So, you’re new to working out, or you’ve been doing the same thing over the past few years and want to kick it into a new gear. You’ve tried more cardio at the gym, longer runs outside, more sit ups, and different fad diets and can’t seem to get where you want to go. With tons of information at our fingertips it’s very easy to get advice, and sometimes poor advice. We hear “do more cardio, eat less carbs, and drink these magic smoothies”. It’s simply not effective, efficient, or sustainable. You are then left to try it out and be disappointed with the results.
Do I have the all the answers for you squeezed in this article? Nope, training and nutrition are filled with “It depends” because well, every single one of us are different. However, I can give you a few tips that have both helped me and my clients over the years stay healthy, have more energy, and get more benefit in less time.
1.) Train to the clock. Nothing creates a great workout like some intense time pressure. You know that feeling of productivity when an assignment or project is due the next day and all of a sudden you sit down and knock it out in no time? This is the gym version of that feeling. Set a 20-30-minute timer once you’ve warmed up and see how much you can get done. When it hits zero, you shut it down and get out. This is effective for squeezing in workouts as well as for the training quality itself.
2.) Train big, compound movements. Push something, pull something, squat something, and deadlift something. Why train one muscle group when you can train a lot more? In other words, we want the biggest training stimulus we can get. So next time, instead of hanging out on that leg extension to grow your quads, hit a set of squats. Bicep curls? While we all love these, pulling something moderately heavy for 8-12 reps would be more effective.
3.) Get off the machines. Sure, everything has its purpose, including machines. But 95% of the time you can get the work you need done with dumbbells, barbells, and your own body weight. This allows us to build core strength, stability, and posture- something you get from a loaded squat versus a seated leg press.
4.) Train head to toe. Back day, chest day, shoulder day, leg day; I hear it all the time. Unless you’re a bodybuilder getting ready for your next show, you don’t need to train like a meathead. Our goal is to elevate the heart rate by training with pace, get a sweat, and enjoy the total body benefits of resistance training.
5.) If it’s a “diet”, it doesn’t work. I am not a fan of the word diet. It’s always carried a bad connotation as it means “no fun” and eating salads while your friends eat burgers. Diets are short term fixes, Band-Aids to a larger problem you have with food. Anyone who lost weight and kept it off did not have a successful diet, they made habit-based life changes with their eating. So next time you try a change however big or small- ask yourself “can I eat like this for the next two, three, four years?” If the answer is yes, you found the winner.
Like I said in the beginning, there is no “one size fits all” in this industry. Consistency over time will win just like with anything else.
I am always happy to talk training or nutrition, so give me a shout if you ever have any questions!