I am regularly asked for recommendations on how to get fit. People particularly want to know what tools I used to lose over 100 pounds, 18 inches off my waist and get fitter than I thought possible over the age of 50.
My results are not special or unique.
You can experience the same life changing results. Whether you want to lose weight, get leaner and stronger, or reduce medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, thyroid or depression.
If you make the right choices in food, activity and lifestyle, you can dramatically improve your health and fitness. Your body will transform, no matter how obese or out of shape you are right now. This is not a one month fix, or even a six month fix. Fit Apprentice is not a ‘diet'. Rather, Fit Apprentice is about learning new habits and lifestyle modifications to improve your health and fitness.
This How to Get Fit Ultimate Guide is what I wish I had when my doctor told me “You need to lose weight pronto. Your A1C level is near type 2 diabetic, your cholesterol is out of control, and you have high blood pressure. Or else, you need to be on medications.”
He had plenty of other bad news to give me, like abnormal thyroid and prostate numbers.
No matter how much I wanted to lose weight and get healthier, I just did not know how or what to do.
If you are a man or woman over 50, you are likely facing similar issues. My hope is that this guide will help you learn how to get fitter faster. Be sure to check back often as I will continue to update this guide with more tools, training, motivation strategies, services and resources that I either personally use (in most cases) or which have come highly recommended to me by people I trust.
But for now, there is more than enough here and with the recommended reading for you to get started on your journey to get fit.
#0. Get Conscious and Watch the Magic Show
If you are overweight, you eat too much and move too little. Get conscious means that you have to become aware of how much food you eat in one sitting. Your stomach does not have infinite capacity. Once you become conscious that your stomach is only about a foot long and six inches wide, you realize that you cannot stuff yourself and expect to be lean and strong.
When you eat too much food in one shot, you will also degrade your digestion capability.
Start eating more consciously and watch the magic of your body. The same intelligence that keeps your body running throughout the day will react to your new habits. Breathing, digestion, assimilation, everything in your body runs on autopilot. Your body will do the same magic to remove your excess layers of fat. As soon as you stop overloading your body with too much food, your body will respond, guaranteed. Even better, when you change the quality of your food, your body will change dramatically.
Being conscious is the foundation. Get conscious and the same body that has responded to your excess food intake by becoming fat, will very soon become fit.
#1. Weight Loss Tools
Body Composition Scales
Knowing your scale weight and body fat percentage is the first step to achieve your ideal body weight and composition. Establishing a baseline and weighing yourself daily is the best way to stay conscious of your weight loss and fitness progress.
Weight Gurus or the Conair Scale will both give your scale weight, body mass index, hydration level, and your body fat percentage. An additional feature of Weight Gurus is that you can sync your body composition data with: FitBit, Google Fit, Apple Health, and other popular fitness apps.
The Conair Scale on the other hand, is a basic body composition scale option without bluetooth connectivity. I first purchased the Conair Scale in 2010 while I was on the way up to 275 pounds, and still use it till today at 170 pounds.
The Conair Scale is the scale that first informed me that my BMI (body mass index) was over 30 and that I was officially obese. The fact that an estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight, nearly 75 percent of all American adults over the age of 20((https://www.healthdata.org/news-release/vast-majority-american-adults-are-overweight-or-obese-and-weight-growing-problem-among)), was no consolation.
- Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale
- Conair Scale
- Any other body composition scale you prefer, to help you achieve and maintain your ideal body weight and composition.
Tape Measures and Calipers for Body Girth/Fat Measurement
#2. Physical Activity Tools
Cross Trainers and Weightlifting Shoes
A third controllable risk factor for heart disease is to not live a sedentary lifestyle. This means you must get more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 5 times a week.((2008 President's Council on Physical Fitness))
Therefore, one of the best investments you can make for your health and fitness is a pair of shoes for walking, running, elliptical, treadmill and lifting. I have worn Nike the last 5 years for long walks before I was ready to lift weights. And once I did start to lift weights, these Nikes are just fine for squats and deadlifts as well.
#3. Training in the Zone Tools
Fitness Wrist Band with Heart Rate Monitor
One of the most important concepts that I have learned over the years is the overload principle and S.A.I.D. Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. These laws of nature say that according to the demands on your body, so will be your body.
If your main demand is to sit on the couch, then, your body will respond to make you fit for couch sitting. Or, as some say, a couch potato. Your body does not have to change or get more fit, but rather, is quite content to do the opposite.
On the other hand, if you start walking every day for 30 minutes, your body will say, wow, I have to walk now, I better start building some muscle and fitness for these walks. And of course, the same holds true for running, or weight lifting.
As soon as you up the intensity, your body must respond to meet the new demands that you are making. In order to up the intensity, you must know your target heart rate for cardiorespiratory training. Now you know the answer as to why, despite walking on the treadmill every day, your body does not change.
