Ahh ... The New Year, a time of year when most of us reflect on ourselves and decide to make certain changes in our lives. The most common change being that of getting in shape with the motivation of a summer beach vacation, class reunion, or just to look and feel better about ourselves. Though all of these are good reasons to make a lifestyle change, many people will fall off the wagon before reaching their desired goal.
Keys To Staying On Track
The truth of the matter is that health clubs and gyms do roughly 65-70% of their annual membership business between the months of January and March, and only 10% of those new memberships usually establish a first name basis with those working behind the counter. Catch my drift? This is where my advice may save a lot of those slipping through the cracks of our subculture called bodybuilding.
Reliable Training Partner:
A major pitfall for people is not having a logical plan for when they are going to the gym. I've found that a scheduled plan on when to go is the best route to take, also if you can find a partner that's great too.
Knowing that your partner is going to be at the gym waiting for you is great motivation to get off the couch and head over to the gym, and also if your gym attendance has been a little shaky and your partner hasn't, the difference in physique change can be very motivational -- not to mention the "encouragement" they give you when they're pulling off plates so you can do your set.
Another thing to take care of ahead of time is your grocery list. Make a list of all the meals you're going to have for the week and get everything that you need. I also found that preparing meals ahead of time on days you may be especially busy helps a lot. There are several types of diets and theories on nutrition, and if you have any questions you should definitely consult a worthy source.
People and their goals are extremely vast and there isn't a one size fits all diet or training plan. Find out what will be the best approach for your specific goal and your body type. When consulting with someone you will want to ask about three things: nutrition, training, and perhaps the most important, supplementation. Then after you have a reasonable plan for training, compatible with time restraints, and a solid and reasonable nutritional plan, go out and get the recommended health supplements.
Change Up Your Routine:
I also like to create routines in 12-week intervals, changing exercises every three to four weeks. A reasonable plan is a start, but I think the real advice is to follow. There seems to be a few common errors made by people just starting a new workout program, and I will attempt to correct these. For many going to the gym as a first timer can be embarrassing, painful, and just downright ugly.
Exercises may be awkward or even scary, so first have a session with your local trainer using your training routine. A little instruction on form may completely alleviate that pain in your shoulder you feel while doing barbell shoulder press. If form isn't the problem then a different exercise can be the solution.
Working around injuries is one of a trainers greatest contributions. Then, once you feel more comfortable with your routine give yourself an adjusting period of two weeks. Psychologists report that it takes two weeks to permanently change or establish a new habit.
Headstart Your Diet:
So, my advise to you is to start your diet two weeks prior to your training. This will give you a better estimation of the obstacles you will face in the future, and lightens the load of responsibilities once you are on your program full force.
Then in the second week of adjusting I recommend that you begin taking your supplements, especially creatine. Go to the gym and do some sets with lightweight and high repetition.
My best estimate is four sets of 15-18 reps alternating days of upper body and lower body. This is where the creatine comes in.
The major factor contributing to the failure of most people is the pain involved during the start-up process from a little thing called lactic acid. Lactic acid is responsible for the "soreness" you feel after intense training, and is produced as a result of oxygen deficiencies during anaerobic exercise.
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Creatine is a lactic acid buffer which means that it will help to counter act the lactic acid produced by your oxygen starved muscle, greatly lessening the effect lactic acid has on your life. Taking the other supplements will help also, mostly by getting you into the practice of taking them.
I'll close with a word to the wise. Don't kill yourself on the first couple of trips to the gym, and keep everything in perspective. Many people will try and out do either their partner or the guy next to them when it comes to the weight that they use. Form is the most important thing when it comes to shaping your body, and will also prevent injury. Extra plates will come in time and be patient, everyone started somewhere.