(4) I would say that the only real tip is that nothing in life worthwhile will ever come easy ... you have to work for everything that is respected in life ... being in shape is no different. It takes dedication, sacrifice, work ethic, and time ... you have to be patient. My philosophy is to fall in love with the workout and not the results of the workout. When you work out, your body releases all kinds of endorphins and it gives you a natural high that cannot be compared to any supplemental drug that others might use. Overcoming your past levels of fitness, whether it be in your run time going down or your strength improving in lifting, all are powerful results that grows your confidence and gets your hungry to come back to the gym. There are no shortcuts ... easy come, easy go. People ask if I have ever used steroids and many don't believe me when I say "No "and honestly I am not here to prove myself to strangers, but for anyone who knows steroids will look at my body and know that I have never used them due to my development. Being in the in military where you are drug tested constantly for steroids and other drugs, the option was never available, but beyond that, the reason I have never gone there is that working out in the gym isn't as much a transformation of your physical body as it is a transformation of your mental confidence. Transforming your physical body from A to B is great to look at in the mirror, but the real reward is the mental confidence that you know you have what it takes (dedication, work ethic, sacrifice, etc) to see a goal through and finish what you started. That toughness is learned in the theater of the gym but is the fundamental element that all champions have in all theaters of life (corporate America, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, etc) where they start at a certain place and through hard work they work their way to the top. You cannot cheat the process of mailroom to CEO, so why do it in the gym? Your mind is the strongest and most valuable muscle you can grow in the gym, make no mistakes about it. You fall in love with the sweat equity of life and then it's not a matter of "if" just "when" the results and fruits of your labor come to life.
A few "rules" I live by is that I try to go to bed on an empty stomach so my body is breaking down fat throughout the night. I drink tons of water and stay away from sugar; I eat low-carb and high-protein diet; I don't eat anything four hours before I go to bed; I do cardio in the morning and lift in the evening before going to bed; I eat two large meals a day (sometimes only one), and above all I check my pride at the gym door everyday. I don't go after lifting a certain amount of weight. I go after the pump which is achieved quicker with lighter weight and proper form as opposed to your ego getting involved and causing you to lift a load too heavy for you that causes you to get out of form and possibly injured. Also, on eating, I eat to fuel my body ... not to satisfy an appetite. The hell with what it taste like -- it's about feeding your body what it needs, not your taste buds. Now, some will read what I say and call BS to my routine, which is fine. This is what works for me, maybe it works for you, maybe not ... we all are different, but what one cannot say is that it hasn't worked for me as I have more covers than anyone else in the world in the last two years and recently named the number one male fitness model in America by Iron Man Magazine and just this month, named one of the "25 fittest Americans" by Men's Fitness ... hard to argue with success.