Well, here it is -- the final post before BlizzCon.
Don't worry! I'll definitely be back once the vacation is over. After all, I promised to cosplay Sonya next year, so there's a whole bunch more to write about.
Before I sign out, I just want to tell each and every one of you that you're amazing. No one said this would be easy, and you should be damn proud of even the small things you've accomplished.
As we approach the big day, remember to stay focused. Don't start freaking out and changing things up because you're not where you want to be. That'll only set you back. Instead, get to where you can and take notes on where you want to be next year.
If you feel yourself going stir crazy over the next few weeks, feel free to send me a tweet or a message. I promise I'll respond and do what I can to help keep you determined to succeed. Likewise, if you have any questions, definitely shoot them my way.
You all are amazing, and if I don't see you down in Anaheim, I'll see you when I get back!
Until next time, be good and have fun. :D
Do I need to do a killer ab exercises?
Do I need to do a lot of crunches?
Will special foods slim my stomach?
Do I need to do a lot of cardio?
Should I skip carbs or fats?
Should I get one of those special ab workout things from the commercials?
Right now, you have ab muscles. They've been there since birth and they'll be with you until death. To get them to show up, though, you need a combination of two things:
Of course, these two things take hard work, and hard work doesn't sell too well.
Do you want to lose or gain weight?
Set a goal weight.
Count calories, workout and achieve that goal weight.
Are you as fit as you want to look?
If yes, then keep doing what you're doing.
If weight keeps dropping, add more calories to your daily diet until you steady out at where you were.
If weight keeps adding, drop more calories from your daily diet until you steady out at where you were.
If no, it's macro time.
Start with a diet that's 60% carbs, 20% fat, 20% protein.
Give yourself up to about six months so see how this affects your body composition.
Are you as cut as you want to be?
If yes, keep doing what you're doing.
If not, reduce your calories little by little until you get the cut you want. Again, give this up to about six months.
A Note on Macro Cuts
It's during Phase 6 that you can start experimenting with different macro ratios to see how it affects you personally. Maybe you work better with lower carbs and higher fats. Maybe you need a bit more protein. No one can tell you your ultimate ratio except you -- and that means a lot of trial and error.
New adventures are great because you can enter into them without a jaded expression. You don't know how long of a road it is. You don't know how hard it will be. You don't know what equipment you're missing.
Simply put, ignorance is bliss.
This goes for everything - working out, singing, studying, business, relationships. The longer people go at it, the faster those rose-tinted glasses break into a million tiny shards that forever blind you to the feeling any sort of innocent joy ever again.
And while you're slowly picking glass out of your eye to once again see the path ahead, there comes a day when you realize all the things you wish you would have known before starting.
It seems time and money are two things we never have enough of. And though people warn us with vague threats of how much time will need to be dedicated to a project, they never give numbers.
And maybe that's for the best. I mean, if someone told me that in order to get a somewhat above average body I'd have to kick my own ass six days a week for 2-3 hours each day, I might have shied away.
But who am I kidding? I'm a masochist at heart.
My dad always, always, always, always told me about sacrifice. It's one of those "dad"isms that I will forever thank him for because, even though I couldn't understand what he was hinting at when I was 5, at 28 I now understand what he meant all those times when he asked me what I would be willing to sacrifice to achieve my dreams.
And that's a damn important question you'll be faced with at different points in your path. Sometimes the sacrifice is as easy as giving up your favorite dessert. Other times it's putting to rest a different dream until the time is right to pick it back up again.
While you navigate your own life-changing moments, remember to always take responsibility for what you choose. Only then can you find peace with who you are now, who you were and who you will become. It's something that will save you from a lifetime of asking yourself, "what if".
You know what? Whatever it is you do, you're going to hate it eventually. You're going to wake up and loathe the very thought of ever having to do that thing again.
And this is normal. And this is okay. Everyone hits this point. Not everyone pushes beyond it.
