Perfectly Fit

Exercise and diet tips for men to maintain a healthy look and lifestyle

You wouldn’t dare leave a limited edition sports coupe sputtering in the driveway overnight and expect to take a scenic drive

along the coast the next morning, would you? So why fuel your body with greasy fast food that only leaves you running on empty or overwork and overtrain your muscles to the point of exhaustion?

Former 2004 Olympic wrestler Jeffrey Cobb provides the formula for keeping your body running at top speed.

Body Work

Just like a handy GPS system, knowing your end-goals will help you know where you’re heading on the workout road. Whether you are a beginner or looking to up the ante on your usual gym routine, Cobb, who currently works at 24-Hour Fitness in Pearl Kai, recommends a total bodybuilding workout that hits all your major muscles twice a week as a good place to start.

Unlike isolation moves that only work targeted muscle groups, compound exercises – think squats, deadlifts and benchpress – work more than 85 percent of your body’s muscles at once, allowing you to handle heavier amounts of weight and leading to greater strength gain in less time. The key to a full body-building workout is to exhaust the primary muscles first and to work in the order of legs, followed by upper body and abs. By working these primary muscle groups, you’ll call upon secondary groups to assist in every exercise.

Fuel For Thought

“When I was training at the Olympic Training Center, I was told to consume six smaller meals throughout the day so I would not overeat at mealtimes and so that my metabolism would be constantly burning. I feel that is the best plan to follow,” advises Cobb, who holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Missouri Valley College. “Also, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

Cobb recommends keeping your pantry stocked with a wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as sources of complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Items the assistant wrestling coach personally keeps on hand are eggs, whole-grain bread, low-fat milk and chicken breast.

As far as produce goes, follow the rainbow. Greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, bok choy and kale are chock-full of folate, lutein and plant-based omega-3s. Red fruits – strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon – supply uber-doses of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. And the yellow and orange of carrots, mango, bell peppers, squash and sweet potatoes are great sources of carotenoids, fat-soluble compounds associated with a reduction in cancers as well as the severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Basically, the more colorful your diet, the more well-rounded in vitamins and minerals it will be.

Custom Built

But what if, like many on-the-go gents these days, you find yourself heading straight from the gym to the office, meeting or date? Cobb says that in circumstances when you are pressed for time, supplements may be in order.

“Nothing beats a well-balanced nutritional meal, but the problem is that not everyone has the time or the access to that. I believe that supplementation is a good way to go,” he says. For example, after completing a weightlifting session, there is a small window of time to replenish the amino acids and muscle fibers broken down during the workout. The best way to do this is with protein. Can’t get it from the aforementioned food sources? Look for protein-powder primer that contains a blend of whey and cassein.

“An active person may need more vitamins to fight off the free radicals that are produced from exercise. A multivitamin supplement is good in these cases, especially if the person does not eat a well-balanced diet,” Cobb adds. Make sure the brand you choose provides 100 percent of the recommended daily allowances for vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as 50 percent for minerals such as biotin, calcium, iron, magnesium and selenium. They also should contain niacin, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iodine, manganese and zinc.

The most important thing to remember is that changes won’t happen overnight. After all, a healthy lifestyle is just that: a lifestyle. You have to learn to walk before you can speed off into the sunset.

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