Stop Being an Amateur When It Comes To Your Body
Treat your body like you treat your dearest investments.
Antonio Parente Jr
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” — Socrates
There is no escape. The hallmark of good self-care is a strong and beautiful body. If you’re not strong and beautiful, you’re doing something wrong.
In other words, you’re being an amateur.
Amateurs believe details don’t matter, but professionals know they do
You go to the gym and the instructor tells you to use a certain load and do three series of 12 reps each. What do you do? You do as he says. After all, he’s the instructor, right?
But, hey, where did he take that from? Why not a higher load? Why not 10 or 15 reps? Why three sets?
You may think all this doesn’t matter, but it does. Tremendously. It can be the difference between seeing notable progress after a few months to seeing no progress at all.
Thinking all those details don’t matter would be the equivalent of thinking it doesn’t matter in which fund you invest your money.
You don’t do that with your money, right? Of course not. Who would be that crazy? You scrutinize the details, for you know they matter. You go deep.
In other words, you act like a pro.
But, when it comes to your most critical asset, your body, suddenly it doesn’t matter.
You act like an amateur.
C’mon, man, it doesn’t make any sense.
Stop running on the treadmill for 30 min every day. Stop doing those three sets of 12 reps. Stop eating honey in the morning because you heard “it is good for your health”.
Study, learn the principles, apply them. Repeat.
Now, good news: similarly to what happens money game, it is possible to have a head start in the “master your body” game by avoiding the most common mistakes.
“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like Warren Buffett and myself have gottenby trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.” — Charlie Munger
Start by not being stupid
In what follows, I’ll just scratch the surface by sharing some common mistakes people do. Keep in mind you’ll have to dig deeper if you want to turn pro.
Common mistake #1: not knowing the difference between carbs, protein, and fat
It is incredible how people are clueless about macronutrients.
A friend of mine — very smart by the way — was astonished when I told him that honey is essentially sugar and water. To this day, I still wonder what was he thinking.
I’m not saying honey is unhealthy. I love honey, but I know what it is made of. When I eat it, I know I’m eating carbs in the form of sugar.
Same thing about fruits. While they’re delicious and provide micronutrients like vitamins, they are mainly composed of sugar (fructose) and water. They’re a sort of diluted candy. Enjoy, just don’t indulge.
What about you? Do you have as least a rough idea of which macronutrients (fats, carbs, and protein) you are ingesting when you eat a slice of pizza? If not, go fix that. MyFitnessPal can help you.
Common mistake #2: believing all carbs, protein, and fat are created equal
I’ll be brief because this can become insanely boring real quick.
What you need to know is simple: there are the good guys and the bad guys.
- Fats: olive oil = good guy, trans fat = bad guy
- Carbs: sweet potato = good guy, sugar = bad guy
- Protein: albumin = good guy, soy protein = bad guy
Educate yourself and keep your eyes open. With time, you’ll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Common mistake #3: fats are bad for your health
You just learned about the good and the bad guys. But sadly, for reasons that would take too long to cover here, all fats have been labeled as bad guys.
Talk about injustice.
Don’t fall for this lie. Fats are essential for your body’s proper functioning. Not only they are the building blocks of your hormones, but your brain also adores them.
So, time to reintroduce fats into your diet. In this article, I present six healthy fats you’re probably missing.
Common mistake #4: exercising to lose weight
This is HUGE. Maybe the most common mistake ever.
I’ll be direct: to lose weight, dieting beats exercising every time.
Look, I’m not saying exercising is useless. Far from it. It is good for you and you should definitely be doing it.
Trying to lose weight by exercising is like trying to put a nail in the wood with a screwdriver. Why not use a hammer? And the hammer in this case is dieting.
Quick hint: keep a minimum protein intake of 1g per pound of body weight to minimize muscle loss.
Common mistake #5: not understanding how your muscles grow
Remember those three sets of 12 reps? Forget about it.
By the way, forget about the treadmill before strength training too. This cardio session is only robbing precious energy that could be used to lift more weight. And there is more: you don’t need that for warming up.
Being extra brief, your muscles grow when they are correctly stimulated by mechanical tension. Besides that, you need to ingest a minimum of protein and be gaining weight. You also need to give your muscles plenty of time to recover.
It would be impractical to delve into more details here. Luckily for you, I wrote this article (also available as an e-book). There, I also shared how I came up with an athletic body with only two 45-minute sessions per week.
Would you invest your money in a fund just because you heard “it is good for your money”?
Of course not.
Then, do yourself a favor and don’t eat/do something just because you heard “it is good for your body”.
Start by avoiding the most common mistakes.
Quit being an amateur.
Be as professional with your body as you are with your money.
Originally published in In Fitness And In Health.
Antonio Parente Jr