Basic health and fitness introduction to build a nice body.
Everyone is always trying to get their dream body, a holiday, a special occasion, a wedding, there are many reasons why. I personally don’t worry too much about what I look like but would be lying if it wasn’t a factor of part of my training. Sports condition is my main goal, however, saying I don’t care what I look like would not be right. So, although this is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do and it is a guidance. It is definitely worth going to see a personal trainer in your area if your wanting to get in your best shape, but here is a good start.
Define your goals
Make sure you have a clear end point for your goals, have a long-term goal that will take you a few years to get. Then set smaller goals along the way. Want to lose 50 pounds of fat? How about starting with 5 pounds? Remember, weight loss or weight gain both aren’t linear, you will fluctuate massively between gaining and losing weight. So, keep track of it, as long as you know you are eating properly towards your goal it will all work out! Have a way of tracking your progress, I don’t recommend the scales (unless you are competing in a weight category). So, take pictures, measure your waist. Keep track of at least one thing to ensure you’re working towards your goals.
Calorie Deficit/Calorie Surplus
Regardless of your goal, whether to gain muscle or lose fat, you need to be concerned about your calories. You will never lose weight if you don’t burn more calories than you consume and you won’t gain weight if you don’t eat more calories than you consume. Aim for a small deficit if you’re trying to lose weight of around 300-400 calories a day. A crash diet is a great way to mess up your metabolism and cause you to bounce back and even gain more weight. Alternatively, you can’t try and gain weight without being willing to eat more food.
After you have sorted your calories out, you will have to organise eating your protein. (roughly) 70% of your daily calorie expenditure are chemical reactions within the cells of your body. Most of these will use protein and you need protein to be able to repair and build muscle. Start by trying to eat a protein source at every meal. Don’t think you need a protein shake straight away if your food isn’t in order first. Eat proper food, then think about supplementation.
Speaking of which, supplements can be beneficial but be careful with them. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are. Calories will still be king. I’ve tried a few different supplements but could never get into the habit of taking them so have decided for now not to take any. Try and get a good quality supplement and don’t go cheap if you decide to take them. Food should be your first priority. Clean up your eating first and make sure you are hitting your macronutrients first before adding in a supplement. Research them first before buying them.
Find a balance
Working out and eating better is meant to enhance and add to your life, not take away from it. If you’re skipping meals out with friends or refusing to leave the house because you are wanting to be healthier, you’re doing it wrong. Still, find a balance between having fun but reaching your goals. For example, if you are really interested in having a drink, have a vodka and diet coke instead of really sugary, high-calorie cocktail. If it feels like a punishment, it’s not going to work.
Get a sweat on
Exercise is a great way to burn calories, but it’s also a great way to give the body a stimulus to build muscle. The lucky thing about just beginning in the gym, you can actually burn fat and build muscle at the same time! Once you’ve been training for a while this will be a lot harder to do. It’s not impossible but unfortunately, if you want to make some sizeable “gains” you will need to focus on one more than the other and this is where the traditional “bulk and cut” terms come from.
Train your whole body
When you are in the gym or at home training, make sure you train your whole body every workout. You can easily structure it just as Push exercise, Pull exercise and a Leg exercise. Anything else can be done after this. Want to train your arms more? Go for it, but make sure you hit the big muscle groups first. You don’t need a split every workout to individual muscles. You’d be better off hitting a muscle group 3 times a week with less volume than hitting it once a week with more volume. Think frequency, not volume. Doing big compound exercises will hit the smaller muscles almost as much as the isolation exercises.
Cardio is good for you
Now, I’m not speaking about going out and running/jogging for a gruelling hour. Admittedly, I don’t think I could do it, my fitness isn’t good enough to do so. However, doing some cardio not only will help with your calorie expenditure but the increased blood flow around the body will help with your recovery and future workouts.
You will slip up
I do it all the time, you are going to have days where you don’t want to train, days you accidentally eat more calories than you’re meant to or days where you don’t eat enough. Don’t worry about it! Everyone does it and we are all human. I don’t want to train every day, and days where I particularly feel sluggish, I take the day off. If you have a day where you over eat, have a day later in the week where you drop your calories slightly lower. This isn’t meant to be a short-term fix. This will take a long time, especially if you are trying to gain muscle. To gain a decent amount you are going to be doing it for a long, long time, so if you mess up a few times… It does not matter. Relax about it, as I said earlier, it’s meant to add to your life, not take away from it.
Disclaimer, before beginning any exercise programme, consult a doctor before you begin and ensure you are being safe.