It’s not what you think. Typically articles like this lay out a bunch of crappy no-brainer generalized suggestion disguised as “rules” and either you follow them already or never will. I couldn’t do that to you because I can’t stand when a writer does it to me. Instead I’m just going to give you the low down on the “rules for using rules to get fit and stay that way.” How does that sound? I only have three of them which means you should get through this quickly so can get back to Facebook and Twitter.
Rule #1 – YOU Write the Rules
Here’s the deal. Generally speaking everyone knows what it takes to get fit. It’s a widely known fact that eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and rest can result in a body that looks just as good as it functions. Where things get murky is in the details. There are no steadfast “rules” for how much or how little of everything we need so it’s up to us to write our own rules.
Rule #2 – The Rules Must Be Clear
People who are on the exceptional side of the fitness scale are not lucky. At least–they are no more lucky than those that are on the piss poor side of the scale are unlucky. The difference is their rules.
I can’t feel sorry for those that have horrible health and are out of shape because they don’t give a shit about holding themselves to any sort of standard. Not those that are born with disease or a defect, those who control their destiny…like the other 96% of us. Who I do feel sorry for are those who desperately want to have greater health and fitness but can’t seem to get out of their own way. They exercise, they eat “healthy”, they sip on their water throughout the day and they even manage to get some sleep each night. I feel sorry for them because they haven’t yet “got it”.
The differentiating factor between the group that wishes to have it and the group that has it or on their way to getting it, is how specific their rules are. Here’s an example of “the rules” as explained by an individual from each of the two groups.
The “I can’t seem to get myself fit no matter what I try” individual:
- Eat healthy most of the time.
- Do some exercise every day.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- I should snack less and eat smaller meals.
- I need to drink more water.
The “I have (or I’m on my way to having) a strong and healthy body” individual:
- I must eat 4-5 times a day.
- Every time I eat I must have at least 20 g. of protein, 20-30 g. of carbs, and 5-8 g. of fat.
- I must keep my calories at or under 1,600 a day 5 out of 7 days a week.
- Only 2 cheat meals a week.
- I must weight train for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- If I go out with friends I only have 2 alcoholic drinks and then I drink water the rest of the time.
- Never get less than 6 hours of sleep a night.
- Drink no less than 64 oz. of water a day.
Don’t we all know two people like this! One whose rules are vague and bendable and one who sticks to a specific set of measurable rules or guidelines. It’s not by luck or chance that some people are fit while others are fat. It’s the rules by which each person lives his/her life that determines the direction they move in.
Rule #3 – If You Don’t Know What Your Rules Should Be, GET HELP
It’s not easy these days to separate the bullshit from the rational diet, exercise and lifestyle advice. There are certain things which are obvious and backed by years of research, like smoking cigarettes increases your risk for Cancer. Other things such as the ideal diet or exercise program are not so obvious because there are so many of them. And the truth is, just as many work as those that don’t work, and some require a lot of time and effort and others are efficient and easy to follow.
Get help from people who follow a specific set of rules themselves and are successful. What they do may or may not be the perfect fit but at least you can glean from their approach what rules work for you and which ones might need to be replaced or adjusted for your objectives. Not everyone can comply with all the rules or enjoy the foods on a Paleo Diet thus they will not be successful with it long-term. Finding a nutrition and exercise approach that will achieve your health and fitness objectives and make long-term compliance with your rules agreeable should be the goal.
Rules Can Change
Is it possible to have a different sets of rules depending upon external circumstances? Absolutely! My rules for how I eat on vacation are different from my every day rules and those rules are different from my rules during bodybuilding competition prep. However what’s important to note is how much the rules change based on you circumstances and how often does it happen.
I know people who are excellent when they are home and on a predictable schedule but they also go away every 6-8 weeks for one or more weeks at a time and during such time they are completely erratic with their eating, exercise, and rest. When they get back home they begin the process of being excellent again but it only gets them back to where they were before they left. Their condition never improves beyond a certain point and so they remain frustrated. If they are to make a permanent shift in their condition then they need to adjust their “away rules”.
What Are Your Rules?
If you came here to get some specific answers, some direction on what you need to do differently to get fit and fabulous then you’re probably pissed off at me. You’re probably saying, “WTF Lipowski, couldn’t you just tell me what the ______ I need to do instead of this pansy ass cryptic shit that makes me have to think?” The truth is yes I could’ve given you a list of rules but those would have been MY rules, based on what I believe to be ideal for ME. You need to come up with your own…but if it makes you feel better I’ll leave you with a few of mine.
- I must consume a minimum of 1 g. of protein and 1.5–2 g. of carbs per pound of body weight each day (off-season).
- I must take in 25+ g. of fiber every day.
- I must drink at least 100 ounces of water each day (125-250 ounces during competition prep).
- I must weight train three times per week.
- I must log my workouts so I can measure my progress from week to week.
- I must get at least 6 hours of sleep each night Mon-Fri, and 8 hours a night on the weekend.
- I can have 2 heavy cheat meals a week in the off-season but none during competition prep (I will have 1-2 re-feed meals instead).
- I must stay within 10-15 lbs. of my competition weight during the off-season.
- If I lose my way or overindulge on vacation or during the holidays then I must get back on my diet as long as needed to return to “normal”.
- I must take my vitamins and supplements every day.
- I must read food labels and make myself aware of what is in the foods I consume.
- I must avoid consuming artificial sweeteners or using products containing toxic chemicals.
Although these are not all my rules I think you get the idea and I hope that adopting one or two of them as your own can prove beneficial for you.