This article was originally written in 2014, and in light of the upcoming seminar on Thursday November 16th (details below), I thought it would be a good time to update it and share it with everyone. Enjoy!…
When I ask many of my athletes what their goals are, they usually include decreasing injury potential, increasing strength, gaining some muscle and losing some fat.
Some athletes do have more specific goals such as a faster batting speed or club speed, higher pitching (baseball/softball) or shooting (lax or hockey) velocity, a quicker 40 yard dash or a more explosive first step.
But for most, it is usually about gaining strength and muscle, and losing fat.
So then the question becomes, how can one most effectively gain strength, increase muscle mass and decrease fat while also staying healthy. I emphasize “while also staying healthy” as there are some programs (too many, and some very popular ones!) out there that will undoubtedly help many build strength, size and burn fat.
Unfortunately though, these programs often leave their athletes feeling like Madd Dog in the ring with Tommy…confident at first but quickly jacked up…you have to check this scene out!
But there is a better way. It is called Metabolic Resistance Training and here is the what and how.
What Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) is Not
MRT, when programmed correctly, is an extremely effective method to simultaneously acheive strength and muscle mass, while shedding fat and staying healthy.
The difference between MRT and other circuit style training or “bootcamps” is in the exercise selection, format, chosen resistance and rest periods.
Most circuit or “bootcamp” style programs insist on picking the latest/coolest/most advanced exercises such as the Olympic lifts (cleans, snatches, jerks, etc.), loaded jumps, unstable surface training, etc.
And it is not that these exercises are inherently bad exercises (except for some of the unstable surface training…a squat on a stability ball is just a bad, bad idea!), but it is that many programs teach them, or try to teach them, in a “go-go-go” group atmosphere. This hardly ever allows for individuals to learn proper technique, and therefore, they never fully master the movements utilized.
Then to make things worse, these programs rarely manage weight selection properly, allowing athletes to either use a load that far too heavy to maintain form, or to use a load that is so light that they are able to crank out reps without having to think about technique (this is usually the case).
Lastly, because the goal of the coach/program is too often to simply “get tired” instead of “to get better” work periods are too long and rest periods are not sufficient. This results in excessive fatigue, which further exacerbates this issue of poor form. Not only this, but it is then that we are not able to complete as much truly high intensity work, the kind that is going to result in optimal muscle gain and fat loss.
Advanced exercises that have not been mastered, in combination with poorly selected resistance and excessive fatigue is a recipe for disaster.
MRT: A Better Approach…When Programmed Correctly
Metabolic Resistance Training (good MRT) utilizes exercises that are familiar and have been mastered. MRT, when programmed effectively, uses a resistance that allows you to gain strength as well as size without losing form. Lastly, MRT uses rest periods that are long enough to allow the quality of movement to stay high, but short enough to create a metabolic disturbance…this takes some quality programming!
First and foremost, the exercises utilized should be tailored to the individual and what they are familiar and efficient. If an athlete is coached well and the movement is modified accordingly, movements (and there variations) such as the squat, deadlift, lunge, push up, inverted row and cable rows are quickly mastered and can be used.
The resistance used should be equivalent to an athlete’s 6-12 rep max (the most weight and athlete can use to complete an exercise with perfect form for 6-12 reps) and exercises are then programmed to complete 4-10 reps, leaving “1-2 reps left in the tank.”
The weight selected also needs to take into consideration an athlete’s main goals (strength gain vs muscle gain). For example, if an athlete is going for strength more than size, you would program exercises for 4-6 reps utilizing a resistance that is comparable to the athlete’s 6-8 rep max. If size is the goal than reps should fall between the 8-10 rep range using a resistance comparable to the athlete’s 10-12 rep max.
Lastly, 2 to 4 exercises should be formatted in a non-competing fashion (upper/lower, push/pull) and separated with a rest period that is conducive to the athlete’s goal.
For an athlete looking to maximize strength first, programming a deadlift followed by a push up, a lunge and an inverted row with 45s of rest between exercises, and 60s of rest between sets, would allow the athlete to regenerate enough between exercises to continue to push good weight. This format would also promote the metabolic disturbance required for muscle gain and fat loss.
Putting It All Together
Below is an example MRT session with two different programming parameters: one that is geared towards strength and one geared towards size…but remember both with still beget both strength and size, as well as fat loss (when nutrition is on par of course!).
Complete the following exercises in order performing 5 reps each and using a resistance that would allow you to get 6-7 perfect reps before losing form. Rest 40s between exercises and 60s between sets. Perform 3 to 5 sets.
1a) Deadlift x5
1b) Push Up (use a band/chains for added resistance and/or elevated feet) x5
1c) Reverse Lunge x5/side
1d) TRX Row (use a weight vest or chains for added resistance and/or elevate feet) x5
For Size (muscle gain)
Perform the same sequence of exercises above performing 8 reps per exercise with a resistance that would allow for 9-10 perfect reps. Rest 15-30s between exercises and 45s between sets.
This routines can be a session by themselves, or they can follow the strength/power portion of your program.
As with any other program, the goal should be to progressively overload the system. As the program gets easier try increasing the weight used, decreasing the rest periods and switching out exercises for other exercises that you become proficient in.
When the exercises are familiar, the resistance used is appropriate to your goals, and when the rest periods are long enough for an athlete to maintain perfect form but short enough to still create a metabolic disturbance, MRT can be utilized to simultaneously gain strength and size, lose fat and stay healthy.
No more do you need to (or should you) meaninglessly follow along with a program that is there just to “get you tired.” Sit down and consider your goals and training history and utilize MRT to help you quickly achieve your goals, and keep you from feeling like you had just been in the cage with Tommy…if you didn’t check out the video above now is the time to do so!
For WAY MORE on the topic of Metabolic Resistance Training, and many different strategies on how to implement MRT, as well as utilize in sessions that can last only 10-30 minutes, make sure to sign up for the upcoming seminar by emailing Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org…here is the flyer with details!
The push up!
It is one of the most versatile and effective exercises for upper body pushing strength, shoulder and shoulder girdle stability and to enhance core stability and energy transfer…it can basically turn you into Superman (or Superwoman) overnight.
Unfortunately, it is also one of the most butchered exercises. And when the push up looks more like a rendition of “The Worm” you are setting yourself up for back, neck, shoulder and elbow pain…and not to mention you won’t be achieving that superhero figure anytime soon.
So to help you keep yourself from destroying your spine, shoulders or elbows, and to help you get closer to that superhero status, let’s cover the 5 most common mistakes and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Poor Pelvis Position
This is by far the most common mistake!
