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1) Resistance/Ground Based/Closed Chain
- Train with some kind of load or resistance as much as possible. Push, pull, pick up, drag, carry, swing, squat, throw, slam… All with resistance and all with your feet on the ground whenever possible. Lean muscle tissue from resistance training.
- Women… (sigh) You are not going to get “bulky” from picking up some weight. Don’t be afraid of it. If you knew what it takes to look like a bodybuilder you would laugh. You’ll never get there. If you want the “toning” effect… pick up some weight and get after it. Nothing is sexier than a woman who is confident in the gym. Ease into it with some effective bodyweight movements and progress from there… you’ll quickly realize what I am talking about.
2) Aerobic/Anaerobic (Cardiovascular improvement)
- Aerobic training isn’t the devil… it just isn’t the most effective way to drop fat and look better. If time is a factor, and it often is, choose other methods. Stress your cardiovascular system using as many different methods as possible. Run, bike, paddle, swing kettlebells, use battling ropes, row, etc. Train yourself to be effective for short distances, up inclined hills and stairs, flat surfaces, etc. Run for distances that develop endurance-like qualities. Do it all. Tweak the variables: distance, work periods, rest periods, direction, speed, heart rate recovery etc.
- Grandma was right, “All things in moderation”. Too much of anything can be bad. Too little can be bad too. Find the balance.
3) Multi-joint (movements not muscles)
- Unless you are rehabilitating an injury or training for a bodybuilding competition, avoid training your body in isolation. The body is a single unit made up of many moving parts. Train your body to push, pull, squat, hip hinge, lunge, carry, sprint, etc… and your body composition will change and performance will improve. Muscles and joints love working together (synergistically) to accomplish physical tasks.
4) Joint-by-Joint Approach
- The body is a vertical Jinga tower of joints. Some joints need stability and some need mobility. Improve your joint stability where you need it and improve your joint mobility where you need it. Failure to obey this simple rule puts you at risk for injury and decreased performance. Generalized approach, but simple and crazy effective. Freedom to move effortlessly in all 3 planes will keep you functional in the game of life, and most of all, injury free.
- In simple terms, every movement/exercise has an easier or more difficult variation. You just have to know where to start based on your abilities. Beginners must spend time mastering the basics before they earn the right to step up to a more difficult variations. Proper progression means leaving your ego at the door. Do what YOU can do, not what you WANT to do or what you saw someone else do. This is a hard lesson to learn and implement (even for myself a long time ago), but in the long run, you’ll thank me on this one. All in good time.
- Train hard… Recover harder. If you train hard enough, you can elicit a training effect worthy of fat loss, injury prevention and performance. If you recover hard enough, you will give yourself the opportunity to continue to train hard week in and week out. Recovery is also where the magic happens. Nutrition, sleep, hydration and soft tissue maintenance allows for a life-time of physical success.
- Foam roll, roll a lacrosse ball on your feet, iron out your muscles with Tiger Tail. Keep your tissue healthy and circulation flowing. Stretch and elongate. Soft tissue restrictions are uncomfortable and breed dysfunctional movement.
- Think of it this way: You have a full glass of water prior to a workout (water= energy levels/fatigue, etc). After completing your workout, you have now poured out have of the glass of water (fatigue, hormones, muscular health, etc). It is important to put more water back in your glass before the next training session (rest, recovery, regeneration). If you pour all of the water out of your glass before you replenish what you have poured out from your workout, you increase the likelihood of injury, over-training and increased fatigue, sub-optimal hormone balance, decreased performance, etc. Keep your glass full and your body will be happy. Keep the balance.
- Just like movements over muscles… choose systems over workouts. Following a system will always get you further in the long-term than “winging” it. A system is a road map to body re-design. It’s a plan. A system allows a person to experience continued improvement in a scheduled, intelligent, measurable and safe method. A system is sustainable and built for the long-term.
* There are a TON of variables to consider when designing a training program. Getting yourself adjusted to healthy habits takes repetition/practice and body re-design takes time. Be patient but don’t get complacent. Attack the hell out of it. You have to be all in on this. Focus on doing the simple things really well and be patient as your body begins to experience positive aesthetic change and performance.
Cheers to the full integration of these habits…