Every January it’s the same old thing, I see people buying new gym memberships, supplements and athletic clothes. Some go the distance, but far too many get lost before February even hits. It’s never easy to go cold turkey into a new regimen, but it’s even harder when done blindly.
So let’s not make things harder than they already are. Let’s set some parameters to help you to help yourself. Follow these 6 rules and it will easily compliment your training goals and give you no excuses to fail.
1. Always know what your next meal is.
Far too often I see great routines and diets crushed by poor planning. You will naturally crave fatty foods if you go too long without eating. By always knowing what/when your next meal is, you can eliminate any chances of grabbing that, “convenient” big mac. I don’t care if you have to be that guy/lady who brings a cooler to work. It’s cheaper, smarter and healthier than sooo many of the other options.
2. Always have ________ at hand.
I left the blank there because it really depends on your goals as to what you should always have available. If you’re trying to lose weight, it should be an apple or carrots. Life happens and you need to be prepared if your plans change or if you feel the need to stress-eat. These are both nutritious, low calorie, and full of fiber which will keep you full. Plus they make you poop, and pooping is the number two best way to lose weight…
Now if you’re trying to put on mass or just get stronger, then always keep a protein bar or shake on you. The more calories the better, because you never know when a coworker is going to treat themselves to the clearly marked leftovers in the fridge. Mixed nuts or trail mix are also great. Anything to keep the catabolism at bay.
3. Be in bed 8 hours before to need to get up.
Sleep is another killer to progress. I don’t think that I need to cite the numerous studies that link lack of sleep to obesity, but here’s an article on it anyway. Most of us don’t get the recommended 8 hours, but we should still try. If you find yourself constantly neglecting this rule, then it may be time to re-evaluate your time management or lifestyle.
Now for some, this may be borderline impossible even with perfect time management. This is why I said, “BE IN BED.” Just be relaxed, unwind and be comfortable. Sleep helps to turn down the sympathetic nervous system(fight or flight) and let the parasympathetic nervous system(rest and digest) do it’s job. So if you aren’t sleeping, at least relax to try to get some of the affects. You can also try:
4. Drink a ½- ¾ gallon of water a day
Peeing is the number one way of loosing weight, so let’s get the gears going. Not only does drinking enough water help with recovery, but it has the following effects:
- Helps fight skin disorders
- Removes waste and toxins from the body
- Increases metabolic rate
- Suppresses appetite
- Battles heart disease and certain cancers
- Helps to lubricate your joints
- Provides more energy
The list goes on, but I think you get the picture.
5. Limit alcohol consumption. Seriously.
No one seems to like to talk about this one, but it needs to be said. THIS IS CRUCIAL and don’t give me that, “oh beer is good for your colon,” crap. You need to really limit yourself if you want results. Though you may think that it’s helping you relax, alcohol actually turns up the sympathetic tone and puts your body in a stressed state. This can cause cortisol levels to spike, which is the last thing you want no matter what your goals are. Lets not forget that a gram of alcohol is 7 calories, where as a carbs and protein are 4 and fat is 9.
For those of you looking to get bigger and stronger, it’s even worse. Alcohol has negative effects on testosterone levels, motor programs and general recovery. So my recommendation is to limit yourself to 3 drinks a week and make it red wine if possible.
6. Get Evaluated.
Yes, get evaluated, especially for those of you who plan on training on your own. Most injuries happen in the first few weeks of the routine and will stop you dead in your tracks. A good trainer should be able to evaluate your movement quality and give you corrective exercises to ensure that you don’t pull that hamstring or mess up that rotator cuff. And if they can’t screen you, then find one that can.
Put these rules on your fridge, in your workout log, wherever. Adhere to them and they will be good to you. 2014 can bring it.