Does your training lift you up, or beat you down?

Assessing how you feel before, during, and after a training session is essential.

Some things to consider while training:

  1. Stress comes when you don’t feel in control. After you’ve done the movement in a few training sessions there should be no stress associated. If it stresses you out or requires too much effort to complete, move on to an exercise you can safely complete.
  2. Rep count does not matter. This is exercise not a prescription or competition. A few good, quality repetitions are better than many partial or cheated ones.
  3. Modifications are good. Have trouble with walking lunges? Use trekking poles, or do them in place, next to something you can use for balance (couch, bench, etc.).
  4. Weight. Start light. Take your time. If you can move it easily, work your way up. When it challenges you, stay there for a few sessions to build confidence in the exercise, set or workout. Repetition trumps variety.

How do you feel after a set? Stressed, exhausted, out of control? Those feelings are to be, mostly, avoided. Anxiety, fear, and worry don’t lend themselves to repetitive behavior. On the other hand, elation, positive energy, and enthusiasm build confidence and pleasure, which lead to increased repetition.

  1. Find out what you enjoy and repeat it.
  2. Build skills in 5 or so exercises you can go back to on a daily basis. Developing skill leads to the ability to increase resistance and difficulty. Variety is not necessary.
  3. Remember why you are exercising: to progress, maintain, become more able/capable, increase energy, increase outlook, enhance performance in all areas, and improve both health and quality of life.

Forced oxygenation and deep breathing change your bodies chemistry. This is a bonus to strength training in a circuit format. Transitioning and actively recovering while training is a skill that once possessed, powerfully changes your approach to movement.

Until you have the skillset you shouldn’t seek out the pain and strain of hard training. Shortcuts lead nowhere worth going. Time spent in foundation building is never wasted.

Think of your fitness training as building skillsets to last a lifetime. Moving well throughout your life is more important than momentary glory obtained in youth.

Resistance

Resistance

The mind controls it all. It fabricates, incentivizes, dramatizes, and elicits emotion in nearly every moment of our lives. Focusing the mind to be fully connected with what we are doing, when we are doing it, is a skill that when possessed, is the most powerful of them all.

When I define a goal it often has loose consequences. It’s arbitrary whether or not I succeed or fail. Those who love me do not place value on my performance, therefore the prioritization is all my own. The preparation, planning, and sacrifices are my own. To achieve a best performance in this regard requires a very strong mind. A high level of personal importance is required in order to give everything to my goal, or event. My events are long. Anywhere from 3 to 24+ hours. Knowing this I focus on not looking forward to the end of a training session. At the point the training becomes uncomfortable, for any reason, intended or not, I must be in the moment. The mind connects with the feeling of the body; am I tired, thirsty, hungry? What of those things can I control? Am I slowing down? If I am, it’s most likely due to the mind letting the body take control and forgetting proper self-care. I must also focus on positive thoughts. Reassuring the purpose of the event and its priority in my life. This is where I want to be.

General fitness training fails when there is no consequence.

“A lot of people try to get around goals by not being specific enough. Your goals have to be quantifiable with a by-when date!”

Commitment and priority are quick to waiver. Your body will put up a fight to any sort of change: dietary, sleep, workout, and schedule. Understanding and expecting this is mandatory. Giving your self the option of cancelling or saying no is the beginning of the end. You must commit. Clearly define why you want to make changes. Superficial, image based goals can spur you to begin training, but when things get tough, they are not strong enough to keep you on track. Do you want to be an example to your family and friends? This can’t simply be a nice surprise. Please don’t dabble. Being an active participant in your life means eliminating the passivity in how you approach each day. Train with vigor.

“Short-Time” Workouts

“Short-Time” Workouts

Ease of implementation is the most important factor in a busy, professional’s ability to consistently workout. It should be no surprise that consistency, with proper application, is the most important factor in relation to obtaining results.

We are going to assume that motivation and desire is not lacking, just organization. A sets and repetitions based strength workout does not require a 60-90 minute commitment to be effective. In fact, 30-45 minutes of focused effort is plenty of time to get results. Even, 10-15 minutes can be enough time to create balance in your physique and make small, consistent improvements. Let’s focus on the 10-15 minute, “short-time”, workouts.

Organization:

In order to be effective in your training there must be organization and planning. What do I need to do today, this week, and this month to make the progress I need to get the results I desire? How do I start and finish a workout?

Time:

Knowing, realistically, how much time (each day) you can devote to working out is crucial. The ego always believes we have more time, and a greater ability to complete tasks than we actually do. Set for yourself a high-end (ego-based) time allotment, as well as a low-end (reality based) time allotment. Always start with the low end. It allows a lot of upward mobility and with completion and consistency, comes confidence.

Knowledge:

This is the most important factor, which means it is always the biggest results limiting factor. Strength training can also be extremely confusing. With all of the tools, props, machines, and programs on the market it can be a foreign realm to step into. This is why classes are so popular. People sign up and follow along. The problem with most classes is there is no evolution or progression built into the programming, creating a reliance and dependency on the class format and structure to stay fit. Knowledge, meaning knowing how to workout, is empowering, it creates ownership of your health and fitness. Once you own it, you simply need to apply it. It’s that simple.

Example:

Being a distance runner, most of my energy for training is devoted to running. Strength training takes a backburner to endurance work pretty much all the time in my world. Does that mean I don’t do it? Of course not, but what I do is place restrictions on frequency and duration of these workouts. During my running season,10-15 minutes, 3 days per week is my allotment for strength training. In that time I’m pulling, pushing, lunging, stepping, squatting and planking. Knowing my time is limited I work off a plan and focus on flow, moving from one movement to the next, always finishing feeling like I could have done a lot more. Compressing my time commitment increases my focus. Quality becomes more important than quantity. The stress of chasing fatigue, and muscular exhaustion is eliminated.

Implement:

It may take 8 minutes, or 15…

10-1 Ladder Circuit (10,9,8,7,…1):

  • Squats of Swings
  • Pushups
  • Sit-Ups

Theory:

The more we promote balance in our life the less susceptible we are to the burnout of over exertion, over consumption, and general “life-binging” most Americans engage in and are attracted to.

Think about it, for many people working out is a means to allow them to, “eat and drink whatever I want.” I hear this all the time. This idea of balancing the good behaviors with the bad behaviors is not sustainable and will never be equal.

As a coach and trainer I prioritize balance, completion, and consistency. When I talk about making fitness a lifestyle, it’s not simply being active more often. I’m speaking about taking the values and ethos of exercise and fitness and implementing them to all other areas of your life.

Creating a state of flow, via movement, is transcending. Once it’s felt, the value becomes inherent, an un-fleeting element of one’s existence, and a way of life.

Conclusion:

10, 15, 20-minutes… it’s enough to make a difference.

Works… things… details… basic… results

Find out what works, and then do more of it. Focus first on doing the right things, and then on doing things right by mastering details. A few basic moves produce most results.

-Joe Polish

Brilliant message. It’s clear, concise, factual, and blunt. Eat real food. Eat more of it. Move your body. Move it more often. Challenge yourself. Keep challenging yourself, and maybe even compete…

Whether it’s the first squat, pushup, or pull up. Whether it’s the first smoothie, spinach salad, or grilled salmon. Without intention and purpose their is no follow up of positive action. Being habitual in your behavior is what produces the most.

Plan, track, implement, and assess. If you’ve done it right, you walk away with an education. If you’ve bought a shortcut, you’re left with a dependency.

Make the right move.