Have the first two days of your new program felt easy? Hopefully so, because Day 3 is when things start to pick up. Now that you're beginning to understand how you need to reprogram your habits, it's time to reset how you approach exercise and eating.
The requests are still going to be small, but the impact is going to start to feel a lot bigger. You'll now focus on exactly what you should be eating at each meal. We'll also take you through your first weight workout. Your training day will be a walk-through, but it will still set the tone for everything that's about to happen.
Here's what I don't want to happen: You go into the gym, absolutely push your body to the extreme, and walk away feeling like you're going to dominate life. Sure, there are days when you'll want to take that approach, but that's also almost a guaranteed way to make sure you won't be back in the gym for several days.
It's A Trap!
When you meet your new trainer, you interview them as much as they interview you. They want you to feel like you made the right choice, so they put you through a workout you won't soon forget. You push through rep after rep. Your muscles ache, and the sweat stains remind you that you still know how to hustle.
That's great, but anyone can put together a workout that feels like a balls-to-the-wall killer routine. That's not what you need.
You need an assessment. You need to become familiar with the gym. And most of all, you need to establish baseline levels of strength and determine your weaknesses. This is how you make real progress.
It's a more patient approach, but it's the most efficient way to get back in shape and reach your goals. Remember on Day 2 when we talked about playing darts blindfolded? It's no different with exercise and determining a starting point.
Once you have a better understanding of your body, it'll be much easier for you to find the best workout for you and the one that will provide the biggest changes.
Are you ready to up the ante? If so, here's what you need to focus on for Day 3.
There are many effective ways to drop pounds and build muscle, but I'm not here to share every option that can work. My focus is on what works best and gets the job done the fastest. For that to happen, you want to focus your exercise on weight training.
Resistance training is the best way to change your body. It's not an opinion; it's a matter of science. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, just three sessions per week of strength training can reduce your body fat by 3 percent in just 10 weeks—and that's assuming absolutely no changes to what you eat.
Adding muscle is the most sure-fire way to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Research published in "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise" found that after six months of lifting weights—just three days per week—you experience a 7 percent increase in resting metabolism. You burn fat as you exercise, and once you're out of the gym and in the office, you continue burning more calories.
The post-workout-calorie-burn process can last anywhere from 24-48 hours after you leave the gym. If you lift weights every other day, three times per week, then your metabolism is elevated seven days per week. Even the best cardio program can't offer that.
To prove that point, researchers at Ball State University compared participants who performed cardio to those who used resistance training as their primary form of exercise. While both groups lost the same amount of weight, the group which lifted weights burned nearly five pounds more fat than the aerobic group. The study was the perfect example of why all exercise is not created equal. The group which used weights burned almost pure fat, while the cardio group was also losing muscle.
That's not to say cardio doesn't have a role. It does, and we'll eventually show you how to make it a part of your program, but in a world of priorities, weight training should be your emphasis when it comes to exercise.
Even if you only have a little time, do a quick workout like you did on Day 1. It can have an impact. Research has shown that 8-12 minutes of intense intervals can burn as many calories as 25-30 minutes of constant moderate exertion exercise.
Weight Training Beginnings
Since you're starting fresh, you can be smarter than everyone else who wastes their time trying to outsmart their body—whether your goal is to add a few inches to your biceps or work your ass off in order to, well, work your ass off.
Weight training is the heart and soul of what your body needs. Push yourself. Your body doesn't need five or six days per week in the gym. When you start out, just three or four days will provide you with better results and you'll avoid burnout. That balance between exercise and rest keeps you going.
We can spend all day talking about motivation, inspiration, or the will to become fit, but what will get you to the gym—and keep you going—are changes you can see. You need to have enough energy to want to keep returning.
To accomplish that, focus on compound movements. What are compound movements? They are exercises that work multiple muscles in one efficient movement.
If you want to hammer a nail into a wall, do you use a screwdriver and "tap" the nail 200 times? Or would you rather use a correctly sized hammer, and knock the nail into place with a few efficient swings? Both techniques can get the job done, but one makes a lot more sense and will allow you to hammer a lot more nails.
The same came be said for your muscles. Some moves give you more bang for your buck. You will discover why weight training is more effective than endless reps on exercises that don't deliver as fast.
The most common examples of compound movements include presses (bench press), pulls (rows), squats, deadlifts, and lunges. These movements include dozens of variations. Take presses, for example. You can do a traditional barbell bench press, or sub it out with dumbbells, perform the exercise on an incline, or even press the weights directly overhead as a shoulder press.
Standing Dumbbell Overhead PRess
If you focus on compound movements, you'll be able to include all the best exercises, and still include enough variety so you don't have to worry about getting bored.
Perform the following workout two days during your initial week. Do Workout A, take a day off, and then complete Workout B. Do all exercises in the order shown. When you see a number with a letter next to it—such as 2A and 2B—it means the exercises should be performed as a group.
Do one set of the first exercise, rest for the prescribed amount of time, and then do one set of the next exercise in the group. Repeat until you complete all of your sets for each exercise, and then move on to the next group.
What about machines?
Machines have their place. They can be a valuable part of any program. Many of the workouts you find on this site include machines, but if you're starting out, go with free weights. They help you learn the correct movement pattern that caters to your body (rather than working in the fixed plane of a machine).
Columbian researchers discovered that free weights can activate more muscle fibers and help you burn more calories.
Where are all the biceps curls?
By Day 7, we'll direct you toward the perfect workout for your body. Don't stress about the exercises you see here. This process is about acclimating your body and programming it for success. No false promises, this is just a proven progression that works. You might not see curls in the workout, but you'll feel your biceps working. Just as you might eat certain foods you wouldn't expect, you'll see unexpected body changes.
The key is trust and patience. Believe in the program and give it time. Don't suffer from exercise ADD and try to make changes before you allow the exercises to take hold of your body. This isn't magic. So stop thinking you can change your body in one workout. You didn't find your way here overnight, so it won't change immediately. But it does work—and that's the message you need to keep reminding yourself. So push forward and you'll be glad you stayed the course.
Your Day 3 Checklist
1. Write Down Your Goals
2. Sleep 7-8 Hours
3. Drink At Least 6 Glasses Of Water
4. Include Protein In Each Of Your Meals
There's a lot to love about protein and little to hate. It helps you build muscle, lose weight, feel full, and even fights off aging and disease, according to British researchers. According on a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, people who followed a diet of at least 30 percent protein lost 11 more pounds of fat than those who ate less protein.
Protein is a necessity despite some scare-tactic claims—like how protein causes kidney problems. There's no published research to make that link. Researchers found that someone can eat upward of 300-400 grams of protein per day without any health problems.
I'm not going to suggest you eat anything near that much protein. Instead, shoot for 1 gram per pound of your ideal body weight. If you want to weigh 170 pounds, aim for 170 grams of protein per day.
5. Eat Veggies At Every Meal
Vegetables are like the offensive line of the nutrition world. You don't know all their names; they get little credit, but they are integral to your success.
A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who included veggies in every meal were able to eat 25 percent more food but lose an additional 3.5 pounds. Vegetables are low in calories, but dense in nutrients.
You can overeat a little on vegetables without having to pay the consequences. The good news? It'll be easier as you adapt to your diet. The bad news? Well, there is none, unless you don't like the research done at Penn State.
The scientists there discovered that when you include vegetables in every meal, you cut your caloric intake by 11 percent per day and you lose more fat, without making any other changes to your diet.
As you prepare for tomorrow, make sure you have garbage bags ready because we're going to be raiding your kitchen.