For example, on a stationary bike. Let’s say you do 20 minutes on it. The first 2 minutes: you’re at level 5. At minute 3 you’re at level 6; minute 4 level 7; minute 5 level 8; minute 6 level 9; minute 7 return to level 6. Repeat that sequence three more times. By minute 19 you’re at level 10. At minute 20 you return to level 5.
MINUTE INTENSITY LEVEL
“Interval Training” does a very similar thing. You start at a low intensity for 20 seconds, go to a medium intensity for 20 seconds, and finish at high intensity for the last 20 seconds. You repeat this low-medium-high intensity over and over again with different exercises. Do this for 20-30 minutes. It burns calories like crazy.
Here’s a third way to gauge intensity. Wear a heart rate monitor, and exercise at your maximum heart rate.
What’s your maximum heart rate?
Subtract your age from the number “220.” So, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 190. If you’re 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 170, and so on.
But the best way I’ve found is gauge intensity is to mix lower intensity (to catch your breath) with higher intensities (balls to the wall). You can tell when you’re balls to the wall.
As a general rule, max out between 8-10 reps. That means using weights that exhaust you at reps 8, 9, or 10. (For example when I started out I maxed out with 20 lb dumbbells doing biceps curls at rep 9 or 10 for 3 sets. I’m now at 40lb dumbbells.)
Now, if you want even more size, max out at 4-6 reps. Never do 7. Just kidding.
For calisthenics, like pull-ups and pushups, it’s a little different. For pull-ups a good place to start is 10 – 12 reps. If you can get up to 20 – 25 reps in one set… nice. For pushups a good place to start is 30 reps. If you can get up to 75 reps in one set… again, nice.
The basic rule is whenever a set gets too easy, add more reps or more weights. If 30 pushups are too easy, do 35. If 30 lbs dumbbells are too easy, do 35’s.
When it’s easy, no gains. When you feel the burn, it’s working.
In my workouts, I’ll do at a MINIMUM of 3 sets for one body part. For example, I’ll do 75 standard pushups, 30 diamond pushups and 30 pushups where my feet are on a chair. That’s all for the chest.
::: Cardio :::
You only need 20-30 minutes per cardio workout. Anything over 60 minutes, and you enter “Over-Training” Land, which is counter-productive.
::: Resistance :::
Rest for at least one minute between sets. Your muscles need about that time to recoup enough energy for the next round. Total resistance workouts should take you between 30 – 60 minutes. Again, anything more than 60 minutes per workout, is counter-productive.
::: Cardio ::::
Sky’s the limit here. Biking, swimming, running, plyometrics, basketball… Make sure it lasts for at least 20 minutes, and you’re working up to your highest intensities during your workouts.
::: Resistance :::
I used to be confused about resistance exercises. There seemed to be so many different ones out there. After I did my exam, I realized there are only a few core exercises. Everything else is a variation on those themes. And each core exercise is based on a body part. For example:
i. Biceps: Dumbbell curls
ii. Triceps: Dumbbell extensions, bench dips
iii. Shoulders: Dumbbell press
iv. Chest: pushups, dumbbell bench press
v. Back: pull-ups, dumbbell rows
vi. Quads: Dumbbell squats
vii. Hamstrings: Dumbbell lunges
viii. Buttocks: Dumbbell squats
ix. Calves: Dumbbell calf raises
x. Abs: Crunches
5. Breathe. Exhale during the difficult parts of a resistance exercise, and inhale during the easy parts. Also, don’t tighten your face. This can actually work against you. Make it easier on yourself. Relax your face.
6. Warm-up, Cool-down, and STRETCH. Warm up for 3 – 5 minutes before your workout. Cool down for 5-10 minutes after your workout. During the warmup and cool down, STRETCH!
Brittle things break easier. Elastic things are more durable. Stretching gives you durability. So, it prevents injuries. Also, it gives you flexibility, which makes your body more excellent.
