It doesn’t come easy, but having a goal— combined with consistency and dedication— makes it that much more possible to achieve. I get questions from people all the time about where to start and how to stay on track. So, here I have compiled 10 tips on training and nutrition.
Health and fitness is a journey, so take your time and think lifestyle.
5 Training Tips
1. Don’t confuse activity for intensity. Make sure you are mentally prepared before beginning your workout. Activity is just showing up, whereas intensity is giving 100 percent of your mind body and soul to every rep, set, exercise and workout. Don’t just go through the motions.
2. Keep a journal and challenge yourself. An accurate journal will guarantee that you are making progress and will motivate you to improve upon your past performance. For example, if last week you did wide-grip pull-downs at 80 pounds for 10 reps, next week try 80 pounds for 12 to 15 reps or up the weight to 90 pounds and try 8 reps.
3. Incorporate close-chain and open-chain movements in all workouts. Close-chain movements work multiple muscle groups at once. Ex: squats, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges. Open-chain movements work single muscle groups: biceps curls, leg extensions, triceps extensions.
4. Focus on tempo, form, range of motion, and rest between sets. Speeding up your reps, resting longer than normal between sets and performing partial reps all have their place in weight-training programs. However, if you always perform your routines this way, your results will become stagnant. Try slowing down the reps, shortening rest periods and really focusing on the stretch and squeeze of the exercise for a different challenge.
5. Do cardio, but don’t skip the weights. For the ladies, this is usually not an issue. Men, on the other hand, don’t always abide by this rule. However, if you are only doing cardio and not strength training in fear of getting too “bulky,” cardio will only make you a smaller soft version of your current body without any definition or shape. You must incorporate both weights and cardio to get the body you want. I recommend doing cardio for at least 30 minutes three days a week for heart health and to keep body fat levels in check, but up to one hour a day five days a week if you are really looking to shed fat quickly.
5 Nutrition Tips
1. Proper nutrition must be high on your priority list. What you eat, how much and when you eat MUST be high on your priority list if you want to take your physique to the next level. You are only weight training for one to two hours a day, so what you do in the remainder of the other 22 to 23 hours is what will make the biggest impact on your progress.
2. Keep it simple and don’t look for the perfect diet. Sometimes it is easier if you don’t give yourself too many choices. By having too many food options, your chances of becoming overwhelmed are much greater. Clean eating is the hardest part of getting in shape, so anticipate the sacrifices you will have to make. If you are disciplined and consistent, you WILL see results.
3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals every two to three hours. Small, well-balanced meals spaced evenly throughout the day will help your body utilize the nutrients in your foods more efficiently. It will also help you keep your metabolism fired up, your body burning more fat and your insulin/energy levels more consistent throughout the day.
4. It doesn’t matter how late you eat. What matters is what and how much you are eating. Carbohydrates are for energy, and we don’t need energy before bed. Stick to green vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats before bed.
5. Accept responsibility for your results. If you aren’t seeing results fast enough, take a good honest look at your program. Cut out the cheats, alcohol, bread and sugars. Are you taking extra bites, eating candy in the jar at work, or skipping meals? By ignoring the truth, you are only hurting yourself.