It seems easy enough: You have an idea of how you want to look, put it into action, and voila the end result is just what you pictured it would be. But translating dreams to reality is difficult without the right tools. The right tools are precisely what we're going to talk about here!
Most get-in-shape fitness plans entail setting and following weekly goals that will enable you to make head way in manageable chunks of time. Thinking of it any other way makes it difficult to succeed. We'll start with Weeks 1 to 4 in this first part.
Generally speaking, a diet that is focused on weight loss should be administered at a slow and leisurely pace. We may want results today, but it's unrealistic to think that those results would be enduring. Diets that are focused on current fads and trends, such as getting rid of all your body fat in four we e k s, or that concentrate on eating just one or two types of foods, never work.
The truth is, there is no magic to any of this. Then again, taking weight off slowly doesn't mean that you're condemned to a life of deprivation, either. Slow just means that the fitness program you're following in order to lose weight and get in better shape is "manageable" and "sane," one that creates healthy habits that stay with you for a lifetime.
Here's what you need to get started in Weeks 1 to 4:
- Diet Plan and Learning about Nutrition
- Program of Cardiovascular/Aerobic Training
- Program of Weight Training
- Program of Supplementation
Motivation is listed first because it's the single greatest tool you'll ever have if you want to achieve your goals.
Here are some things you can do to motivate yourself:
- Visualize - Picture who it is you really want to become, in great detail, every day. Cut out photos of your favorite fitness figures and post them in various areas throughout your home.
- Set Goals - List five goals you'd like to achieve, such as weight, body fat, increase in stamina, etc.
- Try a Work out Partner- Commit to meeting at the gym, review your diet together, etc.
- Read Fitness Magazines - There's no excuse for not reading this magazine; it's free!
- Join a Competition - One example is the MaxFormation Fitness Quest, which requires you to keep track of your results by photos and periodic measurements.
A moderate diet is best: Eating fewer calories overall, eating smaller meals more often, taking in more protein, removing harmful fats, eating less starch and sugar. Including fruits and veggies in your diet where only starch or sugar existed in the past can't hurt, either.
Weeks 1 to 4 are about cutting out things you know don't belong there. Substitute egg whites in place of whole eggs, use powdered butter instead of stick butter, and use artificial sweetener in place of white sugar.
Follow These Suggestions When Constructing Your New Eating Plan: (tell yourself that you are only making this new diet commitment for four weeks to help you change your eating habits.)
- Eat Small Meals Often - This is crucial to fat loss. Eat the same number of calories, but extend them over five or six meals. You'll teach your metabolic rate to utilize food correctly and efficiently.
- Eat One Gram of Protein for Every Pound You Weigh - Crucial for both men and women, and for retaining muscle while losing fat. Protein also helps fire the metabolic rate each time it's ingested. Take in only 30-40 grams per meal for best absorption.
- Have Your Last Carbohydrate Meal by 4 p.m. - This helps weight loss tremendously. Your body requires less carbohydrate and more protein from 3 p.m. onward. Eating carbs after that means they'll probably be stored as fat.
- Rid Your Cupboards of all Fattening Foods Ahead of Time - Go through and do a "food sweep" before you start a diet. Don't tempt fate by leaving the bad stuff to be eaten in desperation later.
- Post a Current Photo on Your Refrigerator- Seeing what you really look like, on the 'fridge door, can make all the difference when you're reaching for more food.
- Cook Your Food the Night Before Work - Don't rely on finding the right food out at lunch. Cook veggies, rice, and chicken breasts, and cut up salad fixings, so you'll be prepared.
- Take Your Food on the Road - Or make sure you know how a restaurant will prepare your food before it's served.
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with a Protein Bar - Most bars come in a variety of flavors and can be purchased just about everywhere these days, including convenience stores.
Drink 12 Glasses of Water Daily - Start with 12 glasses and move up from there to drinking a gallon per day, eventually. Water aids weight loss tremendously.
Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise complements any diet plan. It helps burn stored fat and raises the metabolic rate during each session.
- Split cardio sessions: 20 minutes in the a.m./20 minutes in the p.m.
- Vary type of cardio: Do treadmill one day, then cycle, step, walk, jog, or swim the next.
- Vary intensity: Increase treadmill speed one day, walk slower but raise the incline the next.
- Vary duration: Do 30 minutes in the a.m. and 20 minutes in the p.m. one day; do the opposite the next.
Weight training is essential for maintaining lean tissue while on a diet. Focus on body fat lost, not weight lost when weight training, because you may gain a small amount of lean tissue.
- Constructing a routine:
- Plan on training three days per week to start. Go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and take the weekends off.
- Do a circuit of machines to work your back, chest, biceps, and triceps on Monday.
- Do a circuit of machines to work your quads, hamstrings, and calves on Wednesday.
- Do a circuit for your entire body on Friday.
- Do one or two exercises for each body part.
- Do three sets of each exercise for each body part.
- Keep repetitions at 10-12; use weight that accommodates that range of repetitions.
- Move through each repetition slowly and fluidly, moving continually but not rapidly.
- Take 30-second rest periods between sets and keep moving. This will aid weight loss.
- Train with a partner.
- Enlist the help of a personal trainer.
- Write everything that you do in a training journal.
Get the most out of your workouts. There are more people training and getting half the results because they do not know about supplementing their diet. For instance, the more protein intake, the greater amount of muscle gain. Glutamine will help repair and recover muscles and decrease muscle breakdown. The more you learn about nutrition and supplements, the greater your results. Here are the top four recommended products:
- Protein Powder - Every good weight-loss plan requires protein. But don't use protein as a meal unto itself. Use it as a protein source, along with vegetables or rice or fruit.
- Meal Replacement- Use a meal replacement by itself when getting a meal is not possible. MRP's are packed with nutrients and macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) that make a complete meal.
- Thermogenics - Get a fat-burning product that you can use throughout all phases. This will boost metabolism and access fat stores that are difficult to reach through diet alone.
- L-Glutamine - This will help you to save lean tissue from the ravages of dieting. The more muscle you retain, the more calories you can eat when all is said and done.