Instead of the body being straight from the back of the head to the back of the heels, there is a massive dip in the center of the body at the low back and hips. This issue here is that the core is not engaged properly and/or strong enough to keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
When this happens the pelvis tips anteriorly (forward) which creates hyperextension in the lumbar spine (lower back). This position typically results in the feeling of back stiffness or tightness when the set completed. Overtime this will lead to pain in the back and possibly at the front of the hips as well.
In this position you are merely reinforcing a faulty postural position known as “swayback.” Your body relies on the spine and the rectus abdominus to stand, which again overtime will lead to injury, and at the very least, a weak ass body!
In your push up position, you must first bring your hips up to level out the line from the shoulders to the heels. Then you need to focus on “pulling your zipper up towards your ribcage” which effectively posteriorly tilts the pelvis. You only want to do this enough to bring you back to neutral, not too much as to create a tucked under pelvis.
From this position the goal is then to lower the body as one unit, not allowing the hips to sag or rotate forward.
This will be much more challenging and for those of us who can “bang out 20 push ups” from the worm position, you will likely only be able to complete 6-10 solid reps before fatiguing into the faulty position.
If you can’t complete any push ups with this new position, simply elevate the hands to a bench, box, or table and work your way back down to the floor little by little as you gain strength.
Lastly, if you are doing this correctly you will likely feel a significant amount of core work being completed with your sets and reps…ya, dem abs will be burnin’.
Mistake #2: Chin Poppin’
The second most common mistake with the push up is reaching with the chin as the bottom of the movement is approached.
Just as with mistake #1 where you don’t want the hips to lead the push up, you also don’t want your chin to lead the push up. When this happens there is a shear force placed on your cervical spine as it goes into a forward translation, as well as hyperextension. This is no good if you want to prevent neck pain and aches down the road.
Instead of leading the push up with your chin, focus on keeping the “tucked” as if you were trying to make a double chin. You can also think about this as if you were a turtle, and you were trying to pull your head back into your shell.
Once you achieve this good neck/chin position (as well as your hip position from mistake #1), the best way to solidify your push up is to lead the push up with your chest. This will ensure that you are no longer sagging/tilting at the hips or reaching with the chin. If anything were to hit the floor first, it should be your chest, not your hips or chin!
Mistake #3: Arm/Elbow Position
The next most common mistake observed with the push up involves the position of the arms/elbows relative to the body.
Because a longer lever can provide more torque, to make the push up easier we have a tendency to flare the elbows out, making a 90 degree angle with the upper arm to the body. While this may be easier from a physics standpoint, this will inevitably lead to shoulder pain.
When the arms/elbows are further from the body the shoulder joint becomes more compromised as the space in the joint is reduced. Therefore the structures of shoulder are more at risk for becoming impinged, and victim of frictional forces. Eventually the tissues will break down, and as you can imagine that is no good!
Imagine your body as an arrow with your head being the tip of the arrow and your arms being the side points of the arrow.
The side points of the arrow are not straight out the side (at 90 degrees) but instead they are about 45 degrees from the shaft of the arrow. This is where you want your arms to be.
This angle still provides plenty of torque force without the shoulder joint running into a compromised position.
So next time you get your push ups on, envision your body as an arrow and get your elbows to roughly 45 degrees from the body…it will be more challenging at first but you will get stronger with time and practice, and you wont be jacking your shoulders up!
Mistake #4: Not Finishing All the Way Through
The body is all about conserving energy. Because of this, it is inherently “lazy” as it does not want to expend extra energy if it doesn’t have to.
Because of this, another very common mistake with the push up occurs at the top of the movement.
Instead of pushing all the way through the movement so that the muscles around the shoulder blades keep the them tight to the ribcage, we typically see the push up finished with a “caved in” presentation at the upper back. You will also notice the shoulder blades “popping off” the back of the ribcage.
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What's wrong with the execution of this push up?? My new article coming out in a few days will cover the 5 most common push up mistakes keeping you from the results you want, and likely setting you up for injury! ➡️ Leave your thoughts on this push up in the comments. #pushups #pushup #strength #strengthtraining #strengthcoach #strengthandconditioning #athlete #athletes #movement #shoulders #scapula #theathleticway
Essentially you are using the shoulder joint and shoulder girdle to finish the push up, rather than the muscles around them to actively finish the movement…again, no good for optimal performance and injury prevention.
When you get to the top of the push up envision your shoulder blades wrapping up and around your ribcage, instead of staying on top of your upper back.
Also envision pushing your upper back through the ceiling. This will increase the distance between the shoulder blades. You should notice that you chest is slightly further from the floor compared to the previous finish of your push up.
Mistake #5: Collapsing the Shoulder Blades
A common cue used in the strength and conditioning and fitness world is to “pull your shoulder blades together as you descend into your push up.” While this isn’t inherently wrong, it sometimes creates a very extreme pulling together of the shoulder blades.
When this happens, you are essentially pinching your shoulder blades together at end range before the movement really gets going.
The shoulder blades and the arms should be moving in synchrony throughout the movement, not one first and then the other. This will place more force at the shoulder joint, as well as reinforce an unwanted movement pattern with upper body pushing and pulling movements.
Focus on controlling the shoulder blades, bringing them together throughout the entire movement. The shoulder blades should only come together at the bottom of the push up.
Essentially, do not allow them to collapse together at the start of the push up!
Bonus Mistake: Shoulder Blades Tipping Forward and Elbows Behind the Body
Here is an extra bonus mistake.
When you approach the bottom of the push up you do not want your shoulder blades to tip forward or the elbows to pass too far behind the body.
What this does is place extra stress at the front of the shoulder, where many of us will typically experience pain during faulty upper body movements.
Throughout the descent into the push up, imagine tipping your shoulder blades backwards. When you get to the bottom of the push up do not allow your elbows to pass too far behind your back.
Shoot for finishing with the elbows in line with the top of your back, and if you pass slightly behind that is OK.
Get Your Push Up Right
When the push up is completed with proper execution it is one of the best exercises for upper body strength, shoulder stability and to enhance energy transfer throughout the body.
It is a staple in world class training programs for a reason…it works!
But when the push up, like any other movement, is not executed properly, not only are you not going to achieve the desired outcomes, but you are likely setting yourself up for injury and pain.
Take the points covered in this article and DO NOT let injury and pain be the result of crushing hundreds and thousands of push ups!
***Just so you know how invested I am in helping out The Athletic Way community, my shoulder was pretty cranky from busting through all of the “don’t friggin do” videos…I hope you enjoyed!
Here is an article I wrote a few years back, and I still rotate through these options as my nighttime snacks! I wanted to share this with you as I always receive questions about what we can eat for snacks, especially at night, that will support our us health and performance goals (and help us achieve a body we are proud of!)…Here we go!
