If you walk into a gym today, you will see a room full of people who want to change something about themselves. That’s not a criticism of them, either. We all do! But more to the point, what they want to change depends on the person. They can be pretty neatly divided into two groups: those who want to lose weight, and those who want to gain muscle. The former might become the latter one day, but you can’t do both at once.
So it’s important not to see the gym as a full meal, where you take a bit of everything. It’s more like a tasting buffet, where you take what you want and need from it for your purpose. In fact, that’s how you need to see fitness in general.
To Lose Weight: There are a lot of foods out there for which you’ll hear all sorts of claims made. “This superfood burns fat”, for example. Such claims are almost always nonsense. No food burns fat. A weight loss diet is about calorie control, so check the calorie count before eating.
To Gain Muscle: Protein is your friend. How you go about it is up to you. If you’re a meat-eater, then chicken is an excellent source. Eggs are always reliable too. Also, try to eat plenty of fish as it’s high in protein and low in fat. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, beans and soy are your best bet.
To Lose Weight: Cardio is king, here. You need exercise that will get your blood pumping and raise your breathing rate. So you need to spend more time on the treadmill and the bikes. If you don’t fancy the gym, jogging is a suitable alternative. For beginners, low-impact approaches may work best, and are more effective than most people imagine.
To Gain Muscle: It’s all about lifting and stress exercises. High resistance is the key. Stay off the bikes and treadmill for a while, as too much cardio makes muscle gain harder. Dumbbells and bench pressing are a good place to start – but start small. Too much too soon, and you’ll injure yourself.
To Lose Weight: There is a temptation, to which too many athletes have succumbed, to take a short cut and use steroids for weight loss. It’s a dangerous idea, as the side-effects can be harmful, even fatal. Stick to supplements – a legal clenbuterol alternative is always going to be safer than the banned drug. Green tea extract is also beneficial.
To Gain Muscle: Perhaps even more so than the weight-loss crowd, those looking to gain muscle sometimes cheat. And the steroids they use can cause extreme mood swings, heart problems and more. Stick to cleaner, safer supplements like creatine or whey protein. They’ll work slower, for sure. But the effects will last longer, and you’ll be healthier if you avoid steroids.
Personal wellness has become a major industry in the recent past, and it’s certainly a worthwhile goal. But keep in mind that a focused approach is the best tool you have to achieve it. Doing “a bit of everything” can end up leaving you back where you started. If you stick to the things that work for your purpose, you’ll get further, faster.