My wife recently restarted her fitness journey and after going hard for a week she was grounded by illness over the weekend. What happened? It was a typical case of hard training combined with hard dieting that led to suppressed immunity. I've been a victim myself chasing ridiculous targets like losing a kilogram a day 😣. Extreme I know, but like many of you I wanted results quickly and like my wife, I soon learnt a humbling lesson and that is; progress should be gradual.
What happens when you overdo it?
How should you approach things?
Eat sufficiently to support your training OR train at an appropriate intensity that doesn't exceed your decreased nutrition, but gently helps your weight loss efforts. It's a balancing act that you must get right. Avoid combining hard training with hard dieting. You can go hard in one but keep it moderate with the other.
You just can't "train like a horse and eat like a bird". You're asking for problems.
I grew up believing the infomercials I saw on TV, the pictures and articles I saw and read in magazines. All you had to do was swallow this pill or mix this powder in your favourite drink and it would change your body from the inside out overnight. I genuinely believed that’s all it took and I spent my money on supplements waiting on my body to dramatically change. And when I didn’t see results I increased my investment in a whole cocktail of supplements. It took me a while to break down supplementation and understand what works and what doesn’t.
It's something you take before you work out to give you a little and sometimes big boost ⚡. These are fantastic 'switch on' supplements that can elevate your training by giving you energy and motivation to push harder. However, not all pre-workouts are created equal and not everyone responds the same to them. I'm not loyal to any specific pre-workout, I just look out for a reasonable combination of the following ingredients at these dosages to ensure energy, focus and a pump:
Creatine Monohydrate 🦍
Creatine is one of the few powdered supplements that have been thoroughly researched and proven to work. It helps improve strength, power, and muscle mass. Extensive studies have found that it is safe to consume long term without negative effects.
⚠️ Keep it simple and avoid other 'advanced' forms of creatine. It's not that they don't work, but that they just don't don't give you the same value for money. Stick to plain old creatine monohydrate.
Whey Protein 💪🏾
Protein is effective for muscle recovery and building muscle. The most important thing is the quantity and quality of protein consumed daily. 2g of protein x your bodyweight in kgs will give you a daily protein target to aim for. Depend on food first and supplement with protein to make up the difference where you fall short. How will you know? Download the Nutritionix app or Myfitnesspal app on your phone and start logging what you eat at each meal. You'll get a rough estimate of how much protein you're ingesting and if it falls short of the calculation outlined you may want to consider supplementing. If you don't fall short, then don't supplement. More isn't better.
I typically take 2-4 servings per day in addition to the food I already eat. I use protein supplements in specific phases and training blocks to cut weight and recover from sessions quickly during certain periods i.e. Summer Shredding. Outside of that it's just not that serious for me, it shouldn't be for you either.
Fat Burners 🔥
Great short-term options that mostly get the job done by acting as appetite suppressants and metabolism boosters. The stimulant versions of these products are a lot more effective than the non-stimulant versions. Be wary of excessive stimulants if you're taking both a fat burner and a pre-workout. One of them should be stimulant free if you want to combine the two because believe me when I tell you that overstimulation is not a sexy feeling.
⚠️ Pay attention to your mood on fat burners. If you don't feel good there's likely something in the product that doesn't agree with you. You might want to abandon ship and switch until you find what works for you.
Multivitamin 🌈 ✅
An insurance policy against any nutritional gaps which are more than likely for an active individual. They don't break the bank and benefits you get from them won't punch you in the face because they're are subtle but listen, they're very useful. Anyway, I'm a believer and Wellman's multivitamin (UK brand) is typically what I use. Available in local pharmacies.
Supplement World Zambia has everything you need in one store. Game stores is an alternative but it might be at a higher price point and so is Nutritech Zambia with more competitive pricing and product ranges. If you want to know more about ingredients in terms of what they do, whether they work and how much to take then read more on this on the examine.com website. It has excellent free resources to help you make an informed decision.
"Nick. This fitness life isn't for me. Nili na pressure." I didn't understand at first but she went on to further explain what she meant. Women face a number of hurdles when it comes to getting back in shape and this is how she broke it down for me:
The petty stuff
The real stuff
Ultimately when it comes to responsibility for the married or committed among us, you need your partners support. Your husband needs to step up and share responsibility whether it’s with the kids, with the cooking, cleaning - EVERYTHING. Fitness should be a shared goal.
Running and dogs
Chikwela mu gym
Restarting your fitness journey
Women and weights
Summer bodies are made in winter