Every week I review articles in 4 categories: Fat loss, nutrition, strength training and Health and Wellness. All of my Just Go Tips, the top takeaways from each article, can be found below.
How to Burn Stubborn Body Fat by Dr. Jade Teta
- Stop trying to exercise a specific body part or area just to burn stubborn body fat from that area. While technically spot reduction is possible, it’s not at all effective.
- Use an eat less and exercise less (ELEL) or eat more and exercise more approach (EMEM) to decrease adaptive thermogenisis or “starvation mode” in the long term.
- Cycle your ELEL and EMEM approach every 1-2 weeks to further prevent metabolic compensation (Again, think “starvation mode” folks).
15 Things That Everyone Needs to Know About Nutrition by Kris Gunnars
- Utilize a way of eating that you can sustain in the long term.
- Stop drinking fruit juice or sugar-sweetened beverages (The brain processes liquid sugar calories differently than solid sugar calories and because of this you’ll essentially end up eating more calories).
- Eat more protein. Kris thinks this is the most important macronutrient to lose weight and I completely agree.
4 Myths About Female Glute Training by Bret Contreras
- Add the hip thrust exercise to your glute training for a better butt. This is Bret’s go to exercise for glute development and is one of the exercises he uses with most of his female clients.
- For optimal glute and hamstring development use a variety of exercises. These include: Squats, deadlifts, lunges, split squats, barbell glute bridges, back extensions, good mornings, glute ham raises and leg curl variations.
- Use the full range of rep ranges in your glute training (Heavy sets of 3-8 reps, medium sets of 8-12 reps and lighter sets of 12-20 reps).
- Lower your body fat levels. Obvious, but not to be neglected. Lower body fat levels will lead to better booty and hamstring aesthetics.
Why Motivation Doesn’t Make Lasting Changes by Dr. Brooke
- Once per day take a few moments to be mindful. Simply observe what you are doing and how you are feeling. This can help you stay in the moment, clear your head and think about what is really important.
- Find out what the triggers are for your bad habits. Why do you do the things you do? What actions lead to your bad habits? When you find out what your triggers are you can work on changing them, one at a time.
Look Better Naked this Summer by Andrew Ferreira
- Choose one healthy habit to start working on today. This is something I preach constantly, but habit change leads to success. Plain as that. You could choose to add veggies to every meal, eat lean protein with each meal, eat healthy foods 90% of the time or something completely different. For one of my clients I had him start exercising during his lunch break at least 3 times per week. Start with one thing and go from there.
- Actually finish a workout program. How many times have you started a workout program and given up after only a week or two because you didn’t get instant results? Completing a program is key if you want to look better naked. A great program Andrew mentioned is Eric Cressey’sShow and Go program. Complete a program like this from the programming expert who is Eric Cressey and I promise you’ll see results.
- Track your progress. The measurements you decide to take will depend on your goal, but if you aren’t tracking anything it’s going to be difficult to see what’s actually working. Track your progress, repeat what has worked and stop doing things that don’t.
The Paleo Problem: Examining the Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet by Brian St. Pierre
- Emphasize eating whole foods in your diet. Whether you are following the Paleo diet or just looking to eat healthier this always applies. Incorporating more lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats into your diet will do your body good.
- The Paleo diet could be an upgrade to your current diet, but be careful using strict rules for how you eat. In trying to achieve long term success, these lists of foods you can and can’t eat can hurt you.
- Keep things simple. Don’t try to over-complicate your diet by following hundreds of rules on what you can and can’t eat. Focus on sound principles most of the time, allow some wiggle room and don’t worry about being perfect.
What Every Man Ought to Know About Building Muscle by Jason Maxwell
- Increase your exercise volume. An issue I see with many programs geared towards building muscle is inadequate. Don’t be afraid to increase your exercise volume working 5 sets of 5 reps, 8 sets of 8 reps and even going as high as 10 sets of 10 reps for an exercise (German Volume Training).
- Get stronger. That means working more than just the same 8-12 rep range every week. Add some lower rep training (Sets of 1-6 for example) to get stronger, allow you to cause more stress on your body and gain muscle.
- Consume more protein. A problem I often see with beginners who want to build muscle is that they aren’t consuming enough protein. While many experts suggest consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight I would tell you to simply consume more than you currently are. If you are only eating 40 grams of protein each day and bump it to 100 grams per day with a solid lifting program you’ll get some results.
- Use a creatine supplement. Plenty of studies have been done on creatine and have shown it’s effectiveness in building muscle.
Do You Need to Run? by Anthony Dexmier
- Choose the right activity for you based on your goals. If you are training for a marathon of course you are going to need to do a lot of running, but if you have general fitness goals the key is to find an activity you’ll enjoy most. If this happens to be running, then go for it.
