If you’re looking to lose weight, tone up, improve your strength and stamina, or just feel healthier, this guide should help you achieve your goal. Complied with the help of various online and offline sources, including askmen.com and about.com, this is an in-depth guide to help men get healthy.
THE MEN’S HEALTH EXERCISE ROUTINE:
The three components of your weekly schedule include:
*Warm-ups: Warm up with cardiovascular exercises before main training sessions. Stretches are better performed after exercise, but some light stretches could help beforehand.
*Strength training: Three times a week. These are total-body workouts with one workout that puts extra emphasis on your legs. (Strength training exercises: shoulder press, bench press, squat, crunch, bicep curl, etc.)
*Additional cardiovascular exercise: Optional, on non-strength-training days. An interval workout is recommended for 1 day a week, and light cardiovascular exercise like walking is recommended for 2 of your 3 off days. It’s best done first thing in the morning, after a drink of water. It is also effective directly after weight training. (Simple cardiovascular exercises: jogging up and down the stairs, jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, skipping with a rope, running, swimming, brisk walking, cycling, tennis, or just use an aerobics video).
*Abs exercises: Twice a week. I recommend doing them before your strength training or interval workouts. 1-2 forward flexion exercises (crunch, sit-up, etc.) 1-2 side flexion exercises (side bends, side crunches, etc.) 1-2 rotational exercises (trunk rotations, standing twists, etc.).
-Leave at least 48 hours between weight workouts of the same body parts. Your muscles need time to recover and repair themselves after a workout.
-Take at least 1 day each week to rest with no formal exercise.
-Warm up for 5 minutes before starting to exercise, either through a light jog, riding on a stationary bike, jumping rope, or doing slow jumping jacks.
ALTERNATIVE SCHEDULE (FILL IN):
UPPER BODY STRENGTH TRAINING:
SHOULDER PRESS – for the shoulder muscles
-Hold each dumbbell at shoulder height next to your shoulder, palms facing forward.
-Press the dumbbells straight up, and at arm’s length overhead.
-If you keep the press slightly in front of your body, you are less likely to arch your back, according to our Exercise Guide.
-Lower the weights slowly back to the starting position.
Exhale and tighten your abs when lifting, inhale when lowering.
-Lift in a controlled manner, without bouncing the weights up and down. You get a better muscle workout by doing the move slowly and smoothly up and down.
Repeat 12 times per set. Do 3 sets with 30 to 60 seconds rest between sets. Use a dumbbell weight that will allow you to do 12 repetitions at a time with good form.
CHEST FLY – for the major chest muscles
-Choose dumbbells of a weight you will be able to use for 8 to 15 repetitions at a time.
-Lie flat on an exercise bench. If you don’t have a bench, use the floor or another hard surface.
-Start with the weights in your hands with your arms fully extended up above your head, palms facing each other.
-Lower your arms straight out from your sides. Your elbows should be slightly bent throughout the lowering and raising. When your arms are at the level of your chest (or just above the floor if you are lying on the floor), reverse the move to lift the weights back to vertical.
-Inhale when lowering the weights, exhale and tighten the abs when raising them.
-Feel a good opening of the chest when you lower the weights, pause for a second when they are at their lowest point before raising them.
-Perform this move slowly and with control to get the best benefits. Going fast doesn’t give as many benefits.
-Repeat 8 to 15 times. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and do 3 sets.
BICEPS CURL – for the arms
-Choose dumbbells of a weight you will be able to use for 8 to 15 repetitions at a time. I suggest 5 pounds to start.
-Stance: Relax your knees and shoulders. Tighten your abs and keep your back straight.
-Hold the dumbbells at your side with your palms facing forward.
-Keep your elbows at your sides.
-Bring your forearms slowly up to meet your upper arms, closing your elbow and moving only your lower arms. This should be a slow, controlled contraction.
-Lower the weights likewise in a slow, controlled movement.
-Inhale when lowering the weights; exhale and tighten the abs when raising them.
-Perform this move slowly and with control to get the best results. Going fast doesn’t give as many benefits.
-Repeat 8 to 15 times. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and do 3 sets.
LOWER BODY STRENGTH TRAINING:
BENT-KNEE DEADLIFTS – for the legs
-Holding medium-heavy weights in front of the thighs, bend the knees and squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor.
-Keep the abs contracted and look naturally forward to keep the neck in alignment.
-Place the weights on the floor and stand back up.
-Squat down once again and pick up the weights, again keeping the abs in, and stand back up.
-Continue to squat up and down, putting the weights on the floor and picking them up for 1-3 sets of 10-12 reps.
-If this feels too difficult, hold the weights throughout the movement rather than releasing them on the floor.
HEALTHY IDEAS FOR FOOD:
Best sources of Protein:
Turkey breast, shrimp, orange, seafood, lean pork, liver, lean beef, milk, cheese, yoghurt, beans, eggs, soya
Best sources of Energy:
Almonds, apricots, broccoli, spinach (add to omelet or salads), oats, salmon, tuna, sardines, water
Best sources of healthy Carbs:
Beans, whole grains, whole wheat pasta, oats
Best sources of Iron:
Liver, fish, kidney, mussels, shrimps, haggis, sardines, anchovies, pilchards, lean beef, wheat, bran, oats, liquorice, cashew nuts, lentils, hazelnuts, almonds, twiglets, soya, beans
Best sources of Vitamins:
Spinach, peas, tomatoes, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork, soy milk, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, tuna, bananas, green beans, lentils, red bell peppers, kiwi, mango, orange, grapefruit, strawberries, pumpkin, carrots, soya, tofu, shrimp, cod, brussels, cabbage
Healthy eating tips:
-Never skip breakfast
-Never eat directly before exercise
-Drink a big glass of water before each meal
-Chew your food thoroughly to gain the most benefits when it digests
-Balance your carb intake with enough protein intake
-Use the weekend for relaxing your diet, enjoying more sugar and snacks, so long as you are strict during the week
-If possible, avoid eating after 8pm