The First Two Steps Towards Fitness for Men and Women

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Guest contributor : Mark M Fera

This article isn’t going to be a step by step plan of what to eat and how to exercise to look and feel better. Rather, it’ll simply place you on the path where you can achieve such things.

But a better looking you is not why I wrote this anyway. The emotional reasons for writing this article are beyond what I care to own publicly and I’ll just settle on my desire for all of us to be less of a burden on the society that we contribute to.

I do think I need to justify why a 48 year old guy who is part owner of an office supply store is giving fitness advice in the first place.

Besides the fact that I look the part, I’ve spent over thirty years and many dollars on videos, books and trainers to achieve goals that include gaining weight and strength for college football to losing fat for natural body building competitions. I haven’t spent the money on the certifications that prove my knowledge and allow me to add letters after my name, but that doesn’t seem to stop people from asking me for help and advice.

This first step to fitness is for you to update your definition of exercise to include weight training with barbells.

The four lifts that will best allow you to gain the general strength that you will use in your daily life and for your fitness goals are back squats, bench presses, overhead presses and deadlifts. Barbell training is the same answer for all of us regardless of age or gender. Because our genders’ differences are mostly hormonal and not at the genetic level; it makes sense that the exercises that cause the fastest and greatest strength gains in men will cause the same in women too.

The only requirement is having sufficient strength to begin performing the lifts with an empty barbell.

A better explanation as to why we all need to train with barbells, as well as the best descriptions of safely performing the four exercises can be found in Mark Rippetoe’s book and video, “Starting Strength“. If you already do exercise, please keep doing all those things that you like, but allow about 45 minutes three times a week to do Rippetoe’s suggested workout. If you aren’t in sufficient shape to lift weights, you’ll need to do other things that will get you to that point.

Besides that physical limitation to training with weights, there are other psychological barriers as well, especially for women. Women, in general, don’t want to be bulky, or even muscular for that matter, and are afraid weights will cause that to happen. But it won’t happen unless you really want it to, and try very hard. Besides the misguided expectations of our society in regards to what physically defines an ideal man and woman, other psychological barriers will be provided by the admonishments of your doctor, your family and your friends. You’ll need to find a way to overcome them, even after the time when you realize that each set of squats is increasing your resistance to those things that want to kill you or simply make you old.

I, too, have had to deal with some of those barriers. I’ve learned to simplify my analysis of the warnings and unsolicited counseling by carefully weighing what that person is advising; against what they look like and their general heath. And, you should too.

The second step to fitness is to consciously add protein to your diet.

You’ll need to break your eating into breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and a final snack. You may, somewhat, eat like this now, but you probably skip breakfast, and your last snack is probably more of a meal because you’re so hungry from the other missed or protein-deficient snacks and meals. So, don’t skip breakfast and start each meal with a deck of card sized piece of baked or boiled meat from something that used to have a face along with a glass of water. And, then, eat your normal foods.That’s it; my first bit of diet advice for you.

When you can’t conveniently, or just don’t want to, eat meat, start the meal with a scoop of vanilla protein powder that you’ll mix with 16 ounces of a flavored zero calorie beverage, like PowerAde. Choose Whey Protein Isolate as your protein powder and you won’t be the cause of any more offensive odors than you already are now.

So, that’s it. The first two steps to fitness are to lift weights, and add protein to each meal.

Written by Mark M Fera : You can reach Mark by emailing him at Mark is part owner of Bulldog Office Products. You can learn more about Bulldog at

*As stated, Mark is not a doctor. You must consult with your physician before following anyone’s advice.


About the Author:

Dr Oshidar, Burlington County Chiropractor / Advanced Back & Neck Care 227 Madison Ave Lumberton NJ 08048 / (609)261-7562
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