New-School Fitness Theories Are Killing Your Results
Summer is in full swing. BBQs, frozen margaritas and vacation can take a toll on our bodies. To make matters worse, at the end of every grocery isle there is a magazine that features a celebrity selling the latest series of exercises that will transform our bodies before the next family picnic. The problem with all of the hype is that these very exercises can actually hinder results. If you want a six pack, there is a new machine for that. If you want smaller hips, there is an exercise ball and an infomercial for that. Although some of these exercises are fine, doing them improperly will produce zero results and even increase your risk of injury. Now what? How do you know which exercises and fitness choices to choose that will actually work? Furthermore, how do you know if you are doing them correctly?
Below are three tips to use as the groundwork to increase performance and reach your fitness goals:
Start with the basics and master them
Sure, it sounds great to be able to bench press more than the guy next to you. The problem is that in order to make a true transformation, there has to first be a transformation in your approach to fitness. If you approach your plan with performance as the main objective, you will be able to set attainable goals that will produce amazing results.
The next step is start with simple movements and routines that will serve as a foundation for your regiment. Athletes and healthy individuals have been using the basics for hundreds of years — and without machines. Tools like kettle bells and dumbbells and functional movements like squats and deadlifts have stood the test of time and prove to be a successful approach to getting fit. Start simple, master the movements and continue to increase your weight and reps over time. This approach will increase performance in daily activities and ensure that you are getting the most complete workout possible for your time.
Ask yourself why you are doing each exercise
It may sound simple, but before you approach a new set of exercises, understand why you are going to attempt them. Take the time to know what part of your body each movement will address and how to approach them correctly. YouTube and fitness apps are just two examples of the resources we have daily at our fingertips. Unfortunately, these same resources can often add confusion and unnecessary steps to our fitness routines.
Oftentimes, people decide to do something new they have seen, but don’t understand why they should do it or how to execute it properly. You don’t have to be standing on one leg on a Bosu doing leg lifts and balancing medicine balls at the same time to see results. A good tip is to ask yourself if this exercise mimics what you do in real life. For example, if you are doing deadlifts regularly, it will help you to lift boxes at work or when you pick up your growing child when they are tired. Take the time to evaluate your goals and your approach, and you will make smarter decisions.
Become great at a few big multi-joint exercises
Once you have decided on your goals, be sure to include a few multi-joint exercises. Taking the time to master these movements and make them a part of every workout will help with bone and muscle strength as well as aid in the balancing of hormones.
Keep in mind that a workout is comprised of force and distance. So, the more weight you move with a longer distance, the more your body is working to it’s maximum potential within the time invested. For example, if you can do a deadlift and move 100 pounds three feet, you are exerting way more energy than you would with a single-joint exercise like bicep curls with a smaller amount of weight.
Making the choice to perfect multi-joint exercises will make you stronger in multiple areas as apposed to one.
At the end of the day it is important to approach your exercise routine with your eyes and ears open. There are millions of videos, books and gyms that have set out to “help” you achieve your goals. The key is to cut through the noise by making the smartest, most efficient choices for your performance and overall health. Keeping it simple, with proper execution, will be the formula for your success.
Below are a few useful links that can help you in your fitness journey: