First in a SeriesEverybody wants to lose fat. But very few people want to address the profound lifestyle changes that would make that difficult challenge a reality. The prime cause of the obesity epidemic in this country has been a radical change in lifestyles over the last forty years. Those of us with a trace of gray on the side can remember a time very different from the present. It's not simply that we eat differently now and no longer appreciate "simple, honest cooking" or that we are rarely involved in passive activity such as walking to the store. It's everything in our lives. When it comes to fat loss, so many people want to know, "What is the one thing I can do?" Well, truth be-told, the one thing is the whole thing. Let's understand the errors and plot a rock-solid course to change things once and for all. Step one is to understand the errors of the past and change the future. With regard to diet, food choices have changed and basically we need to re-think everything. So let's go with five basic rules to implement in the first thirty days:
- Never eat anything pre-packaged of from a box. This eliminates issues of deadly food additives including sodium nitrate, Acesulfame-K, Trans Fats, Potassium Bromate, MSG, Propyl Gallate, Olestra, Aspartame, BHA and BHT.
- Never drink soft drinks or drinks with artificial ingredients.
- Drive by the drive-thru. Never eat "fast-food".
- Consume 10-15 vegetables a day at a minimum and stress the inclusion of cruciferous vegetables.
- Add one extra fruit and vegetable (i.e. 4-5 servings) with your breakfast and lunch and reduce one serving with your dinner.
While the first series of rules involved habits, this series involves "hard work." While many people can appreciate the advantages derived from hard work, few embrace the effort and commitment needed to fully incorporate it into their lives. I've learned from a very young age that "hard work" is the hidden ingredient to success. I recall in my youth, being quite ill, with my "back-against-the-wall" if you will. At this key interval in my life, baseball immortal Frank Robinson took the time to visit me and write me a simple message. "Things worth having are worth working for," he wrote. To this day, I have tremendous gratitude and respect for Mr. Robinson, and I hope I can pass his inspiring message on to you. This won't be "easy" for you. But in the end, you don't want the easy path. When you work for something, you appreciate it more. The journey, the trials and tribulations made it worth it. Our plan is include some simple back-to-basics training in five easy steps.
- A Basic Rise-and-Shine Plan. Everyday upon waking up, you're going to give me at least one set of "50/50's". What are "50/50's"? I suppose they are a vestige of the past, because one of things athletes used to do the second they rolled out of bed was a set of fifty pushups followed by a set of fifty sit-ups. In fact, this would usually end up being two to three sets. Naturally if you are unable to complete this number bring it back to an amount that you can do but with a slight challenge. Then make it a daily ritual and never look back.
- Rope Skip. Skipping rope is fun, effective, safe, transportable and affordable. Ten to fifteen minutes a day provides a tremendous boost to fitness levels and should be a mainstay of your day. I prefer using three to four three-minute "rounds" with one minute rest but this is something you can easily build up to. Start with one-minute "rounds", stretch your calves out between sets and gradually build up. Once you acclimate, increase the work-rate by adding "50/50's" in-between the sets.
- General Physical Preparation (GPP). Basic body-weight calisthenics are some of the best exercises you can do. A simple grouping of basic jumping jacks, shuffle splits, burpees and mountain climbers can have a unbelievable impact upon general conditioning, fat loss and muscular development. Utilize those four movements, in the order prescribed for sets of thirty seconds each in a giant circuit fashion, whereby each set is two minutes in duration. Combine two to four sets each morning of four to eight minutes of tough-as-nails training that gets real results.
- Core postural holds. Taking a step above our "50/50's," I recognize that sit-ups are an inferior exercise to the postural holds in this section. However it is critical that we establish the firm precedent of "hard work". With this in mind each morning we're going to add the "Core Postural Hold Series" noted below. This is a daily regime with two to three continuous circuits of holds in the fifteen to thirty second range.
- Squat. Simply put, Squat. The more I am in this industry and the more I visit fitness facilities across the globe, the more I see how people have lost the ability to squat. The ability to maintain a stance is at the foundation of exercise dating back thousands of years but somehow modern society is forgetting this. Learning to squat properly, with an appropriate weight, will have an dramatic impact upon total body development. To learn how to perform the classic back Squat and appropriate training protocols please read through my entire six-part "Squat " Power" series at ProSource.
Core Postural Hold Series
|Plank The basic Plank is a "simple" exercise that can have a profound, extraordinary impact. With toes and forearms on the ground, keep back flat and bring navel in. Hold stance for designated length of time.|
|Side Plank The side plank is an excellent, if not the best static exercise for strengthening and stabilizing the trunk. With hand against the ground, pointed away and top leg stacked atop the lower one with the navel drawn in; hold position with a totally balanced and straight line for designated length of time.|
|Horse Pose From the all four's position, raise leg up and opposite arm up, maintaining a parallel position for approximately 30 seconds. Thumb should be pointed up and navel drawn in again. This seemingly simple static exercise will create havoc on the entire posterior chain from the hamstrings to the upper shoulders and build a solid trunk.|
The Superman The Superman hits the posterior chain incredibly hard and will challenge anyone. Laying on your stomach, raise both hands / legs off the ground as high as possible.
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