So 2018 is coming to a close. It’s time to start talking about your New Years Resolutions! What’s that you say? You want to lose fat and tone up… But didn’t you say that last year, and in 2016 for that matter?! This is becoming a recurring theme…
Well here’s some advice for you. Ditch the resolutions because they are horse shit. Time and health wait for no one, and being healthy doesn’t conveniently start on January 1st. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a mince pie or two over Chrimbo, of course, you can have fun. It simply means you should stop talking the talk and start walking the walk – lip service is meaningless.
With this article, I wanted to help you put your words into actions and make a real difference. I’m going to give you a list of 4 rules that will help you become a healthier, stronger and fitter version of yourself (Can you keep a secret?? You’ll use the same list EVERY YEAR).
1) Get Stronger
This is one of the most potent activities you can do to bulletproof your body and mind. Not only will it achieve this, but it will improve your performance in nearly every physical pursuit. The benefits of strength training are endless – it will help you move better, enable you to handle life’s challenges more easily, strengthen your joints and bones, build muscle and change your body shape, improve your posture, reduce the risk of falls in old age – need I go on? Strength training combined with a sensible approach to diet will do more to change your body than anything else! If you are after meaningful body changes, then forget the HIIT classes and lift weights. To get stronger, you must progressively overload the body, not perform the same fatigued, bodyweight exercises every week.
2) Find Balance
Seek balance in all areas of your life. As the saying goes, “everything is good in moderation”. Strive to find a work-life balance, drink if you want to but don’t drink too much, limit the number of late nights you have, don’t eat too great an amount processed food, train hard but rest plenty too. I’m sure you get the gist of this — it is not rocket science. Listen to your body, because you likely already know whether you are burning the candle at both ends.
Balance is essential in your training too. How do you achieve this?
I – Train the Whole Body
Your body is designed to move in certain ways, think about movement patterns and not individual muscle groups. Training the whole body is easy if you SQUAT, HINGE, PUSH and PULL in every training session you do. Good technique is non-negotiable.
(A quick note on why training muscle groups (or body part splits) is flawed. The body works as a unit, not as individual muscle groups. You might be able to leg press 200kg so how come you can only full squat 80 kg?! – because your body isn’t strong enough to support 200kg, the machine has done all the work for you. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Further to this, you can perform a body-part split 6 days per week or train your whole body 3 times per week. When you train the whole body, not only are you getting to train legs (for example, the squat) 3 times per week – as opposed to once – but you will have more quality time to spend out of the gym too. Win-Win).
II – Pull more than you Push
When you PULL, horizontal pull (row) more than you vertical pull. This will improve your posture and keep your shoulders healthy. Modern life is conspiring against good posture, so do everything you can to prevent it.
III – Include single leg work, and train the upper body unilaterally (i.e. include dumbbells and kettlebells)
This will greatly reduce imbalances and the chance of injury – “if there is weakness in the chain, the rest of your body will feel the strain”
IV – Work your heart – perform conditioning 2 to 4 times per week
It doesn’t matter what you do – swing, row, sprint, skip, push the sledge – just get it done. A healthy heart will help you live longer and deter cardiovascular illnesses.
V – Listen to your body. If it’s tight then stretch it. If it hurts then rest it. Simple.
3) Eat Sensibly
Nutrition and diet have been made way too confusing, I’m sure this has been deliberate so that people can sell their latest fad diet. Just remember, any diet will work if it puts you in a calorie deficit. There are no magical foods, carbs are not evil and you can still get fat if you eat an excess of healthy food! I want to make this incredibly simple for you, so grab your pen and paper, as this will be life-changing. You ready??
1. Eat fewer calories if you want to lose fat. Eat more calories if you want to add mass.
2. Eat vegetables with every meal.
3. Eat protein with every meal (balance carbs and fats however you want – but you must eat some fats).
4. Eat mostly unprocessed food (80% of total calories).
5. Drink plenty of water.
And that’s it. How easy was that?
4) Be Consistent
With 1, 2 and 3. It’s not good enough to pick and choose when you stick to the rules. You will only succeed if you are consistent.
There is no excuse to not achieving your goals. You are in the driver’s seat, and if you have the mindset and follow these guidelines you can achieve anything you want. Just believe and persevere!
Wishing you an amazing Christmas and a fantastic 2019.
Be the 1%,
Author - Craig Peterson - Personal Trainer & Mentor
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