Hopefully most of you are already on a great workout program and are getting great results and if so I applaud you all for your hard work. But what about those who are not getting the same results? What is it in your program that is keeping you from going to greatness? Most would agree it would be time, money, to tired and maybe they just lost motivation. Whatever the case may be, it is time to start having success in your workout routine and it all starts with you and it can start today. My 3 keys to any great program is:
In order to have success in anything we do, we have to be consistent. You do not get good at something by just doing it once and thinking that is good enough. Michael Jordan did not get to where he was by just sporadically practicing here and there and then he just became great. No, he put in the work and was consistent with the work he put in order to get to the next level. The same applies to exercise and working out. You can’t have one good week where you went 3 to 4 times and follow that up with 1 time the next week. Your fitness has to be a priority and you have to make time for it every week and treat that time like it is gold. Consistently going to the gym, putting in the work and working hard are what is going to get you the body you so desire. The funny thing about working out and life in general is: You get what you put into it. If you give excellence, you will get excellence in return. Be consistent with your workouts for a month and just notice the change you will have in your mood, your body, your energy levels and your sleep. I am a big fan of one day on and one day off, which would put most people at about 3-4 workouts a week. Make the time for it, schedule it in your day and do not miss that appointment. You have to treat it like it is more important that a doctors appointment. The more consistent you can be working out, the less likely you will have to see the doctor in the future. Speaking of which, currently in our gym we have a cartoon up of a man getting checked out by his doctor and the doctor says to the man “What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?” Hmmm
The intensity of your work can be just as important as the consistency. My favorite new motto when it comes to working out is: Get In, Get After It, Get Out. I am talking about the intensity of your workout and how long it takes to get it done. If you are one of those gym goers who spends more than an hour there then it is just a waste of time. Go in with a plan, execute the plan as fast as you can and leave after you are a sweaty mess. I am mainly referring to those who make a social hour out of their time at the gym, which is fine but there is a time and place for everything. Are you there to hang out or are you there to work? One great way to pick up the intensity of your workout is time your rest periods. If you are one to do a set up push ups, get a drink of water, watch TV for a minute, talk to so and so and then do another set push ups, then you are wasting a lot of time. By timing your rest periods, you increase the intensity of your workout, get the heart rate up and start burring more calories. Now if your program right now is heavy lifting then you might want to have a longer rest break but generally your rest between sets should be between 30 seconds to a minute and upwards of 3 minutes for heavy lifting. That is one of the reasons circuit training is great because you get to move from one exercise to the next with very little rest in between. Now there is such thing as too much intensity as well. If you are going hard all the time every day, then that is to intense and your body will not recover well enough. There is a delicate balance between work, rest and nutrition and it can be tough to find that balance. One day hard, one day easy, repeat through the week. If you have a hard workout day on Monday, then make Tuesday a slow go cardio day or go for a walk or do some foam rolling and stretching and let you body heal to prepare to go hard again on Wednesday. One of my favorite quotes is ” If you give a half-assed effort half the time, you end of with a quarter of the results.”
Every program will work for a short period of time whether it be body weight training, heavy lifting, plyometric or aerobics. As long as you are consistent and have great intensity, then whatever you choose to do will give you great results. The catch is you should change your program every 12 weeks to avoid over-training and to give your body the its much needed rest and new stimulus. From April to June, I started to lifting hard and heavy with my client every Tuesday and Thursday and I saw amazing results. I got my deadlift up to 385 lbs, my dumbbell bench press up 100 lbs and bent over row to 185 lbs. We went hard for 3 month and gained a lot of strength and now we have changed our program. We are taking a break from the heavy lifting and are shifting to a lot of speed, quickness, plyometric and body weight training. There is definitely a difference when you switch between the two programs because with heavy weight training the reps are short and the rest is pretty high but you are strong, really strong. Now with our new interval training program, the reps are high, the speed is fast and the intensity is hard. There is not much rest between exercises and my body is adapting to the new stimulus of training and I seem to be sucking wind a little bit more than usual which is fine because my body is not used to that style of training yet. Your goal is to have a program to follow, stick to it for 3 months and then after that think about mixing it up. Maybe try a bodyweight training program and do nothing but push ups, pull ups, body weight rows, squats, lunges, jump rope and running. After your 12 weeks of that, maybe switch to a traditional strength training program with heavy squats, dumbbells, kettlebells and the good old fashion straight bar. Every quarter you have to think about mixing it up and changing your program in order to achieve great results. I like this type of variety the best. If your type of variety is something like going hiking one day, taking a day off, maybe making it to the gym the next and going spinning a couple of days later then although your routine may be great because you are getting lots of different movement but you are not going to get the results you are after unless you are on a strict consistent program.
Think about what you are currently doing, where you want to go and what you need to do to accomplish this. If you want to get strong and gain some muscle mass then start lifting. If you want to slim down some while still getting strong then look into some circuit training and if you want to get your endurance up look into doing more cardio interval training. Whatever it is you choose to do, keep at it and be committed to it, with great intensity and be prepared to move on after a couple of months.