Random Hero - It is good that you are out to get more healthy and have a focus, although be careful of the advice you get on a paintball site.
Just to preface, I am not a nutritionist nor am I certified personal trainer. I am physician, swam in high school, lacrosse in college, and have been lifting since I was 16 (HS, college, Army, medical school) for general fitness and appearance. I am not going to give you a fish, but hopefully give you the tools so that you can fish for yourself....
What I also did was read. A lot. Pick up books and magazines (the best for you would be Muscle and Fitness, Men's Health), although by far the best mag for what you want was Muscle Media ( http://www.musclemedia.com
), by EAS, although I do not think that they are still in circulation. They also have a program called Body-For-Life ( http://www.bodyforlife.com/
), also supported by EAS. If you do not know, EAS is one of the more scientifically minded nutrition / health food companies (they also have great PR), with real data and evidence to support many of their claims. Furthermore, Muscle Media and the Body For Life programs are not out to created these bloated, 'roid-ragin, steroid monsters, but instead a health, good-looking being that can carry their diet and exercise for life, not just a couple of months of a fad diet or exercise. Although Muscle and Fitness is full of these mass-monsters, there is loads of good advice, inspiring articles by good authors (including "The Oak" himself, Arnold), and a solid staff of contributors including PhD's, nutritionists, and trainers.
In the beginning, what you need to do is watch what you eat and exercise. Intake > output = weight loss. Period. Sure, there are people that stay thin no matter what, and some gain weight no matter what (like me), but that is because their output is varied based on their metabolism (which may be related to their relative thyroid activity), and activity level.
1. Watch what you eat - literally. Get a little notebook. Plan out your meals and plan for 4-6 meals per day, including larger snack / meal replacement bars or shakes. Log every item you eat over the course of the day, including calories and protein content, and BE TRUE TO PORTION SIZE. If you do not have a nutrition label, you can get a book with lists and lists of nutritional values (like an apple) from your book store or [gasp] library.
- Minimize processed and prepared foods: cooking your own meals allows you to limit what 'bad stuff' you eat, and you avoid things like fast foods, bagged junk, and candy.
- each meal should be as complete as possible, with carbs and proteins. Avoid one-sided meals or snacks (I used to love those orange, circus peanuts, with 0 fat, 0 protein, and gobs of sugar)
- Protein should be 1gram per lb (hence the intake log)
- For your target daily intake, first you need your baseline. Figure out what your current average daily calorie intake over a week (to get a good average). Then, for the new diet, lower the daily intake by about 300-400 calories per day. It may not drop the wieght as fast as a crash diet, but this is for long term.
- Provide for a freebie day (like Saturday or Sunday) where you can have whatever you like - just do not spend the whole day at China Buffet. This allows you to remain strict during the rest of the week. Some people, like hardcore bodybuilders with 2% body fat.
2. Cardio, cardio, cardio - run, rollerblade, bike, swim, row, whatever. Something to get your heart rate up minimum 30-45 minutes per day, 4 days per week. I like to run, it gets my endorphins, but I only long distance run once a week (5 miles in 33 minutes, with 1/2 mile cool down), while the other times I will rollerblade, sprints, swim, or bike. I personally do not believe that man was designed to run and run and run, unlike the cheetah and antelope. I also like variety.
3. Resistance training. Whether is involves getting a gym membership and doing weight training, Bowflex at home, or calisthetics (if a local track has good chin up bars, dip bars, etc). You want to get good muscle tone for multiple reasons (strength, appearance, etc). I like weights, I feel good when I lift, and that is my stress relief. I will also go to gym in a danks, smelly, basement, if that is where I have to go (my wife needs a yoga, a masseuse on premises and a whirlpool/sauna in the locker room). If you go to a gym, look at a few and try some 1-week memberships (like YMCA, Bally's, Crunch, **** Sports Club, etc). If the salesperson refuses, let them know that you may be back after looking at the others (I rarely hear of a gym refusing this trial). Also, do not get pressured into a a package you do not want. Remember, they are there to serve you, and you got the $$$$, not the other way around (some gym salespeople do not hear what you are saying....)
- you got some pretty good lifting routines. Only you will know what works for you - both what you like and what your body responds to. I like the Dorian Yates workout above, my body responds fantastically to it, and I only discovered it in a Muscle and Fitness after lifting for 4 years.
- Change the routine every 4-6 weeks, with a light cardio week in between (or something similar). This is where reading magazines with different bodybuilder's routines and splits comes in handy.
- Reassess your progress regularly - some people suggest not to weigh yourself or even look in the mirror until 12 weeks out, but my problem is that you do not know if you are going in the right direction.
- TRIAL AND ERROR - there is no perfect routine, no perfect weight, and no perfect split. If there were, we would be doing it, right?
4. Supplements. Vitamins. Meal Replacements Bars and protein shakes help with making sure that you get the protein each day can replace a meal on the go. In general, protein bars are great as a meal replacement, as they a well rounded (with carbs, protein, and some fat), and are ultra portable, while shakes are better for getting extra protein (it is easy for shakes to be only protein, or only carbs and protein). Caffeine and other stimulants are good for fat loss, but are USELESS in the absence of cardio.
Once again, a good starter resource is http://www.bodyforlife.com/
. Sure the people pictured have these amazing success sotries, but the program works, and these are the best results. There are more results that are impressive and not quite as daunting.