From the thousands of emails that readers send in with questions, the most popular topics include increasing muscle mass and lowering body fat. From baby boomers seeking fitness goals for the first time, to seasoned veterans fighting to regain competitive physiques of yesterday, we all need to take the time to get back to basics to achieve goals.
Why do we need to write an article about getting back to basics? Emails indicate that so many of our readers are overlooking the obvious when it comes to analyzing training and weight loss plateaus. Let's examine a few pointers that will help you to analyze your own training and nutrition regime to best determine how getting back to basics will propel you towards your ultimate goals.
The Basics of a Legendary Physique
Your Training Program Must Be Designed To Match Your Desired Goal.
Power lifters train like power lifters, while runners train like runners. If you want to put on huge amounts of muscle mass, you must utilize a mass building, resistance training program that maximizes your particular set of genetics.
However, if your goal is to lose weight and/or drop body fat levels, your training and nutrition program must be designed to meet this goal. Don't try to match a power lifting nutrition program to a goal of losing weight.
Since losing weight is our most requested area of information from readers, let's discuss matching the goal of weight loss to a program plan.
Here's an example of matching a program to your goal. One of our readers recently sent in this email.
I've been reading many of your articles this week and hope that you can help me. A few years ago I adopted the "Body For Life" program as a way of life and lost 50 pounds over a 6 month period.
I have spent the last 3 years caring for my ill husband and fighting a daily stress level that sometimes feels off the charts. Over the last year I have put back on about 15 pounds and am disgusted with myself!
I am 46 years old, 5'4", weigh 185 pounds and have recently tested at about 30 BMI. Over the last 2 months, I have stopped lifting weights and have relied on an intense regimen of Pilates 3 times a week with a personal trainer using the Reformer and Cadillac. I have recently started incorporating intense interval aerobics 5 times per week.
I want to begin my weight training again, but am unsure how to incorporate it with the Pilates, (which I do not want to give up). My plan is to follow the same plan I did before, but I'm unsure how to incorporate the lifting schedule. I do Pilates [Define] 2 evenings a week and on Sundays. Do I lift the same morning or a different day? I'm an early riser and not apposed to working out hard!
I also would love some insight into supplementation. Should I use creatine and glutamine before and after workouts?
The Implications Of Cortisol Release!
There is another hormone closely associated with bodybuilding. This hormone is cortisol, a steroid hormone, and is probably the most underrated of the four bodybuilding hormones overviewed in this article. Read more...
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Is there one fat burner that is more effective to fight cortisol release? I am pretty well schooled in all of this, but am a little lost. It's amazing to me how much difference 3 years can make on our hormone levels and resistance to all of this.
My goals are to lower my BMI into the low 20's, get as healthy as possible, and possibly compete in master's level competition.
Thank you so much for your help and insight!
First of all, congratulations on your weight loss and decision to regain control of your life. We all go through periods of crisis and stress, but what defines us as a "success" is the ability to recognize a problem and seek help for a solution.
Gloria, it sounds like your priority is to lower your BMI or body mass index. This will require a change in body composition where lean, healthy and sexy muscle mass, replaces unattractive body fat. In order to achieve lean muscle mass as a baby boomer female, you must work hard (bust ass) in the gym.
It seems straightforward. However, in your email your current goal is to maintain Pilates as a foundation of your workout routine. Look, I enjoy Pilates just as much as any baby boomer that discovers programs such as Pilates and Yoga. But, please remember Pilates was originally designed to help with injury rehabilitation.
As a result, you must ask yourself this question. Are you looking to rehab an injury or achieve a legendary physique? As baby boomers that are fighting the ravages of age which includes slowing metabolisms and the loss of lean muscle tissue, we don't have the luxury to set fun activities such as Pilates as the foundation of our exercise routine. However, we do have the ability to completely redefine our physique through sweat equity and sound nutrition.
If you enjoy Pilates, then please participate in this activity. Pilates and yoga can have a useful place in a baby boomer's routine, helping to ease the effects of age in terms of flexibility and elasticity. But, use weightlifting as the foundation on which you transform your body composition with the addition of lean muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.
Good luck and happy training,
You Didn't Get Fat In 6 Weeks & You Are Not Going To Get Lean In 6 Weeks.
In other words, as Richard likes to point out to his clients, one should never plunge into a world championship routine. Start out with a beginner's routine and work your way to the level of fitness you are comfortable with.
Richard likes to call it "turning the screw." When he decides to increase his fitness or physique level or that of a client, he does it gradually over months. For instance, to be in maximum shape he would begin training and dieting 9 months before a show.
Nutrition Is The Key For 99% Of Our Baby Boomer Readers (and 98% of the rest of you).
After years of working in the fitness industry, the number one reason that keeps clients from achieving their goals is nutrition. Just how important is nutrition in the program design?
If we had a dollar for every time a client would sabotage lifting efforts by eating empty calories, we would be able to retire. Intensity in the gym means NOTHING, if you don't properly design a nutrition program to maximize fat loss.
In a society where instant gratification is expected and a magic bullet is desired to eliminate weight issues, it is difficult for readers to remember that weight loss requires calorie restriction. And that friends brings on hunger.
You need to find that delicate balance that restricts calories to bring on weight loss without slowing the metabolism through starvation techniques. Terms such as "sensible" and "reasonable" coupled with only ingested nutrient dense foods will provide essential nutrients to get through the activities of the day, while burning off fat.
How hard is calorie restriction? Don't kid yourself, it's very hard! Stress and slowing metabolisms are part of a baby boomer's daily life. However, stress and a slowing metabolism should not be an excuse to choose illness over wellness, longevity and quality of life. Daily dedication to your goal through a well-planned and executed nutrition and exercise program will provide the keys to lower your body mass index.
Don't Let Your Metabolism Fall!
These are the top ten ways you can boost your metabolism and keep it high - even through Fall.
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Another reader writes.
I am 46 years younger, and have never been involved in any bodybuilding contest. The last time I worked out was like three years ago. At my best then was like 218 pounds at 12% body fat at 5' 11". I believe I can get bigger than what I was before, but I need some good words.
Today I am trying to get back to training, which I have successfully done thus far on and off for three months. It seems harder at this age now. At 5'11" 241 pounds and 28% bodyfat today, it's somewhat difficult, but not impossible. Tell me, in your opinion, do you think I can compete in the Masters for 06? Your words of encouragement would help.
I don't think anyone should ever let themselves get to 28% body fat. You have a lot of work to do. In fact, if you are thinking about competing, you need to realize you will have to get much leaner than your best at 12% body fat. Competitors get as lean as 4% or lower! Rather than being so concerned about getting "bigger," you need to realize you are going to have to get a lot "better" ("leaner").
On the brighter side, you have a year to remake yourself. Plan on attending a spring contest to get a preview of the master's level competition with body fat levels hovering between 4-6%. Above all, you must realize that competitors today, even on the Masters level, take competition very seriously so that it is hardly "amateur" competition any more. Be ready to make preparing for the Masters your priority in life if you expect to compete in one year.
The Masters (if you are talking about the national Masters) is no cake-walk. These guys will train and diet as hard as the Olympia competitors, the difference being that their aging bodies are no longer able to reach the freaky levels that younger men can.
My advice would be to hook up with someone who either trains competitors or is competing successfully himself.
Best of luck,
Remember, the keys to lowering your BMI include getting back to basics where you match your program goals with your training program and reduce the number of total calories by eating limited amounts of nutrient dense food.
Good luck and make it a legendary week.
Richard & Diane
Train hard, train smart and make it a legendary week!
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
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Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.
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