Okay, guys, this post is going to be mainly for the men. But the women in your lives are welcome to listen in too. Actually, my wife’s having a hard time with the approach I initially thought I’d take with this post, focusing on fitness tips for the guys. I was purely thinking from a man’s point of view also with an emphasis on building up on the muscles, bulking up, as it were. My focus is fairly simple, really. In proportion to body weight/mass, men naturally carry more muscle, or are supposed to anyway, than women.
I am not about to give you guys a training program to start working out with. What I will be doing is give you a motivational introduction on how the process all begins and how it should be followed through. As far as training, weight training as is the case here, is concerned, I highly recommend that you first go for a thorough check up at your local general practitioner and after he has cleared you for intensive exercise, register with a reputable gym and enrol the services of a personal trainer who will prepare a program that is customised in accordance with the doctor’s recommendations, if any, your unique physical characteristics and your body weight and current muscle mass.
GET YOURSELF A DIARY.
Right from the moment that you pay your doctor a visit, start keeping a diary of your exercise program and experience. You will be able to monitor closely how you performed on a particular day and how you felt after the workout. Perhaps you were feeling really jaded on a particular day. This could mean anything, from not eating a full breakfast to not getting enough sleep the previous night. On that note, let us briefly look at your dietary requirements and sleeping habits.
In order to keep up your strength for your muscle building exercise program you are going to need to emphasise protein in your diet. Also, because you are going to be bulking up on muscle, the amount of food – balanced, three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and supper – must be equivalent to your body weight. So, if you’re a lightweight chap, you’re not going to be consuming as much protein and food as a heavyweight boxer, are you.
You also need to balance out the type of food you’re going to be consuming. Protein will be sourced mainly from meat, but take in equivalents from fish, high in essential fatty acids, and organic poultry. Try, if you can, to eliminate red meat from your diet altogether. To my mind, it contains too much fat and, even as an organic product, it still contains too many toxins. You can obtain protein from other sources such as unsalted nuts, legumes (beans) and even raw oats which is also high in fibre.
The old dictum still applies. Get a minimum of eight hours sleep a night, if you can. Also try to go to bed early. The body is not programmed to be up so late in any event. Also, considering that you might have a busy work schedule, you might be factoring in weight training or non-weight exercises (such as jogging) for the early morning. And don’t leave training and eating to too late in the day. Your body needs to be sufficiently relaxed before you hit the sack.
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
Less is more. No pain, no gain is rubbish. It was used in the olden days but it was generally ineffective. It actually caused more pain, injuries in particular. There is no need to push your body to the limit and you do not want to suffer from burnout either now do you. The principle of working smarter and not harder, as you would apply in your normal work-day routines, applies in equal measure to your training regime. And because you are starting out – in fact, even in the future, this should still be the case – limit your weight training to no more than two to three, short sessions a week.
The general consensus calls for about an hour per weight training session. This is contentious and up for debate. It also depends on your conditions and training environment. My belief is that you should be aiming to get to the gym at its quietest time so that you can have all or most of the weight training equipment to yourself. Then, without much more than two to five minutes between each exercise, limit your workout to no more than forty five minutes.
Also, focus on different muscle groups for each session. One session can be devoted to your upper body strength and another session can be reserved for those legs and pelvic muscles. Try and vary your entire week’s training schedule as much as you can. This allows for all groups of your body, and not just the muscles, to enjoy a good, flexible workout. For instance, one day can be set aside for cycling, another day for running and a final day for walking.
In between all of those sessions, do not forget to do stretching exercises. And one final thing before I forget. As far as muscle reps are concerned, carry only the weight that you can manage, with effort of course, and do no more than ten reps.