- Switch your activities to avoid overuse injuries. Why do so many runners get injured? Because they are doing the same movement patterns over and over again and develop overuse injuries. By switching the activities you are doing, adding in things such as strength training, cycling, rowing or playing a sport, you’ll decrease the likelihood of this type of injury.
- Focus on consistency. Regardless of the activity you choose the goal is still the same – consistency. Do you need to run? No. But if running will help you be consistent each week, then you should go running.
Why You Need a Junk Food Budget by Mike Samuels
- Set your junk food budget percentage. Mike’s favorite is the 80:20 ratio – 80% of your calories from nutrient-dense and minimally processed foods. You could also do a 90:10 or 70:30 ratio, but that depends on your goal.
- Track your progress. Pick your junk food budget percentage and actually keep track of it. How many calories should you base it off of? That depends on your goal, but pick a number, see what happens and adjust as needed. You won’t need to track precisely the rest of your life, but do it for the first few weeks at least to get a feel for things.
Skipping Breakfast: Will it Really Make You Fat? by Helen Kollias
- Observe how you feel eating breakfast. How do you feel throughout the day when you eat breakfast vs. when you don’t eat breakfast. Take inventory on how your eating the rest of your is affected by your breakfast or lack of breakfast.
- Try different options for breakfast. This goes back to tip number one, but see how you feel with different breakfast options. Is your day better if you have oatmeal in the morning or eggs? Start to notice how you feel and how your energy throughout the day is influenced by different types of breakfast.
- Realize everybody is different, but similar rules still apply. Whether you decided to eat breakfast or not is your choice, but it is still in your best interest to eat nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods and be mindful of how you feel while you eat to avoid overeating.
Avoid Newbie Pitfalls by David Allen
- Stop wasting money on so many supplements. Are supplements beneficial? Yes. However, especially as a beginner, you don’t need to spend all your money on supplements.Supplements I typically suggest are whey protein, a multi-vitamin and fish oil. If you want to learn how to not waste your time and money with supplements check out an article I wrote here.
- Take advice from someone with more knowledge and experience than you. This may seem uber obvious, but as a newbie to training it pays to learn from someone who knows what they are doing. You can find great information from books, podcasts and blogs (Like this one of course!) or hire a coach to give you a jump start.
- Learn proper form from the start. Fixing bad habits takes lots of time, so learn the proper form from the beginning. Understanding how to perform lifts like the squat, deadlift, row,shoulder press and bench press will help you avoid injury and get the most out of your training.
- Embrace the new lifestyle you will adopt. Read carefully, I said lifestyle, not “embrace the new 6 week program” or “embrace the temporary change that doesn’t last and leaves you worse off than before.” James suggests you embrace the sustainability of lifestyle and I couldn’t agree more.
- Start noticing how much you better you feel. Sure, you want to lose body fat or gain some muscle, but as you pursue those, noticing how much better you feel can keep you going – especially because results take time. You will inevitably notice how you feel better when you workout – enjoy it!
- Accept the need to change. Not just some superficial thing you display online, but who you actually are. In adopting a healthy lifestyle you become a different person – a better person. Your life will be different. Is it easy to change? Hell no, but it’s completely necessary to live the life you’re capable of living. ACCEPT THE NEED TO CHANGE.
How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight? by Kris Gunnars
- Use a calculator such as this one to get an estimate for how many calories you should be eating.
- Count your calories for a short period of time to get an accurate measure of where you are at (At least track for a couple of days including a one day on the weekend and a couple of week days).
- Adopt these permanent changes to your lifestyle: Eat more protein, avoid sugary beverages, drink more water, exercise and eat less refined carbohydrates and sugar.
- If you are going to try juicing, use it only as a way to consume more fruits and veggies. Using juicing for 60 days like Joe did in the documentary is not something I suggest, but if you find juicing to be an easier way to get fruits and veggies in your diet, then do it.
- Don’t try dieting alone to lose weight. Improving your diet is definitely important if you want to lose weight, but dieting alone leads to muscle loss which makes weight management more difficult in the long run. Be sure to utilize strength training to promote muscle growth.
- Watch the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and use it as inspiration to make a change in your life. You can find the documentary on Netflix and I suggest you watch it. Why? To get an understanding of what the human spirit is capable of. I’m not advocating a 60 day juice cleanse, but I know after watching the documentary I was inspired and I think you will be too.
10 Things Beginning Lifters Should Know by Bret Contreras
- Take a rest between sets. Many clients, when I first train them, want to just jump from one exercise to another repeatedly without any rest, but in order to get stronger and gain muscle a certain amount of recovery time is actually needed. Sure you may not take a rest between exercises in a superset, barbell complex or circuit, but your rest time is very important.
