1. If you have time keep active everyday - Although you do not need to train everyday there is nothing wrong with doing something to stay active each day even if it is in the gym. On days I have some free time I enjoy going for a swim or breaking a sweat outdoors with a run or few sets of sprints. If the weather is bad or it is too cold outside heading to the gym is a great option. For me that is what cardio machines are good for. Throw is some stretching and mobility work and you have a great off day stress busting and relaxing workout.
2. Short and Intense workouts always win – After seeing many people try different things the best results always come from short and intense workouts. This does not necessarily mean CrossFit style metcons but rather anything that keeps rest times down and workouts flowing. Many of the people in the best shape will do this instinctively when training and it makes perfect sense, far more sense than taking 2-3 minutes rest between exercises and sets…
3. There is nothing wrong with steady state cardio - Steady state cardio gets a bad name when it can actually be very beneficial. Most of the steady state bashing is based on really long duration cardio that spans over 1hr. If you are going for a 30 minute jog or doing anything between 20-40 minutes on a cardio machine in a gym you are having a great stress busting workout which will help your body clear out stress hormones and flush the muscles with new blood.
4. Always try to maintain or increase strength - If strength is going down then you know you are regressing. Always strive to get that little bit stronger or push out that extra rep, this will keep results coming and your body improving. Something very useful is to throw in some strength days in which you just do a few heavy sets on each main compound exercises, that’s all then get out the gym……..
5. Stretching is important – This is another thing we can get lazy with, what we forget is that stretching has a load of benefits. Simply doing a bit of light stretching in the evening will help you relax and prevent potential injury, most importantly it allows you to de-stress and sleep better. I also recommend finishing workouts with some light 10-30 second stretches of each major body part.
6. Don’t ignore over-training symptoms - Feeling tired, run down, unmotivated and not sleeping well? You are probably just run down from stress, too much training and anything else that takes its toll on your body. Take a week or two away from weights, walk more and do some relaxation exercises. Feel free to go for light exercise just don’t over tax the system, see workouts as relaxation rather than exercise.
7. Stop using the scale - The scale lies. Our body can fluctuate a huge amount in a few days, as well as this weight does not reflect body composition. If you add muscle and lose fat the scale will stay the same or even go up, clothes are a far better representation of your progress. Although this not the be all and end all as clothes will fit differently as your body changes. Enjoy the process and throw out the scale it can be a harsh judge…..
8. Avoid stigmatizing meal times - These days we are told things like “never eat before bed” or “Always eat Breakfast” the sad thing is this stigmatizes meal times making us feel guilty for eating at certain times. The truth is it makes very little difference so if you are hungry before bed or in the middle of the night, go ahead grab a snack.
9. Fitness and Health do not always reflect body composition - Being ripped to shreds and having a bulging six pack is not always a sign of good health. In reality having a consistently ripped body is a result of either; Superb Genetics, Taking something for a little help, or extremely harsh training and diet that is unsustainable in the long term. Not all of us can have this and we need to settle for a good body composition (far better than average) without being stupidly lean. This will come with a good wholesome diet and moderate exercise, Don’t forget some of the healthiest people on this earth carry a little bit of excess body fat…..
10. We are capable of more than we think – This is not to mean we should push ourselves like crazy all the time but it means we have an ability to achieve just about anything we want in the realm of health and fitness. Things like marathons, lifting heavy and excelling at a sport are all achievable NO MATTER your current condition. Our bodies are amazing and with hard work can morph to achieve just about any task, all we need is the knowledge and drive…