To kick off some discussion here in the Decathlon Fitness Community I thought it would be a good time for a post about how to get ripped for the summer.
In the coming weeks I will discuss the best exercises to do and how to set up a programme to get in shape quickly. I will also launch a discussion on nutrition and how to set up your eating plan for success, which supplements to use etc.
Please feel free to join in with your opinions on the best fitness regimes, exercises, eating plans etc for getting ripped FAST! Hopefully we can spark some debate and get some good advice to those who are unsure what they need to do.
I'll kick things off in the coming days with the best kind of programme to follow for fast results.
What are your opinions?? Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and ideas.
Summer is here and for many of us it's a time to get in our best possible shape! Whether for the beach, for sport or just to feel strong and fit, we all have our reasons to get in shape.
Usually I advise that getting in shape should be a sustainable way of life rather than a crash course - but sometimes a quick boost is needed before the summer.
There are three main components to getting in good shape - resistance training (training with weights), cardio training and nutrition. A strong focus is required on all 3 areas to get into shape quickly and easily. I will cover nutrition and cardio in later posts. Today I will focus on weight training.
For many people, weight training is the missing component of their fitness regime. Often people think that getting in shape means going running or cycling whilst eating as little food as possible. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you are trying to get ripped for the summer you may be looking to lose some bodyfat. If this is the case then you will need to train with weights to tell your body that it must hold onto it's muscle whilst losing weight. This ensures that any weight lost will be fat and not muscle. It's critically important to getting lean.
For weight training there are lots of different things you can do. My recommendation is to lift fairly heavy. If you are a member of a gym I would advise squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing and other multi-joint exercises. These provide the biggest return in terms of time invested and will bring you results quicker than small movements like dumbell curls!
If you dont have a gym membership then I recommend buying some kettlebells, powerbags or dumbell kits, like these:
If you need help knowing which exercises to do feel free to get in touch with me and I can offer some guidance. Likewise if you are unsure about technique - it's very important to maintain proper technique when weightlifting. Proper technique ensure optimal results and no injuries.
Regarding a programme, I suggest for weightlifting that if you can do more than 12 or 15 reps of an exercise then the weight is too light. The optimal repetition range is between 5 and 12 depending on your goals (closer to 5 for strength, 10 or 12 for muscle hypertrophy).
I suggest training 3 times per week with weights and selecting 5 or 6 exercises. 3 sets of between 5 and 10 reps will be sufficient.
I recommend this as the basis of your 'Getting Ripped' programme. In the next installment I will discuss nutrition, and the 3rd installment will cover cardio and other forms of 'functional' training.
Feel free to chime in with your tips and comments, whether you agree or disagree!
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Apologies for the long time between posts. Summer is drawing on but it's never too late for a nutrition discussion! In this post I'll provide some basic advice for those looking to get in shape reasonably quickly. Nutrition is a difficult topic to condense but here goes!
There are a few keys areas to focus on for nutrition:
- The quantity of food you consume (number of calories ingested)
- The macronutrient profile of the food you consume (proteins, carbs, fats)
- The quality of the food you consume
Quantity is the first variable which will determine whether you gain or lose weight - and whether you want to gain or lose weight will depend entirely on your goals. In short, if you want to lose weight you must consume less calories than you use and to gain weight you must consume more calories than you expend.
The easiest way is to work out how many calories you routinely burn in a day or a week (by keeping track of the food you eat) and then aiming to consume 10-15% less or 10-15% more depending on your goal. You can then keep track of your weight (or ideally your bodyfat %) and adjust your calorie intake weekly.
Macronutrient profile refers to the composition of your diet - ie the percentages of protein, cabohydrate and fat. This is the most important factor in determining the quality of the weight you lose (or gain). Which means will you be losing fat or muscle, or gaining fat or muscle.
To improve your body shape you will likely need to increase the amount of protein in your diet compared to the amount of carbohydrate and fat. If you are training reasonably hard (1 hour intensive 3-5 times per week) you should aim to get at least 1.5 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. So for me as an 80kg male, that means at least 120g protein per day (the equivalent of about 4 chicken breasts or 400g of chicken).
If you are training a good ratio of carbs/protein/fat to aim for is 40/30/30....although some people do better on slightly higher fat/lower carb, and others do better with higher carb/lower fat.
Food Quality refers to the micronutrient quality of the foods you eat. The quality of carbs and fat can be especially important. For example there is a big difference between getting 50g fat from hydrogenated vegetable oil (extremely low quality), and getting 50g fat from olive oil and eggs (extremely high quality).
Similarly, 100g carbs from fruits and vegetables packs a greater nutritional punch than 100g carbs from cakes, bread and pizza (sad but true I'm afraid!).
Try to eat natural, whole foods. A good nutritional rule to live by is 'if man made it, try to minimise how much you eat of it!'
I could go much deeper into this incredibly vast topic but I'll keep it simple for the moment and be ready to answer any questions you may have.
As always feel free to give your own views on the topic.
That is some good information Andy.
One really easy way to track macros is by using "MyFitnessPal" on Android mobile phones. Free to download.
Losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Often, people go to the gym to exercise, then eat a chocolate bar that exceeds the number of calories that they have burned off at the gym. What you want to do is work out your maintenence calorie. The maintenence calorie refers to the number of calories required to maintain your weight. Off course, this will be dependent day to day depending on your activities, whether you have a day off at work, whether you go to the gym etc. Therefore, any excess activity such as cardio should be added on to your daily maintenence calorie to ensure you are not eating too little.
To lose weight, first get an idea of your maintenence calories, then cut ~200-400 calories a day. Your target is consistent, small changes to your weight. A pound a week is a good starting point. I would caution against a drastic reduction in calories and therefore weight.
If you are a rank beginner, it is possible to gain muscle whilst on a slight caloric deficit. If you are an intermediate, there is no way to achieve this. You will lose strength and you will lose muscle. However, by eating enough protein; I would advise minimum 0.82 x per pound of body weight, you can try and minimise this. I would also advice keeping the same intensity (%1 rep max) on your lifts, while reducing the overall volume by reducing the number of sets you perform per exercise. If you are an intermediate and you continue to maintain the same volume of training or even increase it while cutting, you will most likely tax yourself too much.
One good website to tell if you are a beginner/intermediate/advanced athelete with regards to the Bench/Squat/Deadlift can be found here:
If you are looking for weightlifting programs, as a beginner I would recommend following a simple program using the principles of linear progression. That is, you are adding weight each session.
A good review of famous strength programs can be found here:
Bear in mind that a lot of these programs were made for someone specific in mind. As a beginner it is easy to make gains by doing almost anything. Consistency and good form is key. Intermediate athletes will need to address their own weaknesses and form. Most commonly, I've found intermediate athletes to have neglected posterior chain developments.
Sleep is one of the most crucial aspects while you cut. Getting good quality sleep is likely to decrease the level of catabolism in your muscles. It is the best "supplement" out there; a good day's worth of sleep will reflect on your training better than any supplement that is on sale in the market. I will link an article by a clever guy called Greg Nuckols highlighting the importance of sleep if you are interested.