It’s a new year yet again ladies and gentlemen. And as we all begin the annual mad dash back into the gym I thought now was the perfect time to clue you into the biggest secret I’ve come across in my twenty years in the fitness industry. Okay here it comes…wait for it…THERE ARE NO SECRETS! I’m sorry to burst your bubble but there is no magic pill, supplement, secret exercise, or fitness gadget that will expedite the process and will have you running faster than a Kenyan, make you more athletic than Jay Ajayi, all while turning you into a supermodel! In short, it takes time, effort, and consistency. Period. No simpler way to put it. However, I am willing to share what you should realistically expect in the process and what is takes to keep you on track this time…for good!
Be patient: I can never say this enough. Ask any of my clients and they’ll tell you I say it until I’m blue in the face! Don’t be in such a damn hurry! Achieving your desired fitness levels and body fat goals requires the accumulation of work and sound nutrition of the course of your lifetime. As long as you strive to make forward progress and keep moving you will get there. But you have to keep expanding your levels of comfort along the way which brings us to our next point.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable: Now I’m not saying you have to exhaust yourself to the point to being carried out of the gym by a stretcher, but I am here to tell you that you do need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Also, the process that it takes to break a 10 minute mile or lose your first 20 pounds isn’t the same as the one to break an 8 minute pace or lose those last few “stubborn” pounds. In short, your body will always adapt and training intensity will continually have to be raised beyond your comfort zone alone the way. So embrace some healthy discomfort!
Your expectations should match your efforts: The lean and mean look that you see in magazines featuring fitness models or elite athletes comes at a high cost that most people aren’t willing to pay. Specifically working out 5-6 times per week, eating cleanly 90+ percent of the time and being “that guy” people hate on in social situations where food and/or alcohol may be involved (yes…I’m “that guy”). With that being said, you can still aspire to be leaner and healthier with simple adjustments which can add up to noticeable improvements over time. So determine from day one what you want and keep it real with your expectations relative to your body and fitness.
Exercise doesn’t give you a free pass to eat poorly: Nutrition plays a much bigger role over exercise if you aspire to lose any significant amount of body fat! Now, I don’t endorse any specific diet over another. We are all individuals and what works for one person eating wise may be the exact opposite of what you need. However, I do recommend the basic nutrition principles. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each meal. Focus on “quality” carbohydrates and cut back on the processed, sugary carbs like juice, white flour, muffins and eat more whole grain breads and pastas, quinoa, long grain rice, etc. Also, include protein dense foods and healthy fats. Protein dense foods include lean meats such as ground beef, chicken, turkey, bison. Other great protein sources include salmon, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, etc. And eating a variety of meats, cheeses, nuts, olive oil, and a fish oil supplement are all great ways to getting our daily dose of fat. Do this 80% of the time and you’ll be amazed at what it will do for you body, your energy, and your workouts!
Find what works for you: People always ask, “What do you do for workouts?” Lots of things! I personally include a combination of interval training, sports conditioning, and strength training for my “gym” workouts 2-3 times per week. But I enjoy other activities as well. I participate in Krav Maga 2-3 times per week, play in recreational sports leagues (i.e. Volleyball, Flag Football, Softball, etc.) year round, and have even began dabbling with hot yoga to balance it all out. Of course this is what I do. Point being, variety is the spice of life, especially with fitness. So go out and try out different activities and workouts along the way until you find what you enjoy most and works best for you.
There you have it! I encourage you to go forth into 2015 with a heighten self-awareness of what it is you want to accomplish, push your limits, find what works for you, have some fun along the way, and become the person you’ve always wanted to be.