LOS ANGELES — We’ve all heard that “New Year, New me” saying right? Don’t make it a new you just because January 1st rolls around. Change your way of thinking and you will change your fitness.
For starters, throw that saying right out of the window. Along with all of those self-proclaimed online fitness gurus on Instagram. In fact, anytime you see the word “fitness” in the title of an IG handle, turn and run. It’s like a used car salesman who goes by “Honest Joe.” It’s a safe bet they’re not honest. In this case, a safe bet they know nothing or very little about fitness.
A lot of people think they need to mirror exactly what they see “Instagram models” doing, what workouts they do, what they eat, what they wear, etc. And they think that they have to do all these different kinds of workouts they see on Instagram or in magazines. But you don’t need to do all of those weird goofy exercises! All you need is to stick to the basics!
But first things first; drop those self-proclaimed IG fitness gurus and fitness magazines like a Stage Five Clinger. You’re looking at something that someone who’s a young buck (or doe) in their 20s is doing. Don’t forget, when they take all of those well-manicured photos they post all day. They have great lighting and probably take hundreds of photos and only get a few good ones, then doctor the rest with filters and photoshop. AND, they don’t look like 4 to 7 percent body fat every day!
I know several of those guys and girls personally, and I’m not going to call anyone out, but they take steroids, LOTS of fat burners, (which are just basically colon blow tablets,) and go the route unnaturally. While we’re here – let’s touch base for a brief moment on “Fat Burners.”
No, they don’t actually burn fat. Don’t think if you take a “fat burning” pill it goes directly to the fat in your body and burns it off like a blowtorch to iron. NO. They don’t work that way. They go directly to your stomach and colon, and flush out the contents so you deuce it out. It’s just causing you to go to the bathroom. A lot. And your colon will become the strongest muscle in your body. Got me?
OK, now back to the “gurus.” They take hundreds of photos in a week, almost 100 percent of the time are professionally done, and take those few hundred or thousand photos and post them over the course of several months or even a year. They still workout and continue with their routine but they’re not 4 to 7 percent body fat 24/7 like they’re presenting themselves to be. Sometimes they post the same photo every couple months but with different filters to make it seem like a new photo.
I’ve seen it done countless times and I’m not knocking their bodies and their discipline. They work hard for their muscles, curves and squat booties. They’ve earned it and deserve recognition. But they don’t look like that all the time. And guess what? That’s fine. You don’t have to look ripped and shredded like a road map all the time either!
FYI – It’s actually impossible. Your body needs fat to survive, as well as your brain in order to function. I just get a kick out of it when I see a girl on Instagram posting a video saying “When it’s winter in Canada” and she’s in a bikini and there’s green foliage everywhere and you can clearly see it’s Canada. I call bullshit on that one! I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, ladies and gentlemen, but life’s not all strippers and tacos. And believe me, the fitness world is not as healthy as the majority of people think it is.
Okay, if you don’t want your feelings hurt (even more) or see the wizard of Oz behind the curtain, then stop reading because I’m about to drop some truth on y’all like a bucket of whiskey at an Irish gun rally. And guess what – the truth hurts, so get a helmet and prepare yourselves for some mind bombs. If you don’t want the absolute truth then stop reading and go about your lives, torturing yourself on IG.
You’re still here?
STICK. TO. THE. BASICS.
There is no magic pill you can take to get fit, no magic workout routine to do in a few days or weeks that’ll show you results like your trainer preaches to you. It takes time and commitment to see results. And no, you can’t eat everything you want on your “cheat day” and expect to make progress, especially if you have three cheat days a week.
You don’t need to do all of those goofy exercises, such as planks in every direction for 60 seconds with an arm raised over your head, toes pointed to the sky as you balance on a kettlebell ball, with one arm facing the heavens and a glow stick balancing on your nose. Lol. (I just pictured that. And wanting to push them over.) Anyway, that’s not an actual exercise but that’s what people look like in my mind when I see all these ridiculous routines they’re doing. (And I really want to push them over when I see them.)
So like I said, stick to the basics. And I don’t mean for a few weeks. I’m talking at least the first four to six months, minimum! Wash away everything you’ve read from those self-proclaimed fitness gurus telling you to workout a certain way to get “gains” and see results in 10 to 12 days. You might see a flicker of a dim light of results in two weeks, but you won’t see “night and day” results for at least a couple of months. And I know what you’re thinking, “I didn’t workout for years and I hit the gym for a couple weeks and see a change.” Well duhhh!
First, your body was sedentary for years and is in shock! Second, congratulations! You’re one step closer to enlightenment. Now keep moving forward. Because a lot of people stop once they see minimal results. Don’t be one of those people. Keep moving forward.
Also, everyone is different. For example, exercises that have great results for me, might have different results for you. And vice versa – what works really well for you, might not work as well for me. But get in the gym and do it.
Work your body and your mind. Because THE ONE THING that will drive you is your mind. If you have a strong mind, you’ll have a strong body. You have to change your mindset and accept the fact that your road to fitness is not going to happen overnight. It’s a journey and will take time. Like that saying, “Your body is your temple.” Well, temples take time to build. Remember, you’re building a temple, not a sand castle. It takes time and commitment.
And get off the damn cell phone when you’re in the gym!
