I started working out sometime in 2004 and eating right soon after. There's still plenty of room for improvement in the exercise and diet rules I follow today, but my routine is miles ahead of where I was. Had I known then what I do now, I would've made quicker progress, saved tons on money (on worthless supplements) and been ahead of where I am today. Please learn from my mistakes!
Before I started working out and eating (relatively) healthy, I was a skinny 18 year old weighing [almost] 120 pounds. Once I started lifting weights, I got obsessed with ditching my skinny look and gaining some weight. An early tool I relied on were weight gainers which are loaded with calories and promise to help you pack on the pounds. Unfortunately, as I later learned, while loaded with calories, weight gainers are an expensive and glorified form of sugar mixed with other junk that you're probably better off without.
Body fat is excess energy. When you consume more energy than you burn over a long period of time, you gain weight. This calorie surplus, when combined with physical inactivity, leads to unwanted weight gain, most likely in the form of body fat. The only way to rid yourself of body fat is to reverse the conditions which created the mess in the first place: moderate reduction in calorie intake mixed with an increase in physical activity.
The gym brings together people with different backgrounds, perspectives and goals. While we don't need to agree on what the best workout routine is (because there is no such thing), or which diet friendly foods taste best (hummus), we should all follow a few basic rules while working out to make everyone's gym experience (or just mine) more pleasurable.
Preface: sugar is all the same. Whether it was adding in during processing or already present, the word sugar refers to a carbohydrate in its most basic form. There really is no [as far as calories, obesity and health are concerned] difference between sugar found in a strawberry or soda. Let's begin!
If we get past the "all carbohydrates are bad" mantra, we must start differentiating between the good and bad ones. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate characterized as simple, perhaps even bad or unhealthy depending on the source. A wide variety of foods contain sugar, and while some of them are deemed healthy, others are not. Though the sugar found in doughnuts and apples is nearly identical, there's an important distinction between foods high in added sugar and "naturally occurring" sugar.