After my one year top op anniversary post, a lot of people have followed up and asked about my fitness routine and diet. Therefore, I thought I would try to sum up the important things I have learned from my years of training and reading through seemingly endless fitness sites and articles.
Diet: I eat what I want but I try to eat as “close to the ground” as possible. Therefore, if I make pasta sauce, I use chopped tomatos and add in spices, veggies, etc. myself. Yes, it takes a bit longer but then I know exactly what is going in my food – basically, I try to avoid processed foods where I can.
Moral of the story: Eat. Real. Food.
You DO NOT need supplements if you eat real food. You need to cover your macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat and protein and I promise, if you eat real food, you will get enough of each. Just eat and drink sensibly, if you want some pasta, go for it – but please reach for the whole grain pasta. Just like the tale of the three bears – not too much, not too little, just right – if you take everything in moderation, you will do just fine.
NOTE: A solid strength training routine will increase your body’s naturally produced T levels.
Fitness: There are a few main points that I have learned over the years, simple but somehow overlooked by many and also by myself for a long time. This is what I have learned from my own mistakes:
- Track your progress, use an excel doc or write it down on a piece of paper, just be sure you know how many weeks you have been lifting the same weight and what exercises you have been doing for each muscle group.
- Make a plan, know what your workouts are going to look like for the next several weeks. It keeps you motivated and it helps you to get excited for working out, if you know there is a change in your routine coming up.
- Don’t skip cardio! Ok, I HATE cardio so this was a hard pill for me to swallow but after I gave in and added cardio to my routine, I saw results. Even if you are bulking, cardio is still good for you! It increases your lung capacity, helps your heart and keeps off the fatty layer that might be hiding your muscles. I personally recommend HIIT (high intensity interval training) for cardio because running for an hour is f*ing terrible but everyone has their own preferences and your routine should fit what you like to do.
- Keep evolving/changing your exercises per muscle group, there is research that says you should keep your muscles guessing, using them in different ways, to keep them growing. But whether this is true or not, I don’t really care either way, changing exercises and routines keeps working out FUN and that is what is all about, being excited to head over to the gym and feeling challenged by your routine.
I have uploaded an example of how I structure my workouts using an excel doc, so feel free to download and use it / adapt it to your needs.
Notes on how to look at the excel doc: There is an option of a 3-day split which hits all muscle groups and is made for a Mon-Wed-Fri strength routine with HIIT or regular cardio on Tuesday and Thursday (and one weekend day, if you are a badass).
There are also tabs labeled “Month 1,2,3”, these are a 5-day split, hitting all muscle groups but spread over five days so strength training is on all weekdays and then HIIT or Cardio one day on the weekend. The 5-day split is for a bulking phase and the 3-day split is for cutting (toning).
I highly recommend fitnessblender.com for full length quality HIIT routines and they also have strength routines, some pure bodyweight if you don’t have access to weights. I have also used P90X and Insanity routines in my workout but they are both paid programs which is a bit of a bummer.
Just as a reference, I had been working out for about 3 years focusing primarily on weight lifting when this week 0 picture was taken (2013). I then integrated cardio into my routine and you can see the results through the years. Cardio matters especially if you don’t naturally have the same amount of testosterone as a cis-male!
If you have any questions or want to just chat about fitness or developing your routine, feel free to email me directly, I am happy to help or to learn more from you!