This seemed like a good post to start the 2021 year. Not exactly the first post. I posted a quick workout for you yesterday. But a good theme for all of us as we head toward the anniversary for the pandemic and we all begin the work of re-setting our hearts and minds for what still lies ahead.
In 2021, patience will be essential…
Here’s the story I referenced from the ash flash from 2020.
There are four things standing between you and fitness program fast results. All of which are important, and especially when combined, have the potential to double, or even triple the results you’re currently getting from your current exercise program.
Two of these four key actions have to do with your strength training program. You do have one, right? Assuming you do, the first thing you can do for fitness program fast results is to focus on the movement and not on the muscle. This means choosing exercises and exercise combinations that involve more than one muscle group at a time, mimic your athletic or everyday movements, and focus on movements that move more than one of your joints at a time. Which means that those “tricep kick-backs” you’ve been doing, for example, need to abandoned for good. Instead, make sure that every one of your workouts incorporates the five fundamental movement patterns every time you train – push, pull, hinge (bend at the hips), squat and carry.
Do lots of repetitions during your strength training program. I know. You’ve likely heard me say before that choosing resistance levels that allow lots of repetitions doesn’t stimulate the kind of muscle strength and growth required for long term weight loss and fitness program fast results. The real truth is that change in your routine is what is most important. And in this case, what I’m saying is that very often, trying to perform 30 or even 50 repetitions of an exercise (while maintaining good technique, of course) can become an incredible workout and does in fact stimulate your slow-twitch muscle fibers to grow and become stronger. You just don’t want to do this for every workout. Try it next time you’re in the gym, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Become a minimalist. Strategy #3 for fitness program fast results has to do with simplifying your routine. The linear relationship that exists between increased amounts of work, especially when it comes to strength training, has an end point. In other words, more is not always better. In fact, I often see people wasting a lot of time in the gym by being incredibly inefficient with their fitness program design. The combinations of your movements in addition to the number you perform are both important. Try keeping your total set count between 22-25. This equates to about 2-3 sets for 8-10 different exercises. That’s it. If you’re working hard enough and have chosen movements in every one of the key categories outlines above (Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Carry) you really don’t need to do more than this.
Do something every day. I know, I know. You’re always hearing that you should take a day off between strength training sessions. And you should. What I’m talking about is using your off days for something more productive than sitting on the couch or in your office chair every day. This is what I mean when I talk about “Active Recovery.” Much of the strength and conditioning improvements that you achieve actually come during the recovery period from your workouts. This is where your body takes time to re-build and prepare for the next workout. So, for fitness program fast results, make sure you are not just taking time for recovery, but also making this recovery time productive with good sleep, good stretching, and good nutrition.
Here are a few examples of what I mean when I say “Active Recovery”:
On an off day, try performing half of your strength training movements at half the weight. Or, simulate them with stuff you can use in your office or at home. A bent over row with your bag or briefcase, for example.
“Off days” are also perfect for stretching, yoga, walking, or even just a few trips up and down the stairs at the office or at home every few hours. A good way to think about this is to imagine what it would be like if you were living back in the 1800s, chopping wood for the winter, washing your clothes by hand, or giving the horses a bath. Movement all day is the key. Not just for workouts or when you need another cup of tea.
Set the goal of performing these “movement breaks” at least three times a day, and let me know if you’re energy level and positive attitude have not doubled in value 🙂
OK…there you have it. Four simple action steps that I guarantee will help you achieve fitness program fast results. Try all of them or even just one of them. And I would love to hear back from you here in the comments section on how much it helped.