Achieving leanness is a worthwhile goal for any active person. However, attaining that lean body mass can sometimes be challenging at any stage of life. We’re going to outline seven simple steps that you can follow to accomplish your goal. Keep in mind that simple does not mean easy, so keep at it and stick to the commitment.
Remember, habits are made daily and with effort. Forget about forming habits in 21 days. 21 days are a great start, but enduring habits can take about 66 days to take hold.
Use this guide as a tool and make these steps a part of your daily routine. It’s never the wrong time of year or the wrong age to start or get back on the wagon. So, stop making excuses and get going!
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Some like to brag that they can get by with only a few hours sleep a night. Good for those people. Most of us, though, need an adequate amount of sleep to be productive. People like Albert Einstein, Ludwig von Beethoven, and Benjamin Franklin averaged 7-8 hours sleep. They realized sleep is when your body recovers and regenerates.
Watch what happens a child doesn’t get enough sleep. That child will be in a crappy mood all day. Adults will be in a crappy mood, too, without adequate sleep. This one rule could change your life, so get a well-rested sleep.
Tips: Sleep six to nine hours at least five nights a week. When you can wake up without an alarm clock, you’ve found the number of hours you need. Also, stop using all electronics, which interfere with your circadian rhythm, one hour before bed. (Naps count, too!)
2. Eat Protein, Vegetables, AND Carbs at Every Meal
This piece of knowledge is something with we are all familiar. Sometimes, though, we consume too much protein (through protein shakes) because that’s what everyone does. Right?
Most of us can consume enough nutrients and energy from eating a well balance diet consisting of several smaller meals. Eating protein with every meal is necessary to build and repair muscle, burn fat, and keeps you feeling full. Eating vegetables give you the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need for good health.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. Everyone seems obsessed with “carbs” and mostly for the wrong reasons. We need carbs to refuel muscles after a hard workout and to control our metabolism. Get your fix by eating complex carbs found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. If you need that slice of cake, reward yourself after an intense workout – sitting on the couch playing X-Box for two hours doesn’t count, by the way.
Tips: Eat two palm-sized pieces of protein and two fist-sized portions of healthy carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Don’t deprive yourself – every so often have that cookie or that snack sized candy bar.
3. Cardio is Not a Bad Word
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fantastic way to achieve cardiovascular fitness in a relative short period of time. HIIT is not for everybody.
Do too much, too quickly, and your joints may suffer. And some men don’t need that extra stress. Pick a good aerobic exercise like the stationary bike or elliptical machine. This sort of exercise will boost your heart, your brain, your recovery, your stress tolerance, and your overall conditioning.
Tips: Do 30 to 45 minutes of steady-state aerobic cardio at least one time per week. After you warm up, bring your heart rate to 130 to 150 beats per minute (70-80% of your max heart rate).
4. Push Iron or Yourself
Instead of maxing out on the bench press, how about working on exercises that will get you through the day? Think about your Thursday afternoon pickup game at the court or chasing your kids around the yard. Those bicep curls probably aren’t going to do much to help you. Kettle ball snatches and weighted lunges will likely serve you better. Plyometric exercises like burpees and jump squats can work wonders to increase strength and flexibility.
Tips: Increase the amount of weights used by no more than 10% each week. When body weight exercises become easier, vary the timing of the reps – either slow down, speed up, and do a combination. Take your time bulding your strength.
5. Confront your stress
Daily stress can affect your thoughts, feelings, and your behavior. Stress raises your blood pressure and increases cortisol, a primary stress hormone, which slows muscle gain, limits fat loss, and squashes performance.
Control your stress; decrease the level of cortisol production. Exercise is great way of decreasing your stress levels. You may a gym rat, but try going for a run in a park. Sometimes, you even a shower can work.
Tips: Pick a time in the day – it could be before a workout or when you wake up – and spend 10 minutes every day to relax. Use this quiet time praying, breathing exercises, or even meditating. The goal is to relax and destress.
6. Make Consistency Your Routine
Even the best of us will let something become an excuse. Fight that urge. Maybe you’re on a business trip and there is no gym at the hotel, or maybe you out celebrating a special event. Whatever the situation, don’t give in and make excuses. You can still do push-ups, sit-ups, and chair dips. Better yet, you can go for a jog or walk around the block. It’s okay to have that drink or two.
