5 More Tips for Achieving Your Goal Physique
Contributor - Strength and Conditioning
In the previous installment I discussed five tips in the pursuit of a better physique.
- Know your genetics.
- Work hard.
- Shore up your nutritional intake.
- Have a plan for your goal.
- Understand the cardio thing.
It's now time to look at five additional tips to keep you on target for that better body without wasting your time on worthless pursuits.
#6: Focus Your Food Consumption
You need carbohydrates to fuel you hard-effort workouts. Guess what? Vegetables and fruits are carbs.
Eschew bad carbs. Manufactured items. Processed food in the form of boxed and frozen. Cookies, pastries, vending-machine crap, and purchased-from-a-convenient-store products.
Should you do paleo or high-fat dietary intake? Doesn’t matter. Either way, it avoids the manufactured bad-card diets. So just keep it simple. You cannot go wrong with eating foods that come out of the ground or those raised on a farm, provided they are consumed in moderation and within your daily caloric requirement.
Yes, the food consumption issue can have its nuances, but don't make it into rocket science.
#7 Don’t Avoid Strength Training
This one irks me. The upside to sensible strength training is beyond reproach. Building muscle tissue - or at least making it stronger - has too many benefits regardless if you're a male, female, competitive athlete, recreational participant, distance runner, boot-camper, yoga lover, or plumber.
Being stronger is a benefit for 99.9% of any activity whether it's powerlifting or Nerf basketball. Being stronger lowers the risk of body injury. Longevity is desired in sport competition. Sitting on the sidelines in an immobilizing cast is not.
Besides, admit it: most of you want to look good. I laugh at the guys who "don't want to get too big" or the gals who "don't want to get too bulky." The average male needs to bust his butt to even grow a nominal amount of muscle. Likewise, to those females who believe if they use a barbell or dumbbell - or if they push too hard on a resistance machine – that -they'll acquire masculine characteristics, unless you inject steroids, 99% of all you gals will not grow man-muscles.
Muscle is sexier than fat. Male or female, hit the weight room and get after it like you're at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
#8 Don’t Get Sucked in by Buzzwords
Toning, shaping, shredded, ripped, long-and-lean, sculpting. These words are all used to market and sell specious workouts and nutritional products that are nothing superior to good old-fashioned hard work and sensible food consumption.
Take a close look at a couple of these buzzwords and then rationalize:
- Toning - Someone please offer the proven research for this term relative to how muscle tissue can be “toned.” What is the physiological basis for attempting tone and what exactly is the exercise prescription for achieving it?
- Shaping - Again, how can you shape muscle beyond growing it (hard work) and losing body fat (diet)? How is "shaping" even possible sans a surgeon's knife, anesthesia, and the signing a waiver of liability?
On the other hand, I can understand shredded and ripped. These states are simply a matter of sensibly losing body fat, while maintaining or building muscle mass, i.e. hit the weight room and eat better.
Regarding building muscle and maximizing calorie burning, know this:
The best activities for concomitantly burning calories and attempting to build metabolically active muscle tissue, all other factors being equal, are listed. It's up to you to make wise training decisions.
#9 Understand the CrossFit Thing
CrossFit has been around long enough now for us to assess its benefits under the microscope. There are two sides, with each side having a subset discussion. There is the sport side of CrossFit and the fitness augmentation side of CrossFit.
The sport of CrossFit is understandable. Take basic exercises and make them into a competition. How many of exercise "A" you can do? What is the least amount of time you can perform a series of exercises? Establish a competitive venue. Invite the world's best. Televise it. It's a byproduct of progressive marketing.
The fitness side of CrossFit needs further discussion. Subjecting inexperienced people to advanced exercises and workout routines has been proven dangerous. I will not specifically reference anything simply because there are so many You-Tube videos that reveal the stupidity of rookies engaging in CrossFit workouts and compromising their musculoskeletal integrity.
I've stated this before and it's worth repeating. To get in shape, lose fat, get stronger, and improve your cardiovascular endurance, you don’t need to join a CrossFit gym.
#10 Understand Rest Days Are Important
You bust your ass. Fantastic. You created a demand on your body. That was the goal. Now, to allow something to happen from this ass-busting session, time must be given for it to occur. Yes, this means resting your body to let the previous stresses heal. It's human biology, pure and simple.
It's like a common flesh wound. You accidently cut your finger with a knife chopping mushrooms. It bleeds like crazy. You immediately apply compression and elevation. You apply a Band-Aid. You now need to keep this bandage on for a number of hours. We are talking 24 hours plus. Biology must be allowed to take its course. Peel the bandage off too early and the cut fails to heal.
Similarly, your demanding workouts that damage and compromise your muscles must be allowed ample time to fully heal. I salute those who work hard and then allow for proper recovery time. You should be commended for being smart enough to allow for the fruition of your prior efforts.
A proper workout creates an overload, whether it's on the muscular or cardiovascular system. Following that, back off and allow it to respond. If not, you will be doing the wrong thing by pulling the Band-Aid off the wound too early in the biological timeline.
The Conclusion on My 10 Tips for Achieving Your Goal Physique
Be realistic. You know your genetic endowment. What realistic changes can you make? Then, regardless of that, bust your ass and maximize whatever you possess. Follow scientifically proven principles to achieve fat loss, muscle weight gain, and general fitness improvement. Eat sensibly. Don’t get caught up in the latest hype. Use time-proven training methods.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.