Wits before Weights
Friends and family consistently come to me asking how I achieved a cover body physique. You know the body. You see it in fitness magazines. It’s not the massive steroid induced look, but the perfectly developed muscle tone where each part is defined, healthy and strong looking. You could say it is the ideal beach body that most people would like to have. It is always, “David, what are you doing now to keep your abs ripped? What do you eat? How do you make time? Give me a program.” As these are friends and family, of course I will take the time to impart my knowledge on them, but I find myself always open to chatting with anyone about how they can achieve such a healthy physique, as well as a healthy lifestyle. So let’s start with the basics before your next gym session so you can be a touch smarter, focused and goal oriented with the right knowledge for results. These basics are the two core aspects that produce results…exercise knowledge and nutrition.
Living healthy is a lifestyle, plain and simple. Think about it, if you’re living, this is a daily activity. Whether you want to live a healthy life by focusing on nutrition, your mind, or your body, you have to have to be dedicated. Dedication doesn’t mean a few days a week and then you cheat. Dedication means lifestyle. If you want to be healthier, you must change, conform and stay with it. I can’t tell you have many people say they bust their butt in the gym, and then go home and eat a half a pint of “frozen yogurt,” or go out for dinner and binge on pasta and alcohol. Or maybe they just go to the gym and think their busting their butt, but really just checking their email every 10 seconds. Ask yourself, “what did I do in the gym today?” I have approached my exercise sessions for the last 16 years with determination and focus each time. Sure there are “off” days where I just not feeling it. There are ways to approach those days, or simply pass on them, but this is not our focus for this piece.
Knowledge is power.
I didn’t just step into the gym and start throwing around weight. I started slow, learned, and am continuing to learn. Truth be told, bodybuilding magazines and periodicals are fantastic sources of information. Don’t focus on the bulging muscles. Focus on the lifts. These magazines will provide clarity on the muscle groups you are working and different programs to mix up your routines. You must understand how to challenge your body. With challenge comes growth, which holds firm for your body. For me, there is a certain “high” to know that my body is growing and changing as a result of the hard work. General health magazines surely provide good info, but if you truly want to perfect and build your physique, reach for the muscle mags. If you’re serious about changing your physique and taking it another level…purchase Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bodybuilding Encyclopedia. It’s a great read that includes the history of the craft (I don’t consider bodybuilding a sport by any means) and exercise direction. So, to reiterate, you must understand the different exercises, what you want to accomplish before you reach for the dumbbells.
Nutrition is #1
Nutrition is even more critical then the gym when it comes to muscle growth. Many think weights are all that’s needed, but if you ask any bodybuilder, they will tell you that their eating is the most important part, not to mention the most difficult! Fuel is what will get you through workouts, and what will contribute to muscle growth and size outside of the gym. Time and time again, friends turn to me and say they “crash” at the gym, meaning they ran out of gas and felt they either couldn’t lift another weight or got dizzy. Why do some get to this point and after just 30 minutes? Quite simply because of lack of fuel. It is critical to have a meal or nutrition shake 30-60 minutes before your workout. This will ensure the proper nutrients for your body to use. Immediately following your workout should also include a protein or carbohydrate shake to ensure your muscles are properly replenished your body. These two basics contribute to further growth. However, consistent healthy meals balancing protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats will produce optimal body and mind performance. Periodicals, books, experts and documentaries provide for excellent source of information. They will not only educate you, but may drastically change the way you eat and think about food.
Producing an ideal physique is a science. It requires knowledge and consistency. To begin, it is important to ask yourself what you want to achieve. Regardless of your goal, it is quintessential that you understand what to do in the gym, how to do it, and what nutrition to incorporate that will produce the best results.