Six Secrets to Getting Fit Faster Outside the Gym
The gym is a wonderful place to imagine all the sexy changes you’re making to that bod. From weight loss to veins poppin’ on biceps, it’s not hard to want to expedite results. In fact, the majority of results actually happen OUTSIDE the gym. Whoa—what?
Yeah, you’re not gaining strength while pumpin’ iron—that happens during recovery and repair. You’re also not gonna shed the pounds you’re dreaming of by only working out. Like they say—you can’t out train a bad diet.
A few really important things you can do outside the gym will help you get fit faster and make that dream bod one you see in your mirror.
1. Learn How to Read Food Labels
This is a big one. Many people think they are doing great on their diet and exercise program but cannot understand why they aren’t seeing results.
Food is usually the culprit here. In addition, you may not even know you’re letting it ruin your goals. Understanding what is truly ‘healthy’ on a label is important. Understanding what your daily intake is in certain categories is equally important. A lot of people don’t realize the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, or what trans fats do to your body. They don’t understand the difference between simple carbs or complex carbs, or how bad too much sodium is for your body.
Get fit faster by buffing up your brain on panels so you can make healthy and informed choices.
The daily-recommended intake for healthy adults in the following categories is as follows:
Fat: The American Heart Association suggests that people consume between 56 to 78 grams , which is about 500-700 calories. In addition, of this total, about 5-6 percent of fat intake should be saturated. Meaning a 2,000 calorie diet would allow for around 12 grams of saturated fat.
Trans Fat—the fat that raises bad cholesterol and increases heart disease. These fats are the result of cooking with vegetable oils that have hydrogen added to them. Also called ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ they are killers. They are present in fried foods, pizza, crackers and baked goods. If you can avoid these—do. There really should be no intake of this fatal type of fat, but it’s often recommended at 2 grams or fewer.
This fat breakdown is important because you’ll often see a product touted as a healthy ‘pizza’ with lots of protein—but when you look at the label—it’s filled with saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Is that 20 grams of protein worth clogging an artery?
Sugar: keep an eye out for unnatural sugars. They sneak them in under ‘added sugar’ on food labels. While there is no recommended intake for NATURAL sugars such as fruit, there are recommended intakes for added sugars. For men its 37.5 grams or 150 calories, for women it is 25 grams or 100 calories. You may be surprised to find sugars are present in not so sweet foods like breads, so check the label and know what you’re putting in your body.
Sodium: The recommended daily intake of sodium is 1,500 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams, which equals about a teaspoon. ALWAYS check sodium content. You’ll be surprised to find that a lot of ‘healthy foods’ can sometimes contain half or ALL of your daily intake of sodium. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. It also makes you retain water. ALWAYS check sodium, because you may be doing everything else right—diet and exercise wise, but too much sodium can bring on health issues that affect your ability to train.
Carbs: The recommended intake is 45-65 percent of total calories. Nevertheless, recall, there are differences between simple carbs and complex carbs. Try to consume complex carbs like whole grains and certain veggies. Stay away from white breads and sugary desserts. To learn the difference between simple and complex carbs, go here.
It may seem like an overload of info, but you’ll get used to knowing what your body needs. One glance at a food panel and you’ll know within a few seconds whether you’ll eat it or not.
2. Dejunk the Pantry
We NEVER recommend going ‘all in’ on a diet. You often set yourself up for failure if you cut out all your indulgences. However, start with de-junking the closet. Whether you choose to give up soda, sugar or fast food—start with what’s in your home that could tempt you. Remove high-sugar processed foods, junk snacks—leave a bag for emergencies if you must.
Starting with a clear closet lets you start with a clear mind so you can get fit faster.
Next– meal prep. A lot of preppers devote an hour on Sunday to prepping meals for the week. Get your breakfast, lunch and dinners ready by pre-cooking your 3-6 oz of meat, eggs, veggies, salads with vinaigrette dressing, snacks, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix and the like.
If you’re counting macros, make sure your daily intake meets your target. Need to know more about macros? Go here.
3. Allow for Recovery
Get sleep! Results happen DURING recovery. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or you’re overtraining and not allowing for recovery. If you overtrain, you will not get fit faster, you’ll simply throw a wrench in your results. When you don’t allow your body to recover, it will respond to its state as if it is under stress. Cortisol levels are increased and your body feasts on muscles, among other things. If you want to get fit faster, allow yourself to recover.
Want to know more about cortisol’s impact on the body? Go here.
4. Drink Water
Many people think they ARE getting enough water, but they aren’t. The recommended intake varies, but is usually around 2 liters for women and around 3.5 liters per day for men.
Now, keep in mind—this is total beverage intake, so if you sneak an unsweetened tea or coffee in there, you’re permitted to count towards your totals but make the majority water. Water can improve weight loss, brain function and energy.It also keeps your body working, like when it balances lost electrolytes from training. And while it doesn’t ‘flush out fat’; it does a lot that helps with getting fit faster. Bottom line: drink water, keep your body stocked with the stuff that keeps it healthy and you’re one step closer to your health goals.
Read about water and weight loss here.
5. Get Fit Friends
Nothing will crush a goal faster than a Debbie Downer or a Sedentary Spouse. Surround yourself with people that share your goals and will be part of your motivation to keep going. Join social media groups, fitness groups on mobile apps—just make sure you have the support you need to keep going.
Because around 1-2 months in—it’s really easy to give up if you’re not seeing the results you want. Stick with people that will push you to keep going. Consistency is key, and sometimes that consistency comes from fit friends who fuel you getting fit faster.
6. Set More Than One Goal
Here’s a big one. Either you’ve experienced it or your friends have. It’s the person who posted their success stories on social media last year—they lost that 30 pounds or they competed in that show, and now they’re posting again this year that they have to lose weight again or get in shape again. This is often because when people reach their goal weight or finish a competition, they slack off on their diet. They don’t push as hard at the gym…and slowly, fat returns like an obsessive ex. It’s all over you.
So, set more than one goal. If you’re shooting for weight loss, once you reach your goal weight—set a goal to tone up, or compete in a mud marathon. If you set your goal on a bodybuilding competition, once it’s over, go for a marathon or obstacle race. Whatever you do, don’t get complacent, because then you have more work to do.
Fitness is a lifestyle. Most results DO come from OUTSIDE the gym. From diet to recovery, everything you do outside training impacts your results.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, or want to get fit faster, start with taking a little self-inventory. Are you making any of these mistakes? Stop it. Fix it.
Need more help? Get muscle-building BCAAs and fitness-fueling aminos to accelerate your results.
You’re one step closer to your finish line. We can’t wait to see you cross it.