**I created this Blogspot a few years back with the purpose of tracking my progress and following others to stay motivated. If you guys decide to create one, follow me and I'll follow back. Having partners and friends to share this journey will keep you motivated and consistent. Have fitness be a mandatory part of your lifestyle. :)
My basic recommendations on ridding unwanted FAT and TONING UP
(Earn that beach body NOW, don't wait!)
1. Aim for 35-60 minutes of physical activity throughout the day for 3-6 days a week. Preferably a form of weight/resistance/strength training and cardiovascular activity such as running, jump roping and elliptical. When doing cardio or aerobics, be sure it's intense enough to keep your heart rate up. Change up your training methods every now and then so you don't get bored! The higher the heart rate, the better!(Not to the level of a heart attack however.) But remember, it's 80% Diet, 20% Exercise that creates results.
2. Losing weight is all about putting yourself at a Caloric DEFICIT(eating less than what the body needs to maintain weight).
So use this calculator. http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
The reason to use this calculator is to help you get an IDEA of how many calories you should eat a day to maintain weight or to lose it. The number may or may not work for you depending on your current metabolism. To find out if it works for you, start off with the FAT LOSS calorie daily intake provided with that calculator. Stick with those numbers STRICTLY and consistently for 1 week. If you're not making progress, subtract that number by 100 and use that number strictly for another week. If that doesn't work, repeat. Most likely however, it will work. You should also download an app called MyFitnessPal on your smart phone if you have one. If you don't have a smart phone visit www.myfitnesspal.com. It's a very functional and a great app to use. You can scan the foods you eat or search it up and the app will calculate everything for you. It's a very simple and easy to understand app.
3. Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is when your body goes into fat burning mode. Try to sleep around the same time every night.
4. Resist eating things that you can't calculate or things that you KNOW will screw up your progress. Remember, you're not taking 2 steps forward only to go backwards later on. It all goes down to how bad YOU want IT.
5. Results take TIME. People quit when they don't see what they want within a week or two. Stay consistent, give it a minimum of 6-8 weeks before giving up. If it's not working, you're doing something wrong. Common things that hinder progress include over-eating or eating tooo little, lack of sleep or skipping gym. If you've been losing weight consistently but then it suddenly stops, it means your metabolism slowed down and you've hit a plateau. Break this plateau by doing what is known as a refeed day. Refer to my FAQ post a page or two back from here to learn more or click here to go to page .
7. Drink plenty of water. Aim for about 64oz of water a day minimum which is about 4 water bottles. Water helps to lubricate your organs so that food can better digest and flow through your stomach.
8. Stick to the SAME scale, different scales may tell you different answers because of how they are constructed or set. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and weigh yourself once every 7-10 days. Do NOT weigh yourself everyday because it may screw you up mentally and may cause you to give up since numbers fluctuate in short periods. Also keep in mind the scale may not always be accurate because you may be bloated, holding poop or full from a meal. The scale doesn't know this. Don't let it bring you down and cause you to lose motivation. You will notice your results in 4-6 weeks. Friends will notice in 8 weeks. The world will notice in 12 weeks.
9. Healthy meal examples:
a) 2 slices whole wheat toast, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp sugar free jelly. 3 servings of egg whites
b) 1 cup brown rice cooked, 3oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup vegetables
c) 5oz sweet potato, 4oz tilapia, 1 cup orange juice
^these are just examples so you get the idea of what you can eat. You can also supplement with Green Tea Extract. It helps in increasing your metabolism and burning fat.
10. Try out Flexible Dieting also known as "If It Fits Your Macros"(IIFYM). Information of IIFYM/Flexible Dieting can be found here: http://vegetadang.blogspot.com/2013/02/iifym-if-it-fits-your-macros.html This is the method that I use.
*The information I provide you all WORKS. Slow progress is better than NO progress. Just stay consistent with it. Take a "Before" picture TODAY. Don't lie or cheat yourself! Remember, the mirror will show you how much it means to YOU. Good luck! You got this!!! :D
If in the past you've done a massive amount of cardio and eat very little. You may have metabolic damage. This is when you're unable to get any leaner now matter how hard you try and you put on a lot of weight the moment you allow yourself to slip. If this sounds like you, please check out my blog post on metabolic damage here: http://vegetadang.blogspot.com/2013/05/metabolic-damage-srsserious-post.html
Living proof of that I'm not feeding you crap:
FAQ Repost from old post
Frequently asked questions:
Q: What are macronutrients(macros)?
