We all, both men and women, crave to get in shape and have an aesthetic physique all year round.
The playbook is simple:
Eat healthy and exercise more, and you will soon start to see results.
The problem is that there is a whole lot more to it than just a vigorous workout regimes and better eating habits.
Which is actually the main reason why so many people tend to struggle when it comes to shedding those extra pounds of body fat or gaining more muscle mass.
In today’s article we are going to discuss:
10 Simple Tips To Get In Shape
Let’s dive in.
Having A Realistic Fitness Plan
This might sound silly to you guys:
But this is actually the most fundamental element to anybody’s successful transformation.
You need to focus your attention on having a realistic perspective of where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
And most importantly the time it will take you to get to the “finish line”.
Having high and unrealistic expectations about something will only make the realistic and true results feel disappointing.
Which leads to a sense of self-doubt, negative emotions and ultimately to quitting your quest to a better body.
Fitness models and gurus, both online and offline, empower these falsified perspectives of our body’s capabilities and further facilitate the previously mentioned negative feelings of self-doubt and urge to quit.
For example, some of these might sound familiar to you from all of the various online advertisements found on different websites, – lose 30lbs in 1 month; gain 20lbs of pure muscle in just 5 months; make your arms grow in 5′ of size in just 6 months. And these are to name just a few.
Physiologically and biologically, these results are impossible for the human body to achieve. Of course this depends on the circumstances – meaning that if you are a 250-300lbs heavy man or woman, losing 30lbs in 1 month will be possible and if you are using muscle augmenting chemicals such as anabolic steroids, then you can truly grow in 20lbs of pure muscle in 5 months.
The “Natty or Not” community is also to blame for the level of confusion that has been created in the past couple of years where they claim that famous fitness personas, that you might have and continue to admire, are actually on steroids. Some accusations are true while other are just stupid.
What all of this means is that before you start envisioning your results and creating your diet and workout plan, you really need to do some research.
You will need to start of by finding out what is your body type and what does each body type mean and carry as advantages and disadvantages; look back and take a look at your heritage – take a look at old photos of your parents or grandparents (if such are available) and consider their body structure (are they athletic, skinny or on the heavier side).
This will help you create more realistic expectations of your body’s genetic capabilities,
Furthermore, when looking towards building muscle mass, you will need to consider your body’s muscle building capacity – i.e. how much muscle is physiologically possible for your body to build over a specific period of time.
This is not vigorous research that we are talking about and would probably take you anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to complete. Once completed, you can start building your transformation plan.
Configure Your Weekly Diet Plan
Your diet is roughly 60% of your success during the transformation:
What that means is that if you’re trying to get in shape you need to pay attention to your meal plan.
It provides you with the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients that helps you reduce your overall body fat percentage and improve muscle hypertrophy.
Usually, adjusting your diet is the hardest part. More importantly, you need to configure your diet to your own body’s structure and your personal lifestyle. Don’t be afraid, though, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
I like to decompose the whole process into 4 easy steps:
1) Use a calorie calculator. The online calculator will serve as your personal digital benchmark – it will provide you with a relatively close number to the amount of calories that you need to consume based on the metrics that you provide the system with.
You can start by using our calorie calculator tool for an accurate calorie intake estimation.
For about 8 years now, I’ve been using Scooby’s online calorie calculator, as it tends to be quite close to my daily calorie requirement – usually 2% or 3% of a difference.
Another way that you can use to calculate your caloric needs is by using the “rule of thumb method” – this is where you calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR – the daily number of calories that your body requires to maintain its current weight) by using a very basic method where you take your weight in lbs and you multiply it by 10 and you add a rough number of 500-1000 calories for your daily activities (these you can find out by using Lifesum).
For example, I weigh 195lbs – my BMR should be about 1950 calories. This is the amount of calories that are required for me to maintain my current bodyweight of 195lbs while being completely passive throughout the day – sitting or laying down. By adding my daily activities, which are roughly about 1000 calories, I am at a 2950 BMR.
