Fitness Tips and Strategies from the Experts

fitnessHEALTHY EATING:

1. Nutritional Basics
Ask almost any personal trainer and they’ll tell you that regardless of your training goals, healthy eating is the backbone. Food is what fuels your body to reach your goals and without proper nutrition through quality foods, you’re likely to stall. As a result, if possible, eat organic foods and, above all else, maintain a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, complete proteins, and fats including such things as fish oils and flaxseeds.

[see: Fit 5: Creating a Diet Plan]

2. Prepare Ahead
Regardless of what you’re doing, preparing yourself in advance gives you the best chance to accomplish your goals. Micah LaCerte, a personal trainer and fitness competition world champion, explains that your approach to nutrition should be no different. LaCerte says it’s best to prepare for your “upcoming day by prepping all your food in advance.” He adds that this will ensure you do “not eat bad foods or skip meals.”

3. Eat More
Eating only three daily meals? For over 25 years, personal trainer Mike Duffy has sought to correct this habit explaining that, “half the people I deal with aren’t losing weight because they don’t eat enough.” Duffy advises them “to eat five times a day, about every three hours to stimulate their metabolism” including two mini meals between their three basic meals. With activity levels decreasing throughout the day, he advises to “eat less as the day goes on.”

[see: Boost Your Metabolism]

4. Portion Control
You’ll be eating more often, so paying attention to portions is extremely important. Jay Cardiello, a personal trainer to countless celebrities and professional athletes, explains that you need to “make sure chicken breasts, (and) meats, are no larger than your palm” and that “spaghettis, (and) pastas, are no larger than your fists.” He also suggests using “smaller bowls, plates, and cups” because studies show people “serve themselves 20 to 40% more food when they’re using larger plates.”

5. Eat With Purpose
Everything you consume should have substantial nutritional value. No one knows this better than Dan Trink who possesses 11 training certificates in spite of once being overweight. Today, through the magic of the Internet, Trink helps people around the world get healthy and he stresses that, “you want the most nutritional bang for your buck.” He adds “everything you eat should serve some sort of nutritional purpose in your body, fuel your workouts, and (be) geared towards optimizing your body.”

MASS BUILDING:

6. Muscle-Building Basics
Talk to any personal trainer and they’ll tell you there are certain muscle-building basics. First, increase your caloric and complete protein intake. Then, when you enter the gym, focus on your form. Perform compound movements and train with weights on average around four times a week. Never underestimate the importance of rest. Remember, muscle tissue grows outside of the gym when you’re giving your body time to relax and recover following your workouts.

[see: 10 Reasons You’re Not Building Muscle]

7. Range of Motion
Don’t take any short cuts. As personal trainer Lee Boyce explains, that means you should “aim for the largest ROM you can achieve in your exercises.” Why? Simple, according to Boyce, an ex-athlete with a background in Kinesiology and Health Sciences, “your muscles will do more work per rep, and it will result in your breaking down more tissue by the end of the workout.”

[see: Cheat Your Way to More Size]

8. Up and Down
Wondering how to get the most out of lifting weights? Duffy says that he tells his clients to “use a weight that will have them failing on the set between the 30 and 40 second mark because research has shown that it’s the time under tension that causes muscle to grow if you are trying to build more muscle.” He cautions that if “you’re failing at 20 seconds, you know that weight was too heavy.”

9. Contradicting Cardio
Do you love your cardio exercises? If so, you’ll be disappointed to know that, as LaCerte states, “during times of mass building you do not want to do large amounts of cardio.” Why? Chances are you’ll be burning far too many calories. So what should you do if you still want to get in some cardio? LaCerte says “a light jog a few days per week for 20 minutes is adequate.”

[see: 4 Ways to Make Cardio More Effective]

10. Supplementing
Some feel supplements can play a key role in boosting muscle gains. If you subscribe to that theory chances are you’re already taking protein supplements, but what else? Trink says that creatine “seems to be about the most effective strength and size-building supplement.” And, to boost your performance, you may also want to try peppermint. Cardiello explains that, the scent “alters the perception of how hard you’re working out” making it seem “less strenuous, slower paced, and easier to complete.”

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