Lose Fat, Gain Muscle
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 places that’s recognized as credible…
1. American Council on Exercise (ACE)
2. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
3. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
4. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
5. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
…and as you can see, 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
3. Right Rest
Eat right, exercise consistently, AND sleep 6-8 hours per night.
- Right exercise: shapes and sculpts your body.
- Right eating: provides blocks to build muscle, and burns fat
- Right sleep: builds muscles and produces testosterone.
- Consistency: establishes new and lasting homeostasis in your body
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 four things and break it down.
I. RIGHT FOOD
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 eat.
How do you eat right? Here’s the Top Eight 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 less calories to burn fat, eat more calories to burn muscle.
For the longest time I thought you were supposed to eat 5-6 meals a day.
The idea was simple. Eat lots of small meals, your body works more and becomes like a sauna… which burns more calories. Eat less, your body goes into “starvation mode”… and starts storing calories so you don’t starve later. Your metabolism drops. You burn less calories.
I saw that message EVERYWHERE. The p90x Nutritional Guide, Bill Phillips’ “Body For Life” book, articles in Men’s Health magazine. I thought it was medical doctrine.
Turns out it’s not.
Doesn’t matter if you eat one large meal a day, two large meals, or you divide your caloric intake into eight or ten meals. All that matters is your caloric intake. Eat less than your caloric intake, you burn fat. Eat more than your caloric intake while lifting weights and you gain muscle.
I learned the fallacy of the “6 meals a day” doctrine from a book called “Engineering The Alpha,” by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein.
At first I was like, “No way in HELL! That’s impossible!”
But then I tried it out, and they were right. I didn’t gain weight from eating only two big meals a day. In fact, I burned some off.
If you’re curious how that happened, read on. If not, you can skip this next part.
Cool, you’re still reading.
Okay, so their diet plan (in my opinion at least) was kinda strange, now that I look back on it. They call it “intermittent fasting.” They use the word ‘fasting’ probably because it sounds spiritual, but it’s not. Really you’re intermittently STARVING yourself. Obviously you can’t call it that (what it really is) because it sounds awful.
Here’s the idea: you’re only allowed to eat within eight hours. The rest of the sixteen hours you starve, um, I mean don’t eat, or “fast” or whatever you wanna call it. The one cool thing about this is: if you start your breakfast later (at like noon) and stop eating eight hours later (at like eight), you eat less food than if you had breakfast at 8am and didn’t stop eating until like 1am. That part of it made sense.
During the eight hours, you can eat however many meals as you want, as long as it’s below your caloric intake. And as long as it’s high in fat and protein, but SUPER LOW in carbs. So, low you’re like “I can’t have that apple because that’d put me above how many grams of carbs I can eat.” Warning flag maybe?
They say it’s the least restrictive diet out there. That’s bullshit. It was the MOST restrictive diet I’ve ever done. Because most foods are made from carbs, so you’re cutting a lot of food (and variety) from your diet. And not eating for four to eight hours after you get up (depending on when you had your last meal before bed) is a challenge. You do kinda get used to it after a week or two, and it is kinda cool to challenge yourself. But it is a challenge.
They say it’s a really cool diet because you get to eat steak and eggs and burgers (without the bun), and use lots of oils. But after a while I couldn’t even stand the sight of steak and eggs without my stomach churning, because you got tired of eating the same kind of stuff over and over.
(Luckily, I had purchased a recipe plan as a bonus to the book. That bonus was available only if you I bought the book online. And the recipes give you some good variety. Unfortunately, these recipes aren’t in the book itself.)
The next part of their diet is this. One day of the week, you get to eat WHATEVER the hell you want.
Romaniello tells a story about how he ate something like 14,000 calories in a day during an ice cream eating contest. So, when they say whatever, they mean whatever.
I loved my cheat days. LOVED THEM. I’d go to Dunkin Donuts in the morning and have donuts for breakfast. Go to McDonalds for lunch and eat fries, quarter pounder with cheese, Big Mac, and McFlurry. And then for dinner I’d have deep dish pepperoni pizza, wings, beer, and a brownie sundae. It was awesome. Okay, maybe your cheat days were not restrictive.
This was not only allowed, it was REQUIRED to have a full-out feast day. Every day I was counting my days to my feast day.
Only problem is, after your gorge fest, you’d have to fast for the entire day after, and then half the day after that. That’s like 36-48 hours of not eating. Then you start back to eating only eight hours a day. So, you eat a total of five and a half days per week.
Instead of “intermittent fasting, maybe a better name would’ve been “Feast and Famine” model. Here was their rationale for the model.
When you eat below your caloric intake and lower your carbs, you burn fat. The downside is it also lowers your metabolism and your body does go into starvation mode. That’s why they require you to have that pig out fest once a week. To wake up your metabolism again. And they make you do the 36 hour fast the day-after to clear out the crap in your body.
Their program has you do this for FOUR MONTHS. Four moths. Four months is a long-ass time to do this. And they give you some creative exercise programs to go with it.
I definitely got the most cut six pack abs after I finished the program. But I had also lost muscle and my body fat percentage was strangely higher than when it was when I started (even though I had decent abs).