Now that I know that my BMR is 2950 I can start lowering my caloric intake. I usually tend to start off with 100-200 calories. I then weigh myself after a week has passed. If my weight has dropped and I do not see any drops in my muscle measurements, then that means that I am on the right track. If, however, I do not see any changes in my weight, I lower my caloric intake with 300 instead of 100-200. If I notice that I’ve lost a lot of weight and my muscle measurements are down, then that means that I have lowered it a bit too much and need increase it a bit.
After some weeks pass and I have lost some weight, I will need to lower my caloric intake again, otherwise I will hit a plateau – i.e. see no results.
2) Consider a large variety of nutritional sources. You now have a set benchmark, now comes the time where you need to set the various sources of food from where you are going to satisfy your caloric need.
The bigger the variety, the better. You would, of course, want to make sure that all of your caloric sources are of healthy origin and are packed with lean protein, complex carbohydrates (rich in fibre and with a relatively low glycemic index), and healthy fatty acids.
A larger variety also means that you can experience more foods and this will impact your psychological standpoint in a positive manner – consuming the same foods over and over for extended periods of time can have a negative consequence on your mentality as it just gets old too fast and you are sure to give up quicker.
I speak about this in more dept at the end of the article.
3) Consume your calories at the right time. You do not need to be a major in rocket science to understand this, it’s quite rudimental. Make sure that you consume more carbohydrates during your training days ( this is called carb cycling) and more specifically before and after your workout (it is considered that 80% of your daily carb intake should be before and after your workout) and fewer late at night.
Something that most calorie calculators do not inform you of is that you need to shuffle your calories – i.e. consume less calories during your resting days (while maintaining the same protein consumption) and more during your working days.
This is to ensure that you supply your muscles with the necessary energy to properly execute your workout and that you do not accumulate any extra body fat.
The same goes for consuming high dosages of carbs late at night – your metabolic rate is at its lowest, which means that the more calories you consume, the more will be stored as body fat.
4 ) Evaluate your results. The calculator just serves as a benchmark, if you are not achieving the results you were expecting (realistic ones, remember) or if you’ve hit a plateau, then that means that some alterations must be made in your diet, either an increase or decrease in calorie consumption. I personally prefer following my weight every week or every other week as well as my body fat percentage and my body’s measurements.
Every person is different both psychologically and physically. What works for one person might not work for you, or might not work as well for you as it did for the other person. As a consequence, every individual needs to regulate his/her diet so that it aligns perfectly with his/her lifestyle and body structure.
Something I want to make abundantly clear is that I’m not saying that if you want to get in shape you MUST use supplements. On the contrary, you can get in shape without supplements, that’s obvious.
Supplements just help you get better and faster results.
However, this does not mean that you should solely rely on fitness supplements. Your diet and workout plan are far more important than what you have stocked on your shelves.
My personal favorites are:
Whey protein powder
Enhances muscle recovery and helps boost muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth).
It is often regarded as one of the most growth promoting (anabolic) supplements. This is caused due to its rich amino acid profile, specifically Leucine.
Whey protein is also a convenient way of increasing one’s protein intake by providing 22-25g of protein per scoop.
Creatine is the most researched and well documented supplement on the market.
It has hundreds of studies solidifying its benefits to strength and power. While it does not help increase muscle mass on its own, by improving performance at the gym it can lead to more tension on the muscle and a larger stimulus for muscle growth. Creatine also causes water retention in the muscle causing them to look more fuller and tighter.
It has also been shown to improve anaerobic capacity and enhance recovery.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs help increase exercise capacity, improve protein synthesis, hypertrophy and exercise recovery.
When taken after a workout, BCAAs have been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis by up to 22%.
BCAAs are also shown to help reduce exercise fatigue, which would allow for more intensive workouts, and help promote mental focus during exercise, which would assist with mind-muscle connection.
Omega 3 fatty acids
While Omega-3s are commonly known for their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a plethora of other health benefits, it has been shown to help prevent muscle loss and promote muscle growth by activating the anabolic response of a cell.
With a study showing that participants exhibited a 50% increase in protein synthesis.
