Margolis is focused upon achieving his dream of IFBB pro status in 2014.
7 Keys to Unlock Your Next Level of Fitness
Written by Dan Margolis, Bodybuilder/Personal Trainer
When I tell people they need to train dirty, they look at me like I have three heads. Training dirty is a philosophy. It’s getting in the trenches and going to work. It’s going to the gym with a mindset and walking out with nothing left in the tank but a queasy feeling in your stomach. The feeling where you’re not sure if you’re gonna puke, or if it’s pure happiness for achieving the mission at hand. Although I love training, I look at it as work. If I go to work, I get paid, and if I don’t, you know what time it is… Broke time. I train dirty to earn that progress and get my bonuses. I train hard to get paid from my body with constant improvements. I train dirty because every fiber in my body wants to crush the guy I saw in the mirror yesterday! If you want to get paid with progress, I suggest you train dirty!
Cardio: To Be or Not to Be!
Yeah, I hate cardio as much as the next guy! That being said, it is 100% essential for most people of any fitness level. That goes for beginners to the most advanced athletes. Depending on your goals, you’ll need more or less, but that is up to you. The first step is to stop talking about starting your cardio routine and just do it already. Set a small goal to start. Start with a bike or treadmill for two 20-minute sessions a week, and take it from there. To amp it up, hit the stairmill for 45-minutes five days a week. For those who hate traditional cardio, I suggest trying the rower, ropes or using kettlebells. Give it a try, tabata style, for 40-seconds on, 20-seconds off, for three five-minute rounds. Those who think this is for girls, you won’t feel so tough then!
Eat Carbohydrates Post-Workout; Don’t Let the Atkins Fairy Steal Your Gains!
If your goal is to build muscle, the right amount of protein and carbohydrates is needed post-workout. Carbohydrates are necessary post-workout to start the recovery process and to replenish those depleted glycogen stores. Taking in the correct amount for your body will release insulin and drive those aminos directly into the muscle to start repair. This will also halt the release of cortisol, which is not our friend. Good choices for post-workout carbohydrates are Gatorade, bananas, karbolyn, or Carbomax from Nurtrabio.com.
Eat Your Weight in Protein-Gold!
If you’re new to the gym or any sports related avenue and looking to add muscle, eating the correct amount of protein is crucial! To give you the short and sticky of it, protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for your body and muscle. Your goal should be to take in a steady source of protein throughout the day. Depending on your bodyweight and goals, the total amount of grams will vary. I recommend eating 5- 7 meals daily. If you’re just getting started, try to eat .75 grams per/lb of bodyweight. For the advanced bodybuilder, I recommend 1.5 to a high-end 2.25 grams per/lb of bodyweight per day. Your choices of protein should be kept simple, but try to have a variety and keep them lean. This amount of protein should be spread throughout the day. For examples of protein, refer to these options (eggs, egg whites, chicken, lean beef, fish, seafood, turkey, buffalo, etc.). For your protein shake needs, I recommend whey isolate for meal replacements, as well as for pre-workout and post-workout. There are many forms of whey on the market currently, but for most purposes stick with whey isolate. You can’t go wrong!
Keep it Simple, Keep it Basic, Keep it Real!
I’m sure all of you have heard the saying, “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” For some reason, the fitness industry doesn’t believe in this. I’m here to tell you they are wrong. Don’t get caught up in the hype of every fitness craze or fad diet! This is about consistency, persistence, planning and the basics! Your top fitness models and athletes weight train, do cardio and diet. They are no different. Trust me, the one thing they aren’t doing is the new ab crunch from the infomercial that is promising 70 pounds of weight loss! They are training dirty! Make your plan built top to bottom with basic weight training exercises, intense cardio sessions and a diet that you can fit into your lifestyle.
Eat Breakfast Like a King!
Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day. First off, make sure you eat it. And, sorry, that coffee you’re holding just doesn’t cut it! If you’re trying to loose body fat, this meal should consist of protein, fats and fibrous carbohydrates. If you’re trying to build muscle, switch the fibrous carbohydrate out for a complex and/or simple carbohydrate. Look at these examples to give you an idea.
Fat Loss Breakfast for 150lb Female
2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites (organic free-range)
1 cup spinach
2 tbsp low fat cheese
Muscle Build Breakfast 200lb Male
4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites (organic free-range)
½ cup oatmeal
1 cup fruit
Sleep Now or Forever Hold Your ZZZZzzzzzz...
I don’t care how great your training program is, or your nutrition. If you’re not getting enough sleep, forget about progress! You will never reach your full potential. Sleep is important on so many levels, and, if you don’t get enough, you can gain body fat! This could be the most important part of any training regimen. Now, I’m not saying sleep all day or even for 10 hours a night. Who has the time for that? But 6-8 hours is crucial to reap the benefits of your hard work. Some do better with six and some do better with eight. I suggest you find the right amount for yourself and get your zzzzzz… Some great nighttime supplements are ZMA, 5-HTP and Melatonin. With those, you will fall asleep quickly, soundly and wake up ready to kill it the next day. Let’s do it!
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