“I do great all day but the nighttime kills me”
It is 8pm and it’s just getting dark. You had a long day at work (or school) and are planning to wind down for the night. As you sit down to read your favorite novel it hits…the dreaded hunger pangs.
It is too late and you are too tired to construct a quality mini-meal / snack, or so you think. So you make your way to the pantry for a quick “grab and go.” Since you are pretty health conscious, you don’t have the double stuffed Oreos, Little Debbie Honey Buns or other sugar infused garbage that plague many pantries, but you still have the “healthier processed options” for emergencies (please notice the quotes).
You snag a low fat yogurt granola bar (the fat is replaced by a high amount of sugar), an extra-large hand full of M&M trail mix and pop a few multigrain crackers. After spiking your blood sugar to an epic level, and consuming nearly triple the calories you thought you had, you lie down for the night but find it hard to fall asleep.
The high sugar content not only provided you with the excess calorie to keep your dreams of a lean, athletic body far from the near future, but you created a physiological state that promoted a night of restlessness…unwanted fat mass and insomnia, the perfect combo to keep you from achieving your health and performance goals!
So what was the problem with the situation above?
Maybe you just can’t control yourself from snagging the easy, not so “healthy” options.
Maybe you aren’t quite sure what would make a quality nighttime snack.
Or maybe you feel that the choices that are healthy are too hard to whip up, especially at night when you are tired.
As I always say, if it is not there you can’t have it, and if it is there you will.
With that in mind, below are 3 easy, healthy and delicious options that make great nighttime mini-meals that can be put together in less than five minutes. Stock your fridge and pantry with these ingredients, rid them of the other stuff, and you will set yourself up for a much healthier nighttime feast (or any other time of day!!).
1) Cottage Cheese / Greek Yogurt and Berries
1 cup low fat cottage cheese or plain low fat Greek yogurt
½ to 1 cup berries (blueberries, strawberries, mixed, etc.)
1 to 2 tsp flaxseed
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
½ to 1 scoop protein powder (optional for taste and added protein)
Small handful nuts (optional for added calorie and healthy fats; either eat on the side or add in)
Instructions: mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy…ya, it’s that easy!
2) Power Protein Shake
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Breakfast to kick off Sunday ➡️ Carrot Cake Shake – freeze 1 cup of carrots, add 2-3 handfuls of spinach, 1 scoop protein powder, small handful walnuts, small handful raisins, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 8-10oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blend. ➖ On the side I had a piece of Ezekiel toast with natural jam, a small handful of mixed nuts, and green beans with hot sauce…I know the last part is a bit odd but had it once in a pinch and is now a staple when I have a shake…spicy and sweet I guess! #healthyliving #healthybreakfast #healthyfood #deliciousfood #breakfast #proteinshake #protein #ezekielbread #coffee #nutrition #nutritious #healthylifestyle #healthyeating #fit #theathleticway
(shake only…not all the other stuff!)
4 to 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
1 large handful spinach or kale
½ to 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, mixed, etc.) or 1 small frozen banana (freeze without skin)
¼ cup nuts
1 scoop protein powder (favorite flavor)
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
Instructions: Add ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness (the personal sized Ninja, Nutribullet or Magic Bullet work well!). Can add shaved coconut, cocoa nibs or flaxseed for a bit more crunch…just make sure it works into your caloric goals.
3) “Pumpkin Pie” Bowl
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I have to admit, my nutrition hasn't been as "spot on" as it usually is. We have had a lot of treats around the house from the Easter holiday, and recently one of the AWESOME!!! TOP Fitness athletes made a special treat for my wife (which is absolutely delicious!).•• So needless to say I've been munching on some things in greater amounts than I usually do. But this morning I made sure to throw together my "pumpkin pie bowls" so later tonight I have something a bit more conducive to my fitness and aesthetic goals to snack on. ••Not to say I won't eat the rest of the treats, just not all at once now! ••Having good options prepared and readily available is key and is one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to my athletes in order to help them reach their goals. #foodprep #foodprepping #healthysnack #healthysnacks #healthytreats #nutrition #athlete #theathleticway
(Again, just the bottom pick of the ingredients for the pumpkin pie bowl!)
1 cup pure pumpkin (about one half can 15oz can)
1 tbsp flaxseed
1 scoop protein powder
Cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
1 to 2 pinches coconut flakes
Instructions: Combine pumpkin, protein powder, flaxseed, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Top with coconut flakes and enjoy.
Fix Your Nighttime Snacking!
There you have it, 3 quick and easy options that will not only fulfill your health and performance needs, but will satisfy your sweet tooth!
Try these out and let me know what you think. Share your favorite mini-meal / snack options below and remember when nighttime hunger hits, taking less than five minutes to put together one of these options will help you ward off a future of the morning jiggles!…
When someone looks like they train regularly, you know, the guy or gal who is lean, muscular and confident, the fact is that they probably do!
When it comes to achieving health, fitness and performance goals, and looking like you have been working for it, one of the most important factors is training frequency.
This doesn’t mean you have to get in and crush a grueling training session 6-7 days per week, but it does mean you should train hard (and smart of course!) 2-4 times per week and supplement that with less intense sessions 1-2 times per week.
Even when you are away from your regular schedule, be that on vacation or when you get busy with work, school or sports, you need keep up with your training to continue to progress and even more importantly, prevent digression. And in between days of high intensity training, getting in a solid session that increases blood flow and your heart rate is encouraged.
It is during these times that a quality at home (at school, hotel, etc.) training program is key.
You won’t always be able to make it to your training facility / the gym, and when this happens you have two options.
You can say, “Screw it,” and forgo your training (and risk losing ground), or you can complete a session that requires you to go nowhere, use next to nothing and take 30 to 45 minutes out of your day…tops!
I’d encourage you to go for the second option, that is if you actually want to reach your goals.
And with that, below is your guide for setting up an at home training program that requires only a foam roller, a TRX or pair of bands and either a slideboard, paper plates / furniture movers / pair of socks…simple and effective.
I have put together 3 at home programs for you. Really it is one at home program with 3 different levels. I would complete the level 1 program first and as you feel good with the exercises in that level, move on to level 2 and finally on to level 3.
The thing that you will notice is that the programs are not some super fancy, elaborate thingamajig…it is all about doing the basics and doing them with great intention that will help catapult your health, fitness and performance.
Before you look through the programs though, read the following as it will allow you to better complete the programs.