You must find the routine that works for you. That’s how you maintain consistency.
Tips: Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get 8 hours sleep last night. Or you overdid it on the Chicken Alfredo. Don’t add to your stress level. Just get back on the wagon and do what you need to do.
Be committed. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be a better you – you’ll increase your performance and always be at your best.
How do you stay lean and maintain consistency? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.
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There’s nothing wrong with wearing a pair of cut-off jean shorts and your Metallica t-shirt…you wear what you got. You’re comfortable, and you can knock out a super workout. Right?
Yes, you are right. But you do have options these days. You look respectable during the day. Why not carry that look into the gym.? It’s not that you’re trying to impress anyone or pick up a date or anything like that.
Here are some things to look for when you’re ready to replace your cut-offs and tour t-shirt.
A Tank Top
This T-shirt is the perfect intersection of function and style. You want a tank that has plenty of room in the armholes, so you can lift your arms without feeling constricted. The material won’t make too much difference unless you plan on sweating buckets. In that case, a cotton blend or something like COOLMAX may be a better option. And take a towel.
CIN2 Grip Athletic Tank Top ($40.00)
A Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Sometimes you need a little extra coverage (especially in the colder months). Invest in an updated classic long-sleeve tee. You’ll keep your muscles warmer between sets.
CIN2 Grip Long Sleeve Crew ($60.00)
With so many athletic shorts to choose from, it’s easy to fall back on your old reliable cut-offs. Or don’t opt for the cheapest pair from the same name brand athletic companies you wore back in high school. Look for shorts that are versatile – ones that let you perform at your best in the gym, at a fun run, or zipping to the corner coffee shop.
Choose shorts with a rugged nylon construction and multiple pockets.
CIN2 Grip Athletic Jump Short ($65.00)
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Clothes don’t make that man. But, as the saying goes: Looking good, feeling good! And that’s the mindset you need when you’re tackling the gym.
What do you wear to the gym? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on our Facebook page.
Have you ever tried to stretch a rubber band quickly? You stretched it to its limit, and likely it snapped as you continued to pull on it. Believe it or not, your muscles react in a similar manner when you fail to properly warm up your muscles, especially before exercising or other strenuous physical activity. When muscles are “cold” and lack adequate blood flow, they are stiff and lack flexibility. This inflexibility could lead to a serious injury.
Go back to that rubber band. If you rubbed it between your hands for a few moments, stretched it slowly and held it in place for another few moments, and repeated this process a couple of times, you would find that you could stretch the rubber band quite far. By warming up your muscles, you are raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow through your muscles. More blood flow allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach muscles.
Do you remember grade school when the gym teacher would have you do some jumping jacks to warm up and then go straight into toe touches? When you’re seven or eight years old, your body is quite limber and likely did not need an extensive warm-up to prepare for physical activity.
If you haven’t been active, you’re probably not going to be able to do a few jumping jacks and touch your toes as easily. That’s okay. You just need a little more warm-up time. So, what to do? A good warm-up routine doesn’t need to be more than 5 to 10 minutes. (But, listen to your body, some days, you may need some extra time. It’s okay.) Start at a gentle pace for a couple of minutes and gradually increase the pace. You will feel warm and may even sweat a bit.
Now you’re ready to do some light stretching. Focus on stretching each muscle group that you will use in your workout. Stretching correctly during training makes you stronger and decreases recovery between workouts. (We’ll cover this topic in another post.) You only need to stretch for a few minutes.
After you get in an awesome workout, lactic acid builds up in your muscles. This build up can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. Stretching after a workout reduces muscle fatigue. When you stretch after a workout, your muscles are warm and you benefit from increased blood circulation. Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural position and posture.
Foam rollers are excellent tools for breaking up adhesions and scar tissue to speed up the healing and recovery process after your workout. Using one can hurt but in a good way. You’ll notice the results almost immediately.
Your cool-down activity should be focused on bringing your heart-rate closer to your resting heart rate. Some light walking and foam rolling at the end of your workout will help increase circulation and lower your heart rate slowly. A cool-down routine will also decrease post-workout soreness.
What do you do for your warm-up and cool-down routine? We want to hear from you. Comment below.
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