Before I even begin, let me give a disclaimer. I am NOT a licensed trainer (yet), but I do have a substantial amount of experience in fitness. I do not claim to be an expert and like the HodgeTwins (google them) always say…”All of this is just advice…do whatever the [bleep] you wanna do.”
With that being said, allow me to shed some light on the fitness phenomenon. It seems like nowadays, celebs and everyday people are getting more interested in fitness. With more interest comes more products, fitness DVDs, supplements, pills, etc. The media has trained us to say “Oooh, look at such-and-such.” Then the follow-up sentence is where thousands of people go wrong before even attempting to get in shape. That sentence is this: “What is the FASTEST way I can look like them?” or “How FAST can I lose this belly fat?” (I’ll specifically tackle “belly fat” in another post). Speed is one of the worst things you can ask about because your body is unique and responds differently. There are different body types, genetics, and metabolisms that comes into factor. So even though that nice fitness celeb may talk about a formula or method to lose weight and be fit, just know that results WILL vary (not “may”).
One of the biggest and most overlooked factor in fitness is diet. No, “diet” doesn’t mean “fast” or “eat less.” It simply means “an eating plan.” Going on a diet shouldn’t be a “let me eat nothing but rice cakes” type of thing. People who want to gain weight go on a diet too. Ok…you’re still looking at the word “diet” as a bad thing, so let me just continue to say “eating plan” instead. An eating plan is the absolute MOST important thing about fitness. Even fitness corporations who shove their products down our throats will quietly slide in a meal plan. That sheet of meal plans is far greater than the shiny product you see in the commercials. Fitness is all about eating right, proper rest, and consistent exercise…IN THAT ORDER!
Ok…let me start a new paragraph and say that again: Fitness is all about eating right, proper rest, and consistent exercise…IN THAT ORDER! Eat, Sleep, Workout. If I was to break this down in percentages of importance, diet…oops, I mean “eating plan” is about 70% of this whole fitness life. The other 30% is split between 7-8 hours of sleep and a consistent workout regimen. Why talk about the 70% when I can just sell you on the 15% fitness aspect and have you fail 85% of the time? Answer: To keep you coming back and/or to take your money. I respect Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers because they, at least, focus on an “eating plan.”
“What eating plan should I choose?” Beeeeeeeeeeeep. Wrong first question. The real first question should be “How many calories does it take for me to maintain my weight?” Yeah, yeah…I know you want to lose weight, but first you got to know where you are before you can ask for directions, right? There are countless calorie calculators online. Find one and find your calorie number. Once you do that, you have three choices: lose weight, keep weight, and gain weight. If you want to keep weight, maintain your calorie intake. If you want to lose weight, cut your calorie intake by 500. Anything more than that is unhealthy. If you want to gain weight, increase your calorie intake by 500. That simple. So…if it takes 1500 calories for you to maintain your weight, and you want to lose weight, go down to 1000 calories (500 less). In your “eating plan,” make sure that you get the proper amounts of protein, carbs and fats. [I don’t believe in no-carb diets – but that’s for another post as well.] “But I don’t feel like counting calories.” That’s fine. Enjoy your life the way you are or take a diet pill that will make you drop the weight, then quietly pick it back up in less than a year. *end of sarcasm* No…I’m not saying for you to carry around a calculator or anything. Most of the work is already done for you in the Nutrition Facts label on most of your foods. Even fast food restaurants have them on their websites. Also…water intake should be key. At minimum 2 liters.
I can (and will) go on and on about this, but that’s enough for this particular blog. I will revisit and go more in-depth later. Before I go, remember, if you see or hear a commercial that says “You don’t even have to change your eating habits or workout! Just take this pill!”…Run. Shortcuts are only for computers. Shortcuts in real life will give you temporary success and a permanent cycle. Make fitness a lifestyle, not a bandaid.