7. Rest. Your body needs to recuperate. Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep.
8. Drink plenty of water. Here it is again. ‘Cause it’s important. Drink 64 ounces a day. This cleans your body from the inside out. It’s got minerals. No poison. And it’s free (unless it’s bottled of course).
9. Consistency is key. If you get off track, no prob. Just keep showing up. As long as you show up you WILL succeed. There’s no such thing as failure unless you quit.
I now see exercise like showering or brushing my teeth. It’s a hygienic thing I do daily. After all, it flushes out toxins, opens my heart, and gets me inside my body. And it clears the mind. The byproduct (not so much the goal) is a great body. The never-ending goal is daily renewal of inner-strength, and care of the self.
10. Track your workouts. I mark each workout I do on my calendar. It holds me accountable, and keeps me on track. Again, I made a link at the end of this post for some workout logs. Please, definitely, check em out.
One other thing before I leave this section about exercise. I learned this really cool thing from ISSA.
We humans aren’t supposed to die at 70 or 80. We’re supposed to live until 110. You can shed 30 years off your age through exercise. A person in their 70s or 80s who exercises is as strong as person who’s 40 or 50. Exercise is the closest thing we have to an anti-aging pill.
Makes sense. If you don’t use your body it disintegrates. If you use it, you keep it sharp and healthy. Exercise is just as important as right eating… and brushing your teeth.
Way, way, way before I learned this stuff, I thought if I exercised a couple of times and ate healthy a couple of times, magically I would get a rippling 8 pack abs and 16″ biceps. Two workouts and I thought I’d see results. I was so sad when I learned that’s not how it works.
When I did learn all this stuff and finally lost 40 pounds and gained some muscle, I asked myself how the hell I did it. When I look back I realize it was because of one thing.
I exercised six days a week and I cut out the crap food… day after day after day. It took me about 4 or 5 months to do, but through CONSISTENCY I finally did it.
ISSA taught me why consistency works.
It’s because the body is so damn stubborn. The technical term is “homeostasis.” That means the body likes to stay the same. So, to get results, it’s simple. Work over and over and over again. That must be why they call it “training.” Through consistency you train your body into a new way of being or a new “stasis.”
So, the first step of consistency is to make the decision to change. The second step is to commit to a plan to get there (see “right eating and right exercise”). The third step is to execute that plan over and over again. Even when you’re tired or sick and don’t want to, exercise 5 – 6 times a week and eat moderately 5 – 6 times a day.
Magically… or not so magically… when I followed those steps, I lost 40 pounds of blubber and gained muscle. Hell, yeah. Same exact thing for you.
Now, let me just say this one last thing. It’s easy to get off track. It happens to me all the time. It happens to everyone. It’s no reason to stay off track though. Just get back on the horse and keep going at it. No need to get discouraged. With consistency or persistency or whatever you want to call it, you WILL win the battle against your body’s stubborn homeostasis. No doubt.
Keep showing up. Over and over again. That’s all it takes.
You can create your program, you can hire a trainer, or… the way I got my head start was doing p90x. It’s an awesome program. I used to be a varsity athlete, and this program reminded me of those intense preseason trainings. It’s also like having your own personal trainer… that you can keep forever.
The down fall is p90x takes about 50 min – 90 min a workout. You’ll have to purchase some dumbbells and a pull-up bar. I mean, that’s not really a downfall because it’s so worth it. Lifetime investment. And if it’s important enough to you to get your body back into shape, it’s very easy to make time for those workouts. Doing p90x was a life changer for me. No gadgets or fad stuff. Just good old fashioned fundamentals that have been around forever. It’s such a solid program.
But if you feel like you don’t have the time, the company that puts out p90x… Beach Body… has some other great programs like “10 Minute Trainer” or “Power Half Hour.” They’re shorter workouts that can also get a good job done, too.
Their website is p90x.com, in case you want to check it out.
Here’s a website, if you want a little more eye candy, I mean, inspiration.
Finally, here’s some Trackers I made that you can use: a food journal and some workout logs.
Again, eat right and exercise six days week CONSISTENTLY… you WILL lose weight and gain muscle. Guaranteed.