Every year at this time, many people make a resolution to finally get their health and fitness in check. Every year the majority of them fail. This is usually not due to laziness, nor lack of will. It is due to lack of information, and or proper education of how to do so.
This final post of the decade is my humble attempt to help any and everyone who has this desire to finally break the cycle.
If you find yourself, or someone you care about in this category, please read on?
Gyms make a huge amount of their profits from a couple things. First of which is selling memberships to people they know will never utilize them. Especially in the U.S. where places like Planet Fitness and the like offer rock bottom prices. They can do this because they lock you into paying for a year knowing that 90% of the people who do this will give up and quit after a month.
How and why can they be so sure of this you might ask…
It is because most people have no clue of what they’re doing in the gym, or why they do it. There is a saying that goes “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” This is absolutely correct
I see many people in the gym in the gym doing things that will NEVER help them achieve their fitness goals. They use horrible form doing useless movements that don’t target any particular muscle or muscle group. They simply try to move the most weight, versus actually working the muscle.
Take a simple dumbbell hammer curl for example. You see people with weights that are too heavy. They start the movement with their hips and lower back to get the weight moving, rocking their entire bodies as they lean to the side to bring the dumbbell up to their chin.
However proper form would be to stand completely still and flex the bicep. Slowly bringing the weight up to the nipple then slowly back down. Controlling the weight the entire time. THIS is how you train your bicep. The other way is more of a lower back and oblique exercise than anything. And a very poor one at that.
The goal is to work the muscle. NOT to simply move weight.
Speaking of oblique training, anyone who is doing side bends with weights or a machine is likely trying to slim their “love handle” region. However, the only thing training the obliques does is make your waist, and love handle region thicker. It is completely counterintuitive. A total waste of time. Especially since the obliques are a diagonal muscle. To train them properly one would do the “wood chopper” movement .Which is bending downwards diagonally.
Since we are on the topic of a slimmer and more defined waist area, I have to address the fact that anyone who is not a Boxer, MMA fighter, or a Martial Artist in general is totally wasting their time training abs directly. There is zero need to do so. We train our abs indirectly with every exercise we do in the gym.
Once again, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. We all have well developed abs. They are just covered by a layer of adipose tissue.
You can’t out train a bad diet……
This is as true as any truth ever spoken. No matter how good your training program is, if you eat a bunch of empty, non-nutritious calories, you will never achieve your fitness goals. We are what we eat, so when one feeds their body calories that it does not even recognize as food, the body is forced to do the only thing it can. That is to convert these extra calories to fat so that they can at least be utilized in some way.
Doing Cardio To Lose Weight Is A Total Waste Of Time….
On any given day, in any given gym, one will notice that the majority of the people therein are utilizing the useless cardio machines. There are several reasons for this. They go as follows…..
Most people are trying to change their physique and improve their health. Simple to understand. And a very noble goal. However I feel so bad for them because they are totally wasting their time.
Why? You ask. Because doing cardio is the worst and most inefficient way to shed extra fat and get more lean. Here’s a bit of math. engaging in elliptical training for an entire hour would burn only 360 calories.
One could simply NOT ingest three of the following to get the very same result. A can of soda, a small bag of potato chips/crisps, a large banana, two medium cookies/biscuits, or a glass of orange juice.
Each of these is approximately 120-160 calories.
Better yet, one less Mac Donald’s Cheeseburger 300 calories, and a small french fry/chips/pomme frites 230 calories. Add a small drink 140 calories, and we are now up to 740 calories. But who eats just a small anything?
At 740 calories we are now at half the daily caloric allowance to maintain and not gain weight for the average woman. This is a third of the caloric allowance for the average man.
What’s worse is that eating these so called “foods” that are so low on nutrition will have a person hungry again in a couple hours or less.
So why do gyms even have this cardio equipment?????
Business. They are not in the business of helping people get more fit, lean, and or healthy. They are in the business of selling. Selling what? Dreams, memberships, and useless supplements. That’s what.
If people quit training after a month or two (like these gyms know they will), they still have you locked in for 10 more months of membership dues.
No one is there to teach people how to train, or how to eat more importantly; to benefit from proper training. Add to this the billion dollar (needless) supplement industry hoax, and you have a lucrative industry based on lies, shadows, and mis/dis-information.
They get rich off the ignorance of well meaning people who are trying to do the right thing.
Just Because We Can Eat It, That Doesn’t Mean That We Should….
Most of what is sold as food today is not at all food. It is “edible foodstuffs”.
