|In the last year or so, I’ve lost approximately 30 lbs. I’ve found that the thing that has helped me in my fitness goals has been playing intramural basketball with my company three or four times per week. Balancing intense basketball with Atkins.
HAHA. That’s a good one. They used to call me “hoops” in high school! Because I was so pathetically bad…!
And no. It was not Atkins. If I hear another word about Atkins I think that my head will explode! In my humble opinion, the best way to lose weight and gain muscle is to do it the old fashioned way, though a mixture of exercise and balanced eating. Below is the approach I used to lose weight, my current activities, followed by some general tips.
During the height of my weight loss, I was doing “high impact” exercising approximately 4 times per week. One time was cardiovascular, for keeping my heart strong; three other times per week doing weight lifting. Weight lifting is important in that it keeps your metabolism strong. (Plus, it burns more calories that you would think.) Doug, from the Fitness Center has been a great coach. He has me on a program where I do all muscle groups each time I life (as opposed to one group each day, which is more traditional…)
I read in Men’s Health that your workouts can be even more successful if you have a “second round” of some sort during the day. I would really recommend, if you have time, to take a 30 minute walk after dinner. It really builds on the exercise you’ve already done and it helps digest your food!
Speaking of food! My theory on food is that it is important to get a variety. I would think that the body is always requiring different nutrients.
I primarily went the traditional low fat, low sugar route. For breakfast, I’d have a protein bar or Slimfast shake (makes your stomach smaller!) For lunch, I’d choose another shake or something light, such as a soup or a salad. A typical dinner for me was low fat fajitas shell filled with some type of a low fat stir fry. I would limit my intake of greasy foods (not difficult,) sweets (not difficult) and beer (a bit more difficult.)
On weekends, I would reward myself with one day of eating whatever I chose. Also, if I made a milestone, such as when I dipped below 190, then when I dipped below 180, I made sure to “celebrate” with a night at my favorite night spot.
CURRENT EXERCISE & EATING
I lost my initial weight and now my goal is to bulk up muscle. My exercise routine is similar, although I am doing more repetitions in individual weights. It’s time for me to change my routine; Doug is invaluable in this regard.
In terms of diet, I’m maintaining my weight so I do not have to watch what I eat as much. In fact, in some cases, I’m eating more often than before! After lifting weight, I need a snack such as a complex carbohydrate or fruit.
I’m prioritizing fruits & vegetables and meat. Or basically anything with high protein and high fiber, as this encourages muscle growth.
- Chose a system that works for you. Adkins would make me feel awful; it works for others.
- Do not keep unhealthy food in the house! It’ll only make you cheat.
- Buy fruits and veggies that are in season.
- Watch your potions! When eating out, do not feel like you have to eat all that’s on your plate. Take some home!
- If you have to have fast food, have EITHER a hamburger OR fries, but not both. Ever have a Whopper and fat free Pringles®?
- Buy some indestructible water bottles. Fill them with ice and water and consume liquids throughout the day
- Use the stairs!
- Make sure that your system is maintainable; do not pick something that is unrealistic in terms of time, frequency or difficulty.
- Set realistic goals! And gradually meet them.
- Measure yourself before, during and after.
- Need motivation? Get a work out partner. If either skimps out, make him/her pay for a low-sugar, low-fat smoothie!
- Be a “VIP” at your gym. The Cincinnati Lifestyle center posts the names of all people who have been to the gym 12+ times per month. Be on it consistently.
- Keep at it. Remember how good it feels to work out and keep this in mind on days that you’re not motivated to go.
- Get into a weekly routine and stick with it. If necessary, schedule the workout in your calendar. Be selfish with your time.
- Find a picture of a person with the body shape that you want to achieve. Put it in a prominent place, such as your refrigerator.
- Recognize that your body “plateaus” or “gets used” to a certain routine and too long with that routine will result in little or no gain. Change things every 6-8 weeks.
- Have to skip the gym? Go on a long walk, bike ride or find another way to keep your body moving around. Get off the couch!