Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Training to Look Better

I have gotten several emails & facebook messages from people wanting exercise programs. I have no problem helping someone out and getting them to their goals. One of my few pet peeves is when they add "I don't want to get huge" or "I put on muscle really fast" to their request.

It actually makes me watch to punch the computer screen.

For the men: Even with the best physiologic gift of testosterone that flows through our bodies, any one that has put some serious time in the gym knows that consistency and long-term goals are almost always the focus. I have gone through phases of just adding 10lbs to my max raw bench in a year and I was thrilled about it. I actually had an employee tell me that he was only doing sets of 20 reps on everything because he puts on muscle too fast...

what a joke. If you are such a physical specimen, train for a month and then go dominate a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition. Let me know how that goes for you.

For the women: Some of you have probably said it before... "My legs get HUGE after one week of doing squats." There are a couple underlying issues here. I feel that most women are more self-conscious about the way they look and about weight training. I know one female that is a really gifted athlete and works her tail off in the gym, yet she parties with Iota Tappa Kegga and eats sweets throughout the day.

The real issues to address here are pushing yourself through consistent, intense workouts and what you are putting into your body as fuel.

When women say their legs get bulky rather quickly, it is more than likely because they actually have worked hard in the gym and have added some cross-sectional area to their quadriceps and hamstrings. However, the garbage that they are putting into their body is in the incorrect quantities for dropping fat from their legs, therefore, they successfully add muscle to their legs, but do not decrease their body fat percentage.

So instead of continuing to use resistance training as a method of attaining their goals and cleaning up their diet, they drop weight training altogether and run like somebody is chasing them.

Every one can see some amazing results if they were just as dedicated at the dinner table as they are in the gym.

Cardiovascular training has a place in heart health and burning some calories, but the real shock to kick your metabolic drive into high gear are frequent weight training sessions. This goes for men and women. Guys, you aren't going to get huge overnight and, possibly, ever. If you are genetically a smaller framed guy with an ectomorphic body type they chances aren't great that you will be gracing a bodybuilding stage, unless you make a couple trips to Mexico for some real supplements. Ladies, continue to kick butt in the gym, but a lot of it boils down to eating better.

You do not have to get on a competition diet by any means... it's simple really:

  • ALWAYS eat breakfast. Think about it, you haven't eaten since some time the night before so you need to kick-start your metabolism in the morning AND give your body some energy for work, class, or the morning workout.
  • Find meats that you like and research ways to prepare them. Very few people will stick to a meal plan that they think tastes terrible.
  • The same applies to veggies. Steam them, mix them in with brown rice or quinoa, eat them raw, whatever. You need your greens!
  • LIMIT sweets. We are in a culture that is blessed to be able to turn almost any corner and indulge in manufactured crap that more than likely we will regret later.
  • Limit liquid calories. Do you know how many calories are in your Moca-Frappa-Chocolate Latte?
  • Limit carbohydrates after 6pm-ish. Think of carbohydrates as your body's main source of fuel. For the later part of the day you have no need to fuel up just to go to sleep. Our body does not let the carb-fuel just sit in a tank for use in the morning, it turns excess unused carbs into fat and over time the pounds will add up.

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