I first began writing this post a month ago, but I thought it would be more appropriate to wait until the new year when the gyms are flooded with resolutioners and people suddenly jumping from 0 workouts a week to 5.
While I'm so happy that fitness is now widely becoming an integral part of peoples lives, there seems to be a "more is better" attitude that has emerged in the form of obsession. People will boast about how they did 3 Soulcycle doubles in the past week or how they do a 2-a-day workout at the gym on the regular.
But how many of those people are getting the adequate nutrition and regeneration aka 7-8 hours of sleep per night and well-balanced meals with the appropriate protein/carb/fat breakdown?
They might actually be working against themselves and stalling their fitness progression and potential by burning both ends of the candle.
One time, I saw a Facebook friend update their status as, "Killed my third 10 mile run of the week after tonight's Crossfit workout and only on 4 hours of sleep. Boom! #crushingit"
Crushing... my soul. I know all my fellow trainers reading this right now are cringing, as well.
Learn how to train SMARTER. Not harder.
The biggest favor you could do for yourself is to actually learn how to workout and learn what your body needs. After all, who wants to be spinning their wheels and be putting in way more work than the rewards they'll reap?
Unless you are an elite athlete or are training for a very specific type of athletic goal, there is zero reason why you need to be working out twice a day. Also, let's be realistic- if you are spending 2 hours at the gym, chances are, you're not really putting in the necessary intensity that you should be.
Learn how to train instead of jumping on the latest fad. As the fad passes, so will your gym attendance. It's a lifestyle, not a phase- integrate it into your everyday.
For all those who are starting out, here are my 3 fundamental tips to get you started instead of hurtling yourself into a 5 day/week bootcamp that'll make you never want to enter a gym again :
1. Stick with the basics.
Stick with the meat and potatoes. I shake my head every time I see a class advertised as some sort of fusion of barre, pilates, yoga, core, and functional training... it utterly defeats the purpose of all of those disciplines.
Every person can benefit from resistance (strength) training. Learn how to squat, deadlift, push and pull some weight with solid form and your body will react in amazing ways. There is a reason why these things are called classics and why every (good) trainer has these in their arsenal.
2. Be Consistent.
As I always tell my clients, you won't know if a program or plan worked unless you are 100% consistent and stick with the schedule. Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
Say that you'll go to the gym three times a week? Don't head into the week thinking, I'll make it into the gym at least three times. Know that you will go on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7am, and have your gym bag packed and ready to go on Sunday night. Failure to prepare is never an excuse you want to make for yourself- it is the ultimate laziest of lazy.
3. Keep track of your progress.
With my clients, we reassess after every training cycle to see our progress and evaluate what steps we need to take to adjust or continue to improve. You won't know if you're getting better unless you keep track of it.
With all of the technology at your disposal, it's really easy to do this. If you don't want to deal with fussy apps, just open up a "Notes" on your iPhone and jot down what you are doing at the gym each day, what weights you are using, and consistently review it all to ensure you are progressing and not staying stagnant.