Soft Tissue, Stretch, Mobility, Activation and Movement Prep
Like any good program, you should dedicate a few minutes to soft tissue work and then to stretching, mobilizing and getting the body prepared for the upcoming session…so this is first in the programs.
Sets and Reps, or Time and Reps
Depending on how you want to attack your session, you can complete it one of two ways.
You can go through each of the training blocks completing the designated sets and reps, or you can go through the exercises completing the designated reps as many times as possible within a set period of time (5-8 minutes).
Attacking the session with the timed blocks is known as escalating density training (EDT). The goal of EDT is to try and complete more rounds with each subsequent training session. This in turn enhances the metabolic effect of the session…it gets your heart a pumpin’ a bit more!
Slow Down the Tempo
Because the programs are designed to only use your bodyweight, a TRX or bands, and some form of low friction training (slideboard, furniture sliders, paper plates, socks, etc.) you will need to manipulate tempo of the movements to increase the challenge.
By slowing the tempo of the movements down and utilizing pauses you will increase the time under tension, and therefore the strength and growth potential of the exercise.
When you see 321 this means that you are to complete the movement with a 3 second eccentric (lowering), pause for 2 seconds at the bottom, and come back to the beginning of the movement in 1 second (the concentric portion). For a lunge this would be lowering into the lunge in 3 seconds, holding the bottom of the lunge for 2 seconds and returning to the standing position in 1 second.
Go for Speed
On the opposite side of slowing down the tempo of the movement, you can speed it up. As you will see in level one, the bodyweight squat is to be completed as a speed squat. And with all three levels, the mountain climber is to be completed as fast as possible with perfect form.
Speeding up the movement changes the challenge of the movement and creates a slightly different stimulus than a typical tempo.
Beyond Level 3
While the level 3 program is the most advanced program provided with this article, if you feel that the program is no longer a challenge, you can go back through the levels and switch many of the movements to more explosive, athletic movements.
For example, instead of squats you can perform squat jumps. Or instead of push ups you can perform explosive push ups where the hands leave the ground…you can go for the clap if you want it!
Also, if you do have dumbbells or kettle bells available, you can absolutely go ahead and load the movements that you are solid with. If you have resistance that is just a bonus!
What To Do Now
So you’ve made it here! Here are the programs.
When you are short on time, can’t make it to the gym or find yourself away on vacation or travel for work, attack these sessions as if they are your main training session…because they are! Perform the most difficult level of training that you can complete perfectly.
Go through the session as quickly as possible, or completing as many rounds as possible (EDT). You want these sessions to leave you feeling fatigued and like you completed a sufficient amount of quality work…you don’t need to be sprawled out on your back after though!
Now if you are using these sessions as a supplement to your main training sessions (let’s say you train 3-4 times per week at a higher intensity), you can approach these sessions with a little less intensity.
Instead, focus on moving through the blocks still as quickly as possible, but with the goal of getting your blood flowing, heart rate up, but not inducing so much fatigue.
You can have a little burn going, but you shouldn’t feel like you are close to technical or muscular failure during the exercises.
In this case these sessions are there to support your recovery between your main sessions, as well as burn off a little extra calorie, and keep the body moving to lose some extra fat and achieve/maintain a lean physique.
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After a 24 hour period that included about 7 hours of driving, I had to get in a little movement. ➖ Because tomorrow is a intensive training session the goal was to move, sweat and tap into my aerobic conditioning system a little without inducing fatigue. ➡️ For this reason I chose to perform movements that less stable and higher skilled movements so I could not go quite as intense. 🎯 If you want to try this: using a suspension training system set the clock for 20 minutes and perform 10 reps of each the overhead squat, single arm row, rear foot elevated split squat and push up. ➡️ Go through as many rounds as possible maintaining perfect form. #offdays #offday #athomeworkout #athome #trx #trxworkout #conditioning #cardio #strength #stability #squats #row #pushups #pushup #athlete #athletic #athletes #theathleticway
So there you have it, your complete guide to at home training with a few example training programs.
If you have found this article helpful, please do your friends and family a favor and pass it along!
***This post was one I originally wrote back in 2014, but the principles still apply as is the case with all of the most important principles when it comes to health, performance and fitness.
Sometimes even when we are doing mostly the right things when it comes to training and nutrition, we unfortunately don’t achieve our body composition goals (more muscle and less fat). And besides the aesthetic piece to body composition (we all want to look good naked), having more muscle and less fat is advantageous when it comes to overall markers of health and longevity, as well as performance in sports and life.
To achieve and maintain a leaner and more muscular composition, there are a few things you should do in order to enhance your metabolic rate. The greater your metabolic rate the easier it will be to get and stay lean.
With that, below are 5 keys to enhancing your metabolic rate…let’s do this!
5 Ways to Boost Metabolism
While I am all about working hard for everything that you get, it is nice when positive strides are being made even when you are just chillin’ on a lake boat with a refreshing beverage in hand…or whatever your idea of pure relaxation is (I’m a lake guy, not a beach guy)!
And this is exactly what is happening when your body’s metabolic rate is maximized.
Whether our individual fitness goals include better overall health, enhanced athletic performance or shedding a few unwanted pounds, all of us wouldn’t mind being (or staying) lean and looking good naked.
Getting lean takes some leg work (literally and figuratively), and there are a few strategies that you can implement to help enhance the process by boosting your metabolic rate.
Why should you be aiming for a higher metabolic rate?
For one, a higher metabolic rate allows the body to breakdown (during training) and recover more efficiently as long as nutrient levels are adequate. This process is what progressive training is all about, and a higher metabolic rate is a must for this to happen optimally.
Second, a higher metabolic rate means that you are burning more calories throughout the day, during activity or when you are just relaxing. This provides for an easier path to obtaining and maintaining a lean and athletic body. It also allows us to have a little more leeway with the quantity of food we consume, which is a nice thing when trying to live a life that is healthy but also enjoyable!
Have you ever noticed that the lean, muscular dude can eat whatever he wants, or so it seems?
Well, because he has worked to achieve a lean and muscular body, it is easier for him to burn off the extra calories and nutrients from a larger meal, or a meal that contains some “not so healthy” options. But, don’t get me wrong, he can’t do this forever or he will loose what he has worked for.
So with that, what are some ways you can your boost metabolic rate and burn more calories even when you are not training? Even when you are instead watching some of America’s most out of shape people get a whoopin’ on TV…The Biggest Loser is entertaining, but if your “trainer” is taking a ride on your back, well…
5 Ways to Enhance Metabolic Rate…aka Burn More Calories Daily
1) Resistance train and gain muscle
Muscle is a metabolic tissue (utilizes calories) and the more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate becomes. Resistance training promotes muscle growth.
