Shape up and look sharp for your big day with this wedding workout advice for the main man
It’s not easy to get in your best possible shape and realise your full potential, and doing so requires discipline, knowledge and an in-depth understanding of how training, diet and other factors specifically apply to you.
This means that you need to be asking the right questions if you’re going to truly achieve your very best in the gym. Keith Mcniven, personal trainer and founder of Right Path Fitness, answers four key questions to get you started.
1. What’s the best way to improve muscle tone and definition?
The key to creating a physique that is both muscular and is also defined lies in paying close attention not just to great training methods in the gym, but also to diet and nutrition - so that bodyfat levels can be reduced to a low enough state, but without creating the kind of muscle wastage that will leave you looking undertrained with underdeveloped muscles.
Banging out the weights in the gym will always improve your muscular size, providing you get adequate levels of nutrition to back up the training. However, if you also want muscular definition the real trick lies in maintaining most, if not all, of that muscular development while stripping away body fat. That means that you have to be disciplined enough to consume high enough levels of essential nutrients, such as protein, but without consuming a high amount of calories – and this is where the real challenge lies. You’ll need to consistently eat a clean and lean diet that might mean giving up some of your favourite meals and ingredients in favour of lower calorie options. It can be tough, but this is the only way to achieve that magical combination of muscular development with a low bodyfat percentage that gives you that lean and defined look.
2. How do I get a lean body shape and cut weight without looking weedy?
The main point here is going to be getting your calorie intake right – if you regularly don’t eat enough calories, then your body is going to be forced to burn muscle for fuel, and you’ll lose muscle development that can lead to that weedy look. If, however, you consume just the right amount of calories and make sure that they come from the right kinds of nutrient sources in the right amounts, then you’ll maintain most of the muscular development that you have, but can also achieve that lean and defined look by cutting fat in all the right places.
3. How should I incorporate nutritional supplements into my training regime for best effect?
The trick with nutritional supplements, such as protein shakes, is to not overuse them – make sure you get most of your daily nutritional requirements from lean protein and complex carbohydrate sources, and just use protein shakes to top up your delivery of protein at exactly the times when it needs it the most. Prioritise protein shakes at key times such as directly after training or when you know it’s going to be difficult for you to consume a solid meal and you need a quick and easily consumed high protein source. Nothing beats a proper solid meal full of all the right nutrients when it comes to your training diet – so use protein supplements exactly as the name suggests – as a supplement to your main meals – not a replacement for them.
4. Cardio vs weights – how do I achieve the perfect balance?
This will depend largely on how much time you have to put into your training regime on a consistent basis and your specific training goals, but generally you need to be very wary of overtraining. That means not overdoing the amount of total sets and reps that you perform when doing weights in any given session, or the overall intensity of your cardio workouts when you also have to balance it with intensive weight-resistant training that will place a huge demand on the body if you are pushing yourself to your natural limits.
For most people, up to one hour of weight-resistant training a maximum of four times a week is more than enough for great results, leaving you free to work in two or three sessions of cardio either directly before or after your weight-training sessions, or inbetween. Depending on your specific goals, you might want to skew the amount of weight-resistance work or cardio one way or another – but remember the golden rule – any total amount of time in the gym above and beyond that is likely to be overtraining and more than your body can handle at a high intensity for best results. So whichever direction you decide to go in, make sure you aren’t doing too much overall.