8 Training Rules to Live By
8. Strength training should be favored over cardio.
Unless you’re a long distance endurance athlete and 50 miler races are in your wheelhouse – most of us should be focusing on strength training as our primary way to train.
Whether you’re after fat loss or muscle growth, lifting weights is the key to progress. The difference in the outcome comes from what type of strength training program you follow and your what foods make up your diet. In fat loss, more muscle means a higher resting metabolism, faster fat burn and the secret to a tighter bod. For muscle gains, lifting weights has a bit of an obvious connection to your goals.
So whatever your goal, weights, resistance and power training should be included!
7. Success only comes from a clear goal and plan.
Success doesn’t fall into your lap by accident. It always comes from a clear-cut plan with action steps, milestones and feedback. And fitness success needs a plan just like any other goal you’re working toward.
To create your plan, start with your end goal first. Then work backward.
Do you want to lose weight, drop fat, gain muscle, increase your strength?
Then get even more specific.
How much weight?
How fast do you want to lose fat?
How much do you want to increase your squat strength by?
Then follow a plan designed for that exact goal. A fat loss plan will have lots of compound exercises, moderate weights, and heart pumping workouts. But if your goal is to increase your squat strength – your training plan will focus more on, you guessed it, squats. With a systematic increase each week to boost your overall progress, build your accessory muscles and upgrade your mobility.
A specific goal needs a specific plan.
6. The effectiveness of any program is about how challenging you make it.
When you find the program that aligns with your specific goals – the next step is the implement it.
But the problem that often happens – you start it, you don’t see results and you drop it.
Was it the program?? Poor exercises choices, set and rep numbers all off – it was just destiny for you not to succeed on it?
Once your program is aligned with your goals – the other determining factor in it’s effectiveness comes down to your investment in it. How hard you’re willing to push yourself along that training program.
Its not the exercises, the number of sets or the reps. You could have the perfect plan, but if you half-ass it or never get out of your comfort zone, you won’t see progress.
5. Routines need to be changed periodically.
So maybe you have an aligned plan and you’re pushing yourself hard with it – but you’ve stopped seeing progress (or worse, you started getting injuries).
The problem then becomes your adaptation to the plan.
Our bodies get accustomed very quickly to our environments, even in fitness.
The first few we times we try an exercise, we usually get pretty darn sore. But after we practice it enough, our muscles are so familiar with it that it stops challenging us. And what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you (because it’s not breaking down your muscles to future growth). Unchanging routines lead to overuse of the muscles you always train and that means injury.
In order to prevent plateaus and kept your goal moving forward, you have to change up your fitness programs. We recommend a new variety every 6 weeks. Now that doesn’t mean you have to make an extreme jump – I don’t recommend going from strength training to Zumba. You can get the change in variety simply by varying the reps, sets, tempos and exercises. Focus on power or focus on heavy strength for 6 weeks, then pick a new athletic focus the next 6 week cycle.
4. Form is always the primary focus.
Most programs will give you the sets, reps, rests, etc. But there’s one thing that trumps all of these directions – that’s form.
If your form becomes compromised, you need to stop. Don’t power through 8 reps with crappy form just because your plan has it listed. Lower the weight or reps or increase your rest time.
Choose quality (good form) over quantity (reps, sets, or weights).
3. There is no such thing as over-training, only under recovery (maybe).
When someone ends up with a hurt shoulder or back, their first go-to excuse is often “over-training.”
But elite athletes can train for 6 hours a day without sacrificing their body. It’s not the amount of time you train that’s the issue, it’s the amount of time you spend recovering. And when you’re training and recovery times are misaligned, then you’re asking for injury.
Now – I know the saying “there’s no such thing as over training.” But that’s not 100% true – our biology, physiology and common sense cna tell us that yes, there is a thing as overtraining. Not every body is capable to pushing to the extreme conditions. But what is true is that training and recovery are proportional. The more you train, the more you need to recovery. And as both numbers increase, the quality of each must increase too in order to prevent injuries.
Recovery is just as (if not more) important as your time training.
2. Nutrition, sleep and stress are just as important as your workout.
And just like recovery matters, so does your nutrition, sleep and stress. Our bodies are complex inter-workings. Every thing we do impacts and is impacted by almost everything else we do.
Poor nutrition, lack of sleep and high stress levels will all plummet your fitness (and if you’ve got all three dragging you down, you definitely shouldn’t be expecting stellar training results).
But if you make nourishing food choices, you rest and recover with good quality sleep and you manage your stress (as much as possible), your physical abilities will improve.
1. Consistency is key.
There isn’t one magical program that guarantees results. Every program has flaws. Every training system could be improved. And every lifestyle has room for healthier enhancements.
But you can see success with a program that’s just good or fine or acceptable as long as you are consistent. From training, nutrition, sleep and recovery – pick your plan, work your butt off for it and then evaluate your progress. Make adjustments as needed and keep trucking forward.
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