I get asked a lot about what the secret is to always getting the best fitness results. My answer nearly every time is that there isn’t one. You can’t just do one thing or think one way and get fit. It’s more complicated than that.
Think about it. If there was one secret to being in great shape, wouldn’t everybody be ripped all the time? Would there really be an obesity epidemic? I don’t think so! Still, there are some great rules that you can follow to get you on the right track. Just because there isn’t one secret doesn’t mean there aren’t some handy tips that can help out.
Here are mine. I follow them consistently, and I believe in every one of them because they give me amazing results:
1. Hydration – It doesn’t sound like a very impressive top rule for fitness success, but believe me when I say that drinking enough water will get you places. If you don’t like water on its own, add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber. One of the worst things you can do for your body is to let it get dehydrated. If you’re not going to drink enough water, you may as well just try half as hard because that’s all you’ll get out of your workouts anyway. You’ll drag with low energy and you’ll experience faster muscle cramps. My rule of thumb is one cup of water about a half hour before exercising and then 2 more cups for every half hour of exercise.
2. Eat both before and after exercising – Your body is a machine. It needs fuel to function. Your food is your fuel. So give it protein and complex carbs about an hour or two before your workout, then refuel again inside of a half hour following your workout. Don’t exercise on an empty stomach. A lot of people tell you to, but ignore them. You’ll just hold yourself back.
3. Don’t skip cardio – Ya, cardio can suck. You really need to be in the mood for it. So it’s up to you to get yourself into that mood because you need to do it between 3 and 5 times each week for 30 to 60 minutes each. Get that heart rate up, get your respiration up and start sweating. This is where you’ll get healthy and get your fat burn. You won’t get ahead with strength training alone.
4. Don’t skip strength training – This means that you need to make sure you work out every major muscle group with weights or equivalent workouts. Two to three times per week, get your weight training in and design your workouts so that every major muscle group gets the attention it needs at least once.
5. Don’t get boring – If you yawn at the thought of your workout, it’s time to change it up. Your workout should be interesting, stimulating and challenging. If it’s not, get a new one.