I’ve written a more in-depth article about the muscle building properties of Omega 3s where you can find out more.
Caffeine is widely known to help increase power output, increase training volume and suppress fatigue.
Caffeine has also been shown to help increase testosterone production after a workout. Lastly, it has been shown to increase calorie expenditure, thus leading to elevated fat loss.
My recommendation is usually to start simple. Get one or two products (for example creatine and protein powder) and if you start noticing better results, then you can start thinking about expanding your inventory.
Compound Exercises/Multi-joint exercises Instead Of Cardio Exercises
While cardio is exceptionally good for weight loss and toning of the body, there is a far better method of shedding those extra pounds of body fat, and even better: helps you build some muscle mass around weak areas; helps you develop an aesthetic physique as your figure’s development is more balanced and dispersed evenly; helps you generate more power and neurological core strength; and most importantly, helps you burn a shitload of calories both while performing the exercise and for hours after!
Compound exercises are far more superior to any cardiovascular workout that you can think of!
And even more importantly it has a positive effect on your mental capacity as well! This is due to the fact that with compound exercises you have a much larger inventory of exercises that you can use in combination with your regular workout regime.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying that you should completely avoid cardio exercises for weight loss, but rather I’m implying that you should focus more of your attention on hardcore compound exercises that will help you achieve much better results – exercises such as: squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, thrusters, kettlebell swings, just to name a few. You can still keep doing your cardio workouts, just make sure that you use more high intensity (HIT), rather than low intensity (LIT).
A combination of both compound exercises and HIT exercises will help you burn off even more body fat than just sticking with one option.
The best part is that, as I previously mentioned, multi-joint exercises elevate your metabolic rate for anywhere from 5 to 20 hours, depending on its intensity, after leaving the gym. This is exceptionally good for all of you busy worker bees that can barely find any free time to visit the gym, but want to get in shape for the summer.
Find a friend or two who share the same desire as you and want to get in shape. If you don’t have any keen friends who are looking to improve their physique, then you can always start chatting up some of the guys or girls that are already frequent visitors at your local gym.
The latter is even more beneficial as you will have a much more knowledgeable individual who can guide you and correct any mistakes that you make.
In general, having someone to go with to the gym will improve your transformation process because of five main reasons:
- It will make the whole process more pleasurable. It’s always nice to socialize and have someone with whom you share similar interests and desires. You will also have some one to chat with – you will need to make sure, however, that this does not consume your workout time – which will make your resting periods a whole lot less boring.
- Competition. Having someone with whom to compete is always beneficial as competition, in general, is a really powerful incentive that can push you towards reaching your goal. You can always play some competitive games (cautiously, of course) where you challenge your maximum potential.
- Wisdom. You can share your knowledge and know-how between one another. You learn something new from somewhere or somebody and you share that knowledge with your gym buddy, and vice versa.
- Guidance. Your gym buddy can guide you and ensure that you are maintaining the correct form during the execution of a specific exercise; make sure that you’re not lifting too light or too heavy; make sure that you’re not overtraining or under-training.
- Safety. There is a certain degree of safeness that is exerted during your workouts when somebody is partnering you. You dare and push yourself and try to lift heavier weights because you feel safe knowing that if something were to happen there would be somebody there to help you out.
In other words, your gym buddy is the one dude or lady (respectfully) with whom you create a strong bond and will impact your psychological capacity greatly.
Furthermore, it would be wise to strategically pinpoint the right person that can fill that position – i.e. try to avoid people who are too lazy or passive, that might damage your workout.
Junk Food Diet
Junk food is something that you would have to eliminate from your diet. This farewell is not easy, at all! It’s always hard the first time you do it and it’s exceptionally complicated the first couple of days. Good news is that as soon those days pass you slowly start forgetting about it and about all of the nasty things it did to you.
There are many strategies that can be used to make it easier for you to destroy junk-food cravings. Here are some of my favorites:
- Healthy junk-food. What I love to do is recreate my favorite forms of junk-food or high-caloric food by implementing healthy ingredients in the recipe. That way I can still enjoy the mouthwatering tastes of foods such as pizza, burgers, pasta, pancakes, and even ice-cream.