A: Macros are the main compounds that provide calories & energy. Such as Carbohydrates, Protein & Fats.
Q: What are micronutrients(micros)?
A: Vitamins & Minerals from vegetables and fruits.
Q: What is a caloric surplus?
A: It is when you are going above your daily caloric needs in order to gain size whether it'd be fat or muscle. Just depends on how you set your macros.
Q: What is a caloric deficit?
A: The opposite of a surplus. When you are getting in less calories than your maintenance caloric needs.
Q: What is IIFYM?
A: Simply put, it's a way of eating whatever you want, as long as it fits your macronutrition(carbs, fats, protein). Learn more at www.iifym.com. You will be at a caloric surplus if you're bulking, and a deficit when you are leaning out. More details linked here:
Figure out your maintenance with calorie calculator:
Your macros with:
Also I highly recommend using www.myfitnesspal.com to keep track of your macros. It is truly the simplest way you can keep up with your macros and watch what you eat. If you can't find nutrition facts for what you're eating on myfitnesspal, don't bother eating it. But it usually has everything you need. There is also a myfitnesspal app for smart phones. Be sure to download it.
IMPORTANT: When your weight goes UP or DOWN, you will have to update the calculator so that you can find where you're supposed to be for calories. So keep track of your weight! Get your bodyfat checked every 10-14 days!
Q: How do I figure out how much of a surplus/deficit I need to be at?
A: This really depends on an individual.
For those trying to bulk, I say 150-300 calories above maintenance caloric needs. The faster you're gaining weight, the more likely that you're weight is actually coming from fat. So the slower you take it the bulking process, the better.
For those trying to lean out, 150-200 calories under maintenance if you're trying to maintain muscle mass while losing fat. The faster you're losing weight, the more likely you're also losing muscle mass.
Q: How do I know what percentages to set my Protein, Carbs, and Fats at?
A: Truth is, there is no magic percentage. Different things will work for different people. This is something you really need to figure out through trial and error and find out what works best for you. Personally for ME. I'd like to have carbs at 45%, protein at 35%, and fats at 20% during a cutting phase. This is what I found to work best for me. I haven't started my bulk phase yet so I don't know how these percentages will be for me once I start. But like I said, Trial & Error.
Q: Are supplements necessary?
A: No. They are exactly what they are. a SUPPLEMENT to your diet. If you're lacking something that you need, they will help you. They are also VERY convenient to use for meeting your macros.
Q: Why do you add carbohydrates to your post-workout shake and what kind do you use?
A: I do it to replenish my glycogen stores and for better recovery. I have used Waxy Maize, Dextrose, and Carbogain(maltodextrin). My favorite has been Dextrose because it mix's easier with my protein shakes and it sweetens it a bit.
Q: What brands of protein do you buy and why?
A: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey because it's the best bang for your buck.
BSN Syntha-6 or Intek Evolution because it's delicious.
Q: Is it necessary to do cardio to get leaner?
A: No, I am living proof that you don't need cardio to get leaner. Just putting yourself at a caloric deficit and working out is enough. Cardio however is good for your heart and for building your endurance. More endurance = better weight training performance.
Q: How long do your workouts last?
A: 40 minutes minimum, 60 minutes maximum.
Q: How often do you hit abs?
A: Maybe once or twice a month. I don't do them often because I don't like them being sore on days where I squat and deadlift.
Q: Isn't ATG(ass to grass/ground) bad for your knees?
A: Stop believing in broscience. The people who tell you this are people with big egos who try to go heavy and don't want to go lighter to achieve full range of motion. Everyone I've trained with including myself has gone ATG with our asses right beside our ankles. No knee issues. Even in the olympics and SOME powerlifting contests have athletes going ATG. So the answer is, quit being a lil bish. Drop the weights and your ego. You'll get more respect going full range with lighter weights than going heavy and not even getting parallel.
Q: Does weight lifting stunt growth?
A: ....Once again, broscience. Do you realize that there are many bodybuilders over 6 ft tall? Arnold Schwarzenegger himself has been lifting since he was 15 and Jeff Seid has lifted since he was 12. Seriously, do research. Stop believing in broscience and use your head. Your height is given to you by genetics.
Q: Is touching your chest with the barbell/dumbbell while benching necessary?
