Diet and Supplements!
One of the hardest parts about staying fit is keeping your diet in mind. With fast food being so easily available and in most cases, cheap, it's hard not to give in. But eating healthy is one of, if not THE most important part to staying fit and even gaining mass. Think about it this way, food is fuel. If you had a beautiful new car and wanted the best mileage and performance out of it, you need to get the supreme fuel. If you want the best milage and performance out of your body, you need to eat the right foods. Eat a lot of lean meats like turkey, and a lot of vegetables as well. If you don't like eating vegetables alone, do what I do and make wraps with meat and vegetables. Don't go out and get one at a fast food place though, make your own with meat that has no preservatives. Now don't get me wrong - indulging in some fast food every now and then is perfectly okay, just try to make eating healthy a habit, it becomes easier and you will feel much better. Also, instead of eating the traditional three meals a day, try to eat 6 meals a day of smaller portions. Not only does it make you feel less bloated throughout the day, it increases your metabolism.
As for supplements, when trying to gain muscle protein is your top priority. There are many things you can pick at a health store but if you want to keep the budget low just stick to protein. Personally I use whey protein, it tastes great and does the job, and also its not too expensive. For a 4.4 lbs tub it will run you about 50$ bucks a pop. But this will obviously last you a very long time. If you don't want to dish out that much you can get smaller tubs as well. Try not to get soy based protein either because when you mix it, it tends to become very chalky and is not the greatest on the taste buds.
Making shakes are a great way to get some extra fruit into your diet as well. When you're mixing up a protein shake, throw in a few bananas or whatever your fruit of choice is. As to how many you should have - on days you work out drink one about an hour before you start, and one before bed. And on rest days just drink one before bed, or don't have one at all, it's your choice.
Sometimes you just can't make it to the gym, I know, and you may not have the cash just yet to buy a whole bunch of equipment, or maybe you just don't have the room for it. So here are some tips and routines you can use at home to still stay in shape and even gain muscle mass. Keep in mind that results may be a bit longer to notice, and may take a little more effort to obtain than if you had the equipment, you can still stay in shape. So if you can get to the gym, do so. On that note, here are some tips for your workout:
1. Increase reps.
When you don't have the weights and equipment, do more reps than you normally would. When doing a set of push ups for example, do as many as you can. Find the right amount of reps where the last two or three, you should really have to struggle for.
Look for something around your house that you can use - be creative. For example, using a book bag full of books for doing curls, or put it on your back when you do push ups. Another example would be using two benches, or even chairs, for dips (Put your feet on one chair and arch your knees, on the other chair hold yourself up with your arms, now dip down using your arms to push yourself back up. great for triceps).
3. Decrease rest time.
In between sets its good to take a few minutes for your muscles to recover, but if you really want to push yourself just take 30 or 40 seconds in between sets. This goes for taking days off as well. If you feel your workout is not up to par, do it more often, instead of taking two or three days off a week, just take one. But you need at least one day for your body to recover and be healthy.
Here's an example of a routine I started off doing, that you can do anywhere.
Push ups - 20 reps - 3 sets
Pull ups - 10 reps - 2 sets
Dips - 15 reps - 3 sets
Squats - 20 reps - 3 sets
Calf raises - 30 reps - 3 sets
Crunches / Sit ups - 15 reps - 3 sets
Keep in mind that you should adjust this in any way to better fit your standards. Make sure that the last few reps of each set, you're really pushing for. If it don't burn, you won't earn. Remember to rest at least a little while between each set as well, especially just starting out.
The hardest part of all is staying motivated. I'm guilty of this myself, it's so easy to not workout, to not eat right, and when you rest, to just keep on resting. But if you're really serious about shaping up, you have to stay motivated. Do whatever you have to do and when you start seeing results, it will be worth it, and trust me, it gets easier!
That's all I have for you right now, thanks for your time. Hopefully you found some use in this article and it helps you.
Stay fit, stay motivated, and most of all, have fun!