Fitness advice is everywhere.
Magazines, forums, videos, it seems that no corner of the net is free from people trying to get healthier, fitter, and stronger. This is a good thing, or it would be if the given advice wasn’t so contradictory to one another. It seems with every step forward, there’s two or four steps back.
I’m no fitness guru, no personal trainer. I’m just a guy who grew up a fat kid into a fit man. I’m not done cooking, so to speak, but I’d like to share what I’ve learned over the years so others don’t repeat the mistakes I’ve made.
Well, half-white. But full-right.
1. Proper Nutrition
Food is the most important component of fitness. No way around it. You won’t get lean, and you won’t get buff if you don’t put an equal amount of effort in the kitchen as you do in the weight room. You can’t outlift a bad diet.
Protein is top for a reason. Ideal for building muscle. You want to consume roughly 1 gram per lb of body weight. If you’re 150 lbs, do your best to consumer 150 grams of protein.
The most common sources I use are:
- Chicken breast (4oz of Foster Farms is 30 grams of protein)
- Whole eggs (6 grams an egg)
- Greek yogurt (12g per standard cup)
- Whey protein powder (24-30 a scoop depending on the brand)
Aside from what food you eat is how much food you eat. If your aim is to get bigger, you eat more. If you wanna cut the fat, you eat less. Obviously.
It’s calories in versus calories out.
Find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This is how many calories you naturally burn in a day. It depends on a variety of factors, namely height, weight, age, activity level, etc. but in most given populations the average is 2,000. That’s why food labels base nutrition facts off a 2,000 calorie diet. It’s a good, even standard.
Once you find your goal and once you find your TDEE, begin calculating how much you should eat to maximize gains and minimize losses. Whenever you build muscle, you’ll inevitably gain fat along the way. You want to experiment with your intake to find the perfect method to pack on muscle without packing on much fat. Same concept with cutting. Find the sweet spot where you’ll consistently lose fat without losing the associated muscle. A 500-caloric surplus or deficit seems to be the standard maximum limit one can handle before unwittingly gaining fat/losing muscle.
Easy bulking foods (not very filling, but have lots of calories):
- Whole milk
- Olive oil
Easy cutting foods (filling, but not many calories):
- Cottage cheese
- Green tea
- Fibrous fruit and veggies (apples, broccoli, spinach, etc)
Don’t shy away from fats, either. At least not healthy fats (avocados, red meat, certain peanut butters). Your body needs it. Fat can assist with testosterone production, which is an essential component of muscle building. It’s why aged bodybuilders who naturally produce less testosterone than their younger counterparts are prescribed test: so they can keep up. So eat your egg yolk, stop complaining about all the fat you’re eating, and pick up heavy shit. Then put it down. Then pick it back up.
For lifting it doesn’t matter what your goal is, always hit the basic compound lifts. These are those heavy fucking lifts bound to hit more than one body part. The big three are the bench press, squats, and deadlifts. Luckily, you also tend to do them on different days from one another.
Don’t get lost in working vanity muscles too much, like abs and arms, since you’ll typically hit them with compounds. I’m not saying never do them. Just don’t make them a priority.
There are dozens of routines out there. And if we posit that each variation of each routine is a new one, then it numbers into the hundreds. Fuck that. Here are 3 of the most common routines to build your body around.
- Full Body. It’s obvious what happens here. Couldn’t be clearer. Like Spider-Man, the name implies what you see and what you get. You hit the gym 3 times a week, busting out the heaviest lifts. It’s fairly consistent and a nice way to build strength quickly.
- PPL (Push/Pull/Legs). This can be done either 3 days a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) or 6 times a week (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Rest/Friday/Saturday/Sunday), depending on your energy levels. On push days, you’ll be hitting chest and triceps, anything that requires you to push the weight away from you. On pull days, do the opposite, which will hit back and biceps. Leg day is obvious. I personally focus on shoulders on leg days as well at the end.
- Bro split. Here you give 100% of your focus to a single body part per day, just like with a woman. Right?
WARNING: Don’t get caught skipping legs. Actually, just don’t skip legs. Ladies typically don’t have this problem, but for the guys? It’s an epidemic. Legs are half your body. Why leave half your temple wasting away while the rest of it ascends to Swolehalla? Just don’t do it.
You don’t wanna be this guy.
But you should see him curl
I lied earlier. Food isn’t the most important part. This is.
Don’t be the guy who makes a New Year’s Resolution to get fit, and drops out the gym in less than a month. We hate that guy. He’s lazy and uninspired, who only makes the trek to the Iron Temple because it’s what the rest of society does for their resolution.
Be the guy who makes a New Year’s Resolution to get fit, and stays. Or just fuck the resolution and begin exercising when you want, not on some arbitrary start date.
If you can’t keep yourself on track and hold yourself accountable, why would anyone else? Don’t rely on your friends or lifting partners or whoever to motivate you to the gym. Do that yourself. Your drive needs to come from inside, otherwise you’ll fall off two weeks in.
Here are some helpful pictures, because we all love those.
Beauty sleep. More than just an idiom, and more than what that Sigma Pi bro’s tells his date as he slips something in her drink. It’s a necessity.
The sleep, not the other thing.
Try for a minimum of 8 hours. That’s when your body repairs itself and makes the most gains.
Less is more when it comes to the gym, more is more when it comes to sleep
Also try to avoid peak hours at the gym, like lunch hours or the evening, just as the responsible members of society get off work. I like going either early morning or late at night. You either get a good kick to start your day with, a perfect cap to send you off to sleep, and you’ll always have a near-empty floor. And there’ll be next to nobody in the bathroom complaining about the topless selfies you constantly take to compensate for your low self-esteem.
“Please validate me”
Don’t believe everything you see online. Even this. Always cross reference advice to get the best information.
Train hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard.
People will notice.