The world of health and fitness is often really intimidating for newcomers, mainly because there is so much information about it online these days, and it can get really complicated really fast. And what I think is even worse is that there are a lot of different opinions from different people, opinions that are even contradictory at times. Because of all this, it’s sometimes pretty confusing and challenging for a beginner to be able to form their own routine and just do their own thing because they’re afraid of doing something wrong.
The real truth about this is that there is really more than one way to approach fitness, and what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. It will definitely take some time before you figure out your own routine and what works best for you, but in the meantime it wouldn’t hurt to have some simple, concrete advice that just plain works.
So that’s exactly what I’m going to offer you today. I’m not going to talk about proteins, carbohydrates, anabolic hormones or any of that fancy stuff. I’m going to keep it as simple as possible and try to help get you on the right track with four simple pieces of advice that anyone can use.
Take it Easy with HIIT
A very popular method of training nowadays is the so-called high-intensity interval training. HIIT has been around for a while, but before it was mostly done by athletes and people who wanted to achieve prime physical condition. Nowadays it’s being marketed as a great way to both lose weight and pack on muscle quickly, and though this is completely true and HIIT can give you all that, there’s something about it that you should probably know.
Namely, HIIT is pretty fatiguing and hard on your nervous system, and will tire you out much faster than a normal workout. And although this can be a good thing, it means that you will be very sore the next day (or even the next few days if your body is not used to that kind of stress) and it will take you a longer time to recover and be able to go back to the gym.
So I’m not saying “don’t use HIIT at all”, far from it – I just think that it’s smart to limit HIIT workout to about two to three times a week if you’re a beginner, as any more of that will just cause a lot of unnecessary fatigue.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is an excellent solvent, and because of that it’s great at helping our body expel all the harmful toxins from our organism. This can result in a number of health benefits such as higher energy levels, smoother and cleaner skin and so on.
However, a lesser known fact about water is that it actually increases the speed of your metabolism and helps you control your cravings a lot better. If you don’t drink a lot of water in general, your body is probably used to getting most of its water from the food that you eat. Therefore, when you’re thirsty, your body won’t always just crave water (because it knows that isn’t how it’s going to get it) – it will also crave juicy foods, because those are high in water as well.
So the next time you feel like getting something to eat, drink a big glass of water first and see if the craving goes away. This is a great way to easily cut down on a few extra calories, so I highly recommend that you try it.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out
If you have a friend or have ever talked to anyone who does weight training and asked them about how to get stronger and build up your muscle mass, 9 out of 10 times they’re going to say that you have to work to failure if you want to get any real results. As you probably already know, working to failure means performing the maximum number of reps that you physically can, while maintaining good form.
And again, while this is a completely valid form of exercise, just like HIIT it can be taxing on your nervous system and tire you out more quickly. If you want to work to failure, then save it for the very end of your workout, because that way you know that you can give it your all and not have to save any energy for anything else afterward.
Here’s a trick that helped me lose a ton of weight in very little time a few years ago, and it’s so simple that I think virtually anyone can do it. Simply don’t eat any meals after 7 PM, and you’ll give your body ample time to take care of all the food, all the nutrients that you gave it throughout the day before you go to bed (very important).
Foods that you consume after 7 PM are more likely to end up as fat, because we tend not to be as active during these hours and our bodies simply don’t need all that extra energy. This way you’re cutting your stomach some slack, you’re giving your body a chance to burn more fat (since you aren’t giving it fresh energy and an easier way to synthesize glucose). An incredibly simple trick that works wonders, so I highly recommend that you try it.