By: Michael Palacios
Change isn’t easy and in the realm of fitness; it is a great challenge to overcome habits that have become second nature.
This isn’t to say that peak physical shape should be the standard that all should follow. There are some who think the idea of a lifestyle change is too difficult. It’s not.
Getting started is the first step into a different world, which can be confusing. This is the point where many people who are new to exercise or nutritional maintenance are met with a world of daunting transitions.
Though the transitional stage is expansive, it is an inspiring point for those who are beginning a journey into fitness due to the scope of the possibilities of what can be one day.
What better challenge to aspire to overcome than the most formidable opponent there is; yourself.
One thing to understand is not everyone needs to diet. Whether it be an Atkins diet, which is a diet that cuts out most, if not all carbohydrates, found in foods, or the popular ketogenic diet, which has an emphasis on high-fat, low-carbohydrate and fair-protein intake.
Not to dismiss any of these diets-they can be effective-but there are other much more enjoyable routes to take when reducing weight. However, it is not always about losing weight. In some instances, it is a great idea for certain individuals to gain weight for their own benefit.
“People think you need to eat only rice and chicken to lose or gain weight … look, people, it’s okay to eat bread; you can have French toast year-round,” said Greg Doucette, bodybuilder and author of the “Anabolic Cookbook.” “The whole point is to show a diet doesn’t have to be restrictive, know your body type.”
It is important to understand one’s own body mass index. The BMI is a quotient-derived from both the height and mass of a person. The scale often ranges from 10-30, a BMI below 18.5 refers to an individual being underweight; 18.5-25 tends to be a normal weight, while 25-28 is considered overweight. Beyond those numbers is obesity, which can be detrimental for an individual’s health.
Recognizing the BMI category one falls into can provide options for personal maintenance. Like an individual being underweight would ideally want to gain healthy weight. Vice versa, an individual in the overweight category may consider losing weight.
BMI charts are calculated estimates of what someone’s body type currently is. There are multiple websites that compute height and mass values for people, such as tnhlbi.nih.gov.
“It starts in the kitchen,” said John Tiglao, a personal trainer for Lighthouse Fitness Management. “Properly portioning your meals throughout the day will have better results than working out.”
Much of the greatest changes in people’s bodies begin with proper eating habits. Subscribing to a diet plan is a good idea but it can often limit people in food diversity. Fats, carbohydrates and sugars are all part of a well-rounded diet, but in proper moderation.
Limiting variation in foods does not need to be the only method of weight loss. In fact, another popular approach is the calorie deficit.
A calorie is the unit of energy used to describe how energy has been absorbed from consuming everyday foods and drinks. The caloric deficit is simple, intake fewer calories than are burned. Plain, yet extremely effective for weight loss over time.
Ingesting fewer calories than the body needs to perform the daily calorie usage will result in a calorie deficit. On the contrary, eating above the recommended caloric intake needed to maintain a steady weight will cause the body to enter a calorie surplus.
There are plenty of sites across the internet that specialize in calculating daily caloric intake, one such application is the Calorie Intake Calculator found on Calculators.org.
From foods to physical exertion, there are various methods to pursue when seeking casual weight loss or strength training. General exercise benefits more than just the body.
Cognitive changes occur for those that partake in exercises. Beyond the strengthening of muscle density, the perks of an exercise routine are beneficial to the mental health of the person who invests in exercising.
Walking is a great start. Just 30 minutes of walking is ample exercise to help people experience the positive effects. In many instances, regular exercise is found to help alleviate symptoms of mental fogginess or stress.
Going to the local gym is usually accompanied by a slight sensation of hesitation. However, someone new to strength training at a gym holds an advantage that makes any long-time weightlifter jealous.
The concept of beginner’s muscle gains also popularly known as “newbie gains” is a rapid increase in body muscle for the individual who has hardly trained in their life.
The cause of physiological change is due to muscle protein synthesis. MPS is a process by which amino acids begin to bind to skeletal muscle during post muscle repair. Muscles grow from being damaged during training, the more torn a muscle group is, the stronger and thicker it grows back. Those new weight lifting experience a prolonged MPS for up to 60 hours, while those who are long-time lifters only experience a 36-hour period of MPS.
This innate advantage for beginners lasts 3-6 months, which is the time frame beginners make the greatest amount of gains. Consistency is a necessary factor for these advantages to be beneficial.
Beyond the beginning phase of physical health maintenance awaits an entire spectrum of possible changes that are only proven to help mental and physical health.