Fitness, as I see it, is a broad, catch-all term for not feeling like a piece of shit.
So for me fitness started with vitamins. I started taking vitamin D in the winter four, maybe five, years ago and felt better so I never stopped.
If I could go back and start again I’d just start taking Glucosamine, 5 HTP, and St John’s Wort as well.
For a time I took Vitamin E and a pro-biotic but I figure those are covered by dietary sources.
Speaking of dietary sources…
When I started I was eating peanut butter sandwiches everyday. I figured it was healthy because it was brown bread. Then I read Tim Ferris’ advice to not eat anything white or that could be white, meaning bread, rice, pasta, etc. I stopped eating carbs and I just started shedding weight.
I started hard boiling eggs every Sunday so I could have two each morning, and I put a banana, walnuts, and broccoli in a bowl, that and 3 black coffees is breakfast.
And it turns out I guessed right. When I read Clean Eating For Dummies, and How Food Works bananas, walnuts, and eggs were mentioned on every page. Eggs are a good source of protein and they contain tryptophan which is a serotonin precursor.
You should know this but I’ll say it in case: you don’t just need serotonin to be happy, serotonin is happiness. The feeling of contentment is when serotonin binds to the 1a receptor. Period.
So If I could go back and start again I’d eat an ounce of protein for every 30 pounds of body weight, no carbs Monday to Friday, no dairy, and I’d eat eggs, walnuts, and banana’s everyday.
And I’d get a kettle bell first thing. 15 pounds.
KBs are a lot of fun compared to other pieces of equipment. When I did get one I got a 20 but it was a bit too much to do Atlas Swings with good form so I got a 15 as well. I want to go up and up and eventually get a 70 for standard KB swings.
Dumb bells are great, a weight bench is great, running is great but if I could start again I’d just get a single kettle bell ASAP.
And I’d learn about injuries.
This is something that just came out of watching YouTube videos but the exercises for rehabilitating injuries are the best for the tiny, strange, vulnerable muscles that you don’t intuitively know how to work. Everyone can curl their bicep but they don’t think to work their supraspinatus and they get hurt.
Don’t look that up, it’s actually just the last name of a Greek doctor I know.
After I destroyed my knees I became extremely proactive, downright superstitious, about injuries. My right rotator cuff was acting up was tweaking if I reached forward for a stack of plates – YouTube’d it, fixed my swimming form, found some stretches, found some dumbbell moves to strengthen it, and I’m better than ever.
If I see a video titled Elbow Pain From Pushups? or something, I watch it. Most injuries aren’t acute, they come from doing things slightly wrong for months. Watch all the form videos you can on the moves you’re doing and even moves you’re not just to pick up the little passing advice that could be memorable to you.
Injuries can make you stop or they can make you better.
And furthermore if you’re coming from years of not exercising you’re as good as injured anyway. Everyone’s natural athlete as a kid and then some of us take a 20 year break. We’re not actually at scratch, we’re way below. The worst thing you can do, and everyone’s heard this, is think you’re going to get in shape all at once. That’s like if you got hurt playing a sport and after a day off doing nothing you played three games back to back, thinking if some sort of weakness in my running caused me to get hurt I just need to run more.
Coming back from injury or inactivity is about working all the neglected support muscles, it’s about nutrition, and it’s about realistic self-talk. Don’t want to get back in the game or in the positive just want to get back up to scratch.
So I guess if I could start again I’d respect what my knees were telling me but I’d also go ahead and injure my rotator cuff.