Success in fitness hinges on education. Without at least some knowledge about nutrition, training, motivation, and supplementation, your New Year's resolutions for better health in 2014 may are in serious danger.
The Internet is full of videos, articles, and blogs for your fitness edification. Why not use them to your advantage? We have some of the best voices in the industry right here, and they want to help you achieve your goals.
These 10 professional athletes are the real deal. They know all about training and nutrition and can help guide you through the most difficult part of any transformation story: the beginning.
Read on for 10 great tips from the pros!
When you begin training, keep Pareto's Principle in mind: 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of the causes. In other words, out of your entire exercise program, only 20 percent of the movements will produce results. Unless you're in a very early stage of your training journey, the other 80 percent won't likely help much.
To make the most out of your 20 percent, use compound movements. Exercise movements that require two or muscle groups to perform are better than isolation movements, which only require one muscle group.
Compound movements will elicit a better hormonal response for building muscle than isolation movements will. You'll always get better results with an exercise program that centers around compound movements.
Ask almost any pro, and they'll tell you that regardless of your training goals, healthy eating is the backbone.
Food is what fuels your body to reach your goals. Without proper nutrition through quality foods, you're likely to stall.
Stick to whole foods—organic whenever possible—that offer a balanced blend of complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and fats.
Supplement your diet where necessary, but avoid processed and packaged foods devoid of multiple nutrients.
The key to success in any aspect of fitness will always be nutrition. How you eat, when you eat, and what you eat will dramatically affect how you feel and look
Nutrition will affect every component of your lifestyle, so it should be balanced and coordinated with your desired goals.
Without the proper eating habits, say goodbye to any hope you have of building that lean, muscular, and strong body you might have in your mind.
Spend quality time researching what you should be eating and why.
Start by finding the right plan here on Bodybuilding.com!
My top tip for beginners is to lay out a plan! Plan out what days you'll be hitting the gym so you can start getting into a routine. It's important to take it slowly at first. Go to the gym three or four times per week. Go too often and you run the risk of getting burned out or injured. A great start would be to formulate a goal that says something like this: "My gym days are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday."
Once you've decided which days you'll go to the gym, make it a priority. If you can commit to those four days for 4-6 weeks, you'll take the first steps toward success. After this initial period, you can up those days in the gym to maybe five days per week. Or, you can write a new goal like: "I plan to get my first pull-up within three months."
Challenge yourself with small, attainable goals to keep your motivation high!
Many people say that achieving a healthier, better-looking body is 70 percent diet and 30 percent training. I believe it is 100 percent commitment to both.
Why work so hard in trying to transform your body only to feed it poor, high-calorie, low-nutrient food? It would be like putting regular gas in your diesel engine and hoping it runs smoothly.
The food you put in your mouth acts as fuel and has a direct impact on your body composition.
If you eat healthier, high-nutrient foods like lean meats, vegetables, good fats, and complex carbohydrates, your body will have the raw material to lose fat and build muscle.
Ladies, don't be intimidated! I should know: The fear of weight training paralyzed me for many years.
I was only familiar with a treadmill, so I stuck to it like glue. I didn't get good results and my motivation sagged.
I finally enlisted a personal trainer to teach me the proper techniques for weight training and enrolled in free fitness classes of all sorts.
A trainer is a wonderful tool, but you can get a lot of information on Bodybuilding.com. The more you educate yourself, the more success you'll have with any fitness program. You can go from the wallflower to the leader of the pack.
Don't worry about how silly you look or if you don't have the latest gear. What matters is your dedication, drive, and persistence!
My most important tip for beginners is something called KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Stick to the big compound muscle-building movements and stay away from silly little machines and trickery. You have to build a house by creating a foundation, and nothing builds a foundation like heavy barbell movements.
In your first six months of training, hit upper- and lower-body workouts three times per week. For example:
- Day 1: Squat, Bench Press, Bent-over Rows
- Day 2: Rest
- Day 3: Deadlift, Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Incline Bench
- Day 4: Rest
- Day 5: Squat, Bench Press, Lateral Raise, Pull-ups
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: Clean Up Day—Biceps, Triceps, Calves, and Abs
Repeat for four weeks straight and then re-establish your goal and what you'd like to achieve.
Preparation is key to jump starting your healthy lifestyle! I know when I do not have my meals packed and my workout planned that it's much easier for me to make excuses to skip a meal or training session.
Going to the gym without a plan is like going to the grocery store without a list. Having your workouts prepared will help you stay on track and will prevent you from feeling lost, intimidated, or wondering what to do next.
The same goes for your meals! Having your meals packed will keep you away from the fast food drive-thru, especially when you're hungry. The few extra minutes you'll use to prepare your workout and meals will be well worth it.
My number one tip for beginners is to develop a plan. Everyone wants to get in shape, but because so many people don't have a plan, there is a high failure rate. Four key elements belong in every new fitness plan:
- Nutrition: Eat 4-6 meals per day to avoid cravings, keep blood sugar levels stable, and keep hunger at bay. If you want to gain weight, it takes more calories. If you want to lose weight, you need to consume fewer. This may be old-school advice, but it works!
- Cardio: Cardio is important for keeping body-fat levels in check, increasing endurance, and decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Even in the offseason, I do 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) daily.
- Strength Training: Even if your goal is fat loss, building muscle can help speed up your metabolism and burn many more calories, even when you're at rest. If muscle gain is the goal, then spending time with the iron is a no-brainer.
- Supplementation: It's nearly impossible to get all of your necessary nutrients from food alone. Supplements can help fill gaps in your nutrition and may help you perform better in the gym.
Starting a new workout or nutrition program can be very exciting or very intimidating. It depends on how well you plan! If you set yourself up the right way, by making attainable goals, then you should feel more excited than nervous.
On the other hand, if you make your goals a little too far-fetched, you'll feel like you're about to walk over the edge of a huge cliff!
Finding success in fitness requires a healthy nutrition plan, a regimented workout plan, a handful of nutritional supplements, and a community of like-minded people who can help you be accountable and can offer you support.
Don't believe that you can get there by taking shortcuts. The only way to achieve what you want will be through old-fashioned hard work, discipline, and determination. I believe if you shortcut your efforts, you ultimately shortchange your results.