Let’s assume you have no clue where to start when you’re beginning a workout routine. First off, you’re not alone – according to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest survey only 23% of American adults get enough exercise. That means there are about 200 million people in this country who aren’t experiencing the amazing health and mental benefits of a daily workout. Let’s try and get that number down with some helpful tips from your friendly neighborhood Eric the Trainer.
First off, you don’t need to run to the 50lb free-weights if you want to break a sweat. I recommend a combo of body weight training (push ups/pull-ups) over just weight training. This is for a couple reasons. When you’re starting out your muscles most likely have some form of atrophy. That’s where you if you don’t use them, you lose them. So you’ll be weaker than you hope. Your body’s weight ratio is a fantastic natural barometer for where you should start out. And the added bonus is the more pushups and pull ups you’re able to do, combined with a regular workout routine should automatically make progress a lot easier. Meaning you may only be able to eek out five push ups on your first week, but as you work out more and drop the number of lbs, you’ll be lifting less natural body weight. So that “only five pushups” mentality can become 15 pushups by the end of week 3.
When you combine body weight training with traditional weight training, you’re going to see even better results. You may look more Tarzan than Arnold with this technique, but a leaner body is the desired result. If you want increased fat loss, you’ve got to vary up your routine. Combining pushups, pull ups and natural resistance with regular weight training can yield some impressive results.
Now about that six letter word everyone loves to crap on – cardio. Cardio can be boring when you first start out, so do what I do, get on that treadmill and walk backwards. You might get some goofy looks from other people, but that doesn’t matter because you’re burning nearly twice the amount of at as walking normally, and it engages muscles you don’t regularly use. Just be careful putting this into practice out in the wild, unless you’ve got a buddy with you, you can easily walk into trees and parked cars. Not that that’s ever happened to me…
Some things to keep in mind
- If you’re on this journey, pay close attention to calories and sugar content. Because sugar is now your worst enemy. I always recommend Quest Protein Bars, not just because I’m doing this for Quest, but because they’re actually good, sweet and don’t have the junk you’re going to find in other bars that claim to be low sugar.
- Most people eat little or no breakfast, a lunch on the go, and a massive dinner. But this pattern can be disaster on your waistline. You’ve got to flip that routine. Big workout in the morning, followed by a big breakfast, medium sized lunch and a small dinner — ending before 7pm.