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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