Get a Gold Medal in Consistancy

If I could give out a medal for working out, it would be given for how consistent a person is in fitting their workouts in. Olympians reach their level of strength, power, conditioning, and skill because they work at it, day in and day out, for years. That level of consistency creates the kind of results that can make you an Olympic champion.

Pyeongchang Olympics Snowboard Men

While we may never be Olympians, we can still achieve great results, IF… we can be consistent. Occasional super hard work outs will never give the benefits that even moderate intensity work outs on a regular basis can. Consistency creates habits, which means it gets easier to keep on a schedule and, ultimately, get the results that we want.

The commitment, the habit of working out also allows us to set a clear progression. We did X sets and reps on Wednesday, which means we can do Y on Friday. When work outs are sporadic, you are either going to have to lower the intensity or, at best, keep it the same. You’ll never reach your goals that way.

If the Olympic Games are motivating you, or if you’re simply motivating yourself, start by shooting for that gold medal in consistency.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

A friend of mine just had a heart attack. It was mild and he’s going to be ok, although it could have been much worse. For the better part of a year we’ve had the ongoing discussion about how he was going to start working out and eating more healthfully. Work and family always demanded too much of him and he could never seem to find time to start a program.

heart-attack

This is such a common situation. I hear it all of the time. But here’s the thing, if you put it off too long and something happens, how much good will you be to your work or your family?

You will hear me say a thousand times that it’s never too late to start. Of course, that’s if you are still around to start. Please think about this. Yes, it is a scare tactic, but more than that, it’s a reality check. Life can be short and we want to have the longest, best quality life we can. Can you afford to put getting healthy off?

“Maybe it is true, that people only care when it’s too late.” – Anon

Summer is Coming. What’s Your Workout Plan?

About this time of year, I start hearing people talking about how they’re going to stop going to the gym because they will be active outdoors all summer. I get it, active inside or active outside, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Well, I have to tell you. It’s not the same.

gardener

First, let me say that exercising or being active outside can have some significant emotional/psychological benefits. Even five minutes of “green exercise” can enhance your mood and feeling of well-being. So, yea for being outside! There are, however, a few cautionary notes to dropping out of your regular full body workout program.

Whether we are gardening or playing tennis, activities are never symmetrical. We always favor one arm or leg. Raking, digging, planting are one side dominant. We even get up or down on the ground favoring one leg. Tennis is essentially a one-armed sport. In golf, you always swing to one side. These asymmetries can create strength and flexibility imbalances that may cause injuries in time. kayak

Another issue is that these activities rarely take us through the full ranges of motion that we would (or should) be getting with our  gym workout. Full movement at the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, etc. doesn’t come without planning for it. Walking, running, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and biking do not promote joint mobility (or certainly not full-body joint mobility).

trx chest press

TRX (suspension device) for outdoor workouts

There are some solutions that are pretty simple. One option is to just keep doing your regular gym workout. If you don’t seem to have time and want to spend more time outside you can modify your workout to be shorter and/or go to the gym less frequently. In example, you could cut back to a 30 minute, twice a week. Another answer is to do your full body workout outdoors. There are a number of ways to make that happen. You can do bodyweight workouts, use a suspension device such as the TRX, or you could use elastic tubing that is very portable and very effective.

What you can’t do is go from a structured, full body workout program to summer “activities” and expect to maintain the benefits. You’ll come back in the fall having to start up at a much reduced level to reflect what you have lost. So, plan ahead and decide how you can continue your strength and mobility training throughout the summer.

 

“I Don’t Need Help. Why, Back in My Day…”

A man’s pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance. – Bear Grylls

Older men are the worst (I know because I am one.) We’ve had at least half a lifetime’s worth of experience and we believe that means that we know stuff.

Well, we do know stuff, but often times not as much as we think we do. It turns out that sometimes what we think we know, we remember incorrectly. Other times what we believed was “The way” to do something has since been proven to be ineffective or even harmful. Have you ever found yourself saying, “Back in my day…”? I do fairly often, but it’s not to show expertise. I discovered early on that if I relied on what I learned when I was younger, I would have found myself left behind in the world. Now, when I use, “back in my day” it’s to illustrate how far off the mark we were.

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Old-time bodybuilding champion and Nautilus pitch man, Casey Viator

In example, “Back in my day, we used a Nautilus machine circuit as a major part of our strength workouts for college football.” True story. While it might have done a fine job at building muscle, we now know that machine-based strength training programs do not have the best carry over to sports performance.

 

What myths and fallacies are you hanging on to? Are you putting in a lot of time training your abs to lose the fat around your waist? (There is no spot reducing. Sorry.) Are you putting in lots of time on cardio to lose weight? (It’s not the most effective way to take off the fat.) Are you doing yoga and avoiding weight training so you will build longer, leaner muscles? (Muscles don’t build longer, and getting leaner results from the right caloric balance.)

There’s also the issue of what you were training for back then. The goals of the past may not be what you want from your training now. I used to train for strength and power. That was when I was playing football. Now, my goals are different and my training reflects that.

The point I’m trying to make is that “back in my day” information may be a day too late (or, more likely, years too late.).

fat-belt-3

“I can feel it working!”

Don’t take the chance that what you “knew” back then, still holds true and don’t let your pride or ego keep you from asking for help. Find a certified, experienced personal trainer to help make sure your training program is one that is based on the most current scientific evidence and is specifically created to meet your individual needs.