It's the toughest question ever to answer.
"Tell Me Just One thing I can do to reduce my love handles"
"Tell Me Only one exercise I have to do"
"That One Food..."
"That One Investment Portfolio.."
We love simplicity. We may at times love options, but in the end, when life happens and the rubber hits the road, all we need is the final answer to altering our lifestyles to achieve any particular goal: Getting Leaner, Fighting Disease, losing weight or looking better in any form.
Bad News: Most of the real stuff in fitness sciences is monotonous, repetitive and boring.
Now, I could come up with a 100 point list as a presentation and bore you to death walking you through all of them and trust me, it would be the most effective set of things you could do to the way you exercise. But let's face it, who really gives a damn to miles long articles, and that too, written on something as low in our priorities as exercise, strength and health? Come on, it's 2017 (actually, already 2018) and we're, you know, Busy, right?
Well, never mind, I have you here, cut to the chase. Presented here are three of the essences of what I have learned to be the top three changes that almost all of them can make to our exercise programs or training styles and start experiencing dramatic changes in the way we look, feel or perform. Getting us closer to our goals faster? Hell Yeah, that's all we need right? Good, we're in business then. Here, you go:
1. Do Not Follow The Majority
Heard that age old cliche ? Well, here's the new and a more correct one. Memorize it.
The Majority Is Always Wrong!
You read it correct. When was the last time you saw all those epileptic zealots doing the usual crazy stuff like curling while standing on top of Bosu Balls, running countless miles on a treadmill, doing countless repetitions with a tiny weight in hopes to get 'toned' actually getting any results?
Yeah, now that we just said it, it dawns upon us. Turns out that people in gyms usually follow the most pursued trend. As human beings, we have the natural tendencies to blend in.
What's the first thing many women do when they enter the gym for the first time in their life? They will either be put on a program by a trainer that most of his other clients are following without any consideration given to her physiology, pathology or other personal constraints. Otherwise, she may look upon her friends or peers who may have spent a few more days doing stuff in the gym and blindly start mimicking them and doing the exact same movements that they have been doing.
In fact, men do it too. The moment one sees the most jacked up dude in the gym perform a Space Age Exotic Barbell Curl Variation, oh boy, we are so hooked. We might immediately leave all the good stuff we are doing and start following what the majority thinks is the right thing to do, because, guns matter.
Ask yourself: Does Majority ever look good? If the answer to how we should really train was as simple as "Simply Follow The Majority", almost everyone who has been a gym member for more than six months would have resembled a fitness model or a bodybuilder. The reason is that effective exercise , though simple, is not exactly easy. It needs one to leave his or her comfort zone behind, something the majority would be dead scared to do. It needs one to change one's convenient choices, like letting go of the daily dose of bagel and cookies. Again, the majority would scoff at the idea of doing that. Finally, effective exercise often also needs one to stop doing what is conventionally popular form of exercise (like unlimited Cardio) and start pursuing the forgotten old basics (Barbell Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, old school exercises) and this places us in a spotlight of criticism. We are afraid to death to answer questions and arguments of people. Because other people's notions and dogmas about what they read about in fitness magazines till ages get disturbed. It eventually becomes a decision of becoming socially accepted than to actually reach our fitness goals.
|What John Grimek Did would certainly not be what the majority does today.|
The bottomline is that if you are seeing a vast majority of the populace following a certain exercise technique or method almost like a culture in today's age, you can almost be certain that it might not be a good idea to make it a part of your exercise program. Instead, keep pursuing the tried and tested basics fearlessly.
2. Walk The Longest Road Home
Both fat loss and muscle gain are such pursuits that are really rapid in the beginning and get super slow as we advance. In fact, so slow that at one point we may get impressioned to believe that nothing is happening at all.
This might resonate with trainees who might have spent close to an year at least, training seriously. As our bodies adapt to training stresses, they are intelligent enough to start expending lesser resources on managing that stress. Lesser resources spent can mean lesser muscles involved in exercises or lesser taxes put on cardiovascular or anaerobic/aerobic energy systems. Lesser demands mean lesser needs for gains.
In the long run, things will get slower. And in light of this, it is okay that your exercise program or dietary program has started showing very slow results. In fact, if in principle, all that you are doing is technically correct: You are following big compound exercises, taking enough recovery days, following a clean and complete diet, managing stress; and still not getting the gains that you need, I would say, just relax and understand that you are trying to go against the body's principle of homeostasis. This will be met with immense resistance by your body. If your force of perseverance is strong enough, you will eventually be able to push past these sticking points.
To sum up, as you progress, start looking at your gains in a broader perspective. Instead of measuring your waistline every other week, start measuring it every month or so. Take a measure of your one rep maxes in major lifts, after months and not weeks. Look at how much progress you have made in your weight loss program after one year and not after every few weeks. Yes, you get the idea now.
3. Be Prepared To Be Bored
This is an immediate corollary from the above points. If there is this most invaluable lesson I have learned in the school of strength, it is that before it's late, we must develop the mindset to accept getting bored as one of the outcomes of training.
Yes, long term successful training is an act that can be really pathetically boring. After all, we are doing the same set of movements, again and again, week after week, year after year in hopes of improving our range of motion, movement pattern quality, the weight lifted, the breathing pattern, the number of repetitions etc. Hell that can just drill a hole in our minds.
And that is what the cost of success is. World class athletes in all athletic endeavors have been doing this. It doesn't show up directly. But in the shadows, they have all been toiling away hard for years without us knowing it, in order to finally produce the medal winning performance we see in the field, the court or the ring.
Same goes with training. We have to keep grinding and pushing when our mind wants to just stop and get more comfortable,
You desire to want to do it has to be greater than your desire to not want to do it.
Apply these three potent method to whatever you are doing and I can assure you to experience breakthroughs in your personal training records.
If you liked this blog, hit the share button.
Questions? Drop them in the comments. I would love to talk to you.
Until then !