Heavily processed, chemically engineered, and highly addictive poisons that are low on actual nutrients, and easily available at very low prices.
If it does not look like what it did when it came out of the ground, off the tree, out of the water, or when it was (humanely) butchered, it is NOT food. And is slowly killing you.
These items are engineered to be highly addictive by teams of scientists who work tirelessly to refine the ultimate “pleasure factor” in these products. This is done by the perfect ratios if fats for mouth-feel, savory salts, and addictive pleasure causing sugars.
It was a difficult question for obesity researchers: do some people overeat because they find eating more pleasurable or gratifying than others? Logically, that makes a lot of sense–it’s a time-tested principle of psychology: if a behavior feels good, we’ll keep doing it. But a new study published today in the journal Science adds to a growing body of research suggesting the opposite: that women who derive less pleasure from eating may eat more to compensate, putting them at higher risk for weight gain and obesity. The research also discovered a particular genetic trait that, when present, is associated with an even stronger relationship between low sense of reward and overeating.
“If you ask overweight individuals if they crave food, I really think they are legitimately thinking it’s more rewarding,” says study author Eric Stice, a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute. “They’ll say they’re really sensitive to the rewards. But when you look at the brain scans you get a different picture.”
Previous brain imaging studies have looked at what happens when we look at pictures of food. In those cases, obese individuals tend to anticipate a higher level of satisfaction of eating the pictured food than lean individuals do, supporting the idea that the people who overeat are the ones who find it more rewarding. But the Science study was the first to do those same fMRI scans while participants were actually eating–or, in this case, drinking a chocolate milkshake. “Nobody had ever administered food to people in a brain scanner and looked at what happens in the brain while you’re eating,” says Stice. “Now we have evidence that, when you give an obese individual a chocolate milkshake, there’s less of a response going on.”
* “The Pleasure Factor: Why Food Is So Addicting?”
By Newsweek, Newsweek11/17/2008 05:12am EST | Updated November 17, 2011
The nation of my birth is the U.S.A. Commonly known as the most obese country on earth. Coming up second on this list is the UK. Per captita, they are poised to surpass the U.S. in just a few years. There is also Ireland, Qatar, and so on. What these countries all have in common is the amount of sugar consumed.
Sugar is a highly addictive drug. One that fires up the brain’s pleasure centers just as much as any narcotic. If not more. Like heroin, it re-wires the brain and causes the person who ingests it regularly to need it. Or they suffer very un-pleasurable withdrawal symptoms. And even depression.
There are two forms of sugar. Glucose, and fructose. The body converts all carbohydrates into glucose to feed our calorie hogging brains, and for glycogen that our muscles need to do their work.
Fructose is not even recognized as food by the brain. When eaten, it goes directly to the liver, which induces an insulin spike that tells the body to store the empty calories as fat so the body can actually utilize them.
This over time can cause type 2 diabetes as the body becomes more and more insulin resistant due to spiking it so much so often. 100 years ago, type 2 diabetes and cancer were unheard of. These are modern, man-made diseases brought on solely by poor dietary practices.
We are literally eating ourselves to death.
This horrible chain of circumstances is compounded by the fact that many in westernized society consume 25-30% of their daily caloric intake by drinking them.
The body/brain does not register these liquid calories as food. Therefore, one could easily drink half of their entire daily caloric requirement in one sitting and still be hungry enough to eat the other half at the same sitting by having a basic fast food meal.
In fact, the basic fast food meal is easily 50-200% of our calorie requirements.
So with upwards of 100 grams of sugar, starchy white flour, way too much sodium (which leaves us bloated and holding excess water), and unhealthy man-made fats, we get an epidemic of overweight, yet malnourished individuals and families.
Fat is good…
In fact, natural fats are vital and healthy. Olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, butter, eggs, and even animal fats are vital to good health, brain function, and the endocrine system.
Our brains are comprised mostly of cholesterol, i.e. fat.
The real culprit is sugars, and starches. These things are what raise bad cholesterol. Not fat.
Fat does not make people fat. Eating more calories than you burn makes a person fat. And when we eat things that constantly raise our insulin, it sends a signal from our liver to the brain to store these calories as fat.
I will not get into why these things are allowed to happen in this blog post, as it is already too long, and there is so much to cover with this regard.
If I see a good response, and or high interest in this type of information, I will elaborate in detail in future posts.
Overweight and Dopamine….
There is no denying that some people are born with a natural, genetic predisposition to struggle with weight. Yet they are a rare exception and NOT the rule.
