Bodybuilding

The Big 3!

Food, water, and sleep. I consider these the big three for overall success throughout the day. If any one of these elements is lacking, or even used in excess, your entire day and course of action can be thrown off track. All of which are so much an abundant part of our lives, yet the most often overlooked. We are creatures of repetition, and as we live day to day in a systematic  way, it is easy to slip into poor habits where we grab whatever food is quickest and sacrifice restful, deep sleep for late night TV binges and social activities. If all you do is really focus in on these 3 items, then your overall productivity and efficiency will increase. So let’s take a look at each.

 

Food

We know already that food is essential to our day, but with busy schedules it is so easy to grab a highly processed granola bar, candy bar, or sugar loaded snack that is only momentarily fulfilling and lacking any real nutrition. Take your time to prep well rounded, nutritious meals that include unprocessed sources of protein, carbs, and fats. Some people try so hard to limit carbs and fats that they end up becoming depleted, which leads to overindulging later in the day. Along with the types of foods to eat, it is important to fuel yourself every few hours. This keeps your insulin levels more neutralized and prevents periods of high energy and crashing. I personally eat 7 to 8 times a day, and at no point am I ever starving or full.

 

Water

Studies have shown that being dehydrate by only 5% can lead to a 30% loss of physical performance. Along with this loss is also mental function. A 2% rate of dehydration drastically reduces cognitive function and leads to a decrease in decision making. I personally drink 1-2 gallons of water per day, as do most of the male fitness junkies that I know. Any less than this and I feel mentally fatigued with feeling of brain fog and a significant loss of strength in the gym. Let’s be clear here, you will be using the bathroom more frequently, but will lead to a more energized day. Many active females in the should be consuming anywhere from 2 litres to a gallon per day. Another extremely important aspect of water is digestion. An often taboo and squeamish topic is digestion. It is so vital to the function and performance of our bodies. Increased water enhances regularity which also helps with satiation and ability to process the incoming food.

 

Sleep

The most amazing thing about sleep is that it is the time in which your body replenishes and repairs itself. Everything from growth hormone, muscle repair, water homeostasis, adrenal stores, and digestion. From a physical standpoint lack of sleep will make the body hold onto to water, as well as not repairing muscle tissue as it should. Both of these can quickly lead to injuries and unsatisfactory weight loss progress. The hypothalamus releases growth hormone while you are in REM sleep, and this directly affects the rebuilding of muscle tissue. From a mental aspect lack of deep, restful sleep can lead to cognitive decline and lack of energy. Your brain restores your adrenal glands during sleep, and over several weeks of poor sleep habits, adrenal glands become burned out making it extremely difficult to think and work at a high level.

In times of stress and overzealous schedules, it is important to keep these 3 specifics in mind, and altering them in a positive manner can allow you to handle the additional workload. This will allow for longevity and long term goal reaching. 

Gymtimidation for the Newcomer

The gym can be a daunting place to any newcomer or person who is not 100% confident in themselves or their new surroundings. It’s important to understand that even though stepping into the gym for the first time can be a scary endeavor, it is also a refreshing and exhilarating experience. You are actively pursuing your goals of getting into better overall shape, losing weight or adding muscle depending on your goals. The anxiety of going to the gym will subside after a few days because it will become a familiar place. Against stereotypes and preconceived notions, the majority of people inside of a gym are often friendly, courteous and helpful. There is a general understanding amongst the fitness community regardless of level of fitness, whether it be a professional bodybuilder or first timer, that everyone is there working to improve one’s health. The days of gym bros and your classic meatheads are fading, and overall people want to see others improve their lives as they improve their own.

 

Given the fear of the gym, another aspect is the equipment. Is is 100% possible with advances in machinery and labeling to do an entire week’s worth of workouts without ever touching a free weight or dumbbell. The majority of machines will not only show you what body part the machine is for, but will also describe in detail how to safely use the machine. Free weights can be intimidating, as many people fear improper form or using the wrong weight. With the ease of use for selecting weight amounts on machines, it is extremely easy to adjust the settings to a weight that is suitable for you.

 

Another important thing to remember is to ask for help. There are so many knowledgable people and trainers in a gym. All of these people also have their own questions for techniques and form. Ask for assistance if you are uncertain of how to use a piece of equipment. They will be more than happy to help as offering advice not only helps you but gives them a feeling of fulfillment as they’ve now expanded their fitness knowledge to someone new who will be able to use it forever.

 

From the perspective of the seasoned regular it is necessary to remember that you were once the person stepping foot in the gym for the first time. Offer help to someone who is clearly out of their comfort zone, and remember that they’ve taken a big leap in conquering fears of the gym as well as improving their life.