Stacey Naito

Envision Your Perfect Physique

Summer is almost upon us, which means that more skin-baring outfits will appear, and the pressure to look as good as possible will be greater than ever. So what do you do if you’ve been cozily hiding under a layer of winter storage fat for the last few months or years? There isn’t much time to strip that away, but it definitely IS possible to reveal a trimmer, more toned you for the warmer weather that is right around the corner.

You may already be immersed in a fitness plan which enhances your physical strength and flexibility, improves performance, and keeps your physique in tip-top shape. But being physically fit confers a multitude of mental benefits which you might not be aware of. As a matter of fact, the link between physical health and mental health is so strong that people who brush off regular exercise as a time-consuming task are depriving themselves of optimal health and well-being.

If you are like many people, you probably have been led to believe that the only way to effectively lose weight is to practice severe caloric restriction. However, if you are always struggling to lose those last 5, 10, or 15 pounds, and are frustrated because you tend to lose some weight, only to gain all of it back plus some extra fluff, then it is highly likely that you have damaged your metabolism via severe calorie restriction.

If you are a dedicated weightlifter, you have probably had to struggle with fitness plateaus at some point. What most lifters do when they reach a sticking point with their progress is they switch up the rep range or lifting technique in order to activate the muscles differently, but they usually won’t step outside the gym to explore other activities.

Every year we have the opportunity to start fresh, with a brand new set of days to change our attitudes and tackle our goals. Many people start the New Year with resolutions to embark on diet and fitness programs in an effort to get into the best shape of their lives, improve their health, or perhaps enter a bodybuilding contest. New gym members will pack gyms this month, but the attrition rate will weed out many of these people.


Perhaps the ebb and flow of life has thrown you off your fitness routine, and you are ready to return to the gym. It might be that you are post-partum, or had to nurse an injury or illness. Or it could be that you have been moving at such a frenetic pace in your life that you got sidetracked from your “every damned day” gym schedule, and need to get back into the groove. Whatever the reason is for putting consistent gym visits on the back burner, the good news is that you can re-establish a consistent fitness regimen. In order to ensure the greatest success with your efforts, here are some suggestions which will motivate you and keep you on track.

You may already be a member of the weight-training-for-life club, but you probably have days here and there in which getting motivated to pull out all the stops in your lifting routine may be difficult. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with stress at work, a distressing family situation, illness, or an injury. In many cases, these things threaten to steal your thunder and have you training at a sub-optimal intensity.

So what do you do? Here are some suggestions which can help you re-engage that warrior spirit and get you training like a beast again.

If you have been lifting weights for a while, you have probably heard about the importance of ingesting simple carbohydrates during the critical post-workout window. The idea is that the insulin spike which occurs with carb consumption augments protein uptake and thus optimizes muscle building and repair.

Leucine could be considered the most important supplement you should add to your regimen as you age, especially if you are a competitor. Leucine breaks down much faster during exercise than the other two branched-chain amino acids (isoleucine and valine), and is also unique in that it plays a critical role in intramuscular protein production through anabolic signaling and mediation of insulin secretion, so it certainly makes sense to ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of leucine in your diet.

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