Having a great body is something we all need to strive for. Looking for ways to improve your body, change things you don’t like, and really find your limits is vitally important for every man. No matter how good you are in a particular aspect there is always room for improvement and critique. I’m breaking this post down into three main categories, Eating Right, Activity, and Wardrobe.
First off, for some of us this may be the hardest component to nail consistently, for me it certainly is. I’ll go into a little detail below but basically carbs are the weight gainer/ weight loser. If you need to gain weight, add carbs, if you need to lose weight, reduce carbs. Don’t stress much about protein and fat. If you reduce carbs you’ll up your fat and protein. Read more more on Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. Coming soon – Superior Recipes – to give you some no bullshit healthy meals you can actually make.
According the the CDC’s most recent figures from 2013-2014 37.9% of Americans over the age of 20 are obese and that number jumps to 70.7% when you include overweight and obese. Those are horrible statistics, however when you contrast obesity rates from 70 years ago it becomes downright depressing.
Ok I got it, we’re fat. What can we do about it?
I have a couple recommendations if you want to lose weight fast. The first suggestion is not a permanent solution and involves considerable willpower. However the tradeoff is substantial weight loss in minimal time. While I was on this diet I dropped just under a pound a day for 40 days.
I won’t rehash all of the details as Jay lays out the details quite well in his article. Basically it works by severely reducing the sources of energy you put in your body, i.e. fat and carbs. Simultaneously you greatly increase the amount of protein you consume so that your muscles have all of the amino acids needed to maintain themselves. Your body reacts by not having to release insulin therefore catabolizing your fat storage for energy. Since you are not consuming much fat your body still needs to live, and works to use that stored energy. Lyle McDonald has a great pamphlet discussing this diet in detail here.
IF for Weight Loss
Also known as Intermittent Fasting. This is more of a way to eat than a specific diet. I talked briefly about this in my workout and diet plan. The idea is you only allow yourself to eat during certain windows. A couple popular variants are the 16/8 and the 20/4. Where you don’t consume more than 150 calories during the fasting period of 16 or 20 hours. You consume the remainder of your food in that other 8 or 4 hour window respectively. This works by using our natural ebb and flow of hormones which control the influx and outflow of fatty acids into adipose(fat) tissue. Dr. Jason Fung has done some incredible research on this topic, you can read his blog here. You can supercharge weight loss by eating a low-carb diet during your feeding periods.
So, now you have lost a few pounds, you are feeling good, clothes are fitting, girls are checking you out. You are done right? Time to go back to the donut store every morning and stop by starbuck for a frappuccino? Um, no. You just did a bunch of hard work, don’t ruin it now.
IF for Maintenance
IF can be a very useful tool to help regulate your hormones as a long term solution as well. Leptin, Ghrelin and the big boy in the room, Insulin can be regulated with IF. IF can also be useful to reduce your energy intake since you are limiting the window in which you consume.
Coined by Author, Podcaster, and fitness trainer Vinnie Tortorich. NSNG stands for No Sugar, No Grain. It’s a very simple way to eat, basically don’t eat sugar, don’t consume grains of any kind. When you dive into it a bit more you don’t consume potatoes or beans (unless you are a vegetarian). Side note, I recently introduced my mother to this diet while she was recuperating from knee surgery. During a time where she was laying around and could have easily been gaining weight, she last lost about 30 pounds in just over 2 months. She also had a marked reduction in swelling/inflammation while healing.
The paleo diet has become very popular in the past few years, and rightfully so. If you stick to the true spirit of the diet – eating how someone in the paleolithic era did. A hunter/gatherer. Whatever you can gather and eat without refining and processing. And whatever you can hunt and kill. You can eat most fruits and veg and any/all meat. Stay away from dairy, processed foods, or the cheating you see on many websites, ie paleo cookies. Give me a break.
Short for Ketogenic, this diet works by severely limiting your net carbs usually to around 20 grams a day. This almost completely eliminates your body’s production of insulin, and through various metabolic processes produces ketones from fat to be used as an energy source for the body. If you’d like to read more about this diet Steve Kamb at nerdfitness.com has a great write up here (complete with lego diagrams)
Eat more carbs. Seriously if you “struggle” with being too thin go here (don’t go there, it’s a trap)
We all need to be active, not just to look better, but numerous studies have shown active people live longer, have less stress, and are happier. The main part of being active is finding something you love to do. At the end of the day you are the one who needs to be active so why not find something you love?
Jay has a great write up on the Stronglifts 5×5 workout here. If you haven’t done a weightlifting routine before, or if its been years I highly recommend it.
Anything can be a cardio workout from great sex to a brisk walk. The idea is you want to get your heart rate staying in Zone 2. Vinnie Tortorich has a great explanation of zone 2 training here.
From playing with your kids, to playing sports, you need to have fun. Enjoy yourself. Be healthy. Challenge yourself by finding things outside your normal circle of friends. www.meetup.com is a great example.
The clothes we wear have a profound effect on how others treat us as well as how we treat ourselves. We should always strive to be the best dressed in the room. If there ever is a question as to what to wear, error on upscale rather than downscale.
Dress what fits you now
I wrote an article about 3 quick tips to improve your appearance, one of those points is dressing what fits you. Don’t dress with clothes that fit you 30 lbs ago. Dress appropriate to your age and to your activity level. It should be stated what works for a 25 year old will look odd on a 45 year old.
Picking up when you fail
I’m going to give you a tip, you are going to fail, you are going to stumble. What is important is WHAT you do WHEN you fail. You have to look at failure as part of the growing and changing process. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and redouble your efforts. There is no shame in failing, however there is shame in giving up and walking away because of a little stumble.
Read our article on punching through here. Just take it as an extra push to keep you going.
What to do now