As soon as I arrived in Hong Kong, I had coffee with Liliane, a girl from CouchSurfing. I wasn’t going to stay at his house until the weekend, so my theory was that he wanted to meet me in advance to make sure he wasn’t a dangerous rapist.
After chatting with me for an hour and checking that I am not a bad guy, he told me he had to go to the gym. I, who had barely exercised in Macau, subtly invited myself, and in the end, we ended up going to California Gym together.
I tried to make the play of the free trial week, but these Asians know them all and the manager asked me to show her my Hong Kong ID. I hired trying to convince her that I had just moved to the city and they still hadn’t given me the card, but it didn’t slip. As the day pass cost 15 euros and I am still not rich (although I am in it), I had no choice but to leave.
Three days later, I moved to Lili’s house and asked about the famous gym. He explained that the personal trainer assigned to him had told him that she was fat – I imagine that by Hong Kong standards, because I looked normal – and totally out of shape, so I had to put the batteries. I told him that there was a time when he weighed 20 kilos more, and I told him some of the things he had done to lose them and end up running a marathon.
As my advice on how to be fit seemed useful, I have decided to share them with you in case they help you, especially now that summer is coming 🙂
1. Do it for the right reasons
My friend Sergio, better known as “the hunter” (the hunter), concluded that he would bind even more if he had more muscles, so he bought a giant canister of strawberry proteins, some creatine pills and began to go to the gym every day. Two weeks later, he fell in love with a redhead girl and they started dating. He was never seen lifting a weight again.
Many girls, before the imminent arrival of the beach and pool days, decide to try on the bikini in front of the mirror. That’s when they discover that “they don’t feel as good as they thought.” That they are fat, come on. Alarmed, they sign up for spinning classes and start the Ducan diet. Year after year, history repeats itself: out of shape for 9 months, sprint to get ready in summer, out of shape for 9 months, sprint to get ready in summer …
I have seen this so many times that when someone starts a diet or joins the gym, I can predict exactly if they will maintain that new lifestyle permanently or if they will give up in one or two months. It’s a very common behavior, so let me explain what the problem is:
If the only reason you want to lose weight and get fit is to find a partner or to have your favorite jeans fit again, you are doomed to fail. Why? Because as soon as you achieve your goal, you will stop eating healthy and exercising.
The main difference between people who take care of themselves regularly and those who leave after two days is their motivation. The way they do it. The first group has a lifetime commitment, while the second group is temporary.
To succeed, the next time you sign up for the gym or start eating healthy, do it for these reasons:
- It has a positive impact on ALL other facets of your life. You will feel better about yourself, you will have more energy, you will be friendlier to the people around you and you will increase your productivity at work.
- Increase your life expectancy. You will be 4-5 years older to enjoy your family and friends, travel the world and read good books.
- It is your duty. The universe has given you a body so you can interact with the world, and you must take good care of it and develop it as much as possible.
2. Combine diet and exercise
I will be honest: to lose weight and be fit you do not need to exercise.
Eat fewer calories than you consume and you will lose weight, even if what you eat is crap. There are no more secrets. However, keep in mind that being thin does not mean being healthy. If you only eat 3 donuts a day, you will lose weight, but you may die young.
I wish we were all healthy because I think the world would be a better place. In addition to being surrounded by girls with a hard ass and boys with six-packs, we would be happier, live longer and the government would spend less on healthcare.
To get fit (and lose weight at the same time), you have to follow a balanced diet and exercise. If you eat well but don’t exercise, you’ll be thin but weak; If you exercise but eat crap, you will be strong but sick. Only by combining both things will you get all the benefits.
What is a balanced diet? Each person and each culture has a different opinion, and I will not tell you how to eat. My recommendation is very simple: eat more good things (fruits, vegetables …) and less bad things (alcohol, sugar, refined flours …).
If you want to keep your body ready, you have to regularly do three types of exercise:
- Aerobic (running, tennis, soccer …)
- Flexibility (yoga, stretching …)
- Strength (weights)
In general, I think that people who do sports regularly do enough aerobic exercise.
In terms of flexibility, most women usually do yoga, Pilates or the like; Men tend to lag more in this regard, and I think that one day of yoga a week can be very beneficial.
But I want to focus on the third type: strength.
If you want to lose weight, YOU MUST DO WEIGHTS. I think that to lose weight it is better to do weights than to do cardio (although the idea is to combine both). Let me explain why:
- We all spend a certain amount of calories at rest. That is, although we are lying in bed, we are spending calories. This amount depends, among other things, on how much muscle we have. The more muscle, the more calories. Weight training not only consumes calories at the time of exercise but increases our muscle volume, which translates into increased calorie consumption at rest. If we increase our resting caloric expenditure by 100 kcal, that is 3000 kcal WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING throughout the month. Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, usually reduces muscle volume.
