Just so we’re clear the dude pictured isn’t me. I like beer and vodka tonic way too much.
In the past few months I’ve been helping a few people get into the gym and start making positive life changes. It is challenging because everyone is different. People have old injuries, or mental blocks, or are afraid to make progress because it takes sacrifice. I find this to be one of the first things that females say to me when they want to get in shape and lose weight. ‘I don’t want to be a huge body builder I just want to trim up’ or one of my favorites, ‘I want to just lose fat on my midsection so I just do lots of crunches right?’ Most of the guys want to head straight to the bench press and start repping out 225. So I wanted this blog to discuss how to begin and maintain a healthy lifestyle change. Maybe dispel a few terrible ideas that folks seem to have about fitness and nutrition along the way.
When I first started I was an exception. I was over 250 lbs and my back caused me to have to use my wheelchair or stay in bed all day. When I finally made the decision I was going to make a life change I couldn’t just do what I’m going to tell you to do. There are really two very different ways. One is extreme and the other is gradual. I highly recommend the gradual approach because it has a much higher success rate. I also had access to a nutritionist, a physical therapist two times a week, a chiropractor two times a week, and I was fighting for my life. Most of the people who are going to be reading this are not in that sort of a place. Well, I hope not anyways. I like to explain my way of being a Healthy Gamer as living 80-20. That is 80% of the food that I consume is as clean as possible. 20% of the time I allow myself to enjoy food that isn’t on my plan for the week. What do I mean by clean? As close to organic, farm fresh, out of the ground and into my body. So if we break down a week it would look something like this for example.
Monday 4 total meals
Tuesday 4 total meals
Wednesday 3 total meals
Thursday 4 total meals
Friday 3 total meals
Saturday 4 total meals
Sunday 4 total meals
The days with 4 meals are the ones where I am using a protein supplement as a meal replacement because it is an effective and useful way to get your body working on repairing itself as soon as you are done at the gym. You could also just prepare a post gym meal if you wish.
Out of my week that is a total of 26 meals. In my week that is around 21 meals that I’m going to try to eat as clean as possible. Fruits. Veggies. Lean protein from fish and turkey. I allow myself some wiggle room. Let’s say it is the weekend and we’re at a birthday party. I’m not going to sweat the piece of homemade cake that everyone else is having. If you have made a decision to make this a LIFESTYLE change the occasional beer, cake, or sandwich isn’t going to make or break your progression forward on the path of being more healthy. To help you succeed with this however I’d recommend doing a few things first. Make sure to clean out all of the junk food that is nothing but emotional comfort food. Chips, cookies, crackers, cheese puffs, or whatever it is that you have around your house that is there to eat. I’ve found that if I keep fresh fruit and vegetables around the house I realize if I am really hungry or if I am emotionally distressed. If you think you are hungry go look at some carrots or an apple. Seriously. If you don’t find them worth eating you are most likely bored and not really hungry. The next thing I’d recommend is pick a day when you can take an hour or two and cook, pre-package, and store away your meals for the week. You need to also purchase a bunch of tupperware for storing these wonderful meals. Pick a few simple meals of protein + veggies. Turkey burger + onions/peppers is a fan favorite around my house cooked in some extra virgin olive oil or even some peanut oil.
Start with small gradual steps that are easy to sustain. Remember that we’re going to be doing this for the rest of our life. So if you are used to having 5 sodas in a week lets try having 4 sodas in a week and 1 extra glass of water. By the time a month is over we can hope that you are drinking mostly water and maybe that occasional soda. Did most of your meals come out of a box and add meat? We’re going to find a new recipe that sounds good and healthy this week and make enough of that for 3 meals. 1 for dinner and 2 leftover meals perhaps. That new tupperware should come in handy eh? Stopping to get a breakfast sandwich with your coffee every morning? Time to buy some eggs and whole grain english muffins and take the 10 minutes to make that breakfast sandwich at home!
Think about the things you consume. You are putting into your body. This is the fuel that keeps it running for years on end. You wouldn’t put shitty gasoline in your vehicle if it was a dollar less per gallon if you only had to trade the life expectancy of the motor, so why are you putting garbage into your body that is only causing you to gain weight, feel shitty, and have more potential health problems?
Oh yeah. Abs are made in the kitchen. It’s dumb.