Get Naked: 10 tips to achieve your best body ever, unclothed

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

The following tips will help you take your body a step closer in the right direction to making it look better. Whether you are getting ready for summer, want to stay in shape year round, or want to shape your body up for a special event (think Boys of Summer 2009!)… the following information should be a staple in your healthy lifestyle.

1. Back to basics

Resistance training is part of the foundation to any exercise program. When lifting you should incorporate the following movements. Think of these movements as ‘more bang for your buck’. Your metabolism will run more efficiently, you will get stronger and feel better, and you will put muscle in all the right places. Learn the following: Dead lifts, Squats, Shoulder Presses, Chest Presses, and Rows. If you do not know how to perform these exercise, ask a profession who knows the proper form and technique to do them properly. These exercises are known as compound movements. They incorporate more than one muscle to complete the exercise, therefore, you will burn more calories just by doing these exercises. They should be a staple in your lifting program.

2. Important things first

You are what you eat. If you would like be be called the term “skinny fat” (a term where one is skinny or looks in shape ,but most of the weight on them is composed of primarily body fat) – go ahead grab that bag of Dorito’s and diet coke. You should fill up on the following in your nutrition profile: protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Protein builds and repairs your muscles, fiber helps keep you fuller for longer, and healthy fats help allow proper hormone development to get your body in the state it needs to be in to change itself. Think: Chicken, fish, lean meats, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, nuts, natural peanut butter. If it comes out of a box, chances are it is processed and not your best option. Oh, and one last thing … AVOID SUGARS … they are the devil!

3. Get your cardio in – Wisely.

Cardio is great for helping maintain and loose body fat – if done properly. Sure, cardio burns tons of calories and helps maintain your heart health. However, too much with an improper diet can lead to muscle loss, which is why you spent your time lifting in the gym. Maximize your cardio by doing it following your weight training or at another point in the day (morning or on a day off). Start of with 20-30 minutes 3 days a week and increase or decrease from there.

4. Hydrate!

Water! Water! Water! You should be aiming to get in about 1 gallon of water a day. You might have to go to the bathroom a lot, but it will be worth it. Water helps you feel full, remove toxins from your body, and even can help improve your skin complexion.

5. Speaking of toxins

For all you bar-goers out there. Alcohol has calories … useless calories. One shot of liquor has 85-120 depending on the brand. A pint of beer could have 200-300 calories. A glass of wine? 140 calories. A long island ice tea… yea… over 400 calories. Multiply that by 4 drinks and you could have drank 1,200 calories, or 550 calories short of half a pound of fat if you did not burn it off. When out at the bars and clubs your best bet is sipping on nothing or club soda, but who said that was fun? Try to keep your mixers to club soda which has 0 calories, or diet coke, which is 0 calories as well. That may have saved you a little bit, but that doesn’t save you calories from the pizza you had at Gay Pizza across from Woody’s at 2am.

6. Intensity

Keep workouts intense. You do not need to spend 2 hours in the gym to achieve the body you are looking for. Try cutting your rest periods to 30-40 seconds when lifting. If your weight training is 30-45 minutes and your cardio is 20-30 minutes, that is 50 to 75 minutes that you took to help you get closer to a healthier, fitter you. It’s okay to break a sweat when you workout, so get in and get out quick.

7. Rock hard abs

Let’s face it, doing 1,000,000,000 crunches isn’t going to give Oprah a six pack. Neither is it going to burn enough calories. She would be better going for a walk for 10 minutes to get her closer to a six pack. The point is, to have your abs show you need to lower your body fat percentage through resistance training, cardio, and your diet. However, your core is extremely important and should be trained with a variety of resistance and bodyweight exercises. Think: if you want to have ‘blocky, speed bump abs’ add more weighted crunches. If you want to have ‘sleeker abs’ add more body weight exercises. Regardless, your ab training should focus around exercises such as: weighted decline crunches, cable crunches, v-ups, stability ball crunches, plank, and side planks.

8. ZZZ’s

Before hastily blaming our bathroom scales for unexplained weight gain, it’s important to make sure that we’re spending enough time lost in peaceful dreams. Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that sleep deprivation (even in the most modest amounts) can interfere with how efficiently the body regulates the release of cortisol. This stress-related hormone is produced by the adrenal gland, and plays a significant role in hunger, appetite, and stress. What’s worse, excessive cortisol levels can interfere with the production of serotonin. As a result, we may feel depressed and hungry – even in situations when we’ve eaten to the point of being full. A rule of thumb is to get your 7-8 hours in a night to feel better, recover your body, and look better.

9. Think first

When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, “What am I going to be doing for the next three hours of my life?” If you are sitting on your couch watching old Will and Grace episodes, eat fewer carbohydrates, if you plan to workout, eat more carbohydrates. In other words, adjust your carbohydrates up or down depending upon anticipated energy output. Try to get 4-5 small meals a day spaced roughly 3 hours apart to get the most benefit from your nutrition, training, metabolism and recovery.

10. Consistency

If you do something 90% of the time, you will succeed. If you have a slip up or a bad day with your workout or diet it is ok, just jump right back on. Stay consistent with your training and diet. Switch your workouts up, and keep your body guessing. Nothing happens overnight, especially changing your body. Think of the big picture and stay motivated…you will get there in no time!!

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