A: Not exactly. But the more the stretch the better in my opinion. And my mentality has always been, "If you want to be strong, be strong throughout the full range rather than just a portion of the range." I would recommend at least going pass 90 degrees just to activate more fibers.
Q: Why do you do weighted dips instead of decline presses?
A: I don't like feeling light headed and having a lot of blood rushing to my head for lying on a decline. Plus I get a better range and stretch from my dips. Both exercises are excellent for building lower chest though.
Q: How often do you workout and how many days do you rest?
A: I train for 5 days a week and take 2 days off.
Q: What is your training regimen? Sets & Rep range?
A: I'm always changing what I'm doing to fit my goals. Heavy weights with low reps for strength training and muscle density. Higher volume sets & reps for hypertrophy. And there are days where I combine Heavy loads + hypertrophy. It's changes every few months so I can't give an exact regimen.
Q: How long have you been lifting?
A: On & off since August of 2008. But I didn't know what I was doing until September of 2011. I've been consistent since September of 2011. I still have a lot to learn but I've learned a lot.
Q: How should I approach a bulk phase?
A: I personally would only start a bulk phase if I had a single digit body fat. (5-8%) Otherwise I recommend stripping as much fat as you can first until you're at a single digit bodyfat %. That way when you begin your bulking phase, you can bulk with a leaner frame which will in turn make you look more aesthetic and you will know how much muscle you've actually had on you to start off with. You would need to be at a caloric surplus for a bulk phase and you will be needing a lot of protein(1.2-1.5g x bodyweight is recommended). Count your macros but don't go to high on your surplus otherwise you'll just create additional fat soluble cells which basically means your body will be able to carry and hold more FAT(not what you want.) When fat soluble cells are created, they are there FOREVER. Which means you'll be able to store fat faster and easier than someone who has always been leaner. This is why I recommend bulking with a low bodyfat %. Weight training should be kept short because you don't want to be burning as much calories. Longer weight training sessions = increase in cortisol = decrease in testosterone = hinder full potential of protein synthesis. This is why I keep my workouts within 40-60 minutes.
Q: What do you think of pre-workout supplements?
A: I love them. Don't NEED them, but they do help. Gives me the energy and focus that I need and really good pumps. I've been working 11 hours straight a day for the pass 5 days and I immediately head to gym right after, so the extra kick comes in handy.
Q: What do you think of BCAA supplements?
A: Some of them taste good. But you don't need them. There's already added BCAA's in protein supplements.
Q: What is leptin and what does it do?
A: Leptin is a protein produced by fatty body tissue. It regulates hunger, food intake and energy expenditure. When you're on a cutting/leaning out phase, the caloric deficit will eventually slow down your metabolism. Leptin sends the signal to you by having you feel cravings and hunger. When leptin levels become really low, you'll end up making little to zero progress on your fat loss. A refeed day should be taken place to kick start your leptin and bring your metabolism back up. I do this once a week. It works, it's science, it helps.
Q: What is a refeed day?
A: A refeed day is a day in which you up your carbs and put yourself at a caloric surplus to bring leptin levels back up and get your metabolism going again. There's been a debate between bringing up your carbs by 20-50% or by 50-100% of your carbohydrate macro needs in order to kick leptin levels back up. I personally do the 50-100% I've had no problem with it and it allows me to enjoy my pop-tarts and fat free+sugar free angel cakes. So for example if my carb macros were set to 250 for my deficit. I would eat 375-500g carbs on this day. I bring my fat grams down by 10 and protein down by 5g on this day as well.
I will update more Q & A when I remember what others have asked me of when I get new questions. Please read my blog before you ask me questions. I don't like repeating the same thing over 9000 times to every message I get. If you can't find the answer you need here, ask me at www.facebook.com/neildang Also, subscribe to my blog here and comment below. You all have the capability to read, otherwise you wouldn't be using the internet. Doing research does wonders. There's always a lot to learn so keep an open mind, experiment around, try new and different things, find what works best for YOU. Because different things work better for different people. If you've been hitting a plateau, you need to figure out what you're doing wrong. Whether it is lack of sleep, improper dieting plan, not counting macros, doing the same workout routine over and over, lifting the same weights, etc. Get your bodyfat and weight checked often(Every 10-14 days). I recommend getting your body fat checked by the same trainer or same system everytime you check it. Because sometimes different trainers and different machines have their own method of doing things. Stay consistent, train hard, be healthy, be happy.