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My Advice To You
Avoiding The Common Pitfalls As A Beginner - A Running Post
Fitness is a journey, that is the only way we can describe this. You start as a complete newbie, with no idea of what you're capable of. Then, through years of persistence you develop into something completely new. Not only will you watch yourself change physically, but mentally and emotionally you will go through an entire transformation.
Life simply gets better, and we become better as we progress through our journey in the gym. Throughout this process, we will learn a massive amount about ourselves and about life. Through this I have learned a few things that I believe can make this journey more successful and more fulfilling for you.
Here are 5 pieces of advice for those newer to their fitness journey:
There is No Destination
When we decide that we will take fitness serious in our life, many of us start with a goal—an idea of what we want to look like and become. This isn't a bad thing, but what I've learned is that this goal always changes, our motivations always change, and the meaning for why we do this will change.
Instead of thinking about this as some goal, we should think about this as a lifestyle—something we do simply to enhance our lives and our health. It becomes a system that we can easily manipulate based on our goals. There is not one fixed outcome. Some may want more muscle, some may want to maintain what they have a feel great, and others may even want to see if they have what it takes to go pro. Even after these initial goals, things change.
In the beginning, I simply wanted to look good. Then, I wanted to become a pro, and now that this goal is almost complete, I just want to feel good and maintain my great health and athletic ability.
Without Tracking We Don't Know What Works
I always harp on tracking your progress. Whether this is weight and reps in the gym, calories in the kitchen, weight on the scale, or even biomarkers in our bloodwork, track your data.
Once we have the raw data—our inputs from our activity—we can figure out what works the best for us and become even more efficient. We never know if what we are doing or taking is working unless we can quantify this. How do I know if the supplements I take for my health are working if I don't have biofeedback telling me it works?
Start with your calories and training—get a baseline for health bloodwork and then look into things like fitness wearables.
We can continuously make our systems better if we know for a fact what works best for us—health and fitness will always be very individualized.
I'm the most guilty of this out of all of us. When I want something I want it NOW. The body doesn't work this way—we work on the body’s schedule, it doesn't work on ours. You don't get shredded overnight, and you don't add 10lbs of muscle in a month. As much as we wish we could, we simply can't—biology prevents this.
This brings us back to point number one: this is a lifestyle, not a race to some arbitrary destination. The key to this is to have realistic expectations and realistic short-term goals. If you need to be lean for an upcoming vacation, starting a few weeks before isn't the way to go—you should have planned this out months prior.
When we rush, we have to sacrifice something. Rush fat loss? Lose muscle mass. Rush a bulk? Gain unnecessary body fat.
Stick to One plan
All progress, as mentioned above takes time. You will never know what works for you if you are constantly switching plans every few weeks or few months. Find a plan you enjoy and stick with it at a minimum of 6 months.
Follow one of my plans, give it a year. ONE YEAR. I can absolutely guarantee you after this year you will have made more progress than you ever had.
The biggest error I've seen and I've made is switching for the "bigger and better" plan—it doesn't exist. There are general principles that build muscle. Follow these and will you grow. The key is sticking to one system. Dance with the one that brought ya.
It's Better To Be Lean Than Chunky
Some of you will start out skinny-fat. It's okay, I did as well. What did I do? Went straight into a "dirty bulk" because I figured since I workout I'll automatically get abs and shredded. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Yes, I did gain some muscle mass, I also gained a ton of fat. If I could go back in time I would've focused on cleaning the diet up, getting enough protein, and getting stronger in the gym. I would've ate around my caloric maintenance and taken advantage of one of the few times you can gain muscle AND lose fat—Newbie Phase.
You will be in a much better place in terms of health by being leaner. Plus, you will be in an excellent place to actually do a proper bulk and gain size without ever looking fat.
This post will be part of a running thread. I will continuously update this over time, a few points a week, so this can build out as a sort of guide-book of actionable and practical advice you can follow.
This will become an extremely helpful resource and an easy place to reference when you’re in doubt of what you need to do—or, simply need a little reminder at times to avoid making the common mistakes I see all too often.
This will be pinned on the side of the Substack menu for ease of access.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.