How to fit training into your lifestyle

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Chances are that if you’re anything like me, you are near enough obsessed with your training, nutritional intake and new ways of building muscle and strength.

Also, if you are like me, you will have noticed a bit of a dilemma. You know you need to concentrate and spend time on every area of your training, to produce as much muscle growth as possible, but how can you do this and go to work and socialise as well? A seemingly impossible task to do effectively. It’s either your training or your life. Well this article is to show you, from my experience, how you can have the best of both worlds.

Training
Organise your training from what you know and have read in magazines. Keep your training frequency between two and four session weekly. Try to keep each training session to around 60 minutes. (And I don’t mean rushing through thirty exercises. Choose 10-12 sets and allow adequate rest time between sets.)

Plan your meals
Decide what the nutritional make-up of each meal is going to be, and how many meals you want. When buying your food, don’t be tempted by all the doughnuts, chocolate, fatty burgers and the like. But don’t ignore them completely. Work in one cheat day a week (only one, mind), where you don’t stick to your diet and eat the foods you really like, but aren’t too good for you. (Ensure this cheat day is not on a training day. Something I neglected to think about in my early days but it is important.) The key to this cheat day is to work MODERATION into your equation. When you think about it, moderation is the key to bodybuilding (apart from eating ‘good’ food, which is essential.) Allowing one cheat day a week gives your taste buds a break, and also tricks your metabolism to prevent it slowing down.

Eating properly
If you’re anything like me (and I’m sure you are), you’ll be needing around six meals a day. The amount of food you have at each meal varies on your training and size. Experiment to find the correct amount so you aren’t getting too much fat around your midsection, you’ll want to see those abs! But remember to increase your calories as you gain lean weight, otherwise you’ll hit a plateau and stop growing.

Recuperation
You should have worked your rest days into your training schedule, but you also need to allow for at least eight hours of sleep a night. No midnight feasts, fumbling, staying up to watch TV or anything like that. When you sleep is when you grow, so don’t deny your body what it needs! Now, how do you fit this into your working (and partying) lifestyle? Easy, just organise everything. Do you remember the timetables you had at school and the schedule at work that you try your best to avoid! Setting specific times for everything is the best way to start. Like your exercise technique, once you get good at it, you’ll know your limits and we’ll be able to ‘modify’ things. But remember MODERATION, not too much now. Too much enthusiasm kills all gains in bodybuilding, contain it and look forward to your training.

Rest days
When you train is up to you. Some people prefer to do it in the morning, some in the evening, or if you’re short on time try an intensive session at lunchtime. One thing that I always do is ensure that my two days rest are at the end of my training cycle, ie, the weekend. That way you get everything done in the week, and can spend the weekend with friends and family.

Don’t forget to eat
Have set times to eat. This is extremely important. Always have your breakfast, and eat every 2-3 hours. The way I do it, is to take a protein or meal replacement shake and maybe a roll to have mid-morning and mid-afternoon at work (or college!). Why not take your lunch with you if you know you’re going to be tempted by what other people are having. When you use these meal replacement supplements for your ‘extra’ meals, you don’t even need to take a 15 minute break. How long does it take you to drink a 500ml shake and munch on half a roll? Probably less time than it takes you to go to the toilet.

Don’t be left in the lurch
When travelling, for either work or play, don’t let yourself be without food or a workout kit. You never know if the car will breakdown or you get stranded somewhere or work requires extra commitments abroad. Don’t be afraid to take meals and workout kit with you. This little ’survival pack’ could prevent your body from losing hard earned muscle tissue, due to having no food around or not being able to train, you’ll thank me for this advice, when it happens to you.

Don’t let others drag you down
Before I carry on, if you haven’t got a girlfriend or spouse, you are already half way there. If you have, get rid of them quickly! No, that is a bit drastic. Just try and get them to understand that you take your training seriously (that’s probably one of the reasons they were attracted to you in the first place), and let them know your training schedule. On saying that, if they’ve planned a big surprise for you, don’t stand them up to go train. Enjoy yourself. But the next day go into the gym and do yesterday’s workout with even more intensity.

The same goes for recuperation. One day a week where you go out late and let your hair down won’t hurt you too much. It will have an effect, but what do you want to be? A musclehead with no friends, or someone who has everything - A beautiful body and a great life?

Alcohol - The muscle killer…
I’d just like to add a note here on alcohol. Now an alcoholic beverage may taste heavenly, but this can be one of the most detrimental substances you can give your body. Drugs are even worse, and I’d hope everyone knows that taking drugs is dangerous and will wreck your body anyway. Well, back to alcohol. Two units a day are too much. What I would recommend you go teetotal, but not many people I know (including me) are willing to make that sacrifice. Instead, have a few pints when you have your days off. There is no way around this one, the more Alcohol you drink the less gains you’ll make, you make the choice!

Don’t get into a mess
Don’t get into a panic about everything you have to remember. Once you write down what you need to do in a training diary or log, you’ll find it far easier to organise and plan everything. My tip is to buy a little A5 hard bound paper book or pad and use it as a log, unless you can find a ready made one that suits your needs. A training log is very important. It lets you keep track of your workouts so you know what you have to do in your next session. Also, when you’re starting out, keeping a log of your food intake is quite helpful. When you have done it for a few months, you instinctively know what you need to eat, but when you’re new, it can help a great deal.

A final note. Think of your life as a pie. Having seven or eight different pieces. Training, work, girlfriend or spouse, friends, etc. A bit of organisation goes a long way. If you have got the dedication to train, spending some time organising yourself will make you realise your goals, and have time for everything else in your life.

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dean fletcher   |.
ha ha ha i like the girlfriend bit i agree with everything on the page. I have
been training for nearly two years now and i find it gets easyier as i go along.
Building up to this 18 stone ronnie coleman lookalike i want to be. Maximuscle
have helped me most of the way aswell as good food. Well i can here the protien
calling time for a meal. Iv got 3 more stone to go ha ha nice one Zef. dean
Steve   |.
What a great article. I would like to know the name of the author.
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