Fitness Tips – Getting Started

If you’re looking to get yourself in the gym, there are a lot of things that you should be aware of beforehand. While simply throughout some shoes on and running out the door is certainly healthier than sitting on the couch all day, there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure that you are replenishing your body and that you do not injure yourself. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling better.

First Things First: Nutrition

Read up on my nutrition section before grabbing your gym bag. Nutrition is what fuels you – if you do not have the proper foods in your diet, you’ll only be able to run so far before you fall over or catch a cramp. Proper nutrition is crucial to building muscle. Make sure your balanced diet consists of fruits, veggies, complex carbs, proteins and fats.

It’s also important to start eating more often. Instead of three large meals a day, break it down into five or six meals. This way you are continuing to stimulate your metabolism throughout the day. As your activity levels decrease throughout the day, eat less as the day goes on.

Control portions and eat with a purpose. Everything should offer some sort of nutritional value. For portions – it’s a good idea to make sure that meats are smaller than your palm and that pastas are not larger than your fist.

How to Build Muscle

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

When it comes to building muscle, there are some basics that you should be aware of. You need to increase your caloric and complete protein intake – that’s the basics in terms of nutrition. When in the gym, make sure you are focusing on form. Compound movements, weight training four times a week. You want as little movement as possible – only target specific muscle groups. And rest, rest, rest! Muscle tissue repairs when you’re outside of the gym.

Also, go for as much range of motion as possible. When it comes to how heavy the weights should be, have each exercise last 30 to 45 seconds; if it lasts longer or shorter than that, change the weight accordingly.

Finally, get the proper supplements. It’s hard to meet the requirements for protein intake – look into shakes for after your workouts.

Endurance

Hydration and proper nutrition are the basis for endurance. This type of training is very draining on your body – you’ll be burning calories like crazy, so you need to make sure you’ve increased your caloric intake. When it comes to endurance, you’re trying to exhaust your muscles. Work until you cannot push yourself any further.

Reduce the rest between sets and fight the fatigue that comes on during endurance training.

Find Your Motivation

When you’re stepping into the gym, make sure that you are motivated to perform each exercise to a certain level of success. If you’re lifting weights, count down your reps until you reach your goal. Also, ask yourself why you’re in the gym in the first place. To look good? To feel good? The more effort you put in during your time at the gym, the quicker you’ll reach those goals.

Change Things Up

Change your workout every couple of weeks to ensure that your body does not get used to the exercises you’re performing. It’s important to always keep the body guessing. Changing exercises, how heavy the weights are, the order that you perform exercises, your tempo and your rep/set count will all help keep you from plateauing. Even something as simple as the time of day you train can cause you to plateau.

 

Honey Beer Chicken

Below is a recipe for my Honey Beer Chicken – one of my favorites that I came up with during my college days. This recipe is great if you’re working on a low-carb or no-carb diet. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1Tbl spoon Avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1lb Boneless chicken tenders
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3  thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce – low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you're on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

This honey beer chicken recipe is great if you’re on a low-carb or no-carb diet.

Directions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan.
  • Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.
  • Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  •  Remove chicken from pan; keep on plate covered with foil or paper towel
  •  Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent.
  •  Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  • Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  • Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Increasing Your Metabolism… By Eating!

There are a bunch of ways to increase your metabolism. And a faster metabolism isn’t something to just brag about – it will trim your waistline and make you feel better each day. Most of the ways to increase your metabolism involve exercising… however, I’m going to give you some tips on how to increase your metabolism just by eating properly.

What is your metabolism?

It’s the process of breaking down fats, proteins and carbs to produce energy. Your metabolism depends on a variety of things – including (unfortunately for most) your genetic makeup. The number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn while eating and exercising are a large portion of it.

Change in age = change in metabolism

As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. Around age 25, your metabolism will begin to decline. Each decade, it will decrease by about 5 to 10 percent – meaning that by age 65, your metabolism could have slowed by 40 percent.

This is why it is important to start exercising now. Or, you could simple eat right!

Eating to burn your metabolism

Below I’ve included five ways that you can eat your way to a slimmer body. Start putting them to use today and see the payoff in the near future.

Eat more vitamins

Niacin is one vitamin that can really increase your energy production (that’s why it’s in a variety of energy drinks). Make sure that you are getting a lot of B vitamins throughout the day. These vitamins can be found in dairy products, whole grains, eggs and produce.

Some specifics to try: Quinoa is a rich grain. Eating just a little bit will get your metabolism going. Also, try making an omelet in the morning with a bunch of bell peppers and low-fat cheese.

Start drinking green tea

While it’s not good to get in the habit of relying on caffeine, green tea contains enough to jumpstart your metabolism without making you feel the jittery effects. Also, it contains the antioxidant EGCG, one that will increase the calories you burn throughout the day. If you really don’t want the caffeine, you can find decaf green tea that still contains EGCG – just know that it will not be as potent.

Drinking one cup of green tea can help you burn over 100 calories without doing anything else. What if you only drank green tea throughout the day? The results will skyrocket.

Get some protein in

Protein takes a lot of energy to digest. By eating protein, you are burning more than double the calories burned when eating carbohydrates or fat. Protein is also a key ingredient in building muscle – efficiency of calorie-burning in your body is increased by more muscle mass.

One thing you can try is peanut butter with celery stalks and skim milk. This will give you a jolt of protein will staying low in the carbs and fat department.

Relish in the spices

There have been numerous studies that have shown spicy foods increase your metabolism. For instance, Capsaicin (found in chili peppers) is shown to increase your metabolism by 5 percent. Also, spicy mustard has shown temporary bumps in metabolism activity.

Think of all the condiments that you put on sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. Instead of using ketchup or mayonnaise, exchange them for spicy mustard. Or, consider sprinkling chili powder into your spaghetti sauce.

Eat breakfast

Don’t send your body into starvation mode: eat breakfast to keep your body constantly supplied with the energy it needs. When you have an empty stomach, your cells begin to conserve energy. Eat within an hour of waking up to get your body started.