Three easy ways to get more out of any fitness program
This is a write up of on how you can act on three simple things to make any regime you are more likely to succeed based on my experience as a stepdad of two with a full-time job. Applying these principles I have managed to run three marathons and move my bench press to 150kg, squat to 170kg and deadlift to 190kg. Not world record breaking, but the fittest I have been in my entire life.
Why you feel lost
A lot of discussion about lifting programs circles around how to get the most benefit out of your gym time. How many sets should you do ? How should you execute the exercise in question ? What kind of results will it yield ? The information provided can get rather complicated and cumbersome reaching from diets that tell you to leave out any food that has an "F" in its name to strapping yourself into a device which electrocutes you in certain intervals whilst hanging from the ceiling.
While you are tracking your performance using a device measuring your velocity, debating different ways of diet and following all the motivational channels on YouTube which there possibly are you might start asking yourself why you are doing all of this. Does it have to be so complex and stressing ? There seems to be no clear answer to cut through all of the noise and figure out what really works fo you.
Is it your diet which will help you the most ? Probably, but what are the best choices ? Paleo or high fat / low carb diets seem to yield good results. At least on the pictures. Still these require making changes to your cooking and daily routines. Are you really up for that ? Another answer might be just to exercise more to reach your goals quicker. Great suggestion, if you are able to quit your job, give the kids to a nanny and get a personal trainer who shouts you out of bed at 4am (seems to work on all of them TV shows at least).
What drives your success
So what can you do as a mere mortal with limited resources who is not being paid to look awesome ? There are three areas to address way before you move into any kind of exercise regime:
- Your motivation
- Your execution
- Your progress
For these three areas, I will show you simple ways to make sure that you keep at it and be succesful. No magic formulas are expensive programs just a bit of common sense, pen and paper and commitment. That is all you need. Not even a gym membership is needed depending on your goals.
The three ingredients to get more out of any fitness program
Motivation is tightly related to meaningful goals which make a differecne to your life. What got me going was that my partner told me that I've grown so unattractive and unhealthy that she wanted to break up with if I did not do anything. This might sound cruel, but three years later I am fitter as I I have ever been. So find that deep motivator that makes you get up in the morning. From there plan backwards and write your goals down.
The next thing is execution. The main factor is that you actually do something to stay fit. It matters more that you do it regularly than what you are exactly doing on any given day. So make room for your regime and stick to it. In my personal experience Mondays, Tuesdays aare the best days of the week to train. Early morning slots, if you can get up, are usually better to get things done than slots in the evening, because as the day progresses you priorities might switch. If you have family keep the weekends free of exercise to live up to family expectations without sacrificing progress.
Progress is the last piece of the puzzle. Make sure that you are progressing toward your goals and assess if you got better in each session. How you measure this is up to, but make it measurable and check progress. If you are not moving towards your goal, start making adjustments. This will ensure that your activities stay meaningful and you keep alert. Play the long game in this context. If you sacrifice your health for short term results, that is what you will get. Remember that any form of drugs, overtraining and extremes will take their toll on your body. For me personally this expressed in lower back and a tennis elbow. I actively choose to stay away from steroids, as they are illegal and I do not want to set a bad example for my nieces, nephews and children.
If you set yourself a clear goal, make sure you stick to yur regimen and play the long game, you will get satisfactory results. That is guaranteed. Lack of these three will lead to stagnation and / or regression. It is that simple.
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