FITNESS BASICS 101: FOUNDATIONS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START
Let me start with the foundations of fitness you need to do before you want to achieve any fitness & wellness goals before I go into details on losing weight and burning fat fast and effectively, and gaining muscle and weight. I get at least 25 DM's a day about those topics, so let's start diving into it.
Why should you listen to me?
I started playing professional sports at the age of 4. When I was 15, I read nutrition and biochemistry books because I was obsessed with getting in shape and being the best version of myself, but doing it healthily and most effectively, with all the knowledge accessible to me.
I went from fat to fit at least 45 times in the last 15 years. From looking obese to 6% body fat in a matter of 3 months. I mean, look at my average before and after:
So here are my golden rules for foundations of your fitness journey:
IT IS A LONG TERM GAME
Before starting this journey, you must know it is not a temporary thing, and it will take time; it is a change in your lifestyle. There is no start and end period. Please do it for your health and longevity. It will take time to see results, but you must know to keep going even after a week or two you don't see progress. Ask yourself how long you have been eating unhealthy? You won't get in shape in a couple of weeks if you have been eating bad for years and not working out. Be patient, work hard & smart, and the results will come - guaranteed.
NUTRITION IS INDEED AT LEAST 70% OF EVERYTHING
You already know, you are what you eat. Nutrition is essential for all aspects of life. You are either fighting or creating disease in your body with every meal. I am a big believer in food for longevity and cancer prevention. It goes very far. So, in this case, you are one meal closer or further for your dream body – it is your choice.
Sleep is critically important, not just for fitness & wellness, but for the entire life. I believe it is one of the essential things in life that you need to pay close attention to. When you sleep, your body recovers. Not only that, your body builds muscle with the right fuel you intake, but you become more beautiful - yes, beauty sleep. It is a major key to burning fat! How? Well, if you are sleep deprived, your appetite level goes up, and you intake unnecessary excess calories you don't need. Your mentality is weaker, and you will fall into making poor decisions and food choices. Sleep is so important on numerous levels. I am a hustler, and I work long and late hours, but I never settle on less than 7 hours a day of sleep. I think that 8 hours is gold, but I try to go for a full 9 hours of sleep.
A gallon a day is an excellent way to start. I overdid it by drinking 2-3 gallons a day, where drinking and peeing took half of my day away, and I just lost electrolytes. Water intake is extremely important not only for your fitness journey but also for your body to work optimally. Your water intake will depend on your size, weight, environmental factors such as where you live, and how much you sweat both when working out and when you don't work out. I mean, your body is 60% water, that tells you everything!
STRESS LEVELS & ANXIETY MATTERS
Not to be here too scientific or bore you with some terms, but there is a hormone called cortisol. Your body releases it when you are stressed or in an alarming situation. It can cause you muscle breakdown/loss and increase your appetite leading to weight gain. It has many different functions, both good and bad, but please keep your stress and anxiety levels to a minimum as this does affect your results in a big way.
DON'T DO EXTREME THINGS
Do not jump into the latest miracle diets that promise wonderland - fast results with little to no work and effort needed. Or even products that claim you can gain 15lbs of pure muscle or burn fat over-night, or 15 days. Just like in life, you have to work for it for an extended period. There are no shortcuts or hacks for success.
You can skip a workout or two. You might have an extra cheat meal, but being consistent with your nutrition, sleep, low-stress levels, and workouts is what will bring you results. Make it a habit and then a lifestyle.
Everybody has a different one. It is a lottery, just like life. You don't pick your parents or where you were born – you just get it. Someone has super-fast metabolism, but then that person has difficulties gaining weight/muscle. Someone has a slow metabolism, and that person will have to work harder and smarter to achieve an excellent definition. And someone won the metabolism/genetics lottery and can get away with many things and have both things at that same time and achieve it with not too much effort. The moral of the story, you can get born very poor, but that doesn't mean you can't get rich, right? You will have to outwork and outsmart the lucky ones, and I don't see that as a disadvantage. I see it as a blessing because you will appreciate it much more and learn immensely.
WHAT ABOUT CARDIO?
I tried it all: 3 hours slow-paced cardio, 20 minute HIIT's, 1-hour steady cardio, no cardio at all, 5-hour bike rides, and the list goes on. Cardio is good in moderation, no matter what. That will majorly depend on your goals, which is a topic to elaborate on for another post.
IT IS ALL A MATH GAME
Calories in - calories out. It is all a math game. Plain simple. Simple economics. That's it. You have to be strategic about it.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT
If you are trying to get shredded and lose weight, you will have to consume fewer calories than your body needs it (called Basal Metabolic Rate).
HOW TO GAIN WEIGHT & MUSCLES
If you want to gain weight/muscle, you will have to eat more than your body needs. In other words, more than your BMR.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT & BURN FAT
At the same time? That is impossible! The only scenario that will happen is when you start to workout for the first time and get your nutrition in check. Or when you did not exercise for a long time and ignored your diet, and then decide to start again. Otherwise, forget about it.
HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH CALORIES I TAKE?
You weigh your food with a food scale and use an app like MyFitnessPal to track everything. I did it for 7 years, and now I can eyeball everything.
These are some necessary information you need to know before you make a goal and clear any misconceptions or false hopes. There is so much horrible advice out there, and people are doing it. The consequences can be detrimental. From losing your life of abusing steroids (that your trainer recommended you to get fast results) or even supplements that are not regulated and safe; to messing up your joints, spine, disks, and bones, and working hard but in the wrong direction because someone told you a wrong way to do it – which leads in wasted time and effort. Know your foundations, know your goals, plan, strategize, and go out and get it. Be willing to learn, listen to your body, listen to people who've done it correctly, and never back down.
There are so many variations and strategies I do, some of them I will share it with you, like:
Low Carb / Keto Diet
Mimicking Fasting Diet