A letter to the gym ‘newbie’ (Part 1)

It’s March, which means that people will begin to realize that summer is around the corner. You were supposed to have worked out and eaten healthy since January but that has not happened. However, you’re still optimistic. You’re still optimistic that you can flip the script. And you should. There’s still enough time.

Even though the weather sucks in the east coast, I can assure you that your gym will be inhabited by the ‘newbie’. The ‘newbie’ follows bad advice. They have horrible form. They read every fitness magazine and buy every supplement. They post on Instagram with the hashtag #alwaysgrinding and #fitlife.

To make matters worse, they are often baited by the ‘bro’. The ‘bro’ feeds his ego by teaching the ‘newbie’. When the ‘bro’ tells you that you must drink a protein shake during your workout, just walk away. When the ‘bro’ tells you that you must bench press every day, just walk away.

If you have recently begun your fitness journey, then you’re a ‘newbie’. Don’t worry, I got you. I was once a ‘newbie’ and made a lot of mistakes. I’m writing to help you skip this ‘newbie’ phase.

There are two ingredients that are important in this fitness journey. These might sound common sense but the ‘bros’ complicate this with supplements, weird dieting regimens, and workout techniques.

Diet:

This is important. In fact, this is more important than working out. I’ll dive into a bit of the science. Nothing too complicated but enough to give you a solid foundation on nutrition.

There are three macronutrients, macros, found in nutrition. These are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. There’s a lot of science on the functionality of each macro. I’m doing a quick overview. If you want to learn more, a simple Google search would do the trick.

Fats:

There are 9 calories per gram. But you shouldn’t stay away from fats. It helps our body function properly since it’s a backbone to our hormones, skin, and bones. Some of the fats I consume are peanut butter, peanuts, and salmon.

Protein:

There are 4 calories per gram. Protein is what you hear thrown around the ‘bros’. While protein is essential in building muscle, it’s also important for our organs, bones, enzymes, et cetera. My primary protein sources are chicken, low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt, and protein powder.

Carbs:

There are 4 calories per gram. This is the main culprit that causes many of us not to follow our diet. Carbs are divided into two categories, simple and complex. Your body will digest simple carbs quickly while complex carbs take longer to break down. My carbs sources are fruits, potatoes, and cereal.

Now that you a basic understanding of macros, you can better comprehend that next steps I’ll tell you. If you’re a beginner I recommend completing a macro calculator, I used this website when I began https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/. Don’t be overly concerned with its accuracy because it’s probably not an exact measure. The point of this exercise it to figure out a good estimation and then throughout the time, you’ll learn more about your body. I tend to go with a 40–40–20 proportion of macros, with 40% of my diet dedicated to protein and carb and the last 20% of fat.

Download MyFitnessPal on your mobile device. With this, you’ll be able to track the macros of what you eat. I use a weight scale and I think the best reason to do is you’ll learn to understand calories. I think we eat little snacks here and there but in total, we eat more than we think. Thus, this will help you gauge your diet.

“That’s cool Alex, but isn’t this what everyone recommends.” Well yes, but there’s something else I need to tell you. It’s something most people don’t tell you.

IT’S NOT THAT SERIOUS.

Don’t overthink it. Follow a healthy balanced diet. Track your macros so you can understand the proper number of calories that you eat. You’ll always be surprised by the calories in certain foods.

SECRET:

So, what should you eat? Well, I’m not going to deceive you by telling you that eating healthy is amazing or that it tastes just as amazing as a nice fatty hamburger. It is not. Keeping a balanced diet requires some discipline. But I also disagree with this fitness guru who argues that we need to cut all junk food. We need to keep our sanity. Thus, I recommend this. Eat healthy 6 days of the week on cheat on the 7th day.

If you need quick results then go ahead and have a strict diet. But I view fitness as an activity that shouldn’t have a finished line. So, eat healthy 6 days of the week and cheat on the 7th day. Don’t be scared. Go out with your family and eat whatever you want.

Think of it like this.

We have Christian who’s ready to begin his diet and is told to only eat fruits, veggies, and chicken. He does for 2 months and is looking great. However, he loses his discipline and gains back the pounds in three weeks.

Now we have Amy. She cheats on her 7th day and thus, follows her diet. After 4 months, she’s looking great. The difference is that she will continue to be into fitness because of she still flexible with her diet.

For now, this is it. On Saturday, I’ll post the other part in fitness. And to you ‘newbie’, don’t believe the ‘bro’. While he might have an impressive body, there are many factors that can give to this. He might have great genes, might be taking steroids or simply got ‘newbie’ gains. Either way, educate yourself. Don’t believe me either. Always be skeptical.

I’ll put an to my summer body last summer. It’s nothing too impressive but requires some discipline and commitment.