Lately a good number of you have asked me this question. It makes me super happy that you want to make a change and hence a blogpost dedicated to this!
The answer to that question though is…
There is no perfect day or a perfect exercise to start. Just get out of your head and do these workouts. As a beginner what you do is immaterial… the important thing is that you show up for a workout 4-5 days a week! Do your best… the rest will fall in place. You might be able to do only one knee pushup today… but try to do one more tomorrow and two more day after. In a year you’ll be doing 365 right? May be not but you’ll do a whole lot more than when you started!
Ok now to the point…
Nutrition is king. More important than anything else. In any given workout program, be it endurance or strength training or body building, your nutrition dictates 70-75% of your results. I would much rather have you eat insanely clean and not workout than to have you work your ass off and eat crap. So yeah… people who think you can eat whatever the hell you want just because you run 3 miles a day… I’m sorry but you’re greatly mistaken. To get started with this journey of eternal health and fitness you need to fix ‘calories in’ before you fix ‘calories out’.
* Chips, cookies, dessert, frozen junk, twinkies, donuts, cakes, cupcakes – out! Get them out of the house first. If you have junk in the house… you will eat junk and for no reason. Throw them out first… and later IF you feel like you really want a treat we can think about buying just one little guy.
* Dump the sugar from your diet. Sugar is the one ingredient you don’t “need”. Sugar is a treat and should be consumed very occasionally. Enough said.
* Get more protein. Get about 0.75 gm of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Recommended sources of protein: Lean meats, eggs, whey protein powder, cottage cheese
If the above are not available: soy (for women), beans, legumes, milk, cheese
* Reduce starch intake. Starch = grains (rice, bread, pasta etc), potatoes, yams etc. If you have to eat starch be sure to eat it after some activity.
* Up the fat intake. Good fats = avocados, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, coconut, dark chocolate (70% and above), good quality cheese
* More vegetables! Much more than you are currently eating now.
* Moderate fruit intake. 1-2 servings per day when you’re looking to lose fat. Stick to berries as they are delicious & loaded with fiber and vitamins. Avoid fruits with high glycemic index (eg. water melon).
* Eat only when required and only what is required. It takes 20 min for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full. So wait before you go for seconds.
* Fish oil, daily multi-vitamin & whey protein – These are all the supplements you need. Dont let anyone convince you otherwise. Even me.
* Stay away from fat burners.
* Learn the basic movements. Squat, pushup (knee is fine to start), jump, run, sprint, situp etc. These are things your body is meant to do and you can do it without any professional training. Just keep trying till you get them. There are progressions for each exercise which I’ll be happy to explain in detail if there is interest. Let me know in the comments section.
* Stay away from telemarketing nonsense! Any pill that promises abs is crap. Any machine that promises less than 15mins of work is money down the drain.
* Dump the elliptical & stepper. Learn to run. Most people hate running because they dont know how to run. Funny… but true.
* Stop doing situps everyday. Doing situps wont burn abdominal fat (a blogpost on fat loss is on its way).
* Mix up your workouts… especially when you’re a beginner. It is very very important to not do the same drill week after week. Change the stimulus you give your body so that your body doesnt plateau and you dont get bored.
* Do what it takes to break your excuses. If you find time in the morning workout in the morning. If you’re better off in the evening do it in the evening. If you’re better off sleep walking… do it.
* You can workout anywhere anytime with or without any equipment. Watch the blog for no-equipment workouts.
* Make exercises/workouts interesting. I like lifting & conditioning workouts that are high in intensity but short in time. Most people I work with like it but you may like sports better. Play a lot of sport then. You may like hiking… so dedicate a day every week for hiking then. Do whatever it is that will make you want to do more.
* Never dump a workout because it’s too hard. Scale your workouts. If the workout says 10 lbs you needn’t do 10. You may be able to do only 5 today. But with time you’ll get to 10 and even go higher.
* Set goals for yourself. Say you want to be able to run 10 kms by 22 Aug ’10. Work towards it.
* And please please please dont eat truck loads of junk just because you worked out!
Eat (clean), Train (smart), Sleep (hard), Repeat!
And remember… everyone was a beginner at some time or the other. If this is your time embrace it because you wont be a beginner for too long!
Hope this helps. Do not hesitate to write on the comments section or email me with any questions you may have.