The 1% Solutions
It doesn’t take comprehensive research for you to come to the realisation that if you want to do some exercise, lose weight, get fit, whack on some muscle or change your body composition, there’s a whole host of people out there who are falling over themselves to sell you a “miracle solution” to your needs.
You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. If you have ever had the misfortune to find yourself tuned in to late night TV, you might have seen a retired martial-arts legend or two plugging a cheaply-made, fold-away training solution that gets you lean and ripped with hardly any effort at all! Or perhaps you’ve had your inbox spammed with over-enthusiastic, bubbly sentiments, singing the praise of some obscure Andean herb or root that the sender just happens to be the only known supplier of, but it’ll absolutely, definitely help you lose weight, because it worked for some pop star you don’t really care about.
I’m finding it hard to go anywhere on the internet at the moment without seeing advertisements for some “miracle” pill that is apparently upsetting doctors everywhere. I haven’t taken the time to find out why they’re reacting so badly to it, I just ignore this stuff these days. Perhaps you’ve been innocently doing your shopping in the supermarket and have been suddenly face to face with a collection of pills, potions and infusions, all of which guarantee weight loss just as long as you buy them now and don’t read the fine print?
I’m not going to say they don’t work at all, they’re just not a self-contained solution, they’re not a magic pill you can take and achieve the body of your dreams while you sit on the sofa eating ice-cream and watching repeats of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Nonetheless, this is how they are marketed to us.
I call them the 1% solutions. I call them that because they might work, but only fractionally. You can’t use them as your sole solution. You need to master the fundamentals first, you need to have them nailed, then you can start looking at the add-ons that might be right for you.
Think of it like this; imagine a table, laid out in readiness for a huge Indian feast. The cutlery and crockery are out, the napkins are folded, and in the middle of the table is an abundance of silver dishes, containing raita, chutneys, pickles, sauces, and those finely diced vegetables that no-one knows exactly what to do with. But there’s no food. No-one’s actually taken the time to cook the curries these condiments are meant to be served with. They’re delicious, and they will enhance the experience of the meal, but without the meal itself they’re nothing.
These are your 1% solutions. They might have value, but without the fundamentals, without the meal itself, they’re nothing. They’re certainly not worth shelling out your hard-earned cash on.
What You Need to Know
So I’m angrily banging on about these 1% solutions being not all they’re cracked up to be, but I haven’t really gone into much in the way of specifics regarding these fundamentals I believe are so important, have I?
Well here they are right now, everything you should have an answer for before you ever consider looking at pills, potions, or internet marketed “solutions.”
What are you eating? Food is your body’s fuel. If you feed it inferior fuel, you yield inferior results. Plenty of lean protein, a wide range of nutritious vegetables. Aim to have a wide selection of different colours represented in the vegetables on your plate. Lots of simple, natural foodstuffs. Make these the backbone of your everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s no point chasing a greasy, drive-thru burger with a weight-loss shake, it ain’t gonna work for you. Supplement with high quality products only once your diet is already of a similarly high-quality.
So you fuelled your body, time to get it moving. Build your lean muscle mass through resistance exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to become massively muscular if you don’t want to, no-one ever turned into a bodybuilder by accident, but a little more lean muscle means a faster metabolism, which means more fat burned while you rest. Follow that up with some high-intensity interval training, and you’ll have the figure of your dreams before you know it.
That’s right, drink water. I don’t care what fish do in it, you need it. It keeps your body and mind functioning, it helps maintain energy levels, and it’s essential to a wide range of bodily functions, including the transportation of nutrients. So if you don’t want all that good food to be wasted, drink water.
I’ve been told a million times, “Well my mate Dave sleeps til three every day. He must be the fittest bloke on the planet.”
I don’t know Dave, but I’ll bet he’s not. I’m talking about good, high-quality recovery sleep. After a day full of good, nutritious meals, plenty of water, and an awesome session of well thought out and demanding exercise, recovery is essential. Aim for seven to eight hours every night. Personally, I function best when I get to bed early and get up early.
Inherent in these basics is the path to 100% of your goals. If you truly find it only gets you 99% of the way there then maybe, just maybe, you could look at some of the 1% solutions. Or you could drop the Friday night beer and pump out another deadlift when your trainer tells you to.
Are you not achieving the results you want? Have always struggled with your nutrition? Training hard but still not losing that stubborn belly fat?
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