By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
So, you’ve realized you need to start focusing on your health. Or maybe you’re getting back on the train after a long period of time away from the gym and the healthy side of the kitchen. Maybe you’ve had children, or maybe you’ve just fallen short of your fitness goals. Either way, you need to make sure you are taking small steps to get back into the swing of things, so you don’t experience burn out.
Remember, this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon—and you’re in it for the long haul. It’s not as scary as it seems; once you establish your new habits and put yourself first when it counts, this marathon will seem like second nature. You will experience new highs, have more energy, and a happier mind—which will overflow into all areas of your life. It’s easier than the majority of the health and supplement industry will have you believe.
How you educate yourself will set you up for success during this entire process. When I first began my journey, I turned to the book Thinner, Leaner, Strongerby Michael Mathews. He gives foundational information in a way that is understandable to the newest sweat and health junkie, and is easy to apply (because application is the only way to success). Think about it this way: the foundation of a home is the most important part. With a solid, seamless foundation, your home will last years and years to come. You can pass it onto your kids, your kids’ kids, your kids’ kids’ kids… you get the picture. But if you build your home quickly, and don’t pay attention to the cracks and bumps in the foundation, your home may go up quickly, and it may be beautiful, but it won’t last.
It’s critical to look at your health long-term, in just the same way. You want it to withstand any natural disaster that comes your way, and make sure that it’s solid enough to carry you through those tough times (even when you lose a roof panel or two).
In Thinner, Leaner, Stronger, there are a couple tips he provides to set you up for success at the very beginning:
Don’t let the big words confuse you: This is one of the biggest obstacles. This industry is (and should be) science-based, which also means you’ll be confronted with a ton of technical terms and fancy words. Your thoughts about jargon and industry-specific lingo aside, you should take the time to educate yourself on the basics, which is exactly what Michael Mathews does in his book. It will help immensely, from your food choices to how you exercise at the gym.
Most people are doing it wrong. DON’T COPY THEM: You see this all the time: ‘sweat junkies’ who are in the gym doing a ton of isolation exercises, using lighter weights, and going through high rep sets. Doing it this way will leave you extremely disappointed with results because you need to be consistently pushing your body to work harder. Your body is an adaptive machine. It will adapt to any environment you put it in, and if you don’t push it, it won’t change. .Same goes for nutrition; most people are simply doing it wrong. They are either eating too little, or too much.
Do yourself a favor and educate yourself with reputable information—so that you know exactly how to train, exactly how to fuel your body based on your goals, and so that you truly enjoy what you learn. Knowledge is power, and when it comes to navigating the health and fitness industry on the way to your dream physique, the basics create results. Every. Single. Time.