Here’s the biggest problem I had with this method. Cutting carbs from your diet DOES work to cut up your body. You know, in getting those six-pack abs. But it’s dangerous to sustain that kind of diet for the FOUR MONTHS. Because your body and your brain NEED carbs. And your body starts craving carbs like crazy. It might be cool to do this for like 4-5 weeks, but not four months.
Man, I was so relieved and happy when I had finished that diet.
So, I wouldn’t recommend it. I mean, try it for yourself and see if it works for you. But for me, looking back, I wouldn’t do it again. I’m glad I did it, and I learned from it though. Here’s what I learned:
- You don’t have to eat 5-6 meals a day.
- You don’t have to eat within an hour of getting up.
- You can eat right before you go to bed.
- If you eat breakfast later in the day (like 4-6 hours after you get up), you end up eating less food.
- Cutting carbs out for a 4-5 weeks can help you get that six-pack you want.
- Saturated fats are okay to eat. It’s TRANS FATS you need to avoid like the plague.
- Fats are a source of fuel, too.
- Each pound of muscle burns 6-10 extra calories (NOT 50 calories as some people say). That means having more muscle increases your metabolism.
- When you eat lower than your caloric intake, you burn fat. But to gain muscle you have to eat MORE than your caloric intake.
As for that last bullet point: how then do you both burn fat AND gain muscle?
Bodybuilders do something ISSA calls “Zig-Zaging.”
You eat 800-1,000 calories ABOVE your caloric intake while lifting weights. You won’t be able to build bigger muscles if you don’t have those extra calories. They’re the building blocks that ADD muscle to your body. Yes, your fat percentage increases in the process. But because you’re lifting weights, it doesn’t all turn to fat. A lot of it turns into muscle. Do this for like two months, and you’ll gain an inch to your biceps.
Then eat like 200-400 calories BELOW your caloric intake and LOWER your carb intake for like 4-5 weeks. It’s cool how it works, but it burns off that last stubborn fat. This is what’ll cut you up, and get you those abs. Cut carbs and calories, but just for a month or so. Yes, you lose a little muscle in the process, but you’ll still have more than when you began.
Keep repeating that process. Or just eat within your caloric intake to maintain.
I learned that less from the Alpha book and more from this program:
Body Beast also has some killer recipes, too.
So, the Alpha program starves you. You’ll gain abs, but lose muscle. In the Body Beast program, you eat A LOT. You’ll gain muscle AND get abs.
Here’s the last lesson I’ve learned about eating within your caloric intake. It comes from one of my favorite sayings by the ancient Greeks:
“Everything in moderation.”
In America, land of “Super-Size,” food portions are HUGE. Everything is either Jumbo Size, Super Size, Extra Large or a Double Big Gulp.
Our bodies just don’t NEED that much food. Stop eating when you’re full. Eat only as much as you NEED.
I wanna share one more story about this point.
I had a college girlfriend, who may or may not have been a little chubby… and who I may or may not have expressed I wanted to breakup (not because of the weight) before we left for summer break. Well, she came back from 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.
She was right. We don’t need as much food as we think we crave. Especially when eating sugary, fatty foods. Those kinds of foods just make you want more and more and more. When you eats only what your body needs and there’s a balance between carbs, protein, and fat your body feels sooo much better.
That girl looked great. We still broke up. But that’s another story.
3. For Each Meal Eat Carbs, Protein, and Fat.
- credit: http://www.allmaxnutrition.com
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. And one of the best carbs you can eat is brown rice.
Actually, here’s a great rule of thumb I learned about determining what are “good carbs” from the “bad carbs.” The whiter the sugar, the worse the carb. Because it has less fiber and less nutritional content.
When you think about it, THAT’S the real issue these low-carb diets have. It’s not that carbs are bad. It’s just most of us North Americans eat so many EMPTY carbs (with no fiber or nutritional value: muffins, sugar in coffee, sugar in soda, white bread, candy bars.
The fact we consume food with more fat than protein doesn’t help either. Pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, donuts, muffins, sodas… you see a pattern:
(KEY: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories; 1 gram of carb = 4 calories; 1 gram of protein = 4 calories)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
- 246 calories
- 14 grams of fat = 126 calories = 51%
- 25 grams of carbs = 100 calories = 40%
- 5 grams of protein = 20 calories = 9%
Cheese Pizza Slice
- 204 calories
- 8 g fat = 72 calories = 29%
- 25 g carbs = 100 calories = 48%
- 8 g protein = 32 calories = 15%
- 145 calories
- 13 g fat = 117 calories = 79%
- 2 g carbs = 8 calories 6%
- 5 g protein = 20 calories = 14%
Hot Dog Bun
- 114 calories
- 2 g fat = 18 calories = 16%
- 21 g carbs = 84 calories = 74%
- 3 g protein = 12 calories = 10%
- 349 calories
- 17 g fat = 153 calories = 44%
- 29 g carbs = 116 calories = 33%
- 20 g protein = 80 calories = 23%
- 126 calories
- 2 g fat = 18 calories = 14%
- 23 g carbs = 92 calories = 73%
- 4 g protein = 16 calories = 13%
- 361 calories
- 17 g fat = 153 calories = 42%
- 48 g carbs = 192 calories = 53%
- 4 g protein = 16 calories = 5%
Do you see how HIGH the fat and carbs are? And how LOW the protein is? That’s an average of 39% from fat, 47% from carbs, and only 14% from protein. Our North American diet consists mostly of fat and carbs. And we tend to eat lower protein. No wonder a lot of us carry more fat than muscle.
