Are you one of those people?
Y’know…the type of person to tell their lover, bestie, coworker, bank teller, basically anybody who’ll listen to them, that they’re not seeing results from their diet or exercise program even though they’re doing EVERYTHING they can possibly think of.
If you’re teetering on the verge of becoming one of those people, then you’re doing it wrong.
This whole fitness thing, THAT’S WHAT!!!
Because it’d be a travesty for you to become one of those people, here are some fitness hacks to help you make gains and not have to annoy those closest to you with your First World problems.
Be realistic with your goals and the time needed to reach them. Whether you’re overweight, want your flat buns the size of beach balls, or haven’t done anything athletic since the high school football game where you scored five touchdowns (Al Bundy, I salute you, sir!), don’t expect to be a fitness model by week two.
That mindset is setting you up for severe disappointment and ultimate failure, as you ditch your exercise program and healthy eating habits because the rate of visible progress isn’t meeting your predetermined timetable primarily influenced by marketing that has you under the impression that body transformation happens in the blink of an eye.
Just say that you’re going to change your body and then eat a certain food, pop a certain pill, do a certain exercise, use a certain fitness product, and voila! Presto change-O! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Body transformation, especially something as grand as most people desire, takes a hell of a lot more time than many realize.
Significant changes to your body can take MONTHS, depending on your starting point.
In order to not get discouraged and then do what most people do, which is quit right when they’re on the cusp of seeing results, prepare yourself with the understanding that fitness is an investment with delayed, not immediate, returns.
Trust the process. There are a lot of diets and exercise programs out there, all of them promising a world of results. So it’s natural to have second thoughts about the one you chose when you’re not making noticeable changes, with it creeping into your mind that you should ditch what you’re doing.
Taking the preemptive strike of hopping from one plan to another before completion of the one you started doesn’t speed-up weight loss, strength gain, muscle building, whatever the fuck you’re after.
It retards it.
What you end-up doing is taking one step forward and two steps back, as you stop what you’re doing right when it’s on the verge of working and then begin anew with something that your body now has to adapt to before making changes.
It’s for this reason, as well as the fact that any science-based diet and workout regimen works, that you should follow whatever you’re doing all the way to the end, which is when a thorough evaluation of it and your headway can be conducted.
But if the training program and nutritional plan you started is straight-up horrible — something you should have done your homework on beforehand — then by all means, jump ship faster than corporate sponsors do at the first sign of controversy.
Stay active outside of your allotted gym time. Nothing makes less sense to me than someone who finishes working out and then takes the conveyor transport (that’s a fancy way of saying escalator, elevator, etc) rather than the stairs.
But I see it all the time.
For example, at the 24 Hour Fitness near my home, the parking structure is located on the level above the gym and you have three options to access it:
(1) take the elevator right by the exit;
(2) use the escalator just a little bit beyond that; or
(3) walk a few steps even further to the staircase and then have to walk the flight of stairs.
Guess which way most gym-goers use?
Not just that, but also mind blowing are the people who go to the gym and leave it only to go sit in a car or in front of a computer or TV for hours on end…and then scratch their head why they’re not losing weight or improving their health even though they’re working out.
Well, yes, an intense, hour-long workout (if they’re even working out as intensely as they claim) will burn calories.
But it doesn’t stop there!
Activity during the remainder of your waking hours will aid the process by helping you burn even more calories around the clock. So live an active lifestyle. How? Stand at your cubicle instead of sitting. Dump the car and choose to walk or bike for those short jaunts around town. Park farther away from the store entrance. Take the damn stairs!!!
Catch some ZZZs. What we do in the weight room is really small in comparison to what takes place outside of it. The real magic occurs in the kitchen and bedroom, the sites of recovery where we refuel the body and repair it.
With sleep, the proper amount of rest (7-10 hours) helps secrete natural growth hormone, a fat burner and essential building block of muscle. Sleep also plays a role in the body’s use of insulin, a hormone responsible for the storage of fat.
When you have adequate rest, thus prompting high insulin sensitivity, fat storage is prevented from occurring thanks to fat cells removing fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream.
When you become sleep deprived and insulin sensitivity drops — making you insulin resistant — fats circulate in the blood more freely and are ultimately stored in and around the abdominal organs. In addition, the body loses the ability to regulate insulin production. So with you pumping out insulin and fat being stored in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver, you become (or stay) overweight and develop Type II diabetes.
Turning our attention to the kitchen, lack of sleep can also negatively influence leptin and ghrelin — hunger controlling hormones. Sleep deprivation causes less production of leptin, which makes your stomach feel empty. Conversely, lack of sleep raises ghrelin, which gives you the feeling of hunger. An upsurge of ghrelin also impacts your metabolism by reducing your calorie burning ability. It additionally increases your susceptibility to store fat.
What all of this means is that when the normal production of one or both hormones is awry, sound decision-making is compromised and the chances of you straying from your diet and consuming more calories are heightened. Either you’ll overeat because you feel less satisfied after a meal. Or eat foods that you know you shouldn’t eat, but scarf down anyway because of the hunger pangs.
So unless you don’t want to grow, slim down, or ensure that you’re feeding your body the proper nutrients it needs to function optimally, keeping treating Mr. Sandman like it’s the first of the month and you owe him money!
Have trouble falling asleep?
You shouldn’t with these sleep tips, especially the last one!
Welp, there you have it.
Those are some of the fitness hacks that you can do to make sure that you see results from your rolling out of bed 3x per week at first crow in order to train before work, as well as turning down that succulent slice of chocolatey heaven that your coworkers are enjoying in celebration of Jane in accounting’s birthday.
What more is there to say?
Except, can you hack it?*
*You really thought you were going to make it through this entire thing without running into that turn of phrase? Really?!