More muscle will not only boost metabolism, but it will allow you to gain more strength and set you up for greater performance (not to mention a more aesthetically pleasing physique). Shoot for 3-5 quality sessions per week to maximize your muscle growing potential.
These sessions should include a mix of heavy compound exercises that work in the 3-6 rep ranges, moderately heavy compound exercises that cover reps from 6-12 reps, and lighter compound and isolation exercises that span the rep ranges between 12-20+ reps for optimal results.
2) Start your morning with cold water and movement
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to take a cold shower first thing in the morning, although this is a great way to wake up…
What I am suggesting that you drink 16 oz of cold water first thing after waking up. Follow that up with a brisk walk, 5-10 minute foam rolling session or body weight circuit and you are well on your way to getting your metabolism revved up, as well as keeping your body hydrated and “blood flowin”…both which are important for a higher metabolic rate.
Another nice benefit of drinking water before you eat is that it will help increase levels of satiety since the greater volume in the stomach helps stimulate a feeling of fullness…a good thing if you struggle with portion sizes.
3) Consume mainly veggies and lean protein
“Go figure…You’re talking about a ‘diet’ that is comprised of mainly veggies and lean protein!”
Yes, yes I am!
Processed foods are in no way conducive to obtaining, maintaining or enhancing a higher metabolic rate. Most contain trans-fat, copious amounts of added sugar and other ingredients that require you to sound them out like a third grader…classic!
All of these ingredients wreak havoc on the body and its systems. So if you want to optimally boost metabolism, don’t consume foods that will leave you stuttering like a chubby, curly haired grade schooler.
Instead opt for meals that are based around a lean protein source (think chicken breast, lean beef, turkey, high quality cut of steak, eggs, etc.) and fill most of the rest of your plate with veggies (salad, cooked veggies, sautéed veggies, etc.). Then add in a small amount of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, etc.) and boom! Here is a great visual from the team over at Precision Nutrition.
If you are constantly in “go mode” (also known as a sympathetic state) your body does not have a chance to relax and regenerate. Although a sympathetic state encourages caloric expenditure, if you are in this state for too long your metabolism will become compromised as hormonal levels are out of balance (out of equilibrium) and your body tries to combat this by “shutting it down.”
During your day try to take 20 minutes where you are doing nothing but relaxing (going for a slow walk, reading a book, taking a power nap, taking a warm shower or bath, etc.)…focus on nothing!
And then when it comes to getting some shut eye help yourself out by incorporating good sleep hygiene. Try this…
- Shut off electronics 1 hour before your head hits the pillow (or at the very least dim the screens and turn down the volume).
- Foam roll and stretch as this will help stimulate a parasympathetic state (rest and digest)…take 5-10 minutes.
- Read…mainly fiction. It is really hard for me to read fiction as I am always looking for some good knowledge bombs, but getting lost in a story rather than trying to figure out how the information you are reading can help you be a better coach, husband, person, etc. sets you up for a better state of relaxation.
- Make sure the room is dark, on the colder side and without noise (or use white noise). Light, warm temperatures and noise all decrease your levels of quality sleep…work to reduce them! Try black out curtains, setting your thermostat to 67 degrees or cooler and use a fan, white noise machine or ear plugs.
5) Keep moving
Simply the more you move throughout the day, the more energy your body requires and the higher your metabolic rate (this is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
In this day and age we can pretty much take care of everything sitting at a computer or taking out our smart phone. While I understand that many jobs involve sitting at a desk for hours on end, there are a few things you can do to get a bit more movement in your day.
Try getting up every 20-30 minutes and take a quick walk or do 10 squats, lunges, etc., go for a walk on your breaks, walk and talk (if you are on a phone call make it a walking phone call) and fidget (studies show that those who fidget burn more calorie throughout the day…just don’t aggravate your boss/co-workers!).
Also, if you simply have the chance to work standing vs sitting, DO IT!
**Bonus Tips: If you can tolerate caffeince and/or spicy food, try consuming a few cups (1-4) of coffee or green tea daily and use hot sauce and added spices (chili powder, red pepper flakes, etc.) to flavor dishes…both have been shown to help boost metabolic rate.
Employ these strategies, boost your metabolism and know that even when you are not “working hard,” your body is still getting after it for you.
If you have any other strategies share them in the comments below and help spread the knowledge by sharing this article with your friends and family.
This is the last piece of the “REAL Core Training” article series and here we will discuss the progressions from your basic core training, to some of the most advanced core training exercises.
If you haven’t read PART I or PART II I suggest you do that first (just click the links) as those provide the foundational principles and exercises that must be mastered first before incorporating advanced core exercises into you training program…well at least if you don’t want to risk a disc herniation, vertebral fracture or a low back that is tighter than a fat man in a woman’s tennis uniform!
Ya, that actually happened this year at Wimbledon!
So once you have mastered the basics, and have built a solid foundation that will not crumble under new and more intense movements, it is time to take your core training game up a notch. Like any other body part and movement, you must increase the demand or stimulus over time to continue progress.
What follows are a few ways to progress the standard core exercises (plank, anti-rotation press, side plank) with a few examples.
1. Remove a Point of Stability
With the standard plank you have four solid points of contact with the ground. Those points are your two arms (or forearms) and your two feet. By removing one of the points of contact you reduce the stability the system as a whole, and challenge your core now to control more than one plane of movement.
This takes the plank which is primarily an anti-extension exercise and makes it an anti-extension and anti-rotation exercise…so ya, way harder!
The goal now is to prevent the hips from shifting or rotating side to side, while you continue to prevent them from sagging to the ground (low back from arching).
Plank Leg Lift
DB Plank Row
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The db plank row is one of my favorite exercises as it attacks anti-extension and anti-rotation components. ➡️ The goal is to keep the hips from dropping or rotating as you alternate rowing the dumbbells. You should feel the work taking place in your core, never in your back. 🎯 Go for 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps per side to finish out a solid session. #core #coreworkout #corestrength #abs #absworkout #strength #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #athlete #athletic #athletes #theathleticway
2. Make the Lever Longer
With the standard plank the arms/forearms are right beneath the shoulders at a 90 degree angle. Now if you take your arms and move them out overhead, the length of the lever you need to control (the length of your body) becomes longer making it much more challenging to prevent the hips from sagging, tipping forward and the low back from arching.
The goal is to maintain the “zipper up” or “tail tuck” position throughout the entire exercise. If you start to feel pressure in the lower back you have likely slipped into anterior tilt at the hips and over extension at the lower back. Stop short of this, and work to get stronger and move further into the outreached position.
3. Add Different Directions and Quicker Movements
With the anti-rotation press adding different directions of pull with the cable requires you now to control both extension and flexion, as well as rotation.