One tweak that’s changed my eating for the better is to reverse this. I make sure to eat high amounts of protein FIRST. This naturally lowers any unnecessary fat and carbs.
Here’s the ratio I shoot for: 20% of my calories come from fat, 50% from carbs, and 30% from protein. So, let’s say I’m eating 1800 calories a day. 360 calories (or 40 grams) come from fat, 900 (or 225 grams) come from carbs, and 540 calories (135 grams) come from protein.
In fact, I simply make sure I’m eating 135 grams of protein a day. Again, that forces me to eat less fat and less carbs automatically.
And the carbs I look to eat has gotta have fiber and nutritional value. Those are the “good carbs,” by the way. The ones that have fiber and nutrition (that give you vitamins and minerals). These carbs tend to be whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.
Oh, and also I’ve learned that packages that say “low fat” is deceiving. Sugar tends to replace the fat.
My point is: carbs aren’t a bad thing. True, if you cut down carbs, your body will eat your fat deposits. It’s a great way to get a six pack. That’s how body builders get cut up. But don’t do this for more than four weeks. It’s unhealthy. Because after your body eats the fat deposits, 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 weight at first, but 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. Saturated fats are okay too.
Avoid Trans fats. They’re unnatural and clog the arteries.
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)
Now, make sure to eat that amount of carbs, protein, and 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).
By far, my favorite supplement is protein power. You can put this in everything. Pancakes, yogurt, cottage cheese, mixed in with milk or water. It tastes like dessert and helps you get enough protein. When you increase protein in your diet, guess what? You naturally lower fat intake and moderate carb intake. And you help increase testosterone and muscle.
I especially love whey protein isolate. What’s whey protein you ask? I had wondered the same thing, so I looked it up.
Whey’s a byproduct of cheese making. It’s also one of the two protein in milk. The other protein in milk is casein, and the whey protein can be separated from the casein. What’s awesome about whey is it’s a “complete protein.” It contains all 9 essential amino acids, and is low in lactose content.
Avoid soy protein like the plague. Unless you wanna grow a pair of tits and a vagina. Okay, so you might not grow a pair of tits and a vagina. But it does turn into estrogen rather than testosterone. Whey enhances your testosterone.
That’s why I like whey isolate protein powder. It eliminates the soy. It’s a couple bucks extra but it’s totally worth it.
I take just 3 other supplements: multi-vitamin, anti-oxidant (OPC3 or a cup of green tea works), and Omega-3 (for the heart). And drink protein 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. 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.
II. RIGHT EXERCISE
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: Squats and Lunges
vii. Hamstrings: Romanian Deadlift (keeping knees slightly bent)
viii. Buttocks: Dumbbell squats
ix. Calves: Dumbbell calf raises
x. Abs: Crunches
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.
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.
Before you start exercising do this:
- Get clear on your WHY you wanna workout and what your goals are. Make your goals specific. Numbers are specific (“lose 3% body fat is more specific than lose fat.”) Also, pics are specific. Find a picture of the exact body you want to have. This’ll help you get through the program when you want to quit half-way there.
- Measure your waist (measuring tape around your belly button), chest, biceps, quads, and calves. Then measure these after 90 minutes. You’ll see exactly where you were and how far you’ve come.
- Measure your weight and body fat percentage. I use a scale that measures both. You can also use a caliper to measure body fat percentage, or a body fat monitor. Again, these’ll help you keep accurate records of where you were and how far you’ve come.
Then, while I’m exercising I do this:
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.
I’d also recommend getting a heart rate monitor, especially the Timex model, that tracks how many calories you’ve burnt in a workout and to measure whether you should be working out harder or less harder.
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.
III. RIGHT REST
This one’s easy.
- Exercise: breaks down muscle.
- Food: building blocks for muscle.
- Sleep: builds up muscle.
If you don’t get enough rest, doesn’t matter how much you exercise. Your body won’t be able to build up the muscle.
Also, you body makes testosterone when you sleep. A good way to lower your testosterone is NOT sleeping.
So, get 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
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 4 – 6 times a week and eat healthy.
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. The good news is Beach Body… the company that puts out p90x… just came out with p90x3 this year (I’m writing in 2014). Each workout’s only 30 minutes!
The other thing about the p90x programs: 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 want to start less intense, Beach Body has some other great programs like “10 Minute Trainer” or “Power Half Hour.” They’re shorter workouts that 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, exercise six days week CONSISTENTLY, and sleep 6-8 hours per night… you WILL lose weight and gain muscle. Guaranteed.