Looking to be a beast? Maybe just get in shape? Perhaps loose the gut and get back in to those old pants that you swore you'd wear again? Maybe you have gone through a pregnancy and want to drop the last ten pounds of baby weight you gained? Whatever your goals, there is a way to go about reaching them.
First and foremost is to specify the goal in terms that are easy to understand and that can be measured. A statement such as "I want to be a beast" is not really going to give you much to strive for. After a few workouts, the motivation will drop or can may lose interest.
A better approach may be stating that you want to be a beast by building a bigger chest and bigger arms. There is more to measure in that statement - don't you agree?
Even for a woman trying to lose the last ten pounds from pregnancy, simply stating this is not very goal friendly. But, if she were to state that she wanted to drop the ten pounds and fit in to the pre-pregnancy clothes, that would be a little more measurable as we know what the body composition must be like to fit in to those clothes.
Two Primary Objectives That Are Considered In Every Goal
One is the gaining of weight or muscle, the other is losing weight or cutting the fat from the muscle to help it show better. That's it! Pounds and inches my friends, pounds and inches. There is no other way to measure. If the inches are getting smaller, than body weight or fat is dropping. If the pounds are going up, so are the inches and the body fat! Those inches may not all be where you want them, but the scale is showing the increase.
The confusion comes when everyone wants to apply all that they hear, see, read, think, feel or believe and keep compounding the goal with factors that just do not matter when starting out.
Let's take the more popular goal, at least in my opinion, wanting to put on some size. (This would include getting rid of the gut and being ripped!) There is nothing wrong with wanting to make this happen. You just need to understand how it is done so that it actually works and you're not spinning your wheels.
First, you establish your total calorie needs per day by associating your activity level (Harris Benedict) with your height, weight, age and sex (Basal Metabolic Rate)
You can calculate your basal metabolic rate using the M&S BMR Calculator.
From this, you will add 500 calories per day to gain weight or take 500 calories away from your total to lose weight. (These numbers are generally practiced guidelines; they may not be ideal in your situation)
You will then need to take this total and divide it by 6 as you should train yourself to eat six meals per day for best results. My advice here is to track your calories every day for two weeks when you start so that you have a clear understanding of all that you are eating. And my experience has been that the longer I tracked the calories the better my success as I knew every day if I was doing too much or too little.
For tips on the right things to eat you will need to read these articles:
If calorie counting seems a little too intensive...try what Tom Venuto writes about with menu planning.
Other good nutrition articles you should read:
You now have your goal established and are tracking meals/calories to be able to measure results in that area. The next step is to understand how what you are eating affects your body. We're talking about macro nutrients here...that's right, Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats or P/C/F.
These are mentioned in ratios quite often, such as 40/40/20, and that just shows that 40% of calories come from proteins, another 40% come from carbohydrates and the remaining 20% are from fats. A 40/40/20 set up is fine for someone just starting to track things and you really do not need to concern yourself with modifying or tweaking this a whole lot in the first few months or longer depending on your goals.
To understand the role of these macro nutrients it would be wise to read:
- Are Carbohydrates Really Our Enemy?
- An In-Depth Look At Carbohydrates
- What's All The Fuss About Protein?
- High Protein Foods
- The Role Of Essential Fats In Bodybuilding
Before closing, let's take this one step further regarding the eating.
For fat loss or cutting check these out:
Building that mountainous physique?
Take a look at these:
Can you believe we have come this far and have not talked of weight training at all!? Do you now understand how important diet and nutrition is to your goals? For taking this to the next level, read the next article about training after the new diet starts. From Nutrition to Training >>