1. Set Achievable Goals
When beginning a diet and exercise program, it is best to start with simple, short term goals. As you reach and achieve these short term goals you can then begin to set goals for the long haul. Both short and long term goals should be challenging yet achievable. As a new lifter, setting the goal of becoming the next Mr. Olympia is an example of a far fetched, almost unachievable goal.
Short Term Goals:
- Increase bench press by 10lbs
- Perform 10 minute jogging cardio session
- Gain 2 pounds of lean muscle mass
- Lose 5 pounds
Long Term Goals
- Increase bench press by 50lbs.
- Be able to perform multiple 25 minute cardio sessions per week
- Gain 15lbs of lean muscle mass
- lose 30 pounds
2. Ease Into Things
If you are new to weight lifting and or cardiovascular exercise you shouldn’t push too hard at first. Doing so can risk pain, injury and a diminished recovery ability. All the advanced lifters you see in the gym (who aren’t juiced up science projects) have spent years developing a tolerance to higher volume and higher intensity training. Attempting to mimic these intense style sessions from the start will eventually lead to an overwhelming fatigue, and eventually force you to abandon your program. Give your body a chance to adapt to the stimulus, not be overwhelmed by it. To quote the great Lee Haney, “stimulate, don’t annihilate.”
3. Step Outside The Box. Variety is Your Friend
It is very important to vary your training methods to keep from getting bored and reaching a plateau. Majority of people switch up the exercises they perform from time to time and call this “variety.” WRONG ! Training splits, exercises, training styles, rep ranges, rep tempos, and cardiovascular exercises should all be changed from time to time. Now this is true variety. Simply put, If you do the same exercises, in the same rep range, with the same style, then expect your body to stay the same. Now to quote the great Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
4. Effort + Consistency = Success
Make Progress, Not Excuses. More importantly, Don’t Be Soft ! Fitness should be fun but it isn’t always easy, or “simple”. Effort is needed to reach and achieve your goals. Unfortunately effort can not be taught, it must come from within. You will ultimately get what you put in to your fitness program. In addition to effort, you must also be consistent. You cannot work hard on your diet and exercise program for 2 weeks and expect night and day results. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither is the body of your dreams.
5. Always Track Your Progress
Be sure to keep records that track your progress throughout the course of your program. Write down your weight from week to week along with any other helpful notes. Progress pictures are also a great tracking tool and source of motivation. Pictures make is easier to track and appreciate small changes that your physique undergoes. Seeing yourself everyday in the mirror diminishes your ability to notice and appreciate these changes. Pictures never lie, and they are the greatest reminder of where you once stood.
6. Support Systems Never Hurt
While on a diet and exercise program it always helps to seek out people who have similar interests and goals. Createing a support system can be done in a number of ways. You could share your accomplishments and downfalls with your family and friends. You may also opt to find a reliable training partner who brings out the best in you. Another great option is to join one of the many social networking sites and search for people with similar goals as yourself. Regardless of your goal; losing 20 pounds for an upcoming wedding; trying to lose weight for health reasons; striving to put on lean muscle mass; or competing in a body bodybuilding competition; the quickest and easiest way to connect with people in your shoes is through social networking.
Being flexible will go a long way with a diet and exercise program. Even the greatest laid out plans will have to change in the face of life. Therefore you must be flexible enough to adapt to changes in your schedule that may interfere with your fitness program. There will be days that are so stress filled that going to the gym is unfathomable. On these days it is better to take the day off and resume your training the following day.
There will also be times where you will not have access to the cleanest and healthiest food. Weddings, parties, meetings etc. can place a significant strain on the nutrition aspect of a well planned program. These curve balls will not destroy your program if you respond wisely and make the best of the situation. Nothing can or will change the fact that you are not in your own kitchen with your own fridge and stove. The name of the game at this point is trying to cut your losses as much as possible and remain positive.
8. Exercise and Nutrition Trumps Exercise Alone
When getting into an exercise program one should also pay attention to proper diet and nutrition. Killing yourself at the gym just to come home and eat pizza and ice cream is an unwise and wasteful practice. The goal is to have your training and nutrition work in unison, not to overdose on one and neglect the other. Quicker, greater and more permanent results will come if you focus on both the gym and the kitchen.
9. Avoid Negativity
There is an old saying, ” misery likes company.” When you embark on your health and fitness journey there will be others around you who will notice the change in your diet and activities. Most will embrace and support the ideas, some will be motivated by your actions, and others will just do and say everything they can to bring you down. It may be remarks intended to decrease your confidence or wise cracks about your new lunch box and its “boring” contents; simply pay them no mind. These people are just unhappy and upset with their own appearance and lack of determination to follow a healthier lifestyle. Avoid these people at all costs, well at least until you have transformed your physique and wish to show your results.
10. Lift Weights to Reduce Body fat
I will repeat this, Lift Weights To Reduce Body fat! Regardless if you are a man or a woman you must incorporate a weight training regiment to effectively reduce body fat. Taking the reduced calorie, high cardio only approach will undoubtedly lead to weight loss but will do little in yielding a lean, toned, hard and sexy physique. A person who neglects weight training and loses weight runs the risk of losing the same amount (if not more) of muscle tissue as body fat.
Lets say for example that John and Jane Doe lose 20 pounds with 50% coming from fat and 50% from muscle (very generous %). In the end both failed to reduce their body fat %, and have only become smaller versions of themselves. They watch the scale drop and drop, but the lean and toned physique they desire continues to elude them. Does this sound like you ?
Incorporating weightlifting into a fat loss program will help to significantly alter your body and most of all, your body fat composition. The goal is to lose as much body fat as possible while holding on to all the hard earned muscle. Most if not all of the lean, toned bodies that everyone aspires to have were built by weight training; that goes for both males and females. The only way to achieve a lean, toned look is to have muscle with a low amount of body fat. .
Weight lifting will not make you “jacked” or “huge” unless you eat and train for those results. Women, please read the previous line again. And again. If I had a quarter for each time i heard a woman say “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to look like a man”, I would be able to retire today. If you are a woman pounding down 3500 calories a day and lifting 70lb dumbbells then you might end up looking a little masculine. If this is not the case then you do not have to worry about looking like a bodybuilder. Most of the huge, masculine looking women that have given weightlifting for women a bad rap are all on steroids, take in 3500 calories a day and do lift 70lb dumbbells.
- You need muscle to be toned
- You need to lift weights to gain muscle
- Muscle burns more calories than fat
- Muscle increases your metabolism
- Muscle = Good for BOTH males and females.
For the females……
And the woman on the bottom is HOT !