I want to be bigger, faster, stronger, more ripped, be able to deadlift 600lbs, run a marathon, all while playing centerfield for the Yankeess!
Caution: This is a rant
Sound familiar? Okay maybe not this exact example, but the idea is the same. Too many guys (and gurlz) look to become the master of all trades when it comes to training.
You are doing 2 days of 5-3-1 Powerlifting while doing Crossfit 2x per week. Not only that, your love of pickup basketball has you playing pickup basketball 2 days per week following your 5-3-1 workout. Depending on the “talent” on the cardio machines you then decide to spend 30 minutes on some cardio equipment trying to pick up your jaw while watching the cardio bunnies on the elliptical.
This kind of yo-yo training may work for a bit to get a beginner into “decent” shape, but will never yield the awesome results that most people strive for when hitting the gym. It is absolutely necessary to have a plan and a realistic view of what it takes to get there.
This bodes the question…What is your biggest goal?
Do you want to get stronger? (This should always be a goal) Pick a basic program such as 5-3-1 by Jim Wendler, Power to the People by Pavel, or Starting Strength by Mark Ripptoe. These programs are simple, straight forward, and more effective than the muscle and fitness programs most guys spin their wheels with for years. Progressive overload is key! Slowly add weight to the bar and realize strength is not a 6 week thing or a 6 month thing, it is lifelong.
Do you need to lose weight? Stop eating shitty food, drinking 1200 calories of sugary alcoholic drinks on weekends, and making excuses to not exercise. Get 5 solid hours of exercise per week at minimum and do it consistently. Whatever you need to do, exercise classes, personal training, walking your dog at a brisk pace. Replace your grains with grains, focus on Vegetables. Another tip is to make a protein shake with 25-50grams of protein (I blend mine with spinach to get more veggies, you can’t taste it!) and drink it before each meal. You’re not on the Biggest Loser, but the results often seen on that show are not maintainable because they don’t create a lifestyle change. Pick 1 or 2 goals and master them for 2-3 weeks until they are habit. Build on these habits and make permanent changes!
Trying to Gain Muscle? Eat tons of clean healthy food such as lean meats, healthy fats, vegetables, and healthy carbs every day. Decrease your cardio big time, do some incline walking and/or 2 days of sled pushes or hill sprints. Progressive overload is vital; you must get stronger and/or increase volume. If the scale isn’t moving in your favor eat more!
Trying to be more explosive and athletic? Add some jumps into your workout program. Start jumping rope for 5-10 minutes before and after your workout routine. Do this for 1 month then begin to add some jumps into your workouts before training. Jump forward, backwards, lateral, whatever floats your boat. Start with 2 sets of 5 jumps and add a set of 5 jumps each month. Better yet if you play a sport start playing it more. There is no training more sports-specific than practice.
Looking to be pain free? By a foam roller and use it daily. Check out Joe Defranco’s agile 8, specifically if your hips are tight, this routine is awesome. If an exercise hurts don’t do it, see a qualified professional that chases the source of the problem, and not treat the symptoms. If foam rolling doesn’t cure most aches and pains look for a qualified ART professional, I swear by this. It works so well I’m not entirely confident ART practitioners don’t have a deal with the devil, it can work miracles.
The point of this post is not to be an asshole, but I see so many people spin their wheels because they have too many eggs in one basket. Find your goal, something truly meaningful that you want to change and go all in. If you can’t maintain that same goal then either you need to step up to the plate and get disciplined, or it didn’t matter as much as you originally thought.
Stop reading 8,000,000 different sources of information regarding fitness, exercise, and wellness. Pick 5 or so sources, sites, or coaches that you trust and implement what they tell you. When you find these people stick on a program for months to get a full picture of what it will give you. Program hopping is not good and will leave you weak, hurt, and unsatisfied. I found my best results come from following a 5-3-1 template and shifting my assistance work (all work besides my main lift) towards my goals at the time. Currently, I am focusing on my conditioning and have to cut back on my other lifts,
Health, fitness, and training is less complicated than you may think and you probably know what you need to do. Focus on getting stronger, it will improve you mentally and physically while providing your body with good nutrition and conditioning as it pertains to your goals.
Stick to your program, stay disciplined, and see the benefits of your hard work and dedication truly pay off.