If you're just starting your fitness journey or beginning to get into shape, here's the fast and free way to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
No shortcuts, the right mindset, lift weights and eat sensibly.
You'll be a fitness capitol in no time.
I don't have any certifications or fancy acronyms after my name.
About 10 years ago, I got tired of the way I felt and looked.
I disciplined myself and got to doing regular, hard work.
Here are the 4, basic keys to looking a whole, helluva lot better when you lose your clothes.
I often talk about the snake oil, gadgets, and gimmicks that pepper the fitness industry.
Unfortunately, the fitness world is rife with things like the Shake Weight, the Thighmaster, or the Imperial Belt Massager Exercise machine from the 1950s, that you put on your waist, to shake your booty at Mach 10, to blow your fat away.
Ladies and gentlemen, THE booty belter and fat melter.
Sadly, we're pretty gullible and naive in America, otherwise, these things wouldn't exist along with say, flat earthers.
Our culture gladly welcomes and embraces shortcuts and easy fixes. America invented the first drive-through and the first escalator. Enough said.
Due to a complexity of factors, over the centuries, America has also developed a consistent flow of science denial and empirical dubiousness.
This opens the door for all kinds of pseudoscience and quackery.
And what better stage to sell it on? Seize upon the gaping loophole that exploits peoples' vanity and at times, desperate need to shore up their self-esteem with acceptance by way of beauty.
Better and easier to make a quick buck by preying upon outward markers of esteem and dignity; ones that a fickle society determines, rather than inward ones that we set ourselves.
After all, a few centuries ago, being obese and gross was de rigueur.
Don't fall for any of this crap. Please don't.
As I say, a steel barbell doesn't lie.
On a positive note, maybe America is getting smart to these scams, as you don't see a lot of this junk anymore.
However, the hucksters might be moving into things like supplements, food, and wearable technology now, all things we know less about and have a slim body of research on.
Start with the basics, and stick with the basics for a while, to see where it gets you, before you buy into what someone is selling.
The single, biggest thing you can do to help yourself get into shape, and look and feel great is to get your mind right.
Then discipline yourself some more.
This means working out when you least feel like doing so.
Have some sort of plan or goal, even if vague, and stick to it.
When I started my regular gym routine over 10 years ago, I went from 0 exercise to hitting the gym 6 days a week.
Discipline yourself first to make going to the gym a routine that you can't miss.
Forming a habit takes 66 days, and after that, you'll find the momentum you've build propels you, along with the results you see.
You've got to do the work. Then work more and more and more.
That's a funny thing too.
We have a paradoxical relationship with work in our culture at times.
We're ingrained with our puritanical work ethic that's been instilled in us to such a degree that our ultimate worth, dignity and right to exist is based on it.
We don't shy away from work at all, in fact, we love to live to work.
Yet when it comes down to the most important thing of all, ourselves, what do we resort to more often than not?
Yeah that's right.
Shortcuts, easy fixes, gimmicks, and gadgets.
There's no substitute for hours of picking up barbells, dumbells and logging heaps and heaps of miles on your feet doing cardio.
Be honest and true to your Self.
If you're willing to work yourself to the nub for someone else, why not do it for you?
Here's the lowdown.
If you're a new resident of the gym, just starting your fitness routine, or are well out of shape and/or overweight, you're going to get obvious results fast.
Simple as that.
The fast and free way to build muscle and lose fat at the same time is to lift weights and eat sensible, which we'll get to in a minute.
Even if you don't know what you're doing if you move regularly, lift consistently and eat like an adult, you're going to make progress.
Think about it.
Put all the fads, flashy trends and slick sell jobs aside.
What has mankind been doing longer than anything else, since we were existing on the savannahs of Africa?
We've been hunting our next meal, running, climbing, carrying, pulling, jumping, throwing, and more.
The human body is designed to move and be strong.
To not do so, is a rejection of our evolution.
When I started working out regularly, I didn't know jack.
Yet, I still went to the gym, lifted weights on the regular, and became self-taught.
Did I make mistakes? Sure.
Did I not know what I was doing at times? Yes.
Did I look like an idiot? Absolutely.
But, eventually, I lost about 30 lb, put on some muscle, toned up and became a version of myself I never had seen before.
All with little to no proper training or knowledge of what I was doing.
If you're not making a similar goofy face, you're doing it wrong.
I do NOT recommend you do the same, as you don't want to hurt yourself jumping into something you know nothing about.
On the other hand, you should never allow your lack of know-how stop you either.
YouTube is far and away the most revolutionary, educational tool of our lifetime.
Make use of it, find the right people and channels, and you can learn all the basics you need to know.
If you're not comfy with that, hire a trainer for a session or two and ask them to teach you basic movements and give you some basic programming.
Then discipline yourself, and lift weights at least 2 or 3 times a week.
You don't have to go all out, but do enough to stimulate muscle growth.
You don't even have to lift weights, you can start off with simple bodyweight exercises.
If you don't have a gym to go to, or aren't confident to go to one yet, you can do bodyweight exercises in your house, garage, or backyard.
