"I'm not upset that you lied to me. I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Friedrich Nietzsche
I'll never forget the day my wife's "Nana" called me fat. She told the truth. Something that few people have the courage to do and most people rather not. I was finally getting my life back on track from the disaster I was having fun swimming through, I met the most amazing woman and she changed my life. But the day Nana called me a fat piece of shit was truly the turning point in my life. (She really didn't say I was a piece of shit but I can see the look on her face!)
I knew she was right and never lied about the truth to myself. Instead, I got down to business. I started on the most incredible journey and the knowledge I now carry with me today speaks volumes of the hard work and time I dedicated to get to this point in my life. Now, I am not some fitness model or lean weak Abercrombie poster boy. That is because "Stronger people are harder to kill, and more useful in general" - Mark Rippetoe.
It took a long time and countless hours studying and performing, but I went in a circle and wasted too much time. I was lied to. I was caught hook, line and sinker. I was taken for a fool. I wasted a lot of money. I wasted valuable time on pointless hoopla, but then I came back to that fork in the road and I realized what mattered the most.
In the beginning I knew I needed to lose weight so I did what everyone knows and I got moving and ate less. I spent hours and hours on the treadmill. I starved myself and neglected myself of proper nutrition. I lost weight and looked better, but I was tired, weak, malnourished, and burned out. I started lifting weights again after countless years of not giving a fuck and I felt some what better. I still was tired, weak, and damn near starved but then I fell into the world of injuries. This is not a happy place. Getting hurt while tired, weak, and eating crumbs of a chicken breast is not fun and is a horrible experience.
I read and I read, I googled, I searched, I signed up to fitness forums and read some more. I found new ways of doing things. I went on bulks (Eating more food to build muscle), did it wrong, got fat again, went on a cut (Losing weight) and got hurt again. Why? Why was I not making the progress I felt I was busting my ass for?
I was doing it wrong. I took the corporate fitness world's advice and jumped on the "treadmill is great" bandwagon and listened to the media's crap about what to eat what not to eat. I started off doing Bodybuilding split routines and exercises I had no business doing, which led to injuries, and went on low calorie diets. The whole time I neglected one simple rule: Stick to the basics. This journey could have been so much easier and a lot less stressful if I would have just done what has been proven to work since the days of Reg Park and even before him. Google is your friend if you don't know Reg Park.
With that said, being fit and healthy is a lot easier than people make it out to be. Media and Corporate Fitness make billions of dollars a year feeding to the lies of how hard it is to lose weight and how "there just isn't enough time" This is not a miracle or a sprint. It did not take you days to get out of shape or unhealthy. It takes time to do it right. Nothing worth doing is easy, it should be slow and steady. There is no need to rush things. If you do, you will repeat the cycle and waste your time. Do it right the first time and you will be so much happier.
Now I can go on and on about what "The Basics" are but I am intrigued by these lying politicians. Here are the top ten things any person new to working out should go through:
1. Hire a trainer. This will be the most valuable purchase of your life. You spend money making your house really nice or on a flashy car, why not your body? Your body is your most important asset. Treat it better and you will feel better.
2. Prime your body for the intense workouts of the future. Do not just jumped straight into a hardcore strength training routine without focusing on the areas of your body that need corrective exercise or special attention.
3. This goes with number 2. Avoid Zumba, p90x, Jazzercise, and CrossFit classes until you have established a baseline of strength and flexibility. This is why number 1 is the most important and valuable tool you can have. You will learn the basics. After you have learned the basics and established your balance- go play with whatever floats your boat.
4. Do not starve yourself. Low calorie diets are useless and do more harm then good. If you have a pear shaped body and go low calorie and jump on a treadmill you will have a smaller pear shaped body. Don't burn precious muscle mass as a sacrifice to lose an extra pound.
5. Scales lie. Do not become a slave to the scale. Once a week and that is pushing it. Measure yourself instead.
6. Strength training. This should be number one but people have such a hard time accepting the truth, that I needed to cut the other bullshit out of the way first. If your workout program doesn't involve weights you are wasting your time. Anybody could lift weights, everyone should lift weights. It doesn't matter if you're nine months pregnant or 83 years old, you're body will love it. (of course if you're pregnant or 83, you should have doctors consent and a trainer) Strength training does wonders for your body. It helps you burn fat, forces the body to create massive amounts of good hormones, forces food to be used correctly, and fights the aging process. And the list goes on and on....
7. Write down EVERYTHING! Do not ask what to write- just write it.
8. Avoid scams and quick fixes. Nah go ahead, waste your money. Your choice.
9. Spend time on your goals. Research about what you want to achieve. Cut out the crap that lies to you or tries to sell you something and read blogs like mine. Read articles from people trying to help you instead of people acting like a salesperson. (This doesn't include books. There are so many good useful books out there. Find the ones that matter.) Know that your success will not happen overnight or in a month or two.
10. Avoid commercial or Corporate chain gyms. 24 Hour Flabness, Goldie's, PowerSheds, RetroDisco's, or gyms with "Fitness and Wellness", "Health and Wellness", "Fitness Center" in their names. You need to pay to be a member and pay extra to get personal attention. They are filled with cardio machines saying "Jump on me for 60 minutes. It's easy! You'll never make progress but you'll keep paying us!", and it will be easier for you to become intimidated and lead you to do it wrong. Find gyms that are dedicated to making all of their members a success and not in it to steal your money. Find gyms that offer exclusive group training classes only. These places are the best for you and your goals.
Bonus Tip 11. Train like an athlete.
So now if you didn't start your journey the right way, drop everything and start over. Seriously. Start at step 1, learn the basics, develop a baseline to work up from and make a long term plan. When you, if you, hire a trainer.. after they teach you the basics, if they don't lead you to train in a program like growthstimulustraining.com, Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 jimwendler.com, Westside Barbell programs, or other programs focused around the big three exercises (squat, bench, and deadlift) fire them and demand you get your money back. Go be awesome.