Our 10 Tips To Help You Get In Shape!
The exercise advice and tips included below will target all the important aspects in truly achieving the body you want. We discuss the role nutrition plays in your overall fitness plan, along with strength training and cardio work. In order to really get the results, you’re looking for, you really need to hit it from all angles! Work on all three areas and your results will not only be amazing, but they will be permanent. We provide 10 tips below for you to learn from and include in your overall fitness plan.
Tip #1 – Keep A Training Journal For Real Results
Always make sure to keep a detailed training journal. By keeping a journal of your training sessions, you will have a detailed log of every exercise you perform along with reps, sets and how much weight you lifted. It’s also great to document how you felt before, during and after your training session along with any food/supplements you took before and after you trained. By keeping an exercise journal, you will have access to a wealth of information and be able to detect specific areas in your current training routine which can be changed or improved upon.
One of the biggest mistakes most people make is to continue on with a training routine that simply does not work well for them. As the old saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”. Don’t let exercise insanity set in. Make sure to always switch up your training routines and document each one of them into your exercise journal. When you look back on your training journal, you will see specific patterns where you are succeeding and also where you’re falling short. One of the most important pieces of exercise advice is to figure not only “what to do”, but more importantly “what not to do”. When you know the areas to avoid, your progress will skyrocket!
Tip #2 – Stay Mentally Focused When Training
When you decide to exercise, try to really stick to your training routine and don’t get sidetracked by too much socializing. When you socialize with friends, your mind usually starts to wander off and you really start to lose focus on your main objective, which is to train hard and get out of there. You can always meet up with your friends after your workout and catch up on old times. A great way to focus and keep your training session upbeat and exciting, is to invest in a mp3 player or smartphone and load your favorite music on it. Jam out with some cool upbeat techno, hip-hop or some hard rock to get your energy levels up and get you excited during your workout. You will also notice when having your headphones on, you will limit the amount of people who tend to come up and want to chat. If you see friends in the gym, say a quick hello and get to work.
If you notice your friends nagging on you every couple of minutes during your workout, just simply tell them you need to finish your workout and ask them if you can meet up after training for a post workout meal at your favorite local restaurant. You will feel so much better knowing you focused 100% of your energy into your training. You will be energized and ready to recuperate from a great training session.
Tip #3 – Have a Detailed Exercise Plan Before Training
You would never build a house without a site plan, would you? You would never just pick up a hammer, some nails and start pounding away hoping your dream home will be built perfectly. Just like building a house, when you build your body up, you need a plan to adhere to and follow.
Don’t just wander in and pick out the first five exercises you see. Have a detailed plan of action and know which body part you will be training, which exercises you will be using and a specific repetition and set range you will be using. When you have a good exercise plan, you will know exactly what you need to do and your training session will have a smooth flow with no wasted time looking for exercises to perform.
Tip #4 – Maximize The Windows Of Opportunity
You have two main windows of opportunity when your training. One is 30 minutes before you train (pre-workout meal) and another comes about 30-60 minutes after your workout is over (post-workout meal). The pre-workout meal should consist of a starchy carb and lean protein. The starchy carb will supply the energy you need to get through an intense workout. The protein provides the much-needed fuel for your muscles, so they keep a positive nitrogen balance. A great pre-workout meal would be consumed 30 minutes before your workout and would consist of 1 cup of natural oatmeal with one scoop of protein powder. Try to stick with whey protein. Mix it with some water and microwave the dish for about 2 minutes. Stir it up and eat it with a big glass of water.
Your post-workout meal should be consumed as quickly after your workout as possible. This should consist of a simple sugar to spike your insulin levels and rush glycogen back into your muscles which are screaming for fuel by now. Try to stick with either dextrose or maltodextrin as your main source of simple sugar. These can be found in your MRP (meal replacement powder). Also, add another supply of protein to the mix. If you are using a post-workout dextrose based drink, add another scoop of whey protein to it and shake it up. If your drinking an MRP, you should be perfectly fine. Shoot for around 20-30 grams of protein before your workout and 30-50 grams of protein after your workout.
Tip #5 – Make Sure To Rest For Growth
One of the best pieces of exercise advice is to make sure you know that your muscles grow when your resting not training. That’s right, you don’t actually get bigger and stronger when you’re in the gym. It’s what you do after your workout that’s the real key to muscle growth. If you don’t let your muscles recover correctly, your body will become over trained and it will be in a state of constant ”catch up”. This is far from the ideal state that you want your body in. What you want is to truly prime your body for your next workout and give it enough rest and recuperation to fully optimize your training.
