The excitement of the new year has worn off by now. Most who resolved to be more fit this year lacked discipline, direction, or tenacity and have faded from the gym scene. Those who are left are warriors. They have devoted time and effort into nutrition and training, and hopefully are seeing their bodies respond in a positive way.
The world is in such demand of instant gratification, quick fixes, and magic potions that many have forgotten — or have never known — what it means to work for something. Most people abandon training regimens in less than a month when they fail to see “TV-like results.” The problem with these gimmicks and fads is that they are propaganda at its best. Furthermore, expectations of that magnitude in such short periods of time are equivalent to chasing a unicorn — that mystical creature that incessantly escapes capture. You think you are on the right path only to find, months later, he is not there. And there you stand holding your magical saddle, feeling empty and alone.
I realize there is a tremendous amount of information floating about on the Internet, TV programs and books. Much of it contradicts itself. Eat this to lose weight, no wait don’t eat that because it will cause something else to get out of whack. I know how frustrating it is to visit different websites, encounter contradictory information and log off feeling more confused than when you started.
Losing weight is not always easy, but it does not have to be complicated. Many people spend too much time looking for the perfect program or diet. It does not exist. You are chasing unicorns if you are looking for perfection in a box, be it a training program or a meal. There are two simple principles that can have a big impact on your success on the path to being fit.
Fat doesn’t make you fat, carbohydrates do. The body uses carbohydrates as an energy source, and in the absence of carbohydrates the body resorts to stored fat for energy. Sugars and carbohydrates liken themselves to jet fuel — highly volatile, highly explosive, burn very hot and at a very fast rate.
Fat is equivalent to crude oil. It will burn, but slower and with less volatility. When you use this analogy in relation to how your body responds upon introduction of sugars/carbohydrates into your system it is science made simple. Your body will continue to burn the quickest energy source available.
If you provide a steady supply of carbohydrates, jet fuel, with each meal the body never gets to the point of ketosis, which is burning fat, crude oil, as your fuel source. Any extra fuel not burned is then stored in fat cells to be used at a later time. And so goes the circle of weight gain.
You must pick up something heavy. Heavy is a relative term obviously, but the point is you must incorporate some moderately intense resistance training into your program. Cardio, regardless of the type — high intensity interval training to steady state cardio — is not as efficient in burning fat as resistance training. In fact, long sessions of nothing but steady-state cardio have been shown to inhibit the body’s ability to lose fat. The term “toning up” is a fallacy. There is no such thing. What truly happens is your body adds lean muscle and loses fat. The body part may measure the same but the muscle to fat ratio is different.
And how do you add lean muscle? You train with resistance.
It really is that simple. The difficulty comes in being consistent. Grinding it out day after day is not for the weak. When coworkers are having pizza, it takes a warrior to have grilled chicken. When the couch is calling your name, it takes a warrior to ignore it and still get to the gym. If it was as easy as they lead you to believe, everyone would be in shape. The truth is being fit is not for the faint of heart.
It takes the will of a warrior.