Transform your body! Part Two – Exercise and Discipline
So you want to transform your body. You’re goal is to be able to see your abs again or for the first time, or even just to slim down, or you just want to fill out those new shirts you got over christmas a little better, or a combination of these things. Knowing what type of exercise to perform is critical, coupled with proper nutrtion (discussed in the last post), results shouldn’t be too far away.
For the long term, if you aren’t already lifting weights, then sign up at your local gym and get some professional instruction. A good weightlifting routuine, 3 times a week is an excellent way to either build or maintain muscle mass while burning off the extra flab. Remember that muscle burns calories, the more of it you have the easier it will be to lean up. The next step is to make sure you perform cardio 3-4 times a week, anywhere from 30-45 minutes per session. If you are just starting a new routine and consider yourself to be a beginner, maybe going for a walk, or jumping on a stationary bike will do the trick, if thats a little too easy then go for a jog for 20-30 minutes. Doing this should yield results for any beginner, but for added benefit perform cardio exercise first thing in the morning before breakfast. This is the time when your body is burning primarily body fat from fasting for the previous 8-12 hours of sleep. This is an excellent way to tweak your routine and enhance your results.
For the more experienced, this year may be the year to up the anty a little with your existing training. If you’re lifting weights 3 times a week, than thats excellent, keep it up but take a look at your cardio exercise and let’s take it a step further. Try to add more interval training to your cardio routines. If you like the stationary bike, try switching up your RPMs every minute or so. Going form high intensity to low intesnity and anywhere in between in a sporadic fashion will increase the intensity of the exercise immensely and burn more fat. This can be applied to jogging. When going for a jog you can sprint every third block, or simple change your speed on every block in a random fashion, making sure to sprint or jog or even walk the occasional block.
Another excellent way of getting a good high intensity workout is to take up a physcially demanding sport. I highly recommend martial arts such as Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or MMA (a combination of the previous 4). I train martial arts regularly and find that it’s a perfect way to shred fat due to the high level of intensity and the competitive nature of the sports. You may find many other benefits besides weight control also. Another highly effective way is to start a home training program like the massively popular P90x (read our review here), although I’d recommend skipping the extra weightlifting when using such a program.
If you are looking to build muscle and have no previous experience in weightlifting, then in most cases a consistent effort with a moderately heavy weight will usually result in growth. It is always recommended that you start by doing 3 sessions a week with a weight you can comfortably lift for 8-12 reps when starting out, training every body part once a week waiting at least a few months before increasing the intensity. Once your body is conditioned its time to get down to business. Lifting heavy weight, anywhere from 6-10 reps of moderatly heavy weight should do the trick with heavy emphasis on compound movements. Compound movements are the exercises which don’t over isolate any particular muscle group, since working a larger portion of the body usually results in more muscle growth.
While compound movements are essential to muscle building, its important, especially for the more experienced to utilise ‘the big three‘ – Bench Press, Deadlifts and Squats (read more about the big three here). These exercises allow the heaviest weight and generally require a large portion of muscle groups to perform. Squats in particular are known as the ultimate muscle builder, as the whole body is involed in each movement, with most pressure being targetted at the legs. Training your legs is highly beneficial for building a muscular body since legs produce more growth hormone when trained and therefore produce more overall growth. But the biggest factor in building muscle isn’t just the exercise but recovery.
Insufficient recovery is the reason why many don’t acheive the growth they desire. Many have read about the pro-bodybuilder lifestyle and train 6 times a week expecting similar results. This will not work due to the fact that most pro’s have excellent genetics, plenty of time to rest and often utilise certain ‘illegal enhancements’ that I won’t discuss here. As an ‘Average Joe’ it’s important to train no more than 3 or 4 times a week, with plenty of rest between workouts, preferably spread evenly apart, avoiding any unnecessary exercise for maximum recovery. Most muscle growth occurs whilst sleeping so be absolutely certain to get a solid 8-10 hours sleep a night, eating plenty of protein and carbs. Another great tip (thanks to muscle growth guru Jason Ferruggia, author of Muscle Building Secrets) is to keep your workouts down to 30-45 minutes a session, to keep your testosterone at optimal levels for growth.
Without discipline to follow through, all of the above information is utterly useless. Without the consistent effort in the gym, in the kitchen and being able to resist the tempation to steer clear of those evil gut expanding foods and keep us going to the gym, none of us (well most of us) would be in pretty terrible shape. Since today’s society is flooded with more conveniant ways of eating that simply aren’t as healthy as we’d like them to be, sticking to a healthy routine is hard work. It’s important then to keep yourself motivated, on time, and prepared for your plan always with a backup for whatever may happen to discourage you.
I believe discipline is something that must be planned for. I plan my meals, I set reminders on my phone, and I keep pictures near by that I can look at to remind myself why I stay on track. Keeping a photo of yourself in your least favourite physical condition and another photo of the condition you wish to be in can be lifesaver when you feel the craving to just say ‘Screw this, once won’t hurt’ when once is enough to make twice more likely, and so on. Another excellent way of keeping motiveated is to spend 30 minutes a day reading a book or watching a dvd on fitness, or people who motivate you, keeping the energy fresh and alive. Lastly have the strength to just say ‘no’ to people. The hardest thing at times is people pressuring you to do something that can negativelt affect your goals, but a consistent ‘no’, and an utter refusal to give in is essential to success. Since many people out there actually believe that pressuring you to ‘enjoy yourself’ and relax is best for you, regardless of your goals, they persist. As I discussed in my post ‘The impact training has on my life ‘ not following your goals will ultimately leave you unhappy, and a consistent effort followed by success you help you lead a happy, healthy life – which I beleive is most important of all.
So what have you go to lose? Write a plan, get started and track your results. I guarantee you wont regret it!
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