- Substitute foods. Most of the times the reason why we crave the foods that we do is not mainly associated with the food itself, but rather with the characteristics of it. If that makes any sense? See, for example, we love the crunchy feeling of the salty potato chips (crisps); we love the soft and sugary taste of the sponge cake; the texture and general taste of chocolate. This, of course, is not always the case, but it really helps when you take this into consideration. Finding foods that can substitute your favorite junk foods and can help you eliminate cravings by satisfying those urges.
- For example, dark chocolate provides you with the lovely chocolate taste; baked yam slices are nice and crunchy; and you can use stevia (a naturally occurring sweetener) and make yourself something that would usually contain sugar to deliver that sweet sugary taste. I also love to buy myself at least 2 differently flavored whey protein powders – so that, for example, if I am craving a chocolate shake, I make one, or if I crave a strawberry smoothie, or vanilla, or cookies, or whatever flavor you can think of. I understand that it carries a price but I am willing to pay the extra couple of sterling/dollars so that I can enjoy those tastes.
Having these tools in your arsenal is never bad as they will help ease you in and greatly reduce the mental stress of having to say goodbye to your favorite tasty treats.
Furthermore, you need to remember that fitness is more a test of your psychology than it is on your physical capabilities – this is usually the separating factor that distinguishes the winners from the losers. The reason why I am saying this is because, yet again, fitness is a marathon, not a race, the longer you manage to stay in the race the better the results you will see down the line.
Reward yourself from time to time with some cheat meals or, even, days. Where you consume all of your favorite and missed foods that you usually do not have on your plate.
Once or twice a month, or more often if you believe your metabolism can handle it, won’t hurt. As a matter of fact, they’ll actually help keep you in the game for longer and achieve better weight loss results – more specifically cheat meals/days are shown to have a positive impact on weight loss plateaus.
A weight loss plateau is where no matter what you do or change in your workout or diet, nothing seems to be affecting your weight in a positive way – i.e. you have stopped losing weight. Weight loss plateau is considered to occur when you have not seen any positive changes in your weight for about 10-14 days, or about two weeks.
Cheat meals have proven to have both a psychological and a physiological effect on weight loss plateaus that help you improve your results and lose even more body fat than before hitting the plateau. Read more about it here.
Increase Physical Activity
Here we’re not talking about physical activity in the gym, but rather your general daily physical activity. Not a lot of people seem to understand this simple concept. But as long as you do something that will consequently increase your physical activity, you will start noticing some pretty nice weight loss results.
How exactly can you this? In many ways actually:
Instead of taking the car to go to your favorite supermarket, why not walk to there or take your bike out for a spin.
Instead of using the elevator every single time you need to go up or down a flight of stairs, why not just use the stairs?
Instead of using the escalator at your favorite mall when you’re out shopping with your friends, just use the stairs instead.
If you have a long and boring job sitting in front of a laptop or stationary computer, just stand up every 30-40 minutes and stretch for about 5-10 minutes (from personal experience – this will also help you mentally finish your work much quicker). And the same goes for anybody who has spent the last couple of hours studying.
Small changes like that carry quite an impressive impact to your end results. And if you don’t believe me, just listen to this:
- Walking at a medium pace (3mph or 5km/h) for 30 minutes burns 146 calories
- Walking up stairs for just 5 minutes burns 64 calories while running upstairs is 128 calories or double the amount
- Having a good 10 minute stretch burns approximately 30 calories
- Even just standing up helps you burn more calories than sitting down – you burn 56 calories for every 30 minutes you spend standing up
If you did all of this in one day, without any hard gym workout, you would burn a total of 300 calories.
Keep in mind, of course, that there are multiple characteristics that would affect these numbers – for example, age, gender, muscle mass, bone mass, etc – however, the numbers are relatively accurate. I got them from the LifeSum app by the way, definitely my favorite free fitness app out there.
