Making These Simple Changes Helped Me Get Into the Best Shape of My Life
It's not the slightest shock that I've gained weight in recent years. My food intake as a "garbage man" was unfortunate: frequent drinks after work, excessive snacking, villains on a whole box of dominos pizza (yes, I told you - regrettable). And so I would reach a point where I thought it was time to cut back and go to the gym, which put me in an annoying cycle. During such a time, I would "eat extremely" and decide to cut out all bread products and pasta for a week, which only gave me a headache from the carbohydrate flu and maybe moved the scales down a pound. I would also start the week in the gym that runs on the treadmill and does a rotation of weight machines, but that momentum would wear off quickly and I wouldn't set foot for weeks. My weight generally stayed the same, but my frustration increased quickly.
The problem was my approach: I cut out carbohydrates and earned miles because I heard other people succeed or because a skinny celebrity on Instagram said they weren't eating bread. There was no science that supported my methods, only perceived ideas. I finally decided to get serious and research proven methods for burning fat and building muscle. I was obsessed with following fitness influencers and reading articles from personal trainers and nutritionists about the most effective nutrition plans and diets. What I repeatedly discovered was that the key to building muscle is actually simplicity: eating clean and exercising consistently. No diets, no withdrawal, no two-hour workouts, just a healthy lifestyle. Seriously.
I always saw the same recommended food groups at mealtimes: whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, and protein. Let's start with the grains: It turned out that I was completely wrong to take carbohydrates, because according to Michelle Hauser, MD, 40 to 60% of your diet should come from unprocessed, low-sodium, glycemic carbohydrates (lentils, whole grains), Quinoa, brown rice, low-sugar whole fruits like apples and nutritious vegetables like sweet potatoes), so carbohydrates are not the enemy. Now for vegetables: Vegetables that are not starchy, high in fiber are your prison-free card and can practically be eaten with dedication (think of variations such as cucumber, celery, tomatoes, leafy greens, cauliflower and broccoli). Healthy fats from fish, nuts, seeds and plants that are liquid at room temperature will help you feel full. They are also amazing for your body and help curb heart disease and memory loss. Finally protein: healthy protein sources such as lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts make you feel full longer and are essential for building muscle and repairing cells.
Well, for the foods you should cut back on: processed foods (cookies, cakes, fries, white flour), sugar, sodium, and alcohol. Foods that are rich in these ingredients do not fill, which leads to high calorie intake to achieve satiety. If the excess sugar and fats from these foods are not used for energy, they are stored as fat in the body and provide a tip framework. Also, be careful about foods with hidden sugar, such as some fruits (mangoes, bananas), spices, sauces, and fruity yogurt.
Moving on to training: Another consequence of my results was that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is the absolute best fat burning training. In a particular study, 27 subjects were divided into two groups - endurance training and HIIT - and participated in their separate training plans for a number of weeks. At the end of the study, the HIIT group lost three times as much body fat as the endurance training group, even though it burned almost half as many calories. I started doing self-guided HIIT workouts in the gym after watching Kayla Itsines' videos and the like, but I admit that I hate the cardio component. It's just not my thing. I finally found my way to Barre and fell in love with him. Barre courses are insanely expensive in Manhattan, however. Instead of passing my paycheck on to a trendy studio, I queue up some YouTube videos and do them from my living room. I also love Pilates, so I take my mat and get to work as I follow on my screen. But here's the thing: as much as I enjoy these workouts, I don't do them for long and I know that if I force myself to exercise for about an hour, I will fall off the car again. Instead, I find videos that do not take longer than 30 to 45 minutes to sweat and stretch.
After about six months of clean eating and 30 to 45 minutes of training four to five days a week, I'm currently in the best shape of my life. I can see the outline of muscles that I didn't even know existed, and the number on the scale has finally dropped and stayed below. Admittedly, I have my fraudulent days or busy weeks when I only train once or twice, but good food and fitness are so deeply ingrained in my psyche that I long to get back on the track after a bad week . After all, it's not a short time for me to be in shape - it has become a lifestyle.
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Next up: The best workouts for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s
This post was updated by Sarah Yang.
This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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