Anti-Rotation Press Up Down
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The anti-rotation press up down is a progression of the standard anti-rotation press that enhances the benefits of the exercise. Those being 1️⃣ While pressing the arms away from the body creates a longer lever which is what challenges the core to prevent rotation, bringing the handle up to the forehead and down to the belt line increases the lever length from your center of gravity, therefore making it more difficult. 2️⃣ The up and down motion targets the stabilizers of the shoulders to a greater degree, making it a bigger bang for your training buck. ➡️ These make for a stronger, more injury resilient core that will help decrease the chance of back pain and hip pain as well as enhance overall performance. 🎯 To properly execute the exercise make sure that the abs stay engaged by focusing on pulling your zipper up towards your rib cage to prevent extension of the lower back, especially when the hands go up. Also focus on keeping the path of the handle inline with your zipper, belly button and nose. ➡️ Go for 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps per side and make your core stronger and rock hard! #core #coretraining #corestrength #coreworkout #abs #absworkout #absofsteel #shoulders #shoulder #shoulderworkout #strength #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #fitness #fitnessmotivation #fitnesscoach #theathleticway #athlete #athletes
Or you can make the lever action quick and short bursts across the body which forces you to prevent the hips and torso from rotating when there are rapid changes in external forces.
4. Add External Forces
With the side plank, adding external horizontal forces such as upper body pushing and upper body pulling creates a rotational force on the body while you are still working to prevent the hips from sagging towards the floor (anti-lateral flexion).
Side Plank Cable Row
Side Plank Cable Press
5. Be Explosive
Simply put, the more explosive and powerful an action is, the more force there is generated over a shorter period of time. With more force over a shorter period of time, there is a much greater demand on the core to prevent the hips and spine from being bent or twisted from a solid neutral position.
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1-2 days per week I like to get a little power conditioning in. ➡️ Today was 7 sets of 150 yard sprints working with 30 yard intervals. ➡️ I followed that up with 3 rounds of a medball circuit as shown. 🎯 I usually stick to a 1:2 work to rest ratio (resting twice as long as it takes to complete the sprint / circuit) as the goal is to keep the power output high and condition yourself to reproducing quick explosive actions repeatedly. 🎯 This is also a great way to enhance fat loss while minimizing muscle loss! #power #conditioning #core #fatloss #fatburn #athlete #athletic #athletes #coreworkout #circuittraining #theathleticway #fit
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Today was an intensive lower body training day, meaning a lower volume and focus on power, strength and explosive conditioning. ➡️ This was the 3rd of 10 reps of 40 yard sprints with walk backs. This gave me roughly a 6:1 rest to work ratio which was plenty of rest to allow me to keep my speed up for all 10 sets. ➡️ Keeping the conditioning on these days short and explosive with plenty of rest is key to maximize strength and power adaptations and overall results! #sprint #sprints #theathleticway #conditioning #cardio #cardioworkout #strength #power #explosive #athlete #athletes #speed #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #strengthcoach #fit #fitness #smarttraining #getafterit #fatloss
While the title of this article is a little misleading, as there is never a “final” step in your core training, the above progressions are the more advanced progressions when it comes to training your core.
These progressions all create a greater challenge and therefore enhance the strength, stability and overall performance of the core when executed properly. They also create a 360 degree demand, therefore resulting in greater definition and aesthetic appeal.
The principles discussed above along with the previous 2 articles will allow you to train your core for optimal results when it comes to injury prevention, performance enhancement and aesthetics.
No more are the days of blowing your spine to smithereens in the hunt for a higher performing and better looking midsection!
If you want even more in depth information and to go through some exercises in person check out the info below for the upcoming REAL Core Training Seminar…only a few days away!
“What is the best core training exercise?”
This is a common question for those of us who are seeking to bulletproof our body, enhance performance and look damn good around the midsection. You may have even asked someone this yourself (or at least thought about it!).
And at the risk of sounding like a smart ass, I am going to have to answer this one with, “The best core exercise is the one you are executing properly!”
I could also answer this, “The best core exercise isn’t too easy, but is definitely not too difficult where you can’t complete it appropriately.”
So with that, you can see that the best core training exercise for any one person is going to change overtime as they become stronger and more conditioned through the core.
And the best place to start your core training is to make sure that you understand exactly what it is you should be focusing on, and making sure you have mastered the basics.
It is with mastering the basics that you bulletproof your body to prevent injury, or rehab yourself back from any injuries / nagging pains. It is also with building this solid base that you will be able to achieve new levels of performance and train with higher intensity core exercises. Not to mention that you will also be working towards a lean, stronger more defined midsection…but building your base is first!
How to Build Your Base, Master the Basics and Unlock Higher Level Training
First, your core has the main job of preventing movement about the hips and spine, and transferring energy throughout the body (top to bottom, bottom to top, side to side, etc.).
Because of this, if your core is not functioning properly, or strong enough for the task at hand, there is likely too much motion occurring at the hip and spine (especially the lower back). When you have too much motion occurring, especially over a long period of time, it is inevitable that the joints and tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments, joint capsules, etc.) will begin to breakdown and there will be pain.
Don’t believe me? Check out what Dr. McGill has to say about what the core is designed to do, and some other gems (oh, he is only one of the worlds foremost experts on back health).
So with that, you must first learn how to control your hips and spine from extending, flexing, side bending and rotating when it shouldn’t. Here is how you can do so!
1. Quadruped hip extension and flexion (cat cow)
The quadruped hip extension and flexion exercise allows you to understand how to use your core (mainly your obliques) to manipulate your hip position. Once you understand this feeling (how to swivel your hips), you can then use this to find a neutral position, and try to keep that position when other forces are trying to make you lose that position!
Here your goal is to use your ability to find a neutral position, and keep this neutral position when you extend both the arm and opposite leg. This exercise being from a supine position is great as you gain feedback from the floor. If you feel your low back arching off of the ground, or being aggressively smashed into the ground, you have lost the position. Only reach the arm and leg out as far as you can without this happening.
The birddog exercise is just the opposite of the deadbug, at least relative to gravity! But, the goal is the same…as you extend the arm and leg, you are trying to prevent the back from overarching. Here you are also trying to prevent the hips from rotating, or moving side to side.
This requires you to find the neutral position and keep it (think of your zipper being tucked up towards your ribcage) when the weight and movement of your arm and leg are trying to make you overly arch the back, as well as rotate at the hips.
Now that you know what it feels like to achieve and maintain a neutral position, it is time to start strengthening the core, and building endurance in a neutral position. The plank does just that!
