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Building A Body You Can Live In

A question I get often is Peter, how did you get the body you have? Where did you start?  I say-from the foundation up!  Building a great body is similar to building a great house.  If you do it right, you have something very special that you can live in for a long time.  Here are some simple principles to help you build a body you can live in, for life! Planning: Any good builder will tell you that much of their work is done before they ever break ground on the job site.  Too many people start their fitness plan without a blue print. They have a picture in their mind of the goal, but a fuzzy plan of how to get there.  The fact that you are reading this article tells me that you are already ahead of the curve.  By picking up this issue, you have in your hand a valuable resource filled with information that is ready to be put into use.  Now the question is where do you start?  I recommend you find an Exercise Physiologist or Personal Trainer in your area that can give you a basic fitness evaluation or at least a body composition test.  This way you know where you are starting in terms of body fat and lean tissue.  With this information you can begin to set goals.  Don’t just focus on your long-term goals.  Set short-term goals as well.  Each time you reach one of these goals, you are that much closer to your ultimate destination.  Sit down with a calendar and your list of goals and put them on paper.  At the same time, start scheduling your workouts.  Be realistic about frequency, time of day and duration.  Be specific and put it in the books.  Make an appointment with yourself that you won’t break. Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned veteran you can benefit from professional help.  Consider hiring a personal trainer.  Even if it is only for a few sessions, they can act as your architect and help you draw up a blue print and make sure you are using the tools properly. Each workout should be planned.  Before you even walk in the gym you need to know what you are going to work on that day.  Stick to this plan as close as you can. Laying the Foundation: Just like your house, if you don’t build a solid foundation, you will have problems down the road.  Not one of my body building titles was won overnight.  It took years of hard work and trial and error.  When building your foundation, you need to address all aspects of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and body composition.  By developing these core areas, you will be able to work at a higher intensity with each of your sessions.  This will allow you to progress faster.  The other key to your foundation is mastering proper form.  It is far more important to use correct form than to lift heavy weights.  With the right form and intensity you can make a lighter weight feel like a boulder. Selecting the Best Materials: By materials I mean the food and supplements that you put into your body.  There is a term used in the computer industry, “Garbage In Garbage Out.”  This definitely holds true in bodybuilding.  If you don’t make the best choices at mealtime, you will never reach your full potential.  Many people will sacrifice gaining some fat in order to put on muscle.  I however prefer to stay as close to my ideal body fat percentage as possible all year long.  Even when trying to add muscle, I look for quality lean proteins.  When you are working out, your body breaks down protein.  If you don’t provide it with a replacement via your diet, you will cause a catabolic effect.  Your muscles will not rebuild themselves; in fact this can lead to a loss of lean tissue.  Keep your diet balanced.  Try to incorporate protein, low glycemic carbs and healthy fats into each meal.  Break your food into five to six small meals each day.  The body can only utilize between thirty and forty grams of protein in two to three hours.  When you are trying to take in the quantity of protein needed to promote muscle growth, you have to use your head.  Just like you plan your workouts, you need to make a daily menu for yourself.  Many a bodybuilder has been side tracked by poor planning.  Know what you need to eat with each meal and prepare it in advance whenever possible.  Pack your food with you each day and plan for an emergency in case you are in a position where you have to miss a regular meal.  Protein bars and pre-mixed shakes are great for this.  However, try to get as much of your protein from real foods as you can. Supplements are a great addition to any diet plan, but as the name suggests, they are there to supplement your regular eating.  When selecting different sports supplements, you need to watch out for wild claims.  Look to reputable companies.  Do your homework.  Some builders choose to cut corners to save time and money.  Some bodybuilders use the same thinking by taking steroids.  The results may be quicker and easier, but like anything that is built poorly, there are too many potential problems in the future. I am confident that if you incorporate these principles into your lifestyle your results will be worth the effort.  Remember you can always buy a different house, but you only have one body from cradle to grave.  Make it one you want to live in for the rest of your life. For more health, fitness and nutrition tips check out Peter’s nationally syndicated health and fitness show Peter’s Principles.  For more information on Peter’s show or his products go to www.petersprinciples.com .

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