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Variety the Key to Fitness and Fat Loss Success

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:49pm
People always start their new fitness regime with great intentions. They are often really excited about the new work out program they found online or in a magazine. That gung ho attitude is great but it often dwindles after four weeks or so. People get bored, they want to try something new to keep the enthusiasm up. I totally understand this and am always looking for new and creative ways to get a great work out in. I also believe that you will work a lot harder when attempting a new fitness program or even exercise versus doing the same old routine. How many people do you see in the gym that have been doing the same exercises with the same weight and reps for years! You know what else is the same? Their results. Without the stimulus of variety your body will not be forced to adapt and no adaption means no progress. Variety is the key, but how do you implement it. It is probably best to add subtle variety to your fitness program instead of revamping the whole thing. This way you can still improve on core exercises but change things up enough to stimulate your body and mind. For example, say you are doing the bench press and trying to improve. For months you have been stuck at the same weight. Instead of ditching the bench press altogether, simply change the grip or angle of the bench and train with that for a few weeks. Once you are stuck, make another change to the movement.

As you progress in strength and fitness, you will need to add a variety of movements to your tool box in order to reach new levels. With the kettlebell for example, one generally starts with only the swing. Then you learn all the swing variations, and then progress to cleans and snatches. Once the power moves are mastered it is time to learn the more esoteric core exercises and some crazy variations of moves that I have trouble explaining with words. So over the course of a year, your repertoire may increase from 1 to 50 exercises with some sub-varieties. I think the same principals apply to weight lifting and body weight exercises. First master the simple, foundational exercises and then learn all the other movements. Today's gym pump up crowd take the opposite approach and use a huge variety of "shaping" and "sculpting" exercises with very little results . Ever wonder why the pretty boys are so small and weak compared to the football players? Because the football players have to do squats, cleans and heavy presses before they get to pump up their arms! They have to build a foundation of strength in order to succeed at their sport.

Learn the basics first, and then move on the fun stuff; your results will be better and your foundation will be stronger. I have been training with kettlebells for years but recently have been much more serious. My foundational exercises at this point are: Clean and Press, Turkish Get-Up , Swing, and the Renegade Row. Only after I have done 3 sets of each exercise am I allowed to do the "fun stuff" and all the crazy circuits. I am building a foundation with these exercises that will translate to overall strength and fitness.

Now, since the title of this post is about variety I do recommend that you sprinkle in some variety once the important work is done. Below is a video of some uncommon kettlebell exercises that might be right for you. If you don't have a kettlebell feel free to try these out with a dumbbell.

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