The key is to learn how to do it even when it makes you physically sick to think about. If you keep with it, the highs and lows will mellow out, and you'll no longer feel such detestation. You just have to stay strong.
In the end, though, no matter how negative all this might seem, there's a reason to pursue. It's the fact that undertaking something you really enjoy brings a sense of fulfillment most other things can't. It reminds you that you are capable of more.
Very few endeavors will make you feel like you've made a difference, so make sure when you find yours, you really take note and open yourself up to the potential they can show you.
I want you to take a look at these photos right here:
Who is Kimberlee?
This beast is my sister.
When were the photos taken?
The first photos are from March of this year.
The second of the first photo is from today.
The second of the second photo is from August.
How much has she lost?
24.5 pounds in 7 months.
As of today, she is 158.
What's her goal?
Hit 130 pounds. After that, who knows?
What's her diet?
Daily calories: 1400 - 2000
Macro split: 35% carbs, 20% fat, 45% protein
Has she mentioned any benefits?
She talks about feeling happier, healthier and having better posture.
What has she been physically?
Les Mills routines at the local YMCA.
Can I do this?
Yes. You can do anything you want so long as you have to courage to push yourself.
Even though she's been making stellar process for months now, there have still been moments of despair where giving up appeared more tempting than continuing. To help stay strong, she built herself an incredible network of support made up of family and friends. Apart from cheering her on, they've also provided some tough love when those dark days tried to move in. In the end, though, the support could only do so much. The ultimate choice to keep going has been in her hands this whole time. It's her that's had to push through and rise above, something that no amount of cheering can accomplish.
Kimberlee is a prime example of internal strength, discipline and fortitude. I am beyond proud of what she has done and am excited to see what she will do.
Probably the hardest part of figuring out what the hell to do is wading through all of the bullsh*t scattered across the internet. From websites labeled "Healthy Eating" and "Bodybuilding" to general interest forums, it's a cacophony of noise that can end up hurting your goals more than helping them.
If you do want to do your own research on a subject, here's what to avoid and what to look for.
Advice with No Evidence
In terms of physical fitness, evidence, to me, means a picture of their body. Anyone can post anonymously about how they cut at 4,000 calories and weigh 135 with 0% body fat. Few would be able to point out that 4,000 would never drop anyone down to 135 and that 0% body fat is extremely unhealthy.
If you don't know whether to trust a response, check to see if they've ever posted progress photos of themselves. If they haven't, ignore them and move on. Right or wrong, it's safer to assume they're lying until they prove otherwise.
Advice from Bribery
Even if they post pictures, you still need to be wary. There are those out there that post really bad, really biased information due to marketing deals they've signed (we all gotta eat). They'll talk about specific supplements paired with a diet that only totals out to 1200 calories.
My rule of thumb is that if a pro suggests a product anywhere in their article/response, they are being paid to do so. Real masters (and this goes for every subject) know that there's no special product to get you what you want. Real masters give astounding advice through very generalized bits of information that can apply to anyone.
If you're looking for a specific answer, look in more than one place. Even if you feel you gained everything you needed from a simple comment by Schwarzenegger on Reddit, find answers on at least two other sites. It's not that Arnold's advice was bad. It's that it might be incomplete. By piecing together the whole picture, you save yourself from making potentially costly mistakes.
Go For the Source
If you feel really confused about something, pinpoint the origin of the proposed fact. Is it pulled from a study? Is their conclusion accurately summarized? Is it a quote some famous person said long ago? This will give you better standing when trying to figure out if the information is worth using or not.
A Note on Research
Never stop asking, "why?" Though this simple questions opens more rabbit holes than closes doors, it is your key to really learning how to sift through swathes of information. The more you know about a subject, the easier it will be to find what you're looking for.
Do I need to eat breakfast?
Does it matter when I eat breakfast?
Does breakfast kickstart my metabolism?
Should I eat a few big meals or a lot of small meals?
When should I eat?
Should I keep dinner light or heavy?
Do I have to eat before I workout?
Should I eat protein, carbs or fats at different times during the day?
