Even after being an athlete my whole life, I had no idea how to train effectively. But we all gotta start somewhere, right?! I'm still learning and making mistakes. Here are my top 10 lessons:
1. Lasting results take time. Unless you're on steroids. But we don't need drugs...most days. LOL. Don't get discouraged if you don't get results super fast. Love the journey. It takes time to find a fitness lifestyle. Meal plan, workout plan and then once you get the hang of things your schedule changes. I know how you feel. Choose your path, be patient, focus on your goals and be smart enough to know when people are using drugs or surgery to get results vs. natural results.
2. Food is fuel. There's no point in guilt tripping yourself. I used to be so strict, guilt tripping myself for eating more than 4 oz of chicken in a meal. Bad news. You need to love your food. Food gives you energy to lift heavy things and function. If you become emotionally attached to the scale, its time for a break up. Don't let the number on the scale determine your day. You're better than that.
3. Lift heavy. Form comes first, but you need to push yourself. No matter if you're trying to tone up or gain mass. We can't go through the motions and expect results. Feel the muscles squeeze. Fight yourself compensating form. Be one with the weights. I believe in you.
4. Focus on diet FIRST, not exercise. Whether you're bulking, cutting or maintaining, its all about diet. A training plan with no meal plan equal no results. If you're not willing to commit to a structured meal plan, understand you won't get results. You can't grow muscle without proper food or lose weight without a proper plan. If you want to lose fat and shape your body, eat enough protein and stay under your caloric ceiling. If you want to gain muscle, eat enough protein and make sure you're at a caloric surplus. Simple. Also, you can't be afraid of carbs. Carbs give you energy to lift. Use that energy to your advantage to lift, strengthen and shape your body. There is no cookie cutter plan for everyone. I saw great results eating every 3 hours. I am also seeing great results doing intermittent fasting. There are options. Find what works for you and your schedule.
5. Keep it simple. Food, exercise, supplements. If you take a pre workout every day, your body will create an intolerance. Use it only when necessary or just have coffee. I've only purchased one pre workout my entire life and currently only use coffee. Aim for using it once or twice week, when necessary or lifting heavy. Don't waste too much money supplements. If you have a hard time reaching your protein factor, add a protein shake. I use protein shakes because they are convenient. In the end, calories in, calories out. Focus on nutritious, unprocessed foods. Also, you don't need to do crazy combinations of exercises for results. Squat, deadlift, lunge, etc. keep it simple and compound for the most effective results.
6. Make a plan and find an accountability partner. Trust me, find someone that won't let you be a lazy bum. It makes a difference. My first accountability partner was my mom. We pushed each other every day and I wouldn't have stayed on track without her. Now she swims more than a mile every day! That's incredible to me.
7. Spot reducing. You can't do a ton of crunches and expect to have abs show. Trust me they will grow...under that layer of fat. You can't do a ton of inner thigh and expect that area to shrink, you're growing muscle underneath that fat. Losing fat depends on being under your caloric ceiling for whatever length of time your body needs to shed that layer covering them up. Same with any other body part. Caloric deficit.
8. Stay consistent, except when you're sick. You need to stick to your plan for 1 month, EVERY DAY. If you still don't see results, check if you're tracking correctly, then adjust accordingly. But take into account the days you fall off your plan, you need to calculate that into your progress. Be honest with yourself. If you're sick, just rest. Working out will only prolong the sickness. I've learned that the hard way. Don't be stubborn like me.
9. Cardio. You don't need hours of cardio a day to lean out. You can burn more calories with 20 minutes of HIIT 4-5 times a week. Be effective, unless you enjoy running for hours.
10. Hit the same muscle group more than once a week. Your muscles recover after 36-48 hours, so don't be afraid to hit the same muscle group twice a week.