For most, the problem is self induced. Mostly by lack of education. Followed by the ubiquitous availability of cheap, convenient, non-nutritious, highly subsidized, and highly addictive products that are sold as food.
So once a person becomes overweight they become trapped in a vicious cycle triggered by becoming overweight which goes as follows.
A person who is over weight has diminished their capacity for dopamine released when eating food between 20-50%. This means that they must eat more to derive the same amount of pleasure from a tasty treat.
Since many who find themselves in this unfortunate category are “pleasure eaters” due to having fallen prey to the scientifically manufactured addictive properties of these “foods”, they seek pleasure in eating.
This is a very vicious cycle indeed.
On top of that, if a person is actually able to become more lean and take the excess fat off, they can only eat 80% of what a person of the same weight who was never heavy can.
Unfair? Yes, but it is a sad reality.
Fitness is a lifestyle….
Any dietary practices that cannot be sustained for life will inevitably fail. Just ask anyone who is overweight and has been a victim of “yo yo dieting”.
These drastic fad diets, pills, and magazine articles do not address the root cause.
Lifestyle got you there, and it is ONLY lifestyle that can get out out and keep you from ever going back.
Consistency Over Time…..
Getting the desired results from any fitness program, and or diet/nutritional plan requires a daily commitment. Consistency over a long period of time is the only way.
Many go into the new year highly motivated, and usually committed to improve their health and physiques. But after spending so much time, effort, and sometimes money with no results, they become disillusioned and give up.
The entire fitness industry makes it’s money on this fact. They function like the “medical industrial complex”. Which is to treat symptoms, but NEVER offer a true cure.
As a personal fitness trainer, it is bad business for me to tell you that no one really needs regular training for more than 16 weeks. That it unless they are a bodybuilder prepping for a show, or some other extreme case.
Money is made in this industry long term by never telling people what they need to know to succeed.
Or by never telling them what they really need to know in order to set realistic goals and stick to them.
But I actually want to help people. I do this by telling you the truth.
If I can help anyone improve their health, looks, and self esteem by taking control of their fitness, I am more than happy to do so.
Of course I seek clients for personal fitness coaching, and or nutritional planning. BUT my goal is to help you to not need me as soon as possible by helping people develop a new, and sustainable lifestyle.
THIS is what any personal fitness trainer worth the money will seek to do.
Cook your own Food….
Preparing inexpensive, nutritionally sound, healthy meals at home is very easy when you have the will and proper education with which to do so.
Anyone claiming otherwise is either lying, misinformed, and or have never tried.
I am living proof. I live way out in the countryside with only a bike and a backpack to transport my groceries.
I have lived on a starving artist’s budget for a few years now, but never have I had to resort to eating fast food as my primary source of sustenance.
If I can do it, anyone can, as I have literally been living in third world conditions for some time now.
Track Your Macros…
A key component of a sustainable fitness lifestyle is learning how to, and getting into the habit of tracking your macronutrient intake.
Macros are Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates.
Proteins and fats are necessary for sustaining life, but carbs are not. When getting lean, it is carbs one should cut. NEVER fats, in fact, some people employ a ketogenic diet to help lean out. This diet is up to 80% fat.
More on this diet in a future installment….
I track every single thing I eat, every singe day down to the gram. I typically know exactly what I will eat for the entire day before I even have breakfast. This is “nutritional planning”, and whether we are trying to become more lean, or to simply maintain a healthy and ideal weight, it behooves us all to make this practice a habit.
There are many apps and websites that make doing so extremely easy. So there is simply no excuse for not doing so. With the exception of not knowing how to read. But if you couldn’t read, you would not be reading this right now LOL!
Myfitnesspal.com is my go to website/app for this purpose. Consider it a facebook for fitness. In that you can interact socially, but it also has free tools to help you calculate and track for proper macros. Along with calculators to help you lose, gain, or maintain your weight.
Please check it out?
You can even add me if you want.
Happy New Year! May 2020 be the beginning of an amazing new chapter in your lives.
With the utmost love and respect.
Amir Alexander xx
2 thoughts on “The definitive New Year’s fitness resolution guide.”
Well done on your words and gains.
I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Hopefully this post can help some people achieve and maintain their fitness goals.
As for the gains, they are merely the results of consistently sticking to a well designed fitness training/nutritional plan over a period of about 4 years. It may sound like a long time, but if you consider the facts that; we either live or we die, but if we are to live, why not do it in such a way that yields such rewarding results simply by being.