A Note on Eating
Your eating schedule is not nearly as important as how much you eat. Period. You want to lose weight? You need to make sure you eat fewer calories. You want to gain weight? You eat more calories. It's that simple. Does it matter when these calories enter your body? No. The only thing that matters is that by the time you go to bed, you've hit your goal.
Why, then, are there so many theories? Most follow studies that show certain habits can help people stick with their diets. It's not that the timed eating causes weight gain or loss at all. It's just that these tendencies may make it easier for you to stay on track. This article does a great job of summarizing the major issues surrounding studies on the topic. "Simply put, the question of whether there is a health benefit from the consumption of multiple small meals will ultimately depend on how much energy is consumed, as opposed to how often or how regularly one eats."
To stay motivated, it is a popular practice to quote those that have achieved success. It's a social media's best friend, jiving with the trivial attention spans we are so prone to have.
But offer up such a bite-sized bit of wisdom and you fail to taste everything. You fail to see the years of sweat, tears, desperation, fears and hopelessness wiped away in a brief moment as this human tries to summarize an entire life's work into a mere sentence. They distill founts of knowledge into a single, easy-to-digest piece of wisdom that can be felt by those that have not yet tasted glory and understood by those that have.
So next time you read a line inspiring you to be better than you are, know that when you decide 'yes, I will', you begin working on a life that will one day culminate in such a phrase. You will feel the liters of sweat, years of aches and immeasurable loneliness. You will weep tears of joy, scream in excitement and swell with pride.
And though your contribution to this world will be different, make sure it happens. You're already here making an imprint. Your voice changed the environment when you first screamed as a child. Until you pass on, your actions will ripple outward -- be it as slight as complimenting a stranger or as enormous as guiding a nation. Why waste this opportunity to end with an unclear statement on living when you can build it into something that will live on without out?
Don't get to the end wondering if you could have been strong enough to make an impact.
Get to the end knowing you were.
You've only got 30 minutes in your day to get a full body workout in. What do you do?
Do you want to get built or do you want to get lean?
Get Built Routine
Warm up: 5:00
This is a solid warm up but feel free to do your own if you have one.
3x8-12 Inverted Row
3x8-12 Pike Press
*REST 30-60 SECONDS BETWEEN SETS*
Cool down: 5:00
Jessica Smith is a personal favorite of mine.
Get Lean Routine
Do cardio for 30 minutes. There should be a warm up and cool down at the start and finish.
Literally any of these videos will do what you want so long as it gets your heart bumping.
Do steady state. Do intervals. Do whatever you find most enjoyable. The only stipulation is that you have to be breathing hard through most of it. Because of this, if you go with lighter cardio, expect to have to find a more intense regime about a month later.
A pervasive thought in the workout world is the idea that the more you cut, the more ripped you'll look. And it makes logical sense. After all, on a cut, you reduce your caloric intake. What most people don't realize (and I'm talking mostly to the girls out there) is that cutting too much can have deleterious effects. Going too low means your body just doesn't have enough to do what you want it to do.
How Low is Too Low?
For both male and females, 1200-1400 calories per day is far too low. Even 1500 is pushing it, depending on your general size. There are many lifters out there that consider 2,000 and even 3,000 calories per day to be a cut.
A good way to check if your calorie count is good for you is to pay attention to if you begin to plateau in your weight loss but feel extremely hungry most of the time. In this case, cutting would make you question your sanity and, while a challenge, you should never feel like you're going to whither away into nothingness. This is a sign that you've gone too low to sustain your current activity levels.
Gain to Lose
If you've plateaued but are at a pretty low daily calorie count, add 100 calories and see what happens. This is usually a good way to help you get back to losing. And I know this might make your mind recoil in horror as you imagine reversing your hard-earned progress, but the truth of the matter is if you cut too far, you'll lose your progress anyway. At least if you add more, you won't lose your muscle gains.
And 100 calories is not a lot to add. One pound is 3500 calories. 100 calories is only 0.029% of that.
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.