Mar 4, 2013

I've spoken many times on this site about having a solid training program and have written articles on how to design your own, so that is not what this is about. There are 3 other important factors to keep in mind when trying to dial in your lifestyle to match your training goals.

First and foremost is NUTRITION. You literally are what you eat. Therefore if you're stuffing your face with a bunch of crap you can expect to look and feel like a bunch of crap. My nutritional knowledge isn't the greatest and I am not a certified dietician or any of that mess, but, from experience with myself and with my clients, I can assure you there are a few guidelines that should definitely be adhered to:

  1. Eat more protein. This should really go without saying, especially for females. Protein is your friend. I'm not suggesting that you only eat protein or eat it in surplus amounts, but make sure you're getting in AT LEAST 0.8-1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. If you're looking to gain some quality weight try anywhere from 1.0-1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight.
  2. Processed foods are the devil. If it came in a plastic package, has a shelf life of a twinkie, or has passed through more machinery than a quart of motor oil, DON'T EAT IT. Stick to real, whole foods like grass-fed lean meats, wild poultry, wild fish, roots, rice, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Water does an amazing thing ... it keeps you alive. Drink it. If you're on any kind of exercise program you need to make sure you're taking in an adequate amount of water. You need to consume more water than usual in order for your body to function properly and keep up with the amount of water that is lost through perspiration. The easiest way to do this is to skip out on the juices and replace them with good 'ole fashioned water.

The next step to keeping your training running smoothly is to GET ADEQUATE SLEEP. Now this can mean several things, most of which won't require you to do anything too far outside of your normal routine.

  1. Sleep at least 8 hours every single night. Yes, that means you'll have to ditch the late night TV and 24-hour party shenanigans. Think of sleep as the time your body uses to replenish all the damage you've done to it throughout the day. You literally are giving your mind (conscious mind at least) and body a rest. Not getting enough sleep turns on the sympathetic nervous system which keeps you in fight or flight mode and has a tendency to store fat as fuel for later use. This is great if you're stuck in the Sahara desert or in the middle of the Amazon but not for normal every day life. Go to bed earlier, point blank period.
  2. Have better quality sleep. This goes hand in hand with getting enough sleep. If your sleep quality sucks then sleeping more won't do you any good. There are a couple things you can do to ensure your passage into dreamland is efficient. The first involves sleeping in a completely darkened room at a cool temperature. The body seems to understand that if it's completely dark it should relax and if the temperature is cool you'll remain in that relaxed state. I got that from a sleep study I found and will site the reference at a later date. The second is to stop using any device that has a backlit screen (like your phone, laptop, TV, even your little kindle) at least 2 hours before bed. The brightness of the screen will overstimulate your optic nerve causing restlessness. This is no good for a sound sleep.
  3. TAKE NAPS. Yeah, I said it. Take some notes from our smaller counterparts (children) and get at least 2 or 3, 15-20 minute naps in during the week. They will rejuvenate you like nothing else.

Lastly, I have to bring up the big one ... BOOZE. Let's be realistic people, too much booze will ruin any attempt you make at losing weight, gaining quality weight, or trying to smash that next PR. I'm not saying that you have to be Suzie Anti-Social and not have a few brews with your friends on a Friday night, but rather that you limit the amount you consume. In fact if I had to prescribe something it would be clear liquor with no fruit juice or sugary additives. Shaken, not stirred. But again, a couple beers or a glass of wine is not going to kill you, but it might kill your gains. Keep the booze to a minimum and if you're brave enough, just do without it.

That's it. Along with a solid program, these are the 3 keys to training success. Remember that you have to work hard outside of the gym to really reap the benefits of working hard inside of the gym.

Eat right, sleep more, limit your booze, and smash your training goals. Simple.

In Strength,
Franco Crincoli


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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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