One really fun way to increase your activity is by playing Pokemon Go. I conducted a wee experiment to see how my fitness activity changed after playing the game. The numbers are quite impressive to be honest – after playing the game I had a 890 caloric burn!
If you are a busy bee and you don’t really have much time on your hands to exercise or you need to stay in front of a computer then at least aim for decreasing your daily sitting time and increasing your standing time. It’s not just about the amount of calories that you will burn throughout the day, but sitting is just bad for you in general – it decreases your metabolic rate, decreases good cholesterol in your body by 20%, insulin effectiveness drops (decreased muscle growth and increased chances to develop type 2 diabetes).
Even if you are exercises 4-6 times a week you can still try your best and reduce your sitting time by having some stretching cycles every 20-30 minutes, as mentioned above, when you start noticing you have been siting for a long period of time. It works wonders!
Vitamins and Minerals For Weight Loss
Micro-nutrition tends to be the undervalued form of nutrition that we all tend to neglect. When we talk about weight loss or muscle building we tend to focus our attention on macro-nutritions such as how much calories do we intake from carbs, protein and lipids (fats).
Micronutrients, actually, do in fact empower weight loss and even muscle growth. Most “super foods” or fat-burning foods contain these micronutrients which is exactly what makes them such a fundamental element to your weight loss diet. I am not going to go in too much detail as I have already spoken about the power that vitamins and minerals hold (more recently in this article) but I will still list some of them.
- Catechins are found in green and black tea and is recorded to help reduce body fat by a study published in a 2005 issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”.
- Cayenne is made up of Capsaicin that promotes weight loss by helping the body break down fat. Furthermore, it prevents the storing of fat cells in the body.
- Vitamin C is known to increase the body’s metabolism allowing it to burn more body fat, even when at rest.
- Vitamin B-12 helps convert fat into energy. In a way this vitamin helps convert fat into carbs. B-12 can be found in lean meats, fish and eggs.
- Calcium helps reduce body fat accumulation by reducing the amount that can be stored.
- Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar and thus reduce the glycemic index when combined with some foods. This in turn helps regulate the rate at which carbs are broken down and help you reduce body fat storages.
- Zinc is one of my favorite minerals as it helps increase testosterone production. Testosterone is known to help with weight loss. Yes! Even in women!
- Vitamin D is not just a cancer fighter, but also carries the same property as Zinc – it helps elevate testosterone production. Furthermore, it facilitates the absorption of Calcium and further fortify its ability.
As you can see just a handful of micronutrients will greatly impact your weight loss progress by either elevating your metabolic rate, reducing sugar absorption, or reducing your body’s propensity to store fatty cells in its inventory.
However, it’s important to note that this does not mean that by increasing the consumption of these vitamins and mineral you will start seeing incredible results! Micronutrients will definitely help you, but they will not have a “magic button” effect on your progress where, once you start sprinkling cinnamon on your morning yogurt and you will lose 30lbs in 1 month.
How Does Metabolism Work/How To Increase Metabolic Rate
This might sound funny to some, especially to those that already know the answer to the question, but you would be surprised how many people are absolutely ambiguous about the meaning of “metabolism”.
A really large number of people don’t know what metabolism is – approximately 22,000 people search for the term “What is metabolism” on Google alone, and those are usually the people who have actually decided to take a look.
For most, our body’s metabolic rate is just there and all they need to know for shaping their body is that they need to elevate it.
As the great French physiologist Claude Bernard said “It’s what we know already that often prevents us from learning” or in this case “it’s what we think we know”. Because we have a vague idea of what our metabolism is, we tend to never really search for answers to the question “how does metabolism work?”.
Companies and fitness gurus abuse this fact as they often try to encourage us to purchase products that will “elevate our metabolic rate and encourage body fat reduction” when in fact they will do nothing more than suck out the hard-earned money from our wallets.
But how exactly will understanding metabolism help us with our quest to a better body? Simple, you will aim to accomplish exactly those elements that elevate your metabolic rate and reach towards your goal much quicker than those who have no idea how their metabolic rate works. Plus, you’re going to save a ton of cash from not purchasing modern marvel supplements.
