If you spend anywhere near the amount of time I do researching, networking and discussing fitness related matters, you’ll come across a wide range of articles and products espousing different strategies for getting into shape. Actually even if you don’t do any of that, all you have to do is turn on the television and you’ll see some great promotions for exercise gear and accessories. My new favourite is those shoes that will make you lose 5kg just by lacing them up! How do they get away with this stuff? I’m sure we’re supposed to have scam protection in this country!
From time to time you even come across something extra special, that’s either “the best kept secret trainers don’t want you to know” or some amazing breakthrough that no one else knows about and promises to deliver great results in no time at all even when all else has failed… of course, they don’t seem to tell you what that special something is until you read the whole article, listen to the whole audio presentation, and then hand over your credit card details, right? What could this guy know that no one else has figured out yet, and why hasn’t he used it to win Mr Olympia yet?
There’s a science to training, fitness & nutrition, but for most people it doesn’t have to be rocket science. I’ve written an article before about “getting scientific to get results”, but for most people it’s quite simply a matter of going from doing nothing and over eating, to doing something and cutting some calories. If you go from doing nothing to doing something, you can probably expect some kind of results. I guess that’s how some of these marketers get away with making their outrageous claims.
There’s no “one way” to approach training, although there are some ways that are better than others. Generally speaking your training strategy has to include the following;
- Nutrition: a balanced diet with the appropriate amount of calories. You need to know how many calories you require, and how many you are consuming!
- Resistance Training: this can be body weight training, weight training, resistance bands, or a combination of all three to burn calories and build muscle.
- Cardiovascular Conditioning: anything that increases your heart rate, burns calories and increases lung capacity. This can be running, rowing, boxing, swimming… you can do your resistance training in a circuit format and kill two birds with one stone if you prefer.
Further to that, I’ll add the following;
- Technique: If you’re going to perform an exercise, you might as well perform it properly to achieve the full benefit. Good control of the weight with a full range of motion is crucial. Your trainer should pay close attention to your technique at all times.
- Progression: It’s important to try to increase and improve performance. Lift a little bit heavier, perform an extra repetition, or complete the course a little quicker than the week before.
- Patience: I think many people underestimate the potential for what they can achieve, but overestimate how quickly they can expect to get into shape. You can’t make up for years (or decades!) of neglect just by putting in a few weeks of effort – although you can certainly make a good start and establish the habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
The even simpler version I like to use is “fix up your diet, and lift some stuff up!”
As to the finer details… if you asked 5 different body builders, you’d get 5 different answers. Check out some interviews with the pros; one will do the same workout every day, another will never do the same workout twice, others will have approaches that vary depending on the time of year and so on. The one thing almost everyone should agree on is that consistency is the key; you need to maintain good eating habits and physical activity on a long term basis, and the only way to do this is by adopting an exercise program that is as enjoyable as it is effective. Lets be realistic, if we don’t enjoy something we probably won’t stick to it for long.
My mission in life is to steer people away from scams, break the perception that exercise is a chore and not much fun, and help people to get great results with a common sense approach to nutrition and training. In the new year I’ll be offering some great new options that I think you’re all going to love.
Keep checking back for more information, there is lots still to come!