5. Side Plank
Like the plank, the side plank helps to strengthen and enhance the endurance performance of your core. This time you are targeting more of the lateral core as you focus on preventing the hips from dropping to the ground, and the spine from side bending. BUTTTTT…don’t forget to maintain a neutral hip position (don’t let your low back overarch, as this is a typical mistake in a side plank).
6. Anti-Rotation Press
As the name implies, the anti-rotation press is challenging you to prevent rotation at the hips and spine. As you press the cable / band away from your body your goal is to keep everything but the arms from moving. This first requires you to achieve a neutral position (using the abs to keep the “zipper up towards the rib cage”) and then working to prevent rotation.
These baseline exercises help you ensure that you understand how to use your core, and position your hips and spine in a neutral state. First and foremost this will allow you to prevent any pain or overuse injury.
And second, mastering these basic exercises set the foundation for you to perform higher level core training exercises, as well as higher level exercises as a whole. With higher level exercises (more resistance, higher technical complication, etc.) you will have a greater chance to achieve your overall health, fitness and performance goals.
Up next we will take a dive into how you progress the basic exercises, as well as how and when to add in higher level exercises to even further your progress.
Check out the next article for these progressions.
And remember, every exercise is a “core exercise” especially when you take these baseline exercises and perform any other exercise with these principles of “anti-motion” in mind!
What is it? Well, I can tell you that t every single athlete I work with knows it is important. They know it is something they should strengthen and something they would like to have well defined, even “chiseled” if I may…like King Leonidas (one of the best movies ever by the way!).
But what many of us think about when we talk about “the core” is not all there is to the injury preventing, performance enhancing, aesthetically pleasing layer of muscle we speak of. In fact, many of us are simply envisioning one muscle.
This one muscle being the rectus abdominus, or the “6 Pack Muscle.”
And while the rectus is definitely one part of the core, and it is in fact the muscle that may look like a vertical ice cube tray on those of us that are not sporting an extra layer of insulation, it is far from the only muscle that must be trained.
So, what is “the core?”
My definition of the core is the section of muscle and fascia between the hips and the ribcage.
So by this definition you can see that rather than simply talking about the rectus abdominus, we must also include the obliques, transverse abdominus, iliopsoas, quadratus lumborum, multifidy, glutes, lats, and more…a whole lot of muscles!
Because it would take a year or more to actually address each of the muscles that are found between the ribs and hips, lets just focus on the key players for the concepts that are going to be covered in this series. Those being the rectus abdominus, obliques and glutes.
These muscles, when trained correctly, provide a great portion of the true “jobs” of the core.
Those jobs being to prevent unwanted movement of spine and hips, transfer force throughout the body, produce spinal flexion, extension and rotation, and, to provide the aesthetically pleasing midsection that many of us enjoy looking at and would like to have.
With that, let’s finish this intro with the greatest mistakes I see with a large majority of “core training.”
1.Stuck in the dark ages when it comes to our core training.
When you go in to almost any big box gym, or throw in the latest and greatest core workout DVD, you will typically see tons of crunching, rotating, side bending and back extending exercises.
And while we should be able to do all of these movements, repeatedly going through these movements, ESPECIALLY under load and/or with high velocities, is a recipe for spinal issues. These issues could be a herniated disc, spinal fracture and more.
So yes, while the core does produce many of these movements, training your core in this fashion is old, and well, bad news!
Instead of focusing on “moving exercises” as your primary core exercises, switch to “anti-moving” exercises as your primary focus. These types of exercises include dead bugs, birddogs, planks, anti-rotation variations and more.
2.Training the right exercises incorrectly
Some of us who are up to date with the fact that the core is more or less meant to stabilize and prevent movement, are unfortunately executing appropriate exercises improperly.
This means that deadbugs, birddogs, plank variations and anti-rotation variations are being incorporated, but the the execution of the exercises are not reinforcing what they are supposed to be.
In this case it is usually the fact that we are relying on our rectus abdominus (again that sexy 6 pack muscle) to do most of the work, along with the muscles of the back such as the erectors of the low back.
This leads to rectus dominance, overuse injury of the low back, and a less than optimally stable spine and hip complex…further leading to injury, performance decrease and also a “pregnant looking” midsection…check out “The Iceman.”
So, it is imperative that you learn how to use the obliques rather than simply relying on the rectus abdominus when performing even the best of exercises!
3.Scared of movement.
Again, here is another issue with many of the “in crowd”…those of us who understand that the core is primarily meant to stabilize and prevent movement.
Because we know that excessive movement exercises like crunches, side bends, twists, etc. are not the best for our health, performance and aesthetics, we begin to demonize these movements and avoid them all together.
Like anything else in the health, fitness and performance game, if you follow an extreme view on something you are typically missing out, and likely not optimizing your training.
So instead of being scared to move through flexion, twisting and side bending exercises, simply make sure that your body (and core) is ready and strong enough to perform these actions without a great risk of injury. That happens by first training your core to do the opposite (stabilize), and then strategically adding in variations of flexion, twists and side bends…think medball work for example!
4.Thinking that training the core is the solution to our 6 pack.
Training your core for an aesthetic result is just like any other muscle in the body. You must place more demand on the muscles and force them to grow and become more defined.
And the biggest piece that we tend to skip over is the fact that in order to see the core that you have been working hard for, you must have a lean enough body composition.
This is where nutrition is key, and following effective and healthy nutritional principles will allow you to change your body composition to less fat and more muscle…which will show off “those abs!”
And when you combine solid nutrition with proper training for the core, you can achieve a tight, vacuum like appearance at the waist, and be able to see the hard earned core muscles that are protecting and enhancing your body.
Now that you know there are a few things that must be considered and addressed when it comes to effectively, and optimally training your core, we will break down and go through just how you can go from a weak, suboptimal core, to a high performing, injury preventing and aesthetically pleasing one.
And for even more expert information and hands on coaching, make sure to contact me to sign up for the upcoming seminar Real Core Training (flyer below) where I will go over everything covered in this article series and more…everything you need to know about effective and results driven core training!
Even better, with the $10 admission fee you will be helping support a great cause as 100% of the admission fees will be going to the Homeland Heroes Foundation.
Support our military, veterans and their families while learning all about how to truly train your core for optimal results.
Share this article (and those to follow) with those you love and care about…or even just those you like a little bit!
“Training everyday is not good for you!”
“If you aren’t getting the results you want just train more!”
“2 days per week is all you need to train when you are looking to gain strength and add muscle.”
“You should train different muscles each day of the week!”
You may have heard someone say one, or all of these statements before. So which one is right? Which one is wrong? And which one is more ridiculous than The Weekends haircut…like what the?
