Being smart and educated “new world” men, we are often prepared to read through lies, coercion attempts, and most often possess a certain level of perception to know when we are being tricked. Except when it comes to health and fitness.

Regardless of the mathematical facts behind fitness,  with regards to effort in, results out; we still fool ourselves into believing there are some fitness secrets out there that some men know while the majority of others don’t. We are searching for that new style of training we believe is the only thing missing from our program to finally give us the incredible body of our dreams.

We are always searching for that exotic sub-Saharan herb that, made into a pill, will make us burn all the fat in the world. We still flip through the magazines at the drugstore checkout counter that promise to have the secrets to fat burning so we can be lean, energetic, and happy like the guy on the cover.

All of these shortcuts are a steaming pile of crap, the only “secret” to a lean ripped body is hard work and proper diet. It is very empowering to know that we don’t have to get handed down a super-secret, but that we can change our lives and body today.

If you want the 8 “secrets,” and the latest tips and tricks to get the body, health, and energy levels you have been dreaming of; then (although somewhat unsexy) these will get you on the right track:

1. Set Clear Goals:

If you are not clear on what you want, and where you are heading, then you are heading nowhere. Don’t waste time with ambiguous efforts. Think deeply about what you want, why you want it and where you see yourself going.

Don’t be unrealistic, but don’t sell yourself short either. Think long and hard, write these goals down, break them up into sub goals and reverse engineer them. Make sure you come back to these as often as possible to make sure you remain focused.

2. Plan your meals:

Healthy meals won’t magically appear every time you are hungry. Odds are, if you pantry looks like most Americans, clean food will be rather hard to come by.

Make time to plan your meals. Take a few minutes each evening to prepare your meals for the next day and carry them with you. Don’t wait until you are starving, until meetings go behind schedule or until you want to eat the first thing in sight.

3. Schedule your workouts:

Pick the time that best fits your schedule for your workouts, and put it in your calendar. Make this a priority. . Just like you won’t cancel or arrive late to an important meeting with your boss, the time you are putting aside for yourself to remain healthy must also be a priority.

Don’t work out only if the day goes well and you have leftover time. Promise yourself beforehand, and shift things around so that you never miss a workout.

4. Quit it with the Not-Enough-Time excuse:

I don’t have enough time is the “my dog ate my homework” of the fitness industry. Frankly, you can’t convince anybody of that no matter how much of a tantrum you throw. We know 24 hours isn’t enough hours in a day, we all go through the same scarcity screenplay day after day.

What we do find time for is our priorities in life. So don’t lie to yourself. Are you going to make an effort and finally get fit, or are you just procrastinating on something else by dreaming of a fitter life you have no intention of doing anything about?

5. Surround yourself with Health and Fitness:

If all your friends do is eat junk food while drinking beer, it will be hard to change your body while following the same freshman year meal plan. Likewise, if all you get from your social media is pictures of feasts that could make it into Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, then that is what you will be looking forward to after work, and that is the path you will take whether you accept it or not. Surround yourself with fitness junkies and the fitness lifesty;re

6. Get Enough Sleep

You will never improve your body composition, and will never recover properly to build the body you can be proud of if you do not sleep enough. In fact, by adding exercise into the equation, you should be prepared to sleep more in the following months that you had been doing before.

Dieting hard and working out plenty will only be lost time and effort if a healthy sleeping schedule is not in place. Give it a shot, your body will thank you.

7. Best time to work out

The best time to exercise is the time that is easiest for you to make it sustainable. If you are not a morning person then don’t even wake up that first Monday at 5am, don’t kid yourself. If so then make sure you make time for fitness after work hours.

If your boss usually keeps you late, then you are a perfect candidate for the early bird gym shift, or make arrangements to not be bothered and able to work out every lunch. Get the point?

Workout when you can, when it makes the most sense to you, and ignore what you read about the optimum time to work out. If it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, then it is not optimal for you no matter what any publication says.

8. Best type of exercise

Similarly, the most efficient exercise at fat burning is…that which you enjoy the most. If you hate weights then don’t force yourself to lift. If the gym bores you then go outdoors. If you like to go solo then buy some headphones and hit the iron in your own mental zone.

There are many options, and part of the healthy lifestyle is trying it all, finding what works, and every so often either changing it up, or trying out now things just for fun! But, if you really must know what the best type of exercise is, on its own or to make you strong and fitter for everything else, then a short, effective, variable, and quick functional fitness program  is the answer you have been looking for.

So there you go. You have been warned about what not to listen or look for, and you have been told the habits you must implement to make sure any single bit of effort you put into your fitness journey does not go to waste. There are 3 things I don’t joke about: your Time, your health, and your dreams! Make the choice, make the commitment, and go for outstanding at all three!