Overlooked Fitness Tips
As human beings, we often make the mistake of concentrating on the most complex tasks while typically neglecting the simpler ones. This exact mindset can sometimes show itself when it comes to our fitness.
We all see and understand the big picture: diet and training will help you achieve your fitness goals. These are indeed the fundamentals of fitness, but when we neglect the simple steps, all of our efforts can be made with futility. Here are the most overlooked fitness tips that, when applied, will tremendously aid in reaching your goals.
Diet > Training
Fitness results come more from diet than weight training. Many experts believe the average person who trains will receive 70 percent of their results from dieting and 30 percent from actual training. This percentage ratio makes perfect sense. Think about it: if you walk into any gym, you will most likely see the average male training like a bodybuilder. He will use the same machines, same exercises and the same rep ranges hoping to achieve the same outcome. The reality is that they will never achieve the same outcome because the diets are different. If your goal is to build muscle and/or lose fat, then eating five to seven healthy meals a day will aid tremendously in your progress.
Many people who want to lose weight fear this because of the misconception of eating that many meals will put on fat. This is so far from the truth. Eating a minimum of five healthy meals a day may keep you more satisfied, allowing you to maintain better control over your calorie intake more efficiently than a person who only eats your typical three meals. Satisfying your hunger and not binging on junk food calories is one important step to helping you with your fat loss goals. Moreover, making sure each meal is protein packed (e.g., 30g protein per meal) can help maximize protein synthesis for serious muscle growth. So eating five to seven healthy meals a day will maximize muscle gain and fat loss.
Motivation to push through your workouts is paramount when on a fitness journey. Here are three overlooked tips that will boost your motivation:
a. Alternate your setting. If you are training at the same gym with the same machines, seeing the same people, you will eventually get bored. This boredom can cause you not to feel excited and encourage you to quit sooner. Top fitness athletes are able to travel the world to various gyms to avoid this, so why not do the same in your community by getting day/week pass to different gyms or even getting outdoors? The psychological effects are mind-blowing.
b. Changing your music playlist. You agree that your motivation and your ability to push are heavily based on music, right? So why listen to the same 20 songs week after week? I rotate my music playlist every month with a new selection of 60 songs.
c. Pick the right pre-workout. There are many overlooked quality ingredients in True Grit® Pre, which really appealed to me when looking for a brand that I wanted to be an ambassador for.
I for one typically train alone but I have realized over the years that I will push harder and longer if someone next to me is motivating me. The key thing is to ensure this training partner is at a similar fitness level as you, so time isn’t wasted on explaining or correcting form.
You can motivate each other as well as spot each other. We tend to not lift at our maximum potential in fear of injury or embarrassment. Having that training buddy will eliminate that fear by spotting and increasing safety. A great training partner will be your significant other. You both will push each other to the limit because you genuinely want to see your mate in the best possible shape. This will have much more benefits than you can imagine in and outside of the gym.
This maybe the most important fitness tip. As mentioned in the “Diet>Training” section, the diet is the most essential part of your regimen. Maintaining a strict diet is very difficult and easy to break. One way to reduce that is prepping your meals in advance. When you’re hungry and there isn’t any healthy meal in sight, you may be tempted to cheat. Having meals prepared in advance and available will reduce this desire to cheat.
If your goal is to build muscle and burn fat, then the scale will confuse you endlessly. If you pound away at cardio, eat healthy, incorporate weight training, see an increase in strength and clothes become loose, but your weight stays the same or increases, don’t panic.
You are burning fat and building muscle. We focus heavily on numbers on a scale because numbers give an easy “representation” of your current fitness state. The truth is that this statement is incorrect. Person number 1 who is 170 pounds can be in great shape but person number 2 who is also 170 pounds can look obese. All of our bodies are different.
The key concept to remember here is that 1 pound of muscle takes up less space on the body than 1 pound of fat. So if you are stronger now than when you started with loose-fitting clothes, then it’s possible that you are adding muscle, which is causing your weight to remain the same or increase. Also, a gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds, so if you recently consumed a heavy meal and multiple beverages, your weight can be temporarily off.
Focus more on your appearance as well as how your clothes fit. This will provide you the best representation of your fitness status. Another tip is to take weekly progress pictures and compare your photographs.
As we all know, cardio is the principle tool used to burn fat. But when is the best time to do it? To fully understand this, we must know the significance of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, but if that energy is not used (i.e., via exercise), then that energy will then turn to fat. The average person who is looking to burn fat will do cardio at the end of the day after work, because that time is most convenient. This is a good time, but is it the best time for you?
Typically, at the end of the day, the average person may have consumed three to five meals. As the individual is doing afternoon or night cardio, the body will burn the carbohydrates and calories that were consumed in the day before it starts to burn fat. The individual’s metabolism will determine how long this process takes before fat burning starts. This sometimes can be 20 minutes of just calorie and carb burning but no fat burning. So essentially, you have burned off the food you consumed that day and have yet to target stored fat.
The next important cardio time is early in the morning on an empty stomach, also known as fasted cardio. This cardio targets fat much faster than the afternoon cardio. The body has fasted, so there aren’t any readily available carbohydrates or calories to burn. This is a very popular form of cardio for fitness competitors, including myself, because you will maximize fat burn on the treadmill. The key thing to remember is the body is fasted and hungry, so your energy levels won’t be high and you run the risk of burning away precious muscle as well. A trick to reduce this is to consume a low-carb protein shake prior to cardio. This will help preserve muscle and reduce the feeling of hunger.