Men – here’s how you can get in shape, tackle your trouble spots and tailor a healthy, active lifestyle plan that’s right for you.
When we think about body confidence and the struggles associated with getting in shape or losing weight, women tend to come to mind. However, in reality men struggle to maintain optimum body composition just as much as women.
Our body composition, shape, weight and overall sense of well-being are determined by a variety of factors, including hormone levels, heredity, age and socioeconomic circumstances. However, by improving your personal activity level and diet, you can promote positive physical and emotional changes in the body.
It goes without saying that men and women have very different physiques. The male body tends to adapt to change more rapidly than the female body. That’s is especially so when it comes to weight loss, weight gain and building lean muscle mass. This is mainly due to differences with our metabolism and hormones. Women often complain that when starting a diet plan with their spouse, their husband seems to get faster results.
Men, like women, have trouble spots in the body that cause concern and distress. Most of the time, these trouble zones have to do with storage of unwanted, excess body fat, or lack of muscle mass and tone. Sometimes the concern is due to aesthetic reasons, and other times it may be health related.
Here are the top two male trouble spots that I most frequently get asked about—along with some tips to help you improve your overall body confidence and shape.
Large pectoral muscles seem to be the symbol of male virility in all of the magazines. So, it’s not surprising that when men don’t have the chest that they desire, it can lead to a lack of confidence.
Too small: Getting results can take time. But with dedication and careful planning, it’s possible to pump up your pecs. If you have a lack of muscle mass in the chest area, dedicating yourself to performing a strength-based routine that focuses on both the muscles of the chest and back, in combination with a muscle gaining diet plan, is the best approach to build up your pecs.
Excess fat/lack of muscle tone: Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose where our body stores excess fat. For many men, especially with age, they find that the chest becomes a problem area. Controlling your calorie intake, in combination with a good exercise plan, can help you with your overall body fat reduction goals. To rebuild your muscle tone in the chest area, consider performing resistance exercises, such as push-ups. As you get stronger, progress to lifting weights. Quite often, using your own body weight as your resistance is enough to stimulate change.
Men of all ages can possess excess abdominal fat, but quite often this is a problem found with middle-aged men. Carrying excess fat in the abdominal area is linked to high levels of stress, as well as poor diet and lack of exercise. The waist circumference measurement is increasingly being recognized as an important tool for assessing an individual’s health risks associated with being overweight. People who carry their weight centrally may be particularly at risk for developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes. There is a big difference between having a small amount of excess fat covering your midsection and having an amount that is considered a health risk. Always remember to check with your doctor to learn whether you are at risk.
Fluffy midsection: If you just have a little extra body fat around the middle and you’re hoping to show off your six-pack in time for summer, adding in some bouts of HIIT training to your current routine may be very helpful in getting you lean. You can lose the fat even faster if you focus on your pre- and post-workout nutrition. When you’re trying to lean out and lower your body fat percentage, timing your daily carbohydrate intake, as well as ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of protein with each meal, will help you to accomplish your goals.
Health risk: If your waist circumference measurement falls within the following range, it’s important that you follow an exercise routine and diet plan that is prescribed by a doctor.
Men: > 40 in (> 102 cm)
Women: > 35 in (> 88 cm)
Reduce your stress level: Stress is often associated with overeating and inactivity, both of which can lead to weight gain. The stress hormone cortisol can make you prone to storing fat in your abdomen. It’s essential that if your mid-section is your trouble spot, you should find ways to alleviate your stress throughout the day.
Your focus should always be on your overall health and achieving a healthy body composition. You can’t spot-reduce fat from one specific area with exercise. But if you have a well-balanced diet and a comprehensive fitness plan that includes some targeted exercises, you’ll move one step closer to achieving your body confidence goals each day.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes there are medical reasons as to why someone has issues with certain areas of the body. If you believe your individual trouble spots are not related to lifestyle, diet or activity level, you should consider seeking medical advice for a solution.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).