- Utilize progressive overload for results. A lot of beginning lifters I see stay at the same weight for an exercise for far too long. You may not be increasing the weight 20 pounds in a lift every week, but you should still work on progressing farther and farther as time goes on. Maybe that’s 5 pounds per week or maybe that’s 5 pounds per month, regardless, progressive overload matters if you want results.
- Don’t be discouraged when progress slows. As a beginning lifter you’ll see increases in strength rather quickly due to neurological adaptations (You essentially become more coordinated with the movements) but this will slow – don’t be discouraged because this is normal. You can still make progress, but unfortunately it takes time. Hey, if there was an easier way I’d let you know!
Not a Pretty Girl by Kelly Coffey
- Treat yourself better. The choices you make every day determine where you’re at in life. The more frequently you treat yourself well – exercising, eating nutritious food, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water – the healthier and happier you’ll be. Treating yourself well is not just about losing weight or shedding body fat, it’s about doing things that enhance your quality of life.
- Realize that being thin and pretty doesn’t make you happy. This applies to gentlemen who want to be ripped as well. Getting thin or ripped doesn’t instantly make you happy, but the healthy habits you establish and the improved self-worth you develop will.
- Create a caloric deficit. There’s really no way around this. If you want to lose weight, you’ll have to create a caloric deficit. How big of a deficit? That depends on many factors such as body weight, body fat percentage and activity level, but JC suggests starting at 300-500 calories below your maintenance number (Which you can estimate using a calculator like this one).
- Add variety to your diet. The importance of this is not only to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients, but also to keep things interesting so you aren’t stuck with eating chicken and broccoli every day.
- Add some accountability. Why go after losing weight alone? Hiring a coach, finding a workout partner or just having someone consistently check in on you will keep you accountable and help you lose weight.
- Utilize consistent weight training. So many people think losing weight involves doing lots of cardio. While I think cardio has value the most important type of exercise to help you lose weight is weight training. Why? Because muscle reigns supreme when trying to get lean and manage your weight.
Workout Nutrition Explained: What to Eat Before, During and After Exercise by Brian St. Pierre
- Eat a healthy meal 1-2 hours before and after a workout. For most people, this will be all you need to know about workout nutrition. This would include a high quality protein and carb sources, some healthy fats and fruits and veggies.
- If you are an athlete, realize your workout nutrition needs are unique. Endurance athletes and bodybuilders could add a protein and carbohydrate drink during their workout. Physique competitors, as well as people trying to gain mass, could add branch chain amino acids during their workout.
- With general health and fitness needs, focus on food quantity and quality. This is the exact recommendation from Brian and it makes a lot of sense. There are many more pressing issues at hand than nutrient timing if you just trying to live healthy. Focusing on food quantity and quality are your first concerns if you aren’t an athlete.
- In the 0-60 minute window before exercise, consume something liquid. If you are going to consume anything at all within an hour of exercising making sure it is in liquid form will ensure you’ll have an easier time with digestion.
9 Tips for Dedicated Lifters by Dan John
- Use high rep squats to build serious muscle mass. In the article, Dan outlines how much weight you should use depending on how much you weigh. Regardless, he’s a huge fan of high rep squats to build muscle to your whole body.
- Do conditioning that matters. Conditioning, just for the sake of conditioning, is a waste of time. Dan suggests that all the conditioning you do has a purpose.
- Take time off to get better. As Dan says, “Do it, before your body forces you to do it.”
- Every workout should build on the previous workout in some way. Progress is vital to long term success. By building off of your workouts each week you’ll ensure this.
Why You Don’t Have What You Want of This Life by Adrian Crowe
- Find the one thing holding you back. You can make a list first, but one thing is probably holding you back. For Adrian it was sleep. For you, it could be something else, but it’s important to figure it out.
- Answer the “Why” questions. Why are you not living the life you want? Why are you not losing weight? Why are you unhappy or unfulfilled? Find out the reasons behind your current position in life.
- Eliminate the clutter. What matters for your ideal life? Focus on that and eliminate as much of the rest as you can.
The 3 Step Process to Achieve All of Your Fitness Goals by Nia Shanks
- Keep things simple. The very first step Nia mentions is keeping things simple – I couldn’t agree more. We tend to over complicate everything. Don’t try to do 20 things at once, it’ll never work. Focus on the few things that will have the biggest impact on you achieving your goal.
- Be consistent. Ah yes, good ole consistency. You’ll hear people harp on this over and over again (Myself included) but it’s for a good reason – consistency gets results! Sure, you know this, but are you exercising it week in and week out?
- Be patient. This may very well be the hardest of all 3 steps, but it is the one step most people neglect. We want results RIGHT NOW, but with health and fitness that simply doesn’t happen. Results will come, just stick with the process an as Nia says “Enjoy the journey.”
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