As soon as I arrived in Hong Kong, I stayed for coffee with Liliane, a girl from CouchSurfing. I was not 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 was not a dangerous rapist.
After chatting with me for an hour and checking that I’m not a bad guy, he told me I had to go to the gym. I, who had barely exercised in Macau, subtly volunteered, and eventually ended up together at the California Gym .
I tried to make the play of the free trial week , but these Asians know all of them and the manager asked me to show her my Hong Kong ID. I counterattacked trying to convince her that I had just moved to the city and they had not yet given me the card, but it did not come through. As the one-day pass cost 15 eurazos 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 her about the famous gym. She explained that the personal trainer assigned to her had told her that she was fat – I guess by Hong Kong standards, because I saw her normal – and totally out of shape, so she 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 finish running a marathon .
As my advice to know how to be fit seemed useful, I decided to share with you for help, especially now that summer comes
1. Do it for the right reasons
My friend Sergio, better known as “the hunter” (the hunter), concluded that he would tie even more if he had more muscles, so he bought a giant pot of strawberry proteins, some creatine pills and started 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 again seen lifting a dumbbell.
Many girls, before the imminent arrival of the beach and pool days, decide to try on their bikini in front of the mirror. That’s when they discover that “it does not 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 whether they will maintain that new lifestyle permanently or leave 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 in shape is to find a partner or fit your favorite jeans again, you are doomed to failure . Why? Because once you achieve your goal, you will stop eating healthy and exercise.
The main difference between people who take care of themselves regularly and those who leave after two days is their motivation. Why they do it. The first group has a commitment for life, while the second group is temporary.
To be successful, 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 with yourself, you will have more energy, you will be kinder to the people around you and increase your productivity at work.
- Increase your life expectancy . You will have 4-5 more years to enjoy your family and your friends, travel the world and read good books.
- It is your duty . The universe has given you a body so that you can interact with the world, and it is your duty to take good care of it and develop it as much as possible.
2. Combine diet and exercise
I’ll be honest: to lose weight and be in shape you do not need to exercise.
Eat fewer calories than you consume and lose weight, even if what you eat is junk. 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 would like everyone to be healthy, because I think the world would be a better place. Besides being surrounded by girls with a hard ass and guys with six packs , we would be happier, we would live longer and the government would spend less on health.
To get really fit (and lose weight at the same time), you have to follow a balanced diet AND exercise. If you eat well but do not exercise, you will be thin but weak; If you exercise but eat garbage, you will be strong but ill. Only by combining both you will get all the benefits.
What is a balanced diet? Each person and each culture has a different opinion, and I will not be the one to tell you how you have 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 do three types of exercise regularly:
- 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 tend to do yoga, Pilates or similar; Men tend to be more lax in this aspect, 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 HAVE TO DO WEIGHTS. In fact, I am of the opinion that to lose weight it is better to do weights than to do cardio (although the ideal is to combine both). Let me explain the whys:
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. Doing weights not only consumes calories at the time of exercise, but also increases our muscle volume, which translates into higher calorie consumption at rest. If we increase our caloric expenditure at rest 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 doing weights 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 see that you can now 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 start 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’re a girl and you think that doing weights you’re going to be like The Incredible Hulk, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re wrong. Not only do you not have the hormones necessary to develop the same muscles as a man, but to gain muscle is NOT ANYTHING EASY. Look at the guys who regularly go to the gym and you’ll see that very few have the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger even though they try.
3. Focus on what is truly important
There are scientific studies that prove that drinking green tea accelerates the loss of fat.
Eating a grapefruit on an empty stomach increases your metabolism during 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 do not know if they will be true or not, but I do not 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 TRULY MATTERS:
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco
- Avoid processed foods (sugar, simple carbohydrates, trans fats …)
- Eat natural foods (fruits, vegetables …)
Do sport 4-5 times a week
Always keep a progression: make sure that each day you lift more weight, run more or exercise for a longer time
Everything else is details. Crumbs
Stop worrying about whether it is better to bench press with free weight or machine, and dedicate yourself to MAKE THE BAD PRESS BAD and increase the weight, repetitions or series every day.
Do not get obsessed with whether it’s better to cook grilled or steamed broccoli and TAKE THE BROCOLI LIKE YOUR WIN, instead of accompanying the chicken fillet with frozen chips.
4. Make your environment work for you
I know I’ve said this several times in other posts, but I’ll do it once again in bold to see if you burn yourself: your strength of will is limited .
If you want to lose weight, do me the favor of not having the freezer full of ice cream. Because although every time you enter the kitchen you will be able to resist the delicious flavor of vanilla with macadamia nuts, the day will come when you are sad or tired and can not control yourself (your will power is exhausted), and that day 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 it costs you least effort.