I’ve seen so many people sit on benches on their cell phones texting. Just last week I was in the gym and some guy was texting. He was on the bench for about 5 minutes so I asked him how many sets he had left and he replied, “I just started.” So I walked away and grabbed another bench as soon as it opened up. I finished my ENTIRE chest workout and this guy was still on his damn phone. I walked by and said, “Excuse me, how many more sets of texting do you have?” thinking he would pick up on my sarcasm. I shit you not, his reply was “I just started.” I was literally speechless, wondering what his life must be like. I really just wanted to ask him what his goal was and actually help him by steering him in the right direction. But he didn’t want to be helped. And you can’t help people who don’t want help.
Regarding your nutrition, eat good food. Stay away from junk food, fast food, candy bars, sugary sodas and snacks, etc. After your workout your body needs and craves nutrition – all the vitamins and minerals you’ve just depleted. And food is the best thing for you, not all those protein drinks or shakes. But if you can’t get home to make a nutritious meal within 30 minutes of your workout, then drink a protein shake. I suggest making your own because the premade ones in the gym freezers are not healthy at all. Again, truth. Look it up.
To make your own, just put a scoop of protein powder (Whey, Iso, whatever you like) in a blender, a banana if you want (for potassium,) some strawberries or whatever fruit you like (vitamins,) add water or milk and whip that up in a blender and drink it. Boom. Nutrition. Again, mind blown. People make things out to be too hard. It’s not as difficult as you think. Just apply yourself.
And drink water throughout the day, everyday. It hydrates the muscles, joints, and is a vehicle for getting all the nutrients to the right places in your body. It also flushes out toxins we consume on a daily basis. Everyone eats junk food, candy bars. We’re human and we have cravings. It’s natural. I eat Snickers and a burger from time to time. But I don’t eat it everyday. Maybe once a week or every two weeks.
Like I said before, every human body is different. I eat white fish and chicken because my body absorbs the protein better than other protein sources. But you have to eat the right foods at the right times – asparagus, broccoli, etc.
Everyone does “International Chest Day” but stick to the basics. You don’t need to do 10 different kinds of chest exercises to develop a good chest. Because after 60 minutes of working out your body stops responding. So I say again, stick to the basics. Do flat bench chest (with a bar,) then do incline chest (bar,) then decline (bar.) Those are the basics.
All of these are the basics for the body that can be done with 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps.
- Basics for CHEST: flat bench, incline bench, decline bench.
- Basics for SHOULDERS: overhead push, lateral raises
- Basics for LEGS: squats, leg curls, leg extensions, lunges.
- Basics for BACK: pull back rows (cable and/or dumbbells,) pull-ups.
- Basics for ARMS: triceps pull downs, biceps curls (underhand grip, overhand grip), forearm curls/extensions.
And you don’t need a lot of weight for these exercises. I’ve seen results with light weights. For example, I’m 6-feet tall and weigh 200 pounds and never go over 185 pounds on bench press. I do lots of reps (sometimes 20-30,) and sometimes slow movements (4 to 8 count on the way down, 4 to 8 count on the way up,) to incorporate the slow-twitch muscles. I’m not saying do that with everything, but if you feel good, then do it. If you don’t feel good, don’t do it. Listen to your body. Boom! Knowledge dropped.
Remember, fitness and nutrition is a lot of trial and error. You have to do it, then figure out what works best for YOU. Not your friends, but you. And most importantly: stay consistent.
I see people constantly mixing up their routines because they think they’re not getting results. Give it time. You’ve only been in the gym for 14 minutes. Your body takes nine months to develop in your mother’s womb, so give yourself time to change your body.
But change your mindset first. I remember when I was in the military, my hand-to-hand combat instructor told me, “If you take your opponent by the head, the body will follow and you can move him anywhere you want him to go.” Same principle here: wherever your head goes, the body will follow. So if you want a new body, make your mind believe it and your body will follow. Remember, clean mind, fit body.
And it’s good to change up your routine every couple months or so. For example, if you’re doing the same exercises for a couple months, definitely change it around for two to three weeks. And not a drastic change. Change it up by doing something as simple as using different weight with the exercises, or what you did first, do last. It’s like what fitness and celebrity trainer Tony Horton (of P90X) said regarding muscle confusion – you have to mix it up and shock your muscles from time to time so they don’t plateau. I’m not plugging him or his training but he’s devoted his life to fitness and knows what he’s talking about.
Again, there’s no magic pill you can take or magic workout routine. Fact: it takes time, work, consistency. Give yourself 6 to 9 months with the basics, get those down really well, then move to the next level. You’ll feel better and notice a much better difference in your mind and body and also in your life. And, your sex drive will skyrocket as well.
Oh, that got your attention? You’re hitting the gym now? You like that fitness truth that’ll make you hard. Get your mind out of the gutter. Or keep it there, I don’t care.
Like that saying goes, “Beginning’s are hard, middle’s are scary and endings are usually sad.” Well, your fitness beginning will be hard (and sore for a couple weeks,) kinda scary because all new things are scary, and the middle will be awesome! But don’t let it end. Always keep moving forward. Remember, it’s one day at a time, one moment at a time.
It’s your life.
Enjoy all of it.
Edwin Modlin is a certified fitness trainer,
actor, author, meme lover,
and loves dad jokes.
Visit Edwin on IMDB or Instagram