Training, diet tips to remember in summer

Vinny Vasquez

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat again. You cannot run to get in shape, you must be in shape to run. There are many low-impact activities you could benefit from without destroying your joints and lower extremities.

Grabbing a dumbbell and holding it to your side while you bend side to side does about as much for your abs as being on Facebook does for finishing your homework.

Bench press is the “king” of exercises (sadly) in most gyms, and there’s always a line of people trying to use a bench (especially on Mondays – the unofficial National Chest and Biceps day). But please keep in mind you have some pretty big back muscles that also need to be worked. As a general rule of thumb, whatever amount of work (number of sets) you do for your chest, you should always do for your back muscles. That said, if an exercise hurts your (insert body part here), STOP doing the exercise.

If you want to look like an athlete, you’ll have to start training like one. Which brings me to training environment, a primordial aspect for success and often severely underrated. If you are a guy trying to get super strong, find a gym with super strong guys and join it ASAP. An environment with pop music and teenagers doing zillions of curls is not very motivating.

On a related note, one-on-one training is dead. In the next few months look out for “private group” options to pop up all over the place, in this type of set-up you train at the same time along with two or three people with similar goals. Not only will you pay less per session as a client, but you will also be able to compete and push each other. Everybody wins.

Lastly, stick to a training program. “Training ADD” is rather common nowadays as it only takes one article (and a bunch of pictures) in a magazine to completely sell a poor guy/girl on a “Monster Bi’s & Tri’s” program that is probably only done by a professional bodybuilder on a vast arsenal of drugs.

On diet:

We all had to start somewhere. Cutting all major C’s like Coke (all sodas), cookies, cake, ice cream, or basically anything with lots of sugar and/or fat is always a good strategy for beginners. You can ease in by removing one thing at a time or by predetermining a set amount of days every week when you will allow yourself to let loose. Before you know it, you will have a completely different dietary lifestyle and the junk you used to eat everyday will now be the exception.

There’s no miracle diet. The most effective diets are the less fancy ones and those that sound pretty boring. That said, always remember, the best diet is the one you can stick to the longest. Be patient, compliance is critical. The faster a diet works, the higher the chances that weight loss will come back once you return to your old habits. Making lifestyle changes, not quick diets, is the most important things for long-term weight reduction. ? ? ?

On cheating on your diet…say you had a birthday party on Thursday night and you pretty much blew your diet. No biggie. The right thing to do is move on and just get back on track the next day. However, if you have that “I’ll just start back up on Monday” mentality, I’m afraid you will never see significant results. If you had a tire blow out on your car, would you get out and start pinching the other three? That’s what happens when you decide to wait until Monday.

Finally, enjoy your summer and make it a productive one, I know I will. Spend time with your family if you can and get ready for the upcoming fall semester. You can never be too ready or know too much. Don’t forget: progress never stops.