Doing enough bodyweight exercises will get you looking damn good.
Whatever you decide to do, just keep at it, and slowly and gradually start lifting heavier shit.
You'll start seeing a difference in no time.
There's a lot of emphasis put on nutrition, and for good reason.
But before you go all out, buy every supplement known to man, eat 100% organic, go paleo or keto, learn to put the same discipline you have for your gym routine, into your dietary routine.
I think health and wellness focus a lot on everything we need to add, instead of what to subtract.
But of course, subtraction doesn't lead to sales.
If you're a beginner, novice, noob, whatever, start to eliminate what you know isn't going to accomplish your goal.
Also, don't be her.
Start small, and go one food group or one food item at a time.
I'd recommend starting with sugar. Try and eliminate as much as you can.
Don't drink soda/pop, no sugary drinks, no sweetened anything.
Once you handle one thing, then move onto not eating dessert, any sweets or pastries.
A lot of the nutrition advice out there can be overwhelming and unnecessary.
That's because of 2 things.
A lot of it is for people that have been training for a long time, as it's harder for them to make gains.
Secondly, there's only one way to lose weight, and/or burn fat which is to put yourself into a caloric deficit.
You may have seen "CiCo" somewhere online.
This stands for "calories in, calories out."
You have to burn more than you consume. It's easy as that.
No magic tricks, no smoke and carnival mirrors.
If you're doing well, you may not lose weight as fast as you had hoped.
That's because you're putting on some muscle mass while you lose fat.
It is possible to do both at the same time.
But you're still going to lose more weight/fat than you will gain muscle.
You might gain a pound or 2 of muscle, for every 10 lb you lose, for example.
When I started hitting the gym, I lifted weights 3 times a week, and did 3 days of cardio in between, and rested on Sundays.
I lifted for an hour, and on cardio days, I would do 32 minutes on a treadmill or an elliptical machine.
It's important to note, I would do interval training. I'd do 1 or 2 minutes of near max effort cardio, then have a rest period of 2-4 minutes at say 60% effort.
My gym was about a half mile from my house, so I rode my bike there every day too, which helped burn more calories.
It wasn't long before I was looking good.
Even then, I didn't go overboard restricting myself in term of nutrition.
I made sure to eat some salads here and there with chicken in them, and made sure to always eat protein and veggies.
Although I stayed completely away from sugar, snacking, junk food, dessert, I was still able to eat like a normal person sometimes.
I didn't eat a ton of pasta or bread, but I did sometimes and it didn't erase results.
I even ate pizza and drank beer on occasion, and I didn't go back 2 steps.
You can't have everything, but you don't have to take the joy out of life either.
That's if you are putting in the work and disciplining yourself.
Once you start burning some calories on a machine, keep an idea in your mind of how long it takes to burn X amount.
Then, next time you eat that donut, look at how many calories it is and think about how much time on the treadmill it would take to burn it off.
Then discipline yourself, and burn calories, and more calories.
Wait a minute. Are you telling me that...?
This type of approach is for beginners, out of shape folks, and anyone new to the gym and working out.
As you work out and train, it gets harder and harder to get those coveted gains, so this doesn't work for athletes and devoted fitness freaks.
This sort of simple strategy won't work as well, as it has its most profound impact on people who aren't active.
Also, there's this eternal debate about doing cardio vs. lifting weights.
Lifting weights is the best, as you get the afterburn.
Your body will continue burning calories hours after you work out.
The same happens when you do interval training and/or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). That's why I did this on my cardio days.
Be an afterburner.
Regular cardio doesn't provide that bonus caloric afterburn.
However, what you get in an afterburn from lifting weights, still probably won't offset what doing a half an hour of HIIT will get you, if you're thinking about skipping cardio.
That's why doing both together will get you fast results.
I'd say within about a year, I dropped at least 20 pounds, put on 5-10 lb of muscle and maybe dropped my body fat percentage around 17%, give or take a point.
Unless you're an athlete and fitness is your job, most people are fine with a 15-20% body fat range.
Don't hammer on yourself about reaching X amount of additional muscle or losing X amount of weight or body fat.
Just by losing some fat and gaining muscle, you're going to look fit and in shape.
You also can't put too much stock into your weight, as the muscle you gain will skew this measuring stick of success.
However, if you're not losing any weight at all, you're doing something wrong.
Finally, remember you don't need a $200 a month gym membership to be a better you.
Bodyweight training at home, paired with HIIT, is all you need to get serious results. Bodyweight training is free; no one can charge you to move at home, in your backyard or garage.
I think a lot of us out there get overwhelmed, intimidated and/or put off by the incessant fitness and nutrition info, tips, advice and regimens.
None of this spurred me on originally.
It was me, myself and I.
When you finally put your mind to it, and your heart in it, you'll get it done.
Change happens when the pain of maintaining the status quo overcomes the pain of change.
No fancy training program, pro tip or fitness gadget will do that for you.
Now get at it, and become the better version of yourself you never imagined you could be.