This week, we finally get to the end of my list of 10 “Back to Basics” fitness tips and strategies. Here are the first nine;
- Do your strength training exercise first and your aerobic exercise second if your goal is to get burn fat.
- Design exercise plans to evolve, progress and change over 6- 12 weeks to help with motivation and focus and to minimize training plateaus.
- Choose free weights over machines whenever possible.
- Lift weights more slowly to build more muscle.
- Training efficiency is more important than training volume. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone for brief, intense workouts and allow for adequate recovery.
- Learn how to read food labels to ensure that you get the most out of your workouts.
- Always allow at least one full day of rest and recovery per week. This is even more important as we age.
- Engage in Cross-Training activities to balance out muscle strength and stability throughout your body.
- Have a back up plan to use when life “gets in the way”. For example; “IF I can’t go to my regular fitness class because the gym is closed, THEN I will do a home workout using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.”
The 10th back to basics tip is the most “basic” of them all; Don’t Believe the Hype.
There’s more hype in the fitness industry than in any other. Marketers sell “solutions” to an unsophisticated public every day by preying on insecurities, lack of education and desperation. My advice is something that you might hear from your mom or dad; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The fact is that while it can be relatively simple to get into great shape and eat healthfully, it isn’t always easy. No matter what, there will always be some effort involved and it won’t always be fun, despite what advertisers want you to believe. Getting into great shape will definitely not be “quick and easy” … or “like magic”.
Here are the 3 biggest sources of “hype” that I encounter in my job week to week;
- The idea that a supplement will fix bad eating habits and make you leaner, stronger, lighter and more energetic. Supplements are meant to be “supplemental” to a healthy eating plan. If you are being sold on the super power of a cure-all in the form of a shake, a pill or even a dermal patch it’s probably best to walk away and head to the fresh produce section of your grocery store. In my decades of experience, the products associated with this particular hype are cyclical and based on whichever network marketing company is doing a promotional push at any given time.
- A piece of exercise equipment that “does it all”. It’s important to remember that no matter how great a piece of equipment is; it is just a tool and only valuable if you use it as one part of an overall plan. I can’t even begin to count the number of treadmills that I’ve seen used for hanging laundry in my clients’ basements! A plan with just a few basic tools will beat always beat a regimen based on a single “miracle” device.
- Celebrity endorsements. Since social media has become such a large part of our daily life, we see celebrity makeover stories every day. Some are for promoting workout and diet plans that promise unrealistic results while others promote questionable, unproven health products that have not been tested by science and may actually prove to be harmful, or at the very least useless.
Getting into great shape takes planning, it takes sweat and it takes patience. Quick fixes just don’t last, no matter how hard they are promoted and only serve to remind us that “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.