You are not training with sufficient intensity. Training in the Zone technique will guide you to gradually improve your cardio intensity. This technique can make a real difference in your ability to shred fat and transform your physique.
Read this article to get a fuller understanding of how to do the Training in the Zone Technique. If you use a treadmill, elliptical or bike in the gym, most of these machines have a heart rate monitor. But, if you do outdoor training, you need a way to get your heart rate.
The fitbit is an excellent way to ensure that you are hitting your target heart rate.
#4. Strength Training
- Power Rack
- Olympic Barbell
- Olympic Lock-Jaw Barbell Collar
- Black Olympic Plates
- Olympic Fractional Plates Set
- Dead Wedge Deadlift Jack – You can see my Dead Wedge deadlift jack review here.
- grip strength
- deadlift wraps or
- weightlifting gloves
- transform your physique
- better posture
- CAP Custom Olympic 2-Inch Combo Hex Bar– for hex bar deadlifts
- Quick Release Pair of Locking 2″ Olympic Size Barbell Clamp Collar Great for Pro Training
#5. Recommended Food Shopping (Fuel) List
REMEMBER – You Can Never Ever Out Train a Bad Diet
Food is your Friend, Food for Fuel and Weight Loss –
If you eat every day like it is Thanksgiving, or a lot of junk food, you can never outtrain a bad diet. Therefore, you need to eat real food, at regular times, in normal amounts, throughout the day. A few nutritious meals and a snack or two are sufficient for most people.
Do not stop eating for hours at a time, do not go hungry. If you primarily eat real food throughout the week, your body will change and get leaner than you ever thought possible, guaranteed. The main food group that Americans have too little of is vegetables.
It is estimated that only 17 percent of Americans get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. The Fit Apprentice plan places primary importance on making sure that you have at least a cup of raw salad and a cup of cooked vegetables every day, and a few fruits every day. More is fine too.
Here are some of my shopping list recommendations to choose from. This list will give you an idea of the types of food to have available in your home. Each link should take you directly to the listed product:
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Cabbage, Green
- Cabbage, Red
- Collard Greens
- Corn, Fresh
- Corn, Frozen
- Garlic, Fresh
- Garlic, Chopped
- Green beans
- Green peas
- Mushrooms, crimini
- Mushrooms, shiitake
- Olive oil, extra virgin
- Potatoes, Russet
- Potatoes, Gold
- Romaine lettuce
- Squash, zucchini
- Sweet potatoes
- Organic Gala Apples
- Asian Pear
- Avocado – Ready to Eat
- Organic Blueberries
- Figs, Smyrna
- Organic Ruby Marsh Grapefruit
- Red Seedless Grapes
- Green Seedless Grapes
- Organic Strawberries
Nuts & Seeds
- Almond Butter
- Brazil Nuts
- Italian Chestnuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Peanut Butter
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Regular Rolled Oats – My typical breakfast, oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkled on top, banana/blueberries/strawberries and peanut butter/almond butter or an egg
- Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
- Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal
- Wolffs Kasha Whole Buckwheat Groats
- Viva Naturals – The FINEST Organic Quinoa, 100% Royal Bolivian Whole Grain
- Bob's Red Mill Pearl Barley
- Nishiki Premium Brown Rice
- Bob's Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Farina Creamy Rice Hot Cereal
- Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Cereal, 2.3-Ounce Cups
- Post Shredded Wheat Original Cereal, No Sugar or Salt Added
- Post Grape Nuts
- Nature's Path Organic Cereal, Flax Plus Multibran Flakes
- Food For Life, Organic Ezekiel 4:9 English Muffin – I heat up one of these for a treat, spread with some hummus, peanut butter or toasted and dipped in a little olive oil and garlic
- Food for Life – Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, Sprouted Whole Grain Bread – Convenient for a sandwich on the go, spread some hummus, or peanut butter and grapes/blueberries/strawberries/banana slices
Great Body and Life Transformation Books
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd Edition – my favorite weight training book to learn the essential powerlifting and strength training lifts; deadlift, squat, bench press and how to lift with correct form and successful progressive resistance training.
Underground Secrets To Faster Running Paperback – November 2, 2005 by – High school phenomenon and Olympic Gold Medalist Allyson Felix used this strength training system to run the fastest 200 meters in the world in 2003. Based upon physiology and physics, it incorporates the most recent studies in running mechanics. This training program will dramatically increase running speed, jumping height and muscle power for all athletes. If you are not familiar with Allyson Felix or her deadlifting prowess and how it helped her become an Olympic athlete, read this article.
Crossing the Bridge From Depression to Life Are you stuck in depression? When you are down because of obesity or the trauma of divorce, estrangement or career loss, you might feel like you have lost everything, including the will to live. Crossing the Bridge From Depression to Life takes you on a journey from discouraged and despondent to a fitter, stronger, more productive life.