Men: What gets you pumped? Do you prefer to workout with heavy weights or is hitting a hiking trail more your speed? Believe it or not, there’s more to staying in shape than just bodybuilding. What you do away from the gym is just as important. On this page, you’ll discover a few tricks and tips for staying in shape the right way.
It Starts with Good Nutrition
When it comes to men’s fitness, many men want to put fitness first. That is, joining a gym and working out as hard as possible. Guys, it doesn’t matter how much iron you pump or how much bodybuilding you do, you’ll never be at your maximum fitness level unless you start with good nutrition.
If you’re packing your face with potato chips, greasy burgers, and microwave meals, you’ll never get the body you’ve been looking for. You won’t even have much energy to work out.
So what’s the best type of nutrition for guys who want to put fitness first? Protein! Organic beef, chicken, and wild-caught fish is best. Rounding out your diet with fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains is ideal too. If you’re working out hard and thinking of getting into bodybuilding, you might want to try protein supplements.
Steer clear of soy protein supplements, however. Certain studies show men who consume large amounts of soy may develop breasts. Yeah, breasts.
For a man to get the most from his workout, it’s important for him to combine cardio and strength training. For cardio workouts, you have a lot of options to choose from. You could do the standard workout on a treadmill, visit your local gym and do laps in the pool, or start jogging around your neighborhood. None of that appeal to you? Keep it interesting with interval training.
Interval training takes men’s fitness to the next level. Basically, it consists of doing one high intensity activity at a time followed by doing a low intensity activity for a period of time. This type of cardio training doesn’t get repetitive and works several muscle groups at once, giving you a more complete workout.
If you think strength training is nothing but lifting hundred pound weights until you’re drenched in sweat, think again. Studies show men who workout with lighter weights may actually get bigger muscles than guys who strain with the heavier stuff! To find out which is the right “light” load for you, find the weight you can lift for only three repetitions in a given workout. Divide that weight by three and you’ve got it!
Believe it or not, you don’t need weights to get results. For men who spend a lot of time on the road, lugging around a complete weight-set just isn’t feasible. You can still get a good workout just using your own body as a means of resistance. Push-ups, crunches, squats, and lunges are common ways to get the exercise you need in a small space with no equipment.
Men who’re looking for maximum fitness often consider bodybuilding to pack on some head-turning muscle. Is bodybuilding really that different from ordinary, everyday exercise? Yes and no. Not every man who works out with weights is looking to bulk up. But if those are the types of results you’re looking for, there are plenty of effective ways to go about doing it naturally, without dangerous steroids.
For men looking to put on some real muscle, proper protein intake is key. You have to know when and how to take it for maximum results. When it comes to starting a more intense workout routine, it’s wise to first check with your doctor before you get started. Also, if it’s been a long time since you’ve done regular workouts, start slow and rebuild your strength with basic cardio and strength training before doing more extreme workouts.
Before you get started on any bodybuilding program, be sure to set goals. Writing down the results you hope to achieve will help you better visualize where you want to be.
The Secret to Rock-Hard Abs
What man doesn’t dream of a six-pack he can show off at the beach? If you’re looking to get rid of your gut and look ripped for the summer, start with your cupboard and fridge. Clean out the junk food and head to the grocery store. Walk around the perimeter of the store, avoiding most of the aisles and fill your cart with lean meats, poultry and wild-caught fish, healthy dairy products, vegetables, and fruit. Fiber-filled whole grains should be in there too. They’ll go a long way in keeping you regular, which will eliminate stomach bloat. Also, start your day with plenty of water. Drinking sixteen ounces of chilled water as soon as you get up can help boost metabolism by 24%!
Now you’re ready for some ab-sculpting workouts. To sculpt your upper abdominals, lie on your back with your needs bent toward the ceiling. Hold a 5-10 pound weight in each hand and extend your arms upward over your head. Now pull your upper body upward using your abdominal muscles. Do not move your arms; just use them and the weights for resistance.
To tighten your lower abs, lie flat on the floor with your knees bent. Pull your knees up toward your stomach. For a more intense workout, twist your knees to either side of your ribs. This firms your side abdominals and gives them a more even look.
Men Do Yoga Too
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Yoga isn’t all about putting on a leotard and getting into strange, pretzel-like positions. Depending on the style, you can sculpt your body and build lean muscle mass by practicing this ancient Chinese art. Yoga not only strengthens and lengthens your muscles; it can also help you deal with stress much more effectively and naturally. Click the upcoming link for more information on yoga for men.
Outdoor Exercise – Fresh Air and a Change of Pace
Sometimes, you’ve just got to get off the treadmill and get outdoors! Here are some great ways to get a good workout while feeling like you’re just having fun:
Walking –All you need to get started walking are a good pair of sneakers. When you want to get a good workout from walking, you’ll have to do more than just stroll along. Find some hills and work the inclines. Change it up and walk at a moderate pace for 1-2 minutes, then step it up, back off, then start again. Doing this throughout a thirty minute to hour-long walk is a great way to work in that cardio.
Hiking – Hiking can be an intensive, all-over body workout. Hitting the trails not only helps build strength and stamina, it’s a great way to improve your balance and coordination. It’s also an ideal way to experience the outdoors and get back in touch with nature and yourself. When hiking, always think safety first. Hike trails you’re familiar with and keep safety supplies such as food, water, an emergency blanket, and bug spray just in case. When hiking alone, always be sure to tell at least one person where you’ll be and when you’ll be back in case something should go wrong.
Biking – Cycling is a great way to build strength and stamina while having fun at the same time. Men who use cycling as a primary means of exercise should take something into consideration: Studies have shown that men who spend long hours on the seat of a bicycle might be at risk for infertility. This is only for long-distance cyclists but it’s something for men to consider when choosing cycling for exercise.
Running – For men who’ve never tried running as a means of exercise, it can be a little intimidating to get started. Going slow and working your way up is the best course of action. Start out by walking for ten minutes, then jog at an easy pace for one minute. Go back to walking. Repeat. Build up your stamina slowly over a period of six weeks to avoid overstraining and muscle cramps. Soon, you’ll be running like a pro!
The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
Not matter what type of exercise you’re doing to achieve maximum fitness, no bodybuilding or cardio routine will be effective if you don’t get at enough sleep each night.
Continued poor sleep can cause the body to lose the hormone leptin. Loss of leptin can lead to weight gain since this hormone tells the body when you’re full from a snack or meal.
Sleep is also an important component to muscle recovery after a hard workout. Most healthy men need anywhere from 6-12 hours of sleep each night. If you wake each morning feeling rested, you’re probably getting enough sack time.
Healthy eating habits and good sleep are the cornerstones of men’s fitness. Without these components, all other efforts can fall by the wayside. For maximum fitness, remember to keep changing your routine. Your body can get used to the same old workouts and results may plateau. So what are you waiting for? Get up and get active!
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