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Quick and Simple Guide to Getting Fit and Looking Good

Essay by   •  March 24, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,137 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,359 Views

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Today in America, the majority of the population is frequently eating unhealthy and failing to give their bodies the exercise it needs. Most people think that they could never find the time for a little exercise and maintaining a healthy diet requires far too much discipline for them to muster. Because of this lazy, pessimistic attitude problems like obesity are higher than ever. The process of exercising and staying healthy doesn't have to be so daunting. While there is a seemingly endless stockpile of disorganized information full of discord and contradiction, it isn't as hard as one would think to cut through the crap and jump-start to a new, healthy lifestyle.

The benefits of a good diet and an exercise program are much too numerous to list in their entirety, but there are a few shallow, superficial reasons that everyone should be aware of. Take a moment to imagine taking your clothes off at the beach. Instead of slouching and doing things like folding your arms to hide yourself from others you will be able to pull your shoulders back, stand straight, and walk around knowing that you look good. The confidence you will attain is worth its weight in gold, you will always have a spring in your step. Your friends will shower you with compliments when you start improving your physique. You may run into a high school crush who would have nothing to do with you back in those times and be surprised to see them staring at YOU lustfully for a change. You will no longer seem invisible to the opposite sex and will be thrilled at how much more attention and even flirtation comes your way. Your energy level will even be higher than ever, so what do you have to lose?

The first step to looking good is having access to a gym; the dumbbells your mom has ranging all the way from two to fifteen pounds are not going to cut it. Going to a gym can be very intimidating initially; if you are a beginner you are going to notice that just about everyone there is a lot stronger than you. You cannot let this get you down; negative thoughts will only start a downward spiral that will end with you relapsing on your old bad habits.

Knowing what you want to do with your body is the first step to knowing where to begin, but one thing everyone wants is more muscle and less fat. Lifting weights is the most important part of a good exercise regimen. You must have a plan when you go into the gym every day. You want to target every muscle group one time each week and divide them up into different sessions every three or four days; this is called the three or four day split. It is important to remember that attaining a good physique is all about proportionality. You never want to neglect a muscle group because it will eventually catch up to you and it won't look good. If you have a fairly large upper body but your legs only look big compared to Ally McBeal's you have major problems.

When making a split, the thing that most beginners don't know is that variation is the key to success. For example when you work out your chest you won't solely do the bench press; you will want to do the bench press, incline bench press, decline bench press, chest pullovers, chest dips, and maybe even throw in some push-ups. You don't have to perform every one of those exercises every time you work your chest though, but you would want to vary your routine so that maybe one week you would do two or three different exercises and the next week you would substitute different exercises. By doing this you are allowing your body to hit all the muscle fibers in the area, giving you more muscle growth and definition then you could obtain with only one or two exercises. What's great about having variation in a routine is that it doesn't get boring as it allows you to do something different every once in a while.

Now that you have a plan that is going to give you the best possible results and is going to stay fresh, it is time to get in there and start pumping some iron. For our purposes it is best to stay in the free-weight section of your gym as muscles were meant to move in all three dimensions and because as Arnold Schwarzenegger would tell you, "Machines are for girly men." When lifting weights, you have to remember two things. Having good form is of the utmost importance. Do a little research to see the exercised performed with good form and imitate it. Remember to never cheat (i.e. using momentum to lift the weight, using other muscles to lift the weight, or using a spotter to do a lot of the work). When choosing the weight you are going to lift you want to find a weight that will allow you to perform the exercise to perform only 6-8 reps until your muscle fails, this is called a set. Intensity is the word to remember; if Jessica Alba were to promise to go out on a date with you if you could only get the 9th rep you should still be incapable of doing it.

You are going to do two to four sets for each exercise and you want to rest for at least 90 seconds before doing the next one. To save time it is recommended to do supersets where you train antagonistic muscle pairs (i.e. biceps and triceps, chest and back, quadriceps and hamstrings, etc.) immediately after one another, rest when you are finished, and repeat. If you wanted to save even more time you could do your exercise in a circuit, which will allow you to rest after 6-10 sets. Still do the exercises in antagonistic muscle pairings because the blood in the opposite muscle will sometimes make you even stronger for the next exercise, increase endurance, create an incredible pump, and raise your heart level to the fat-burning zone giving you cardiovascular benefits as well. A sample circuit would go something like this: bicep curls, tricep dips, crunches, hammer curls, skull crushes, and deadlifts. However you decide to do it just remember to keep the intensity high. You should complete about 24 different sets each time you go to the gym or until you are ready to cry (no one said this was easy, think about the big picture). The best way to do it is go in there and just get to work ripping your muscles to shred so you can go home and get on with your life. You don't want to be the guy who everybody knows and spends three hours at the gym every single day.

So that's it for the weight lifting, but you still want to burn that fat right? You need to do interval cardio at least two times a week to burn fat and raise your metabolism. This doesn't have to be a chore; you don't have to spend an hour on a treadmill or stairmaster. In fact spending that much time will actually decrease your metabolism. You want to go for about 20 minutes a time. There is no

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