Obviously, I’m not going to explain to you everything on a biochemical level. However, I will explain the main elements and what truly drives your metabolism higher.
Metabolism, itself, is the chemical process that occurs in literally every cell of your body that maintains and prolongs life. Essentially, your metabolism is the process by which your body breaks down macronutrients into energy.
Your metabolic rate, or the speed at which nutrients are broken down and used for energy, is circumstantial at most – for example, your metabolism slows down late at night (through your biological clock) so that you can save up energy for when you’re going to be, well, asleep; it also slows down when you are ill due to nausea which leads to lack of nutritional provision – low energy levels (this is the main reason why so many fitness models fear being ill as if it was death itself – it hinders their fat loss and muscle growth results, well, for those that do not use steroids, that is).
Logically, if there are elements that slow down your metabolism, then there are elements that speed up your metabolism. One of the more important ones are:
- Muscle mass. Logically, the more muscle mass you have the more your body will need to use to maintain that specific muscle mass. Hypothetically, take two individuals who have identical genetic structures, lifestyle, diet and exercise plan, however, one of the dudes, whom we will refer to as Jim, has a higher muscle mass than the latter individual, whom we will call Carl – this was caused because Jim had started working out long before Carl had even heard the word fitness. As a consequence, Jim will burn more energy during his mere existence than Carl ever will. Evidently, the lower muscle mass you have the lower your metabolism rate will be – which is one of the main reasons why you should NOT starve yourself to lose weight, that and the sheer fact that it looks bad and is terrible for your general health.
- Muscle deconstruction. After each workout you rip apart your muscle fibers, molecularly. As a result your muscles suck up a major chunk of the calories that you intake every day and uses it to repair the damaged tissue and build a small, but important, layer of new muscle fiber on top of the damaged one, to prevent from ripping occurring in the future when the body is in a similar situation (which is why we tend to increase our workout weight). On average it takes your body 48 hours to regenerate and repair the damaged muscle group. During those 48 hours your metabolism rate is elevated because more calories need to be broken down so that your muscles repair properly.
- Cardiovascular exercise. Probably one of the most infamous methods of increasing your metabolic rate is through cardio exercises (I know that I encouraged you to focus more on compound exercises, but cardio is also a great way to reduce body fat and it works wonders when used appropriately). The reason why cardio is highly supported by many is because this type of exercises elevate your heart rate and, most importantly, keep it up for extended periods of time – this leads to large chunks of energy being used and ultimately to improved weight loss. However, the problem with slow pace cardio is that can, and probably will, lead to catabolism (muscle breakdown) as your body gets used to the vigorous cardio workouts and as I explained earlier, maintaining muscle mass is essential not to just look good, but to maintain a higher metabolism rate.
- High intensity workouts. Intensity dictates the level of nutrients that will be required by your muscles. Your heart rate and your metabolic rate are usually interlinked – the higher the heart rate the higher the metabolic rate. This is because macronutrients are pumped into the muscles through the use of blood – blood also pumps oxygen to your muscles and with the combination of glucose and fats to produce ATP, the basic energy molecule.
- This is exactly why interval trainings (HIIT) are the best form of cardio – you reach high peaks that really increase your heart rate (which takes a good couple of minutes to cool down), which drives a huge chunk of fatty acids to your muscles and glucose and as you maintain a steady pace, before hitting your peak, you maintain a steady flow of nutrients to your muscles. The good thing about HIIT, as previously mentioned, is that increases your metabolism for hours after finishing your workout.
Again, combining cardio with intense weight lifting exercises will help you loose more weight, healthy weight. Do not focus just on cardio as that will leave you dried out and out of form (skinny) and do not leave out cardio as that will actually help you improve your strength during your workout (performing a 5-10 minute cardio session – low intensity – as it improves the release of ATP) and help you lose more body fat.
The more diversity there is in your fitness plan the better the results.