The worst thing you can do is over train your body. This will lead to muscle atrophy (breaking down muscle) and you may experience the flu because of this. When you train, make sure to limit your resistance training sessions to 45 minutes max. Your body’s testosterone levels start decreasing after about 45 minutes, so any time after this length and you’re really just wasting your time. Focus on hitting it with a high level of intensity for 45 minutes and get out of there. Take care of business and start your recuperation. When you get back from your workout, you might also try sitting in a Jacuzzi or sauna to really relax and let your muscles recover. Rest is extremely important when training hard, so make sure to take the time to recover and grow from your training sessions.
Tip #6 – Always Shock Your Muscles
Try to always “trick” your muscles. You never want to do the same exercises, reps and sets for each and every workout. You always want to shock your muscles into growing and adapting to new stimuli, so make sure to always switch up your training routines, number of sets and reps for each training session. Also, make sure to train at a high level of intensity and really push each set to positive failure (barely getting the last rep up). You should always focus on increasing the weight lifted. If your muscles get used to lifting a specific amount of weight, then they will never want to get stronger or grow. Always try to trick your muscles with different reps/sets and keep your intensity levels up high enough so they always are forced to make changes and grow!
Tip #7 – Try Different Forms Of Exercise
If you have always used free weights, then switch it up and try training with machines like “Hammer Strength” or “Nautilus”. These are excellent weight resistance machines and they will really work your muscles from different angles and different intensities. You always want to strive to find new and exciting ways to work out your body. Try doing all body-weight movements, which are a really great way to build quality strength. The military uses mainly body-weight movements during their training. These include pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups. The three main body-weight movements will really give you a great overall body workout!
You can also choose from many different forms of training such as using workout bands. If you’re just starting out, these are an excellent way to learn the basic movements and get the true “feel” to each exercise.
Tip #8 – Avoid Overtraining Your Body
Always remember, “You grow outside the gym”. This basically means to make sure and get enough rest between workouts so you can let your muscles recover and get ready for the next intense workout. You don’t gain muscle when you’re in the gym, you gain it when you leave and recover. The basic rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours in between workouts for the same muscle group. So, if you worked chest on Monday, then wait until Wednesday to work chest again. You also want to go by the “soreness” rule. If after 48 hours, your muscle group still feels sore, then make sure to let it rest another day! You want to fully recover from your last workout before hitting it again.
Tip #9 – Monitor Your Body Fat Levels For Results
A very important aspect in really finding out if you’re on the right track or not, is to monitor your body fat levels. Go to your local sports store and buy some body fat calipers to test your fat levels. Record these levels along with your body weight each week and start to monitor these changes. You want to make sure you’re building quality muscle mass and burning that extra body fat.
By monitoring the changes of your lean body weight, you will be able to tell whether or not you are replacing adipose tissue (fat) with hard-earned muscle. Lean body weight (muscle) can be found by subtracting your body weight with your body fat weight. Your body fat weight is calculated by multiplying your weight with your body fat percentage.
Tips on measuring your body fat levels:
- Take all measurements on the right side of your body.
- Carefully identify and recall your measuring site for accuracy.
- Take the measurement when skin is dry and lotion-free.
- Do not measure immediately after exercise due to shifts in body fluid.
There are three main sites for measuring your body fat for males:
- Chest– Fold is taken 1/2 the distance between the anterior auxiliary line and nipple.
- Abdominal– Fold is taken vertical 2 cm lateral to the umbilicus.
- Thigh– Fold is lifted on anterior aspect of thigh midway between inguinal crease and proximal border of patella. Body weight is shifted to left foot.
There are three main sites for measuring your body fat for females:
- Triceps– Fold is taken midway between the shoulder and elbow joint, on the center of the back of the arm.
- Waist– Fold is taken diagonally above the iliac crest along the anterior auxiliary line.
- Thigh– Fold is lifted on anterior aspect of thigh midway between inguinal crease and proximal border of patella. Body weight is shifted to the left foot.
Tip #10 – Optimize Your Diet For Maximum Growth
It’s crucial to make sure you’re eating the most nutrient dense foods during the day to help your body recover from grueling workouts. Along with eating clean meals every 2.5 to 3 hours, you really need to focus on optimizing your pre and post workout nutrition. A very simple and nutrient packed option is to make a protein shake before and after training. Just blend up a little whey protein with some fresh fruit, quality greens (kale, spinach) and throw in some old-fashioned oatmeal for a high energy packed smoothie! Your diet accounts for about 80% of your overall results whether you are training to build maximum muscle or trying to lose excess body fat. When in doubt, look at your diet first and try to make changes in the foods and overall calories you’re consuming before focusing on your training and other elements in your fitness regimen.