Are you trying to figure out how to improve fitness, athleticism, and body composition? I don’t know if the Trikke Scooter will get you there. Sprint, lift weights, walk a lot, eat right, and don’t fall for fads or shortcuts. That should do it.
Questions and Answers
How do I get in shape?
JM: What is “in shape?”
I want to look good.
JM: What does that mean?
I want to be thin.
JM: Then eat less.
Shouldn’t I do cardio?
JM: If you enjoy it.
I thought cardio is good for losing fat.
JM: It can be, but eating less is easier for most people. Also, too much cardio can have a negative impact on strength and muscle gains and it may lead to overeating, which can wipe out any “fat burning” effects of the exercise itself.
OK, I’ll just eat less. Will I look good?
JM: If you think having very little muscle mass looks good, then yes.
Hmm. Maybe I should lift weights. There is a one-hour group exercise class at my gym where they do pull-ups and kettlebells and things like that.
JM: It’s difficult to maintain enough intensity in long workouts like that if you want to build strength and muscle. Figure out your goal and then design a training program to support that goal.
But I want it all. If I do those classes, I get cardio, conditioning, strength training, and hypertrophy (muscle building) training in one class. That’s a good time saver.
JM: I thought you just wanted to look good. Now you’re saying you want those other things.
Well, I want to look good AND be fit.
JM: Those aren’t always the same thing.
How do I look good?
JM: It sounds like you want to build muscle and lose body fat.
JM: Then lift weights and eat less.
How will I have enough energy to lift weights if I’m eating less?
JM: Eat more on your workout days and less on your recovery days.
What if I just take those classes at the gym on the days I don’t lift weights?
JM: You can do that but you’ll probably overtrain.
I want to make things happen as quickly as possible.
JM: Lift heavy weights 2-3 days a week. A realistic expectation is 8-12 weeks for significant changes.
Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
JM: Walk a lot. It won’t exhaust you and it’s an activity that’s almost entirely dependent on body fat. You won’t lose a lot of fat that way, but you will lose some and you won’t exhaust yourself in the process. Save your energy for high-intensity resistance training.
Can’t I eat less even on my workout days?
JM: Not if you want enough energy to support your workouts.
I hear the low-carb diet works well.
JM: If you enjoy eating that way, then do it. It’s a poor strategy for athletes and people who train hard, but you should follow a plan that works for you.
But I see people who eat low-carb diets and they are shredded!
JM: If you undereat, you will lose body fat. Low-carb diets work well for some people because a diet that consists of mostly fat and protein is self-limiting. Athletes use carbohydrate for fuel.
I disagree! I know plenty of people who eat low-carb diets and they’re athletic!
JM: If it works for you and you can adhere to the diet, then do it. If you want to lose body fat, you have to undereat. If a low-carb diet helps you get there, then do it. Athletic performance is a different story. Carbohydrate is the preferred source of fuel for athletes. But again, if your workouts or competitions don’t suffer, then eat whatever you like—just not too much.
OK, I think I understand the diet plan. I’m still not sold on your training ideas. I see people who do the group classes and they look awesome and seem really fit.
JM: Combination or all-in-one training is better than nothing but you won’t get ultimate results that way. After a month or two of combination workouts, you might see some big changes in your body, especially if you’re sedentary or carrying extra body fat. Progress will stall eventually. The classes are great for conditioning and endurance but not so great for developing strength, power, and muscle mass.
But I like the variety and social aspect of the classes.
JM: Then take the classes. If you want to “look good” and be athletic, there are better ways.
Your plan sounds OK, but I won’t feel fit if I just lift weights.
JM: Then sprint. That will take care of your cardiorespiratory fitness.
That sounds horrible.
JM: Yeah, it’s a tough workout but it’s effective.
Will it help me lose body fat?
JM: Yeah, a little, but undereating on recovery days will have a bigger effect. Sprinting is for power and fitness.
OK, so I can lift heavy weights, sprint, and eat less on recovery days. That will help me build muscle, lose fat, and improve my fitness.
How often should I lift? Which exercises should I do? How many sets and repetitions? How often should I sprint? How far should I go? How much protein, carbohydrate, and fat should I eat? How much should I eat on workout days? How much should I eat on recovery days?
JM: I think you should check this out: http://www.joelminden.com/strength-and-conditioning/