There are two main reasons why variety is important:
1) As you progress and you climb the latter and reach towards the body you’ve always wanted you will start noticing your results slowly slimming down. You’re not losing the same amount of fat or you’re not gaining the same amount of muscle as you used to. Our bodies are constructed in a way where there is a healthy amount of body fat that needs to be stored and a healthy amount of muscle mass that can be gained. Anything beyond those numbers is deemed by the body as risky or unhealthy.
As a consequence you start noticing diminishing results. This is quite simple to understand – the lower fat deposits your body has the fewer calories it has as secondary insurances sources for energy; and the more muscle you build the more calories the body require to intake to maintain that muscle mass.
The same goes with our diet and workout plan – the level of diversity dictates how fast our bodies will grow accustomed to our lifestyle and how quickly are results will begin to diminish.
Arnold, The Austrian Oak, is one of the most famous advocates of this theories. He claims that your workout and diet plan need to be diversified in order to see good results. It’s all about the “shock methodology” where you shock your body into growing your losing weight.
This is why many athletes would do their best to add as much variety to their workout plans as they possibly can. And because there is a finite nunber of exercises that can be used for each muscle group they tend to use, what I love to call, the “latter of diversity”.
The latter of diversity is where you gradually alter the nature of the exercise. For example, increasing the range of motion (ROM), altering tempo, using extended sets, etc. These methods help add variety to your workout.
The same goes for your cardio. The more variety there is to your cardio exercises, the better. Steve Cook, for example, is a good example of a fitness model that loves to diversify his cardio workouts. You would see him in his videos doing various things – sprinting, jogging, biking, uphill jogs, boxing, kickboxing, swimming. By adding variety to your cardio workout you prevent your body from adapting to the same regimen – you will start losing muscle mass and you will start seeing less and less results.
When it comes to your diet, things are even more interesting.
Here’s a personal anecdote: I was stuck in a serious plateau and I had no idea why was that. My diet was the same and my workout plan was quite diversified. But no matter what I did, my weight did not budge. I even lowered my caloric intake a bit, thinking that it would help, but all that followed was a decrease in my total muscle mass. I ran out of nuts so I had to go to my local grocery store and buy some more. When I went there I decided to spice things up and instead of buying the same nuts that I always bought (regular peanuts) I decided to go with avocados. After this small switch, within a week I had lost 500 grams, which is not a lot, but the interesting bit was that just by changing my fat source I managed to drop 500 grams.
This is because every food’s construct is different from the other and every food’s nutritional source is different as well. There are various of combinations of amino acids and fatty acids that can be attained depending on the foods that you choose to have in your diet plan. Never stick with just one food source! I always change things up and go from fish to chicken, to turkey, to pork, to lamb, etc. The same goes for my fat and carb sources.
2) Secondly, this diversity really helps you psychologically. You experience foods that you have never experience and you exercise in ways that really help you relieve yourself from any generated stress.
Variety means that you won’t get easily bored by something. It won’t get old for you. So, instead of deciding to quit on your first month you will probably manage to hold to your fitness plan for a much longer time.
Keep in mind that one of the oldest sayings in the industry is “this is not a race, not a sprint, but rather a marathon, the ones who last the longest are those who cross the finish line”.
From a personal stand point you will love this level of diversity in your diet. You will get to experience foods that you have never even though of before. And you will learn to cook like Gordon Ramsey, minus the attitude, I hope.
As a conclusion I would like to point out that in the end of the day, with or without these 10 simple tips, all that it comes down to is consistency. With consistency and patience you will see results maybe sooner than some people or later than others. And even if you are in the dark, and you start out with absolutely null knowledge in your head, that’s ok, because if you are consistent about it and you want to achieve your results, no matter what, then you will always find a way to gather the necessary wisdom.
Take Randy Tiner for example – the handicapped fitness competitor that managed to reach amazing heights, even though he is literally missing an arm.
What you can do now, however, is tap yourself on the back because you finished a 6,500 word article! Good job!
I hope that I was of some assistance to at least one person with this post.
Don’t forget to share as it really helps support the blog and helps get the word out there!