Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Intern
"Eat, sleep, repeat" is the phrase coming from the gym instructors and trainers at the University of the West Indies Mona campus.
Summer is just around the corner and, typically, men head to the gym so that they can 'bulk up'. While some do it to attract the women, or boost one's self-esteem, there are others who do it for stamina between the sheets and to be able to defend. As a result of bulking up, men either get sexier, firmer, healthier, stronger or more energetic.
With the worldwide fitness revolution in full swing, Flair ventured into the University of the West Indies gym to get the scoop from young gym instructor Douglas Evelyn, who has been packing on the muscles for the past six years.
Evelyn told Flair that he was inspired as a freshman when he saw fit-looking men on campus and the attention they were receiving from the fairer sex. He highlighted an experience while he was in a class and a well built guy walked in quietly. Eveyone went still and stared at him, especially the women.
"I wanted to get that attention, so I asked him what he did and that's where it started," Evelyn explained. Over the years, it has paid off. In 2011, he won the UWI Intercol Rugby Championship and earlier this year, UWI placed second. Evelyn can now leg press over 800lb.
On our visit, we met Courtney Francis, Kevon Jackson and Jevon Dacosta, thick and ready for summer. They shared their journey and advice to get you off to an excellent start to a healthier and sexier you.
From getting beat up to fitness instructor, Francis, who was Mr Jamaica in 2009, started lifting weights in high school after he lost a fight. "I told myself that if you are going to defend yourself, you need to be stronger and bigger, so I started lifting weights and from there, I realised that it's something I really liked and then went on to enter body building competitions."
His dedication to body building has opened many doors, and he is currently the incoming game committee chairperson, responsible for all internal sporting events on campus and at the gym. Because of his routine, Francis feels more energetic and can endure his everyday activities without getting tired and worn out easily.
From dream to reality, Kevon Jackson was inspired by wrestlers. At a very young age, Jackson started exercising at home doing push-ups. While he was always encouraged by his mother, he was very discouraged that his efforts were being wasted because he was not maintaining a proper diet. Though it was painful, he never gave up. "Every day I would go home and wonder if it's worth it. It was discouraging and painful at first, but then I started to eat properly and work twice as hard as before, and it is paying off."
Like father, like son! Jevon Dacosta was inspired by his father and started weightlifting over seven years ago. Time spent at the gym was not only a bonding moment for him and his father, but helped him to realise that he enjoyed it, so he took it a little further. Dacosta stressed that it takes dedication to get into the 'gym lifestyle'.
"There is no shortcut to getting the figure you desire and being healthy. It takes time and time and dedication," Dacosta concluded.
Here are the tips they shared to get you on your summer bulk quest.
1. Diet and supplements
Ensure that you have a proper diet that is high in protein and carbohydrates, such as yam and potatoes. Reduce intake of fatty foods and sugar. Supplements, such as muscle gainer and protein shakes boost your metabolism, burn fats, and are used to target muscles and provide energy.
2. Consult a trainer
Find a gym close to home and develop a fitness routine. The trainer will evaluate you by asking you questions about your health conditions, weight, height and other important information. You must first know what you want to achieve at the end of your training. The gym instructor will track your
progress by making notes each time you exercise.
This is necessary because your muscles need rest to recover.
4. Start light and repeat
Although your trainer will instruct you what to do each time you visit the gym, if you are pressed for time, you can start at home and then branch off at the gym for more intense training. Begin by riding a bicycle or jogging to get the blood pumping and the muscles warmed up. If you need to lift anything, start at five pounds. For instance, do three sets of 10 instead of a straight 30. When at home, use water bottles as substitutes to assist in your weights exercises.
4. Don't stop
Once you have started the process, continue. Don't let your hard work go to waste by stopping. The moment you begin your programme, your body begins to react to the exercise and starts to adapt to that lifestyle. If you stop, over time ,muscles gained will be lost, leaving the area 'saggy'. Ten minutes a day won't hurt.
5. Find a balance
Stick to your programme and listen to your instructor. Don't over-do it. Overexerting yourself will cause damage to muscles and other parts of the body. Don't under do it either because there will be no growth, and it will take a longer time to get the results you need. Strike a balance and know your limit. For instance, if you lift five pounds today, tomorrow, try lifting 10lb and not 50lb.
6. No alcohol
Avoid the consumption of alcohol while working out. Alcohol slows down the body's ability to burn fat because empty calories are stored as fat.
Finding it hard to be disciplined? Use a variety of daily reminders and reward yourself when you accomplish one of your fitness goals - such as staying on track with your exercise for a full week or month - treat yourself to a movie, massage, or pedicure.
Check out the UWI gym Facebook page 'Vain Fitness' for fitness and gym opening information.