Thursday, May 20, 2010

REVISIT: Where To Start?

So you've decided that it's time to make a change.  You want to eat better.  You want to feel better.  You want to look better.  You want to improve your life.  So where do you start?  Let's look at 5 key things to help change your health and fitness future.
#1: Change Your Mindset

This is absolutely crucial.  You have to look at everything in a different way.  Food, exercise, weightlifting, cardio, priorities; anything that has set you back in the past -- change your thinking about it.  Don't think about food as a crutch or something to do while bored.  Food is fuel; look at that way.  Everything you eat will do one of two things: hurt you or help you. 

Will this help me lose weight or gain weight?  Will this help my workouts or hinder my workouts?  Why am I eating this?  If you are overweight, then food is the reason.  You can talk about hormones, family history, metabolism...but it all comes down to calories (except in extreme cases).  If you eat less calories than your BMR, you will lose weight, more specifically, body fat.  If you eat more than your BMR, you will gain weight.  Exercise will allow you to eat more (above your BMR) and we'll talk about that in a minute.  It's a simple law of thermodynamics.  The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method applies here.

Set simple, realistic, measurable goals.  Tom Venuto is a master of goal setting.  There is a reason that highly successful people talk about the importance of goal setting; it's not a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.  It's also not somoe magical ritual.  If you write down your goals, post them in your bathroom & yet do nothing to work toward those goals, then your goal setting doesn't suddenly become some magical wand.  Set goals, do the work, expect success.

One last note: get your sleep.  We'll have a dedicated post to the importance of sleep in a future post.  But for now, just know that not getting sleep will hinder your fat loss goals.  Your goal should be 8 hours/night.

#2: Change Your Eating Habits

We've already touched on this above.  But it warrants its own bullet point and another mention.  We talked about intermittent fasting (IF) last week.  IF can be your best friend when changing your eating habits.  It is such a useful tool and a great way to cut calories in a very efficient manner.  Think about it.  If your BMR is 2000 calories and you finish a 24-hour fast with a 500 calorie meal, then you just saved 1500 calories.  Theoretically, if you cut 3500 calories per week, you will lose 1 lb per week.  In our example, you're 42% there because you've already cut our 1500 calories! 

Not only are you cutting calories, but you are allowing your body a rest from the fed state and allowing your body to use your fat stores for energy.  Your body is most effective in burning body fat for energy betweeen the 16-hour and 24-hour mark of a fast.  Anything beyond 30 hours diminishes in its return of effectiveness.  With that said, remarkably, I've had some of my best workouts after a 36-hour fast. IF is your friend.

Plan your meals around protein.  Great protein choices: chicken, beef, buffalo, fish, eggs, and cottage cheese.  Whole proteins digest slowly (keeping you fuller longer) and minimize a rise in insulin.  Secondary to protein, your meal should consists of other whole foods including vegetables and fruits.  Eat all the salad and fibrous veggies that you want to.  They are not only good for you and contain massive amounts of vitamis and minerals, but they fill you up.  Throw in some fruit to satisfy that sweet craving.  Some of my favorite fruits: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples.

Hunger is a response to hormonal signals in the body.  Some of those signals are learned.  For example, if your body is used to eating breakfast every morning at 7 AM and you decide to fast for the first time, you will probably be pretty dang hungry around 10 AM.  Most of that response is learned.  Ghrelin is a key hormone that drives hunger.  It stimulates and initiates hunger and becomes entrained to 'normal' meal times.  So if you normally eat breakfast at 7AM, then you'll be hungry at 7AM.  Based on research, ghrelin peaks for about 1 hour.  Make it through that first hour of intense hunger and you'll be fine.  As you change your eating times and habits, ghrelin will change along with you.  The body is an amazingly smart and adaptive machine.

#3: Exercise Now

You've changed your eating habits and your mindset.  Strike now.  Don't wait to lose some weight and then start exercising.  Do it all at one time.  You'll feel better physically and mentally.  And you'll get visible results quicker.  I believe the best way to start exercising is to find a base program that is already laid out for you.  You'll get a million different views on how to start and the best exercises to start with, but again KISS.  Find a program and do it.  Once you've hit your stride and are comfortable with where you are, then you can start adjusting the details. 

When losing weight, you can never out-exercise a bad diet so food is 95% of the battle.  But, again exercise will help both physically and mentally and you'll get a metabolism boost.  Plus, when you exercise it will make you want to eat the right foods.  You'll find that when you don't exercise, you tend to stray away from good foods and eat crap.  If ever you are going to eat stuff like processed carbs and sugar, the time to do it is after an intense workout, but for some reason we eat better foods when we are working hard.  I'm not saying that exercise is a license for making poor food choices, but something in our mind allows us to stray when we don't exercise -- our ability to rationalize bad decisions is something we all do.  While on the topic: if you make some poor choices then just move on -- it won't kill you.  And sometimes we just need a break.  Allow yourself to live.  That piece of Georgia pecan pie that I ate last night is not going to kill me.  I just don't make a habit of it and you shouldn't either.

#4: Find a Support Group

The best way to stay motivated, especially during those times of frustration is finding other like-minded people.  Also find people that look like you want to look.  If you want to look like a body builder, then read articles written by body builders.  If you want to look like a fitness model or have a slender, fit, beach body, then read about the workouts and foods that allow people to look like sleder, fit, and lean. 

There are literally millions of message boards out in internet world.  Find a fitness board.  Ask questions, ask for help, and help others.  It's invaluable to achieving your goals.  Most are free, but there are some good ones that you can pay a yearly fee to join and they are well worth the money.  A free forum that I frequent is over at MDA.  There's a lot of knowledegable people over at MDA and they don't get much better than Mark Sisson.  He's ripped and wants to help people live a better life.

#5: Have Fun

You are not going to stick with something if it's not fun.  That's the main reason that you've got to find a program that is right for you.  I don't think it gets much better than P90X.  It is a great place to start and you can create your own workouts from this solid base of fitness.  There are lots of fun, different, out-of-the-box 'programs' out there.

If you need to change-up your workout, then change it up.  Go for a jog, ride your bike, run sprints, jump on a trampoline, go for a swim.  Just have fun.  When it starts getting old, just change it up.  Now on the flip side of things, you will have days that you just don't feel like working out.  Do yourself a favor -- just do it.  I guarantee you will feel better as you begin to progress through your workout.  When you are finished with your workout, you'll be so glad that you made yourself do it.  Trust me.

So Now What?

Get started today.  Make a commitment and execute a plan to change your fitness and health future.  Your personal and business life will improve.  You will think better and get more things done. 

Will you make the change?

1 comment:

  1. Perfect timing for my personal situation. Great post - thank you.