This past weekend, I really got into thinking about how far I have come in terms of my fitness journey. I am definitely way stronger, more disciplined, and more knowledgeable about health and fitness compared to when I first started.
There was one fact that really struck me today and which I still remember vividly. I remember that when I decided to finally get my butt back in the gym, I slowly shed my first 10 lbs without even changing my diet. So, just the added strength training and cardio activities helped jump start my fat loss in the right direction.
Why am I telling you this?
A lot of people who decide to lose weight for the first time get overwhelmed by the many diet supplements in addition to the many contradicting diet and exercise research data from the media (i.e. television, internet, newspapers, magazines, etc.) today. But, one thing that many people overlook is the power of action. “Just DO it” – the Nike ad says.
The worst thing that a person can do when a person is overwhelmed is inaction. So even if you don’t have an exercise and nutrition plan in hand, the little actions that you start today can help get you started in your weight loss journey. Then, once you’re done with your first step, take each day or each week as an opportunity to try and learn new things such as cooking healthy meals, finding free fitness routines, joining a fitness class, etc. The key is to take baby steps. Things don’t happen overnight – you didn’t gain the weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight, and you can definitely not learn everything overnight.
Now, do I wish that I knew a lot of the things that I know today when I first started? Yes, I really wish I did. But, because I learned things in little pieces, I was also able to find which strategies worked for me and which ones didn’t. By learning things on a day to day basis, I was able to more effectively incorporate little changes into my life. The result? I eventually developed healthier habits instead of jumping on and off the latest diet fad that came up. In the end, I am glad at where I am now even though it was, and still is, a slow, trial and error process.
So, if you’re a beginner and don’t know where to start – just DO something even if you’re not sure it’s going to work or not. In terms of nutrition, here’s an article that can get you started in the right direction:
Best Foods for Fat Burning
By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Turbulence Training for Fat Loss
I couldn’t be any simpler with my nutrition recommendations for fat burning. You will get have the most energy and the best body and fitness level possible if you eat whole, natural foods. I always ask Dr. Chris Mohr, author of the Turbulence Training for Fat Loss Nutrition Guidelines if I ever need help with nutrition information.
You must avoid processed foods, which is pretty much anything in a bag or a box. So cut out muffins, donuts, pre-packaged cereals, white bread, pasta, chips, crackers, cookies, etc.
We need to return to a time of simpler eating, focusing on fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, and healthy fats. It will take some “bad habit breaking” to rid yourself of your addiction to processed foods, but in your journey you will learn to appreciate the taste of REAL food again.
You don’t have to eat meat to lose fat and build muscle, but it’s not unhealthy to eat beef, chicken, and fish. In fact, fish contains essential fatty acids we can’t do without.
You might have heard about the importance of healthy fats, which is a big turn-around from the low-fat mentality of the 80’s and 90’s. We now know eating fish and nuts won’t make us fat, but will in fact make us healthy and help control our appetite.
So just focus on foods that haven’t been processed, and you’ll start to see changes in your body and energy levels in a matter of days. Get rid of the processed foods and you won’t be tired anymore!
I strongly believe nutrition is the MOST important factor in fat loss and in health. If you’re eating processed foods, trans-fats, and too many calories, you won’t get maximum benefits from your exercise program, no matter what you are doing. Nutrition can either heal you or kill you, so choose wisely. Fortunately, the right choices are the simple choices.
I’ve had clients that switched to whole, natural foods and almost overnight they’ve reported changes in their bodies and huge increases in mental energy. So stick with the simple nutrition approach for fat burning.
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training Fat Loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit Turbulence Training for Fat Loss.
Still stumped? Check out this comprehensive article by Chris over at Zen to Fitness – Zen to Fitness for the Busy Person. He really does a great job of summarizing a lot of important and effective health and fitness information in this article.