- The results of weight training are immediate. Go to the gym 3 times a week, get up hard and in less than 10 days you will see results. Not only will you check that now you can lift a LOT more weight, but when you look in the mirror you will feel that you start to look like Rocky or that your arms begin to look the same as Michelle Obama’s. This positive feedback will push you to continue. The results of aerobic exercise, on the other hand, are much slower and difficult to appreciate, since they are usually measured by looking at weight, which is an indicator that depends on many other factors.
IMPORTANT: If you are a girl and you think that doing weights you will become like The Incredible Hulk, I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong. Not only do you not have the hormones necessary to develop the same muscles like a man, but to gain muscle IS NOTHING EASY. Look at the guys who go to the gym regularly and you will see that very few have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body even though they try.
3. Focus on the truly important
There are scientific studies that prove that drinking green tea accelerates fat loss.
Eating grapefruit on an empty stomach increases your metabolism for the rest of the day.
To lose weight, it is best to run at 60% of your aerobic capacity.
In the world of nutrition and exercise, you will find thousands of tips like these. I don’t know if they will be true or not, but I don’t care, because the impact they will have on the results you get is MINIMUM. Instead of wasting time on unimportant details, I recommend that you focus on WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco
- Avoid processed foods (sugar, simple carbohydrates, trans fats …)
- Eat natural foods (fruits, vegetables …)
- Do sports 4-5 times a week
- Always keep a progression: make sure that every day you lift more weight, run more or exercise for longer
Everything else details. Crumbs
Stop worrying about whether it is better to do the bench press with free weight or machine, and devote yourself to DO THE CURSED PRESS OF BANKING and increase the weight, repetitions or series every day.
Do not become obsessed with whether it is better to cook grilled or steamed broccoli and COAT THE BROCCOLI AS YOU WIN, instead of accompanying the chicken fillet with frozen fries.
That animal products are bad? What is best to eat paleo? Follow the diet you like best, but do not take two liters of Coca-Cola and a pack of ears a day.
4. Make your environment work for you
I know that I have said this several times in other posts, but I will do it once more and in bold to see if it is recorded on fire: your willpower is limited.
If you want to lose weight, please do not have the freezer full of ice cream. Because although every time you enter the kitchen you can resist the delicious taste of vanilla with macadamia nuts, the day will come when you are sad or tired and cannot control yourself (your willpower is exhausted), and that day you You will eat the whole boat.
You have to understand that, as a human being, you are genetically designed to save energy. Therefore, at all times you will do what costs you the least effort.
If you arrive home hungry and there is a bag of Ham Ruffles on the table, you are not going to prepare a salad but you are going to zap the potatoes handfuls.
The same goes for going to the gym. If you are 15 minutes from your home, the day you are tired you will invent all kinds of excuses for not going. My favorites: it’s very cold, it’s raining, I have laces and I’m very busy.
Now that I have explained all this to you and you understand your behavior patterns, you can easily avoid the above situations:
- Do not buy anything you do not want to eat. Surprisingly, the best way not to eat sweets in not buying them (that you did not expect, eh?). In the same way, buy things you DO want to eat. In particular, make sure you always have something healthy available in case you get a “hunger attack.” In my case, I liked having smoked salmon in the fridge because I didn’t always feel like fruit.
- Sign up for the gym you find most COMFORTABLE to go to. It may be the one that is closest to your home or work, or perhaps the one with parking where you can leave the car. It doesn’t matter, but getting there doesn’t require any effort. When I was training for the Vancouver marathon, I signed up for a small gym with very limited equipment even though I was already a member of the Pro Club, the spectacular Microsoft gym. The reason? I was 3 minutes walking from my house, so I had no excuses for not going to train.
5. Repeat the same meals over and over again
If you asked me about the habit that most helped me lose weight and get fit, I would answer without hesitation that it was continually repeating the same meals.
During my last years in Seattle, I ate the same thing every week from Monday to Friday: a grilled chicken breast sandwich with whole wheat bread and vegetables. Not satisfied with that, I also had breakfast and dinner practically the same every day. The only times that varied were when I went to a restaurant, had dinner with my friends or cooked with my girlfriend.
You might think it must be very boring to live like this (or directly that I am crazy), but it is just the opposite. I miss my custom sandwich, and I wouldn’t mind eating it every day.
Repeating meals works, and there are good reasons for this:
- When choosing what to eat, you have dozens of options available; If you are forced to decide between them AT LEAST THREE TIMES A DAY, it is very easy for you to make mistakes. Putting this decision on autopilot saves you valuable willpower that you can use in more useful things, such as going to the gym, and assures you that you will always make the right decision.
