I’ve never been the guy that's going to post a bathroom mirror selfie, but bear with me here, because I do have a great reason......
I don't look like this because I measure out my protein or take some crazy supplements. I look like this because I made the decision to change my life by learning how my body works. It wasn't a mystery, I just had to put in the work. I’ve been involved with athletics, in some fashion, since I could walk. After high school I decided I was tired of being the skinny kid and started to lift weights. Without any real knowledge of nutrition, my improvement hit a frustrating plateau after a year.
Turns out, abs are a lot harder to come by when McDonalds and alcohol are regular visitors in your body.
I decided that it was time to take it to the next level. I spent the next two years making nutrition and fitness a giant part of my life. In doing that, I now know, infinitely, more about my body and how it reacts to different foods.
During that time I went over the top to transform myself. Counting macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), preparing all my meals, never skipping the gym, and going a year without a drop of alcohol (a difficult task for a recently graduated male). It was during that time that I gained the fundamental nutrition knowledge that's going to allow me to stay fit for the rest of my life. The best part? Once your body has reached a point that you're happy with, keeping it that way can be easy. Drastic lifestyle changes may seem daunting for some, but it's the shift in mindset that's going to set you up for success. In that time, I not only gained healthier eating habits, but I have also learned how my body works, specifically by tracking and experimenting with food.
What I'd like to get across is that I now live far from that “hardcore” fitness lifestyle. I got to a point where I was happy with my body and was able to stay lean year around simply because I know a little about food, and more importantly, my body. I still eat pizza. I love candy. Cinnamon rolls are my shit and I'm still able to eat whatever, as long as it's in moderation.
A few years may seem like a long time (depending on how old you are), but by devoting yourself to your health, you'll gain the insight that will keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. I urge you all to dedicate some of this year to nutrition. Even understanding the fundamentals of nutrition will put you ahead of most Americans, including most of your doctors. This isn't about getting ripped. It's about feeling good. It's about having energy all day and it's about keeping your body alkaline to reduce the risk of cancer.
I'll leave you with a challenge that anyone can do - DRINK FRESH JUICE! The average diet in the US is so incredibly nutrient void, that drinking just 2-3 juices a week will make a big difference. Stay consistent and you'll have friends noticing that you're literally starting to glow.
“Juicing is for vegans, not bodybuilders!”. In fact, juicing can be a great way to increase those mad gainz you’ve been searching for. One of the largest issues with the average American diet, is that by eating processed foods without vegetables, your metabolism is destroyed. The result is a poor digestive system and a dramatic reduction in absorption of nutrients. I’d imagine you’ll want to get the most of all that chicken and rice you’ve been forcing down for the past 3 months.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge into juicing at home, drop into Ruby Jean’s. Their team has an infectious energy for health and will be happy to help you on your juicing journey. Their Spartan Performance Shake has been a staple in my post workout routine since they’ve opened.
I’ll leave you with a few Ruby Jean’s recipes that cater to all my fellow gym rats:
• No Sweat - watermelon, apple, lime
This sweet little treat is going to help cleanse the kidneys. Cleaning out your kidneys helps them to work more efficiently at producing and releasing several hormones, including testosterone.
• Veg Out - kale, celery, cucumber, carrots, beets, ginger
The iron content of this juice is going to help purify and cleanse your blood cells. If your blood is full of toxins it cannot efficiently deliver oxygen to muscle tissues. Also, it’s delicious.
I wish you all your healthiest year yet, here’s to 2017.