So really, the overall question is how often should you train to achieve the goals you are looking for?
As with most answers in the health, fitness and performance world it depends! But that answer kinda sucks, so I’m going to give you my best answer.
The short answer…you should be training 3-4 days per week if you want to achieve optimal health, fitness and performance.
But I’m all about the detailed answers, because the more info you have the better decision you can make!
With that, lets look at a couple different scenarios and then discuss how many days per week would be optimal for each.
Your goals include overall enhancement of health and strength.
If your goal is to simply be healthier (either improve or maintain healthy markers such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate, etc.) and add a little strength you can do this with 2-3 training sessions per week.
These sessions can be of moderate to high intensity and should involve resistance training and some conditioning. This way you will stimulate strength improvements, build some high quality tissue (MUSCLE) and tap into your cardiovascular system to help improve your overall conditioning and cardiovascular health.
On the other 4-5 days of the week you still need stay active, and it would behoove you to work on correcting or maintaining quality movement patterns such as squatting, lunging, hinging as well as upper body pushing and pulling.
You can achieve this by going for brisk walks, hiking, biking, swimming, etc. as well as throwing in some low level bodyweight movements, like you would for a quality warm up.
Of course nutrition should also be on point if you want to optimally improve your health while gaining some strength and muscle…this takes articles upon articles to understand, but if you look around on The Athletic Way a bit you will find tons of info!
Your goals include strength improvement, muscle gain and fat loss
If you are looking for optimal strength and muscle gain, as well as fat loss, I suggest training 3-5 times per week, with 3-4 of these sessions being higher intensity and 1-2 being moderate intensity.
This may be 3 full body resistance training sessions per week with 1-2 higher intensity conditioning sessions such as sprints, interval work on the bike or row machine, sled pushes or a bodyweight circuit.
Or this could be 2 lower body sessions, 2 upper body sessions and then 1-2 conditioning sessions.
These two types of training splits will help to maximally stimulate the system throughout the week which will help to improve strength and muscle mass. The addition of the higher intensity conditioning sessions will help to burn more calories and incinerate more fat without compromising muscle…as long as recovery and nutrition are also on point of course!
Again here, the other days of the week should still have a focus of staying physically active with walking, hiking, biking, etc…try to get out and enjoy some nature, take the dog for a walk or go for a little jaunt with the significant other.
Your goals include maximizing performance for sport
Training for optimal performance is very similar to training for optimal strength improvement, muscle gain and fat loss.
So as in the previous case, I would suggest training 3-5 times per week. The difference comes in that competitive athletes have competitions and seasons that they must work with and around.
When an athlete is in an off season, 3-4 higher intensity sessions with 1-2 moderate intensity sessions is suggested. This may come in the form of 3 high intensity resistance training days with 1-2 higher intensity conditioning sessions, which would also involve speed and agility work.
Then during a season or competitive period of the year, training sessions may have more of a maintenance and restorative focus. The training can still be intense, but the volume would be lower. This could still be 3 resistance training sessions per week, with lower volume, and then the other 1-2 sessions would be lower intensity conditioning and recovery work to help the system recuperate.
Overall though, if you are a competitive athlete looking to maximize performance I encourage that you continue resistance training all year round, manipulating the focus and intensity of the sessions.
How Often Should You Train?
With the information above you can determine how many days per week you should be training to reach your goals.
Frequency is one of the most important keys to truly achieving the level of health and fitness that most of us are in search of.
Many of us do not train enough during the week, or in the right capacity and intensity (which a qualified coach can help you with). And then there are some of us that train too many days at a high intensity. Both scenarios will prevent you from achieving the body, health and performance you want.
So the next time you are wondering if you are training enough (or too much) to reach your goals, well, I guess you don’t need to wonder, because now you know 🙂
Your cell phone buzzes.
You look down and see that your calendar is reminding you that it is time to get up, go to the gym and get a training session in.
You take a deep breath, sigh and mutter to yourself, “I can’t believe I HAVE TO go train right now.
“Right there, with those two words, you have already lost your upcoming training session.
With those two words that many of us use on a daily basis. Whether we are actually speaking out loud, or we are thinking to ourselves.
“I HAVE TO get up and go to work/school.”
“I HAVE TO make my breakfast, pack my lunch and take a shower.”
“I HAVE TO work/study all day, go train/workout afterwards and then make dinner when I get home.”
“I HAVE TO spend time with my husband/wife/kids and get to bed so I can just do it all over again tomorrow.”
Does this sound familiar?
Well, I can tell you that by making one simple change to your words and thoughts, you can shift your whole mindset and outlook on training, health, fitness, your job and anything else that is part of your life.
Make the switch from “HAVE TO” to “GET TO.”
Try it out!
“I GET TO get up and go to work/school.”
“I GET TO workout today.”
“I GET TO make a healthy dinner and spend time with my family.”
When you make this simple change to the way you approach your thoughts and your day, everything becomes sooooooo much more positive.
And if that isn’t enough, take a second and think about those who no longer can, or never did have the the ability to “HAVE TO.”
Maybe it is someone who was born with a physical and/or mental condition that doesn’t allow them to do certain things as are typically done, such as go to work/school, workout, make healthy food, etc.
Or maybe this is someone who used to be able to “HAVE TO” do things, and for whatever unfortunate reason they no longer can.
Or maybe, someone made a sacrifice for their country, and no longer has they physical or mental capacity to “HAVE TO.” Or just maybe, someone made the ultimate sacrifice, is no longer with us and can no longer say “HAVE TO.”
“HAVE TO” would not be a part of their vocabulary!
So, today, I’m encouraging you to shift your mindset to “GET TO”.
The next time your phone goes off reminding you that it is time to get up and get after a training session, think to yourself, “I GET TO go workout.”
Because the truth is, you don’t have to do anything in life. You don’t have to be fit, healthy and confident.
You GET TO be fit, healthy and confident.
You GET TO train hard, eat well and become the best version of yourself.
So when times get hard, a training session is just not your first choice, remember, you GET TO do these things.
This is something I’ve been working on for a while now, and something I still find myself struggling with and reverting back to the nasty “HAVE TO” every so often. And this is something that came up again in the book I am reading through right now…Training an Elite Mindset by Brain Cain.
And although this mindset shift is not something that will occur over night for 100% of your thoughts, it is something you can consciously implement and over time it will become part of your daily take on life.
Let others know about this simple, maybe not easy, but simple mindset shift to help them approach their training, nutrition and overall performance with a different, more positive tone.
Thoughts, comments, questions? Leave them below or reach out to me on FACEBOOK, because you GET TO!