- This also has a positive effect when making the purchase. As you always eat the same thing, you know exactly what ingredients you have to buy, so you avoid having to go down the aisle by deciding if you deserve to buy Nocilla’s boat that week.
Have I convinced you? Are you ready to start automating your meals? All right. Now you just have to follow these steps:
- Choose two breakfasts, two meals and two dinners that you love And that is healthy (tasty and healthy are not exclusive adjectives ). They can be dishes that you cook at home or the cafeteria at work.
- Get rid of all the foods you have at home that do not serve to cook any of the 6 meals you have chosen. Go to the supermarket and buy what you need.
- When it’s time to eat, choose one of the dishes from step # 1. If you are at home you will find it simple because you will not have ingredients to prepare anything else; If you are in your usual restaurant, think that the two options you have LOVE YOU, so it shouldn’t be a problem either.
- If you go to a restaurant, enjoy and ask for whatever you want 🙂 In 90% of the time you will eat in the same places and, now that all those meals are healthy, nothing happens because occasionally you give yourself A little tribute.
6. Set yourself a short-term physical objective
Training just to lose weight and get fit is too abstract, and ends up getting bored. Instead, consider yourself a physical challenge and train for him. It can be anything from the football tournament in your neighborhood to the San Silvestre Vallecano, but my advice is to choose a resistance competition because they work especially well.
When you read a business book with a project in mind, you learn much more than reading it for pleasure, because the project acts as a filter and transforms all new information into concrete ideas and actions. Having a sporting goal works the same way: instead of just going to train, you are going to train FOR something. That increases your motivation and helps you see more clearly the progress you are making. Also, when you achieve what you have proposed you will feel like a super-man (or a super-woman).
Ok, let’s say you’re in very low shape and want to run a 10K (a 10-kilometer race). What would you have to do?
- Search the Internet for a 10K training plan for beginners.
- Sign up for a 10K that gives you the time to complete the training plan. Pay the registration and tell all your friends your next challenge.
- Follow the plan closely.
If you follow these steps, you will succeed. INSURANCE. I have seen friends who were completely out of shape and never before had run 5km sign up for a half marathon and complete it without problems in less than 2 and a half hours with only 3 months of training. I signed up for a marathon without running ANYTHING in the last half-year and finished it in less than 4 hours, trained only 4 months.
7. Look for (or hire) someone who demands responsibility
Even if you are fat as a barrel and completely determined to lose weight and get fit, it is not easy to change old habits and be consistent with the new lifestyle. If you are one of those who always find a good excuse for not going to the gym, having someone who gives you a good fight if you do not comply will help you a lot.
Surely you have ever read about the benefits of going to exercise with a friend. My experience is that this does not work as well as you would expect, especially if you are starting. Why? Two reasons:
- The popular saying goes that “where there is trust it disgusts,” and it’s very true. If you have been to train with your best friend and half an hour before the vagrancy begins to enter you, you will not have any problem in calling him or sending him a message saying that «I am a sorry uncle, but I cannot go because today I am super busy.» As is your colleague, he will not be angry with you and there will be no consequences.
- When you go to train with a friend, there is a risk that you end up talking more than training and that, when you leave the gym, you end up in a bar having a few portions without knowing very well why.
Instead, I want to propose other alternatives that have a higher success rate:
- Hire a personal trainer. Although it is the most expensive alternative, it is also the safest. Having a person who trains with you (I recommend once a week) and who controls your progress will put the batteries immediately. You will no longer be able to escape from the gym during the week because you know that on Monday he will ask you for the entrances; You will also think twice before taking the bacon dish because you know that on Monday you have to weigh yourself. At first glance, a personal trainer may seem expensive, but how much do you value your health? If you want results, this is your best option.
- Sign up for classes. This measure is not as powerful as the personal trainer, because it is more impersonal and if you skip a class normally nothing happens, but still usually increases the chances that you exercise and take care of your diet. If possible, sign up for a course in which each class depends on the previous one so you can’t miss it.
- Sign up for an online community of people with the same goals. This option is worse than the other two, but some can work. If you are part of a forum where other people who are trying to get in shape like you write, you can share your progress and encourage each other when things get uphill.
Do you want to get in shape once?
If you are looking for a realistic exercise program, which works and does not sell smoke or magic formulas I recommend you without a doubt Unchained, from my friend Marcos.
It is a 10-week functional exercise program for all levels that can be done anywhere, in less than 30 minutes and without the need for a gym. For me there is no better way to get in shape at home, spending very little time and with a community behind pushing you to do it.