You’ve read the intro, now onto the fun part: action. Here’s what you can do while soaking in the rest of this ultimate fitness guide. (NOTE: Ninety-nine percent of people will not do these things because they are looking for the sexy things to do, not the things that work. If you don’t do these things then no amount of information will help you without action.)
1. Move for 30-60 minutes per day 5 times per week. (Walk, yoga, jog, etc)
It’s simple, but effective. The cool thing is, it can be anything you want it to be. The heuristic here is to make sure it’s something you enjoy whether it’s yoga, walking, P90X, jogging, biking, or punching a heavy bag. Consistency is better than intensity here, so don’t kill yourself ‘working up a good sweat’. In fact, it’s called low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio. And the world needs more of it. It’s recommended that adults get at least 3 days with 30 minutes of exercise per week. I recommend ramping it up to at least 4. Want to go an extra mile? Track how many hours total you get per week. It might seem like a lot, but 2 hours per week is one movie. Don’t tell me you can’t afford that.
2. Squat, push, pull, plank, repeat 3 times per week.
We’ve all seen those ‘30 day squat challenges’ on social media. Do yourself a favor and promise yourself you will never fall prey to those cute little hooks (we’ll cover why it’s a bad idea later). We’ve also seen incredibly complex beginner programs that bristle with features. It’s cool, and appeals to our false beliefs about fitness (complicated = good). Enough of that noise. We are going for simple, fast, and effective strength training.
Do a circuit of 10 squats, 10 push ups, 10 TRX rows, a 30 second plank, and then rest for 60 seconds then repeat for THREE rounds total. Too easy? Bump it up and do 15 or even 20 squats and push ups. Do pull-ups instead of TRX rows, then a 60 second plank. Now listen up: only do this 3 days per week with one rest day between, and track how many you do in a dedicated notebook. Each week, do ONE more rep (or second) on each exercise. It’ll seem like slow progress, but if you follow this plan you will be stronger and leaner than you were before. Hit a plateau? Is this not enough for you? Good. That means you’re pushing yourself. We’ll cover how to overcome those later. (Here’s where you can get a TRX suspension trainer)
3. Track your food 6 days per week.
I can tell if someone truly wants progress by this one. I tell them to track their food and they look at me like I’m crazy. The ones that want it all have the same reaction “You got it coach”. I hope that’s you. Whether it’s by notebook, MyFitnessPal, or any other method, track your food to include macro nutrients (protein, carbs, and fats). Why? Because we lose body fat by eating less calories (food) than we burn (training). Don’t worry about making it pretty, or eating salads for every meal, because you’ll fail. Progress is made slowly. One pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you’re eating 100 calories under your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) per day, then you’ll lose approximately 10 pounds per year. That’s getting light cheese on pizza instead of regular, or having one doughnut instead of two. Every little positive choice you make edges you forward. So, start tracking your food.
I cannot stress this one enough. Every single athlete that I have trained that has lost significant body-weight has tracked their food. Start by tracking one day per week. Trust me, it’ll help in the long run. “How will tracking my food help me if I still don’t know what to eat” Here’s the answer: because you DO know what to eat and tracking it will keep you responsible to yourself. You know not to eat 3 pop tarts for breakfast. You know you should eat more vegetables. You know eating fast food three times a week might be having a negative effect on your health.
Track. Your. Food.
4. Drink ~1 gallon of water per day.
No, I’m not kidding. Water is essential for every process in the human body. It will aid in fat loss and overall health. The benefits are endless, so drink drink drink. (tip: track your ounces with your meals to make sure you get approximately one gallon per day)
5. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
We are quick to sacrifice sleep for many reasons, and it’s too bad. Lack of sleep is one of the number biggest causes of increased cortisol levels. What is cortisol? It’s the stress hormone. (think ‘fight or flight’). When we run high cortisol for long periods of time, we run the risk of stroke, heart attack, obesity, anxiety, and many other problems including poor decision making and poor relationship management.
Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. If you have to use stimulants or take more than 30 minutes in the morning to wake up then you probably need more sleep. One tip: set an ‘bed time’ alarm that goes off 30 minutes before bed. When it goes off, turn off the screens and start winding down no matter how good that show is on Netflix.
6. Extra credit: Eat real food 6-7 days per week.
Stay away from breads, added sugar, dairy, and ingredients lists. It sounds limiting, but it’s keeping a lot of terrible things out of your body. That means primarily plants and meats. Use your imagination, look up some recipes, and have fun with it. Your body will thank you.
Most people will read this and feel good about it, but they won’t put it into action. Consider this a test. Take these actions for 30 days and I guarantee you’ll be moving forward in your fitness journey. Comment below if you’re going for it and I’ll be rooting for you.