Sticking with your workouts and eating balanced meals during back-to-school chaos can seem impossible. Schedules are packed with homework and exams and you can now hide the extra poundage under cute jackets and sweaters. So what’s the point?
“I would never recommend anyone to stop exercising,” says fitness guru Scott Herman. “There is no reason, even if your day is packed with classes, why you can’t stretch, eat correctly, and carve thirty or forty minutes out of your day to lift weights or go for a quick jog. You want to avoid the dreaded freshman fifteen at all costs. Also, exercise jumpstarts your day, makes you feel good and helps you to focus and think clearly. It may even help you get that A in Algebra.”
Learn your lesson before its too late. Continuing to move and eat right now will make it easier to keep slim and defined for the long term.
Herman offers his lesson plan to help you build muscle, lose fat, and reach your fitness goals this semester.
LESSON #1: Don’t stop now. Reaching fitness goals requires determination and that determination quickly fades away if you are already looking for the first break. Stick to your routine. Period.
LESSON #2: If your goal is to gain muscle, don’t worry so much about how much weight you are lifting. TUT (Time Under Tension) is the most important variable. Setting the right tempo will ensure that your muscles are under enough strain to spark growth. A tempo of 2-2-4 is a great place to start; ten reps per set; three sets per exercise.
LESSON #3: You don’t have to crank up the MPH on the treadmill to achieve an amazing cardio session. You can also play with the incline to give yourself a more intense workout at a lower MPH. Try twenty minutes of cardio with 5% incline at around 3-6MPH. You won’t believe how great you feel after those twenty intense minutes.
LESSON #4: If your goal is to lose fat, you need to focus on more than just cardio. You want to be total body training. Compound exercises like jump squats, burpees, and mountain climbing will engage multiple muscles at once for a higher calorie burn in a shorter amount of time.
LESSON #5: Eating is super important when it comes to reaching a goal. You need to make sure that you are consuming the right amount of macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) a day so that your body can recover and grow. Even on rest days, you need to be eating all of your macros.
Coach Marc Montemerlo stars on Dr. Drew’s daytime television show Lifechangers. He says, “if you want to achieve real, long lasting results, you need to tackle mental weakness as well.” That includes smoking, drinking, and overeating. Here is his lesson plan for achieving your goals through nutrition.
LESSON #1: We need to move away from the 3 meals a day mentality. That’s old school thinking. Eat at least six quality small meals per day. Eating more meals per day increases the body’s metabolism, gives you a constant flow of energy and reduces the likelihood of your body storing food as fat.
LESSON #2: Eat protein and complex carbohydrates in every meal. You don’t have to eat a lot, but try to get about thirty grams of protein and some quality carbs in each meal. Good carbs include whole grains, oats, brown rice and whole meal bread. Good sources of protein are chicken, egg whites, tuna, red meat and fish.
LESSON #3: Avoid simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are found in sugar, soft drinks and honey. Simple carbohydrates give you an instant pick-me-up but they will drop you right back where you came from after a few minutes. Excessive sugar plays havoc with insulin metabolism and leads to fatigue and fat storage.
LESSON #4: Drink water, and loads of it! The most important nutrient in your body is water. The quality of your tissues, their performance and their resistance to injury is dependent on the amount of water you drink. Make it a habit to sip water constantly throughout the day, especially during a workout.
LESSON #5: Avoid snacking by planning your meals the day before. Most snack foods are unhealthy and full of sugar, salt and other unnatural ingredients. If you plan your day’s diet, you will be less likely to cheat.