Over the past seven years I have managed to keep my obesity at bay and remain leaner than most people, with abs and a beach body look when I felt like getting "ripped," and with always looking great in a shirt type of physique.
It was not always easy, and there were a ton of different obstacles to overcome along the way. Starting and stopping repeatedly, not understanding the principles of nutrition and exercise and having a lack of real motivation certainly went against my progress.
I thought that I would take a moment to throw out a few observations, conclusions and things I wish I had known when I started my own fitness journey, so that you can help yourself with your goals.
This is not a definitive list, but it is a good starting place to share with you.
If i had only known to start!
What you don’t know can hurt you
- LEARN MACRONUTRIENTS
Look, you do not need to get a degree in nutrition or any thing of the sort, but for a half an hour, read how many calories are in a gram of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Once you do this, you will have a 100% leg up on someone doing a fad diet they bought off of television.
A quick cheat sheet for macro nutrients and how many calories they contain. Remember, these never change, and are RULES of nutrition (and have been for decades and decades)
- Protein = 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram
- Fat = 9 calories per gram
Was that so hard? Didn’t think so.
- COUNT, LOG, AND WEIGH YOUR FOOD
To some, this is incredibly difficult. In doing so however you will learn in most cases that you are likely eating far more than you assumed you were, what actual portions of food look like and how to create a few minutes between thinking of and actual eating.
Buy a food scale, a digital one. Regardless of if you plan to use it after this one week of measurements it will be a $20.00 incredibly well spent.
After a week of tracking food, you will notice trends in your eating that you never realized where there. You may be eating very fatty foods, or carbohydrate rich foods. This food logging will reveal your real eating patters, and what you learn could change your life and fitness forever.
I have eight years of custom foods in my MyFitnessPal account. It is 100% free via the Web browser and smart phone app, and even if you never paid a penny you can track your foods forever.
These days I am using the premium app Joy Health
Tracker, it does cost $3 a month, but the app is geared towards people who are calorie or carbohydrate cycling which we focus a lot on with this site.
- IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE VERY OVERWEIGHT DO NOT WORRY ABOUT PERCENTAGES AND AVOID TROLLS
At least not at first. If you are say 25% or 30% (which was my starting point) you cannot get an accurate body fat percentage estimate via the conventional ‘take photos, ask online’ method.
If you do try, you will undoubtedly get some mean jerk who makes some wise cracks about you, which depending on your mental state can feel crushing.
Avoiding trolls can be the difference between getting through a diet day and ending up eating an entire huge portion of the bad foods that got you here to begin with. Trolls are everywhere, but do not need to be entertained.
- DO GET AN IDEA OF BODYFAT, CALCULATE YOUR TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)
There are two ways to calculate this. One of them uses an approximation of bodyfat and is discussed further all over the site, but the other uses a straight simple multiplication factor for your basic energy needs on a daily basis in order to gain, lose or maintain weight.
Lyle McDonald has a great write up on a quick and dirty method, and the reason why it works located here.
- 1 POUND = 3500 = ALWAYS.
CALORIES, that is. This is a rule that rules us all. Contrary to what you think, you are not a special case and if you create a lack of 3500 calories, you will lose about 1 pound, most if not all of if being body fat.
Eat 3500 extra? See the scale move up (source 1).
- GET YOUR TOOLS READY
- A scale, preferably a digital one
- A tailors tape measure.
- A book to log things in.
- PUT YOUR TOOLS TO WORK
Scale – Use it on the same day each week, at the same time of the day. I recommend morning after using the bathroom, before drinking or eating anything.
This is a great scale you can find on Amazon
Tailors Tape – Use it every four weeks on your waist, neck, hips, thighs, biceps and chest. You only need one tape measure, and it will last you years.
This is a good choice on Amazon
Book for Logging – You record your weight weekly and tape measurement readings monthly.
- REALIZE MOST SUPPLEMENTS SUCK, MOST EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED ABOUT DIET IS B.S.
Aside from a short list of proven supplements, few will benefit greatly from expensive bodybuilding products.
Additionally, familiarize yourself with fitness myths that have widely been debunked to avoid spinning your wheels needlessly.
- KEEP THE FAITH, ASK FOR HELP, INSPIRATION – AND LISTEN TO ADVICE
Last, but not least (I’ll think of 10 more in no time I can promise you!) be sure to learn enough to believe in your plan of action. If you lack faith, you may as well not have started.
Ask for help from others (you can even ask me, and yes I’ll really answer you, not a lame spam response!) and when the advice makes sense, be sure to follow it.
Your success likes inside your drive, determination and willingness to adapt to your situations.
Use your resources to your benefit and stick with whatever you chose to do.
Be great, be specific and set goals that can may SEEM impossible but are still attainable.
In short, be awesome at whatever you do, and be proud of it.