I’m a beginner who is just starting out on a fitness plan. My goal is to increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat so I can get a lean and toned look to my body. I would like to gain about 5-10 pounds of lean muscle and would like to know the best way to eat and the right way to exercise to achieve these results. Do you have any tips or guidelines to help me?
Getting in great shape requires two very basic yet extremely important components. These two things are a healthy diet and a rigorous exercise program. Take away any of these and it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to ultimately reach your desired fitness goals. As a beginner, it’s crucial that you start on the right track. Below are some helpful tips on the right way to eat and exercise to reach your fitness goals.
Be mindful of everything that goes into your mouth. Every single thing that you eat has to end up somewhere, from your thighs, butt, belly and even your arteries. It can be quite challenging for someone who is trying to get fit for the first time to know which particular diet plan to follow. This is especially true as many of the popular diets you see in different magazines claim to deliver excellent results in no time. Don’t believe the hype and save your money on gimmicky diet fads. It’s going to take a lot of discipline and hard work but you will see amazing results if you follow the key components that make up a solid nutritional program.
For a beginner, a clean diet is basically sticking to healthy and nutrient dense whole foods and ditching the bad processed ones that contain loads of sugar, salt and fat. When grocery shopping, make sure to focus mainly on the outer perimeter of the store where you will find all of the lean meats, fruits and vegetables. It pays huge dividends with your physique and your bank account to spend time preparing healthy home cooked meals that are packed with vital nutrients. By cooking at home, you will always know exactly what goes into your meals and eventually into your body.
Don’t trust restaurants to provide you with quality meals that will help you build muscle and burn fat. You would not believe the kind of calorie packed crap that goes into even the so-called “healthy food items” on their menus. A basic chicken breast or shrimp salad is usually cooked with tons of butter and even if you ask the waiter to make everything “dry”, you might be shocked with what comes out on your plate when your meal is ready. Save the time, money and frustration and cook all of your meals at home. If you’re in a time pinch, just blend up a quick high protein smoothie or have a delicious protein bar. These come in super handy and usually only cost around $2-3 per meal which is unbelievable especially when compared to an average cost of $12-15 for a meal at a restaurant.
Focus on healthier cooking methods such as steaming, poaching, baking and grilling. All of these styles of cooking eliminate the need to unnecessarily add fat to your food. It’s also important to pay special attention to what you are cooking. Fish is a great source of protein which allows you to build and maintain muscle mass. You can also get lots of protein from chicken, turkey, pork and beef. However, you should trim off and get rid of the fatty parts if you want to effectively cut the fat and calories to help you drop unwanted pounds.
Make sure to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Add whole grains to your everyday diet such as wild rice, quinoa and oatmeal. Instead of eating three times a day, it’s a good idea to focus on eating 5-6 times a day. This will keep your metabolism always running at a high level and it will provide all the energy you need before and after exercising.
Speaking of exercise, a healthy diet means nothing if you forget to include a regular dose of exercise into your overall fitness plan. For a beginner, it’s important to know that you have to workout at least 3-5 times a week to reap the full benefits. Don’t be discouraged because it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the gym that often. The fact is that it’s possible to do all of your training at home or outside. You can include workouts with kettlebell, dumbbells and bodyweight exercises to overload your muscles and get a fantastic workout!
Doing cardiovascular exercise burns calories and helps prime your body for a lifelong commitment to being fit. Anything that causes your heart and respiratory rate to increase is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Do it for 30 to 60 minutes each session and focus on doing cardio 3-6 days per week for amazing results in decreasing body fat levels.
Many people give up on regularly exercising after a while, and one of the reasons is simple boredom and getting burned out on the same routine. That is why it’s highly recommended to focus on cardiovascular exercises that you find fun and interesting. Some wonderful ideas include walking, swimming, ballroom dancing, basketball, jumping rope, bicycling and playing tennis. Having a workout buddy or listening to adrenaline pumping music also helps to stay motivated. Always remember to set your eyes on the prize each time so you can successfully reach your ultimate fitness goals!