Health

To read something hopefully inspiring, skip to the last paragraph and watch the Facebook link. The whole body of this post is about my tips for fitness.

Today started out very interestingly; due to all the snow late last evening and subsequent sleet that turned the snow into ice during the early morning, Scranton had a compressed schedule and opened at 10:00AM in order for the grounds crews to clear as much of the ice away from the sidewalks. Might I add they did a fantastic job as well! Anywho, I got out of class rather early due to the compressed schedule and figured, heck why not? I should just head on over to the gym and get my workout finished early on in the day so that I have a huge chunk of time in the evening to study and goof off (but mostly goof off). When I got to the gym there were so many people there and all the benches/powerlifting stations were full. Usually I would groan to myself because of the inconvenience but for some reason, I didn’t do that today. Instead I thought about all the work that these people were putting into the betterment of their physical health. It’s true; instead of sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing, these people were at the gym working their butts off and making their health all the better for their grind. I applaud you dearly.

This brings me to my next point and rant that I would love to articulate: schedules. Currently, I’m working on a five day schedule: first day is chest and back, second day I do legs and abs, third day marks the shoulders/traps fun, the fourth day is dedicated to arms, and the fifth day is the day of rest. For me, it is important that I stick to this schedule religiously otherwise I won’t see any improvement with my body. It is so crucially important to have an established schedule that one abides strictly by if their goal is to improve their body.

Next point: what would you like your body to do? The type of workout really depends on what direction a person would like to go as far as how they want their condition or physical appearance to be. Some may wish to put on some mass and therefore they would have a workout regiment that prescribes heavy weight with low repetitions supplemented by a high macronutrients diet. Conversely, others may want to lose weight, like myself. I need to enter a cutting season really soon and since it takes me a couple decades to get my lazy butt to do anything, I might as well start now. My workout regiment consists of high repetition with low weight; the more repetitions in each exercise theoretically leads to a greater cardiovascular strain. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in some running and high intensity cardio/ab circuits in order to help get the sweat flowing. The diet of a cardio-centric workout should have moderate protein with minimal carbohydrates and minimal fat. The carbs simply add a lot of water weight and won’t help much when you try to lose body weight.

I am on a role for perfect segues. Dieting is key for any kind of workout. I don’t even want to hear about those kinds of extreme diets that tell you to cut out virtually everything from your daily intake except a cracker. That is absolutely absurd and a perfect recipe for causing physical harm to yourself down the road. Your body needs nutrients to function! Do yourself a favor and don’t take extreme methods just to lose weight. DO NOT get me started on dieting pills. All you need to do is eat right and eat lean. When considering protein options, try the less fatty/greasy option. Both chicken and turkey are perfectly lean sources of protein that don’t have hundreds of thousands of calories associated with them; that is, grilled chicken or grilled turkey, not a freaking chicken nugget Happy Meal from McDonalds. That isn’t even real chicken meat… And in the off chance that it is real meat, I can almost guarantee you that it is processed the heck out of and cannot give you much nutrient benefit. Long eating rant short, cooking your own food is an outstanding option as opposed to grabbing fast food because you, yourself, are putting the ingredients into the food and you know exactly what you’re eating. Along the lines of nutrients, counting calories is not a bad idea either. I use the app MyFitnessPal in order to manually enter each food item that I eat. It does take some time to individually input all the food you consume but I promise it will pay off if you are on a diet that adheres to a calorie count.

That is only a small fraction of what is on my mind in regards to fitness. Let me recap all the stuff I just said:
1. What would you like to do with your body image? What are your goals?
2. Have a schedule. Stick to it.
3. Diet lean and well. I DO NOT commend extreme dieting programs. AT ALL.
4. Count em up! Make the calories your friends and not your foes.
5. For the love of all things good, don’t cheat.

Let me clear up my fifth point. Cheating includes working out at the gym for any period of time and then eating/drinking something unhealthy later on only to think it’s justified because you worked out, or if you skip gym days because blah blah blah. It is never justified to consume unhealthy food simply because you worked hard if you are actually serious about improving your image. It is all a matter of how bad you want it! How bad do you want to look like fire in a couple of months? How good do you want to feel about yourself because of all the work that you have dedicated into improving your physical health? Trust me, the celebrations will come but you must be patient. Once you have reached that goal that you have set for yourself, whether it is losing X amount of pounds or getting chiseled abs, then you can treat yourself. However, if you are hyper consistent and conscious about your workout and what you eat, it is very possible by the time you reach your goal that you will have lost a taste for whatever “cheat” you probably wanted when you first started the grind.

This whole process is completely doable and I have every faith in YOU that YOU can make this change if you want it to be. Let me share something with you: a decade ago I was grossly overweight. I couldn’t do much physical activity for long before I got winded and my body would scream in pain for doing so. How dare I get up off my bum? How DARE I want something more than a sedentary lifestyle? But I did. I dared to challenge myself to be a better me than a day before; I did this every single day until I started to notice the change. Let me tell you the change is addictive. You are gifted a higher level of energy to tackle the day and you have a better outlook on life as a whole. I knew that if I continued to do nothing about my health that it would spell trouble for me later down the road, possibly in the form of heart disease. That was my “why”; it was the reason why I decided to make the change so that I can live longer and appreciate life fuller. If you embark on your own journey for self-betterment, remember that your biggest opponent is staring right back at you in the mirror, that’s it. Believe in yourself that you can make a change. Each repetition makes you stronger – each stride you run makes you better. With each workout that you stick to in your schedule, you are better than the person you were yesterday. Just know these things because YOU have what it takes.

I’m just going to leave this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNQhuFL6CWg

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