K.I.S.S. - no, not the rock band - in this post we are going to talk about keeping it simple in the gym. Super intricate routines (often done out of our compulsion as human beings to re-enact rituals) are no better, and often worse for you, than staying simple. Here are 3 things you can do that are brutally simple and effective (and results inducing....)
1. Warm up properly. It seems excruciatingly long warm up routines are all the rage these days. Simple solution - gradually get your heart rate up (we like the rower), if you need mobility work - do it. It should not take longer than 10 minutes to get ready to roll though. If you need that much mobility/flexibility work than schedule it on an off day and devote a full session of gym time to it.
2. Sprint. For most, long distance time consuming "cardio" is well.....a waste of time. Sprint for maximal fat loss, sprint for conditioning purposes, sprint for power and strength development. Start with a 1:1 or 1:2 work to rest ratio and be conservative with the sets/volume in the beginning.
3. Carries. Pick up something heavy, db's or kb's, and carry it for a distance....fast. Carries are great for your core, grip and posterior chain, not to mention overall conditioning. Examples include farmers walks, waiter's walks, front rack carries, etc. etc. Put these at the end of a training session for a great "finisher."
Incorporating any (or all) of these tips will help you regardless of goal. Stay thirsty....I mean simple, my friends!
Let's assume for the sake of arguement (or a blog post....) that an individual who is looking to attain muscular hypertrophy - i.e. get bigger, is training with the correct INTENSITY and FREQUENCY (these can be big "if's" but I digress...). What stands in the way of their quest for mass? Simple. Food. Most hard trainers that I consult with on the daily simply do not eat enough. Often times, eating enough food can be more challenging than the hardest of training sessions.
Due in part to a culture who looks at abs as the end all be all sign of fitness, many are scared to eat. Get over it. Look, you are going to probably gain a little (notice I said a little) body fat. Caloric increases over time can do that. I'm not talking about the bloated "perma-bulker" strategy that is often employed by those not in the know. That free for all type of eating only leads to lowered insulin response, lowered testosterone and other not so desirable side effects. That guy gets fat. By employing smart strategies (calorie cycling, nutrient cycling, proper use of training variables etc...) you can get bigger with a minimal amount of fat gain.
It does require effort though, as all things worth having do. When in doubt eat. Here are some easy rules to follow to get to mass land:
1. Think protein first, fat second, carbs last.
2. You must drink copious amounts of water (a gallon or more depending on weight - remember muscle is 80% water!).
3. Go by the scale, but also the mirror, and definitely the caliper (body fat measurements).
4. Calorie cycle for lean gains and to keep body fat levels in check.
5. Use conditioning/cardio training to stay hungry/eat more - not to get in better "shape."
6. When in doubt, eat!
Use these tips as a guide on your journey. As I have often stated, "I'd rather miss a training session than miss a meal." Food is that important. Now go eat!
Time - the number one stumbling block to the execution of even the greatest of programming. The sillyness that is busyness runs rampant and hamstrings all people in some way or another. People in today's world just have more stuff to do right? And all of this stuff gets in the way of training right? Maybe not.
We all have 168 hours in a week. That's a 24 hour day - 7 of them in a row to be exact. That is a lot of time. How come some people seem to have zero then? Are their lives really that packed? Or do they get a big "fail" at time management? Since I have to have this conversation with a client in one way or another virtually every week, let's break it down:
Let's assume, even though it is a stretch, that everyone works 60 hours a week. That leaves 108 hours left (168-60=108). Even though everyone thinks they run optimally on 6 hours of sleep (newsflash - you don't), we are going to assign everyone in our example here 8 hours. That is 56 hours of sleep a week. That leaves us with 52 hours left in our week
(168-60(work)-56(sleep)=52 hours. That is still a lot of time left on the table. Cue excuses in 3...2...1....
If you trained just three hours a week (four 45 minute sessions) that would equate to just 5% of your remaining 52 hours. If you look at that 3 hour window in terms of the total week it is even more ridiculous. 3 hours of training time in terms of your total week (168 hours) equates to just 1.78% of your week! As the numbers show, often it's not the lack of available time, its what you do with the time you have.
Next "time" you think that you don't have any time to train (or sleep, or read, or eat.....) do a "time" audit. Assign time values to everything - work, sleep, food prep, internet (this is a huge time taker....), kids homework....whatever occupies your day. Total it up and minus it from 168, and you are probably going to be surprised with the rather large number staring back at you.
Then you must come to the realization that it is most likely not a matter of "can't," its a matter of "won't......"
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