If you arrive home hungry and there is a bag of Ruffles Ham on the table, you are not going to prepare a salad but you are going to eat the potatoes in handfuls.
The same goes with going to the gym. If you are 15 minutes from your house, the day you are tired you will invent all kinds of excuses not to go. My favorites: it’s very cold, it’s raining, I’m sore and I’m very busy.
Now that I’ve 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 to not eat candy is not buying it (that you did not expect, huh?). In the same way, buy things that YES 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 did not always want fruit.
Sign up for the gym to which you find it most COMFORTABLE to go. It can be the one that is closer to your home or work, or perhaps the one that has parking where you can leave your car. It does not matter, but getting there does not 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, Microsoft’s spectacular gym. The reason? It was 3 minutes walk 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 helped me lose weight and get in shape, I would answer without hesitation that it was continuously repeating the same meals.
During my last years in Seattle, I ate exactly the same thing every week from Monday to Friday: a grilled chicken breast sandwich with wholemeal bread and vegetables. Not satisfied with that, I also ate breakfast and ate practically the same thing every day. The only times I varied were when I went to a restaurant, dined with my friends or cooked with my girlfriend.
Maybe you think it must be very boring to live like that (or directly I’m crazy), but it’s just the opposite. I miss my custom sandwich, and I would not mind continuing to eat it every day.
Repeating meals works, and there are good reasons for this:
When it comes to choosing what to eat, you have dozens of options available; If you are forced to decide between all of them AT LEAST THREE TIMES A DAY, it is very easy for you to make mistakes. Putting this decision on automatic pilot saves you valuable willpower that you can use on more useful things, like 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. Since you always eat the same thing, you know exactly what ingredients you have to buy, so you avoid having to go aisle to aisle deciding if that week you deserve to buy Nocilla’s boat.
Did I convince 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 are healthy (tasty and healthy are not exclusive adjectives ). They can be dishes that you cook at home or at the work cafeteria.
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 lack.
When it’s time to eat, choose one of the dishes from step # 1. If you are at home it will be easy, because you will not have ingredients to prepare anything else; If you are in your usual restaurant, think that the two options you have ENCHANTMENT, so it should not be a problem either.
If you go to a restaurant, enjoy and ask for what you want In 90% of the occasions you will eat in the same places and, now that all those meals are healthy, nothing happens because from time to time you give yourself a small tribute.
6. Set yourself a short-term physical goal
Training just to lose weight and get fit is too abstract, and ends up becoming boring. Instead, consider a physical challenge and train for it. It can be anything from the soccer tournament in your neighborhood to San Silvestre Vallecana, but my advice is that you choose a competition of resistance 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 the new information into ideas and concrete actions. Having a sporting goal works in the same way: instead of just going to train, you’re 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).
Search the Internet for a 10K training plan for beginners.
Point to a 10K that gives you the time necessary to complete the training plan. Pay the registration and tell all your friends about your next challenge.
Follow the plan to the letter.
If you follow these steps, you will succeed. SAFE. I have seen friends who were completely out of shape and never before had run or 5km to 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 myself signed up for a marathon without having run ANYTHING in the last half year and I finished it in less than 4 hours trained only 4 months.
7. Find (or hire) someone who requires you to be responsible
Even if you are fat as a barrel and fully 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 not to go to the gym, having someone to give you a good fight if you do not meet 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 might expect, especially if you are starting. Why? Two reasons:
The popular saying says that “where there is trust is disgusting,” and it is very true. If you have been training with your best friend and half an hour before you start to enter the vagrancy, you will have no problem calling him or sending a message saying “I’m sorry uncle, but I can not go because today I’m super bundled.” 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 rather than training and that, when you leave the gym, you end up in a bar taking some rations without really knowing 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 that trains with you (I recommend once a week) and that controls your progress will put the batteries immediately. You will not be able to escape from the gym during the week, because you know that on Monday he will ask you about the training; You will also think twice before taking the bacon dish, because you know that on Monday you have to weigh. 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 even so it 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 not miss it.
Sign up for an online community of people with the same goals . This option is worse than the other two, but there is someone who can work for you. If you are part of a forum written by other people who are trying to get fit like you, you can share your progress and give encouragement to each other when things get uphill.
Do you want to get fit once?
If you are looking for a realistic exercise program that really works and that does not sell smoke or magic formulas, I recommend you without hesitation Unchained , by 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 fit at home, spending very little time and with a community behind pushing you to do it.
Of course, I warn you that it is VERY intense, so even if you do not have to spend several hours a day get ready to sweat. You can find all the information on Unleashing here .