It’s that time of year again. Time to get out the stretchy pants and wrap the furniture in drool proof covers. It’s time for Thanksgiving!
Naturally the Thanksgiving holiday is not the best way to stay on track with your fitness and nutritional goals. The entire holiday is about gorging yourself on too much food followed by too much TV and (for a lot of people) a little too much drinking. And it’s not limited to a single day either. Nooooo, it has become Thanksgiving weekend; in some areas even Thanksgiving week!
Pyramid. Reverse pyramid. Super sets. Progressive overload. No, these aren’t sexual positions, these are all different techniques for losing fat and building muscle. It can be quite confusing and complex.
In my opinion, the simplest way to get positive results in building strength is utilizing progressive overload. Unless you’ve looked it up before, you probably don’t know what progressive overload is. Here are some of the basics and a few tips on why it’s important and how you can implement it in your workout program.
Cardio, everyone’s favorite topic. The majority of coaches online will suggest it’s the only way to lose fat. A growing segment of science based coaches will tell you cardio is completely unnecessary for weight loss.
Who’s right and who’s wrong? Frankly, I sit with the science based crowd when it comes to cardio not being vital to losing weight. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it at all? Not necessarily.
Here are a few reasons why you may want to do cardio and a few reasons to not do it.
Most people when they start out lifting weights like to jump into the deep end. While I can appreciate the enthusiasm (go get ‘em tiger!) it’s not wise to load up the barbells with a lot of weight when you’re new to it.
Luckily, a few programs have the right approach and do their best to ease you into it. The StrongLifts 5×5 protocol is one that comes to mind (learn more about 5×5). It is very strongly suggested that even if you’re an experienced lifter when starting you should begin at a reduced weight than you are currently lifting. In the case of beginners, you are told to only lift a bare 45lb barbell the first time you do each of the movements.
Not long ago I wrote about the power of compounding. Shortly after that I read an article by James Clear where he talked about marginal gains (a very similar idea).
Marginal gains, as he wrote, are incremental changes applied that aggregate to make huge differences over time; either positive or negative. Even something as small as a 1% improvement can add up to an exponential change given time.
These days it’s just as easy to get a great workout at home as it is in the gym. At least that’s the conclusion one could come to with the vast selections of gadgets, doodads, and contraptions being peddled on tv.
But with all that crap (come on, Shake Weight?!) it’s no surprise that people buy once, get burned, and decide to join a gym.
Fear not, my friends. I’m here to set you on the straight and narrow.
Stress. Even writing the word and reading it in my head makes me feel icky and unsettled. The connotation of the word “stress” seems to produce even more of the same. Think about the last time you were frazzled and someone came up to you and said, “hey, you’re looking a little stressed out.”
“Thanks Captain Obvious. What will your next trick be?”
I’ll be honest, I may have actually said that once or twice. Listen to me when I say this, keep that response to yourself.
Ugh, colds. The stuffed, then runny, then stuffed, then runny nose. The gut wrenching coughs after any type of physical activity. Head colds are worst, am I right?
If it was only sniffling and coughing, it wouldn’t be a problem to continue working out full boar through a cold. Unfortunately there are usually a few tagalong symptoms like a severe lack of energy (despite going to bed earlier), poorer quality sleep, and the food cravings.
In the past month I’ve written about how to get started a few times; here, here, and here. Once you’ve gotten started, by maintaining momentum and continuing to be consistent you create compounding efforts. Consistency and compounding efforts are money when it comes to positive and negative results.
It happens over and over and over again. People finally get motivated to lose weight and take steps to make it happen. They vow to eat better; cut out the junk food, cook more, drink less. They put down money for a gym membership or invest real money in some fitness equipment. When day one arrives, they jump into a heavy duty cardio program.
That’s all well and good if you like doing cardio. What I tend to hear is the opposite. When I ask these particular people how their program is coming along they get a look on their face. You know the look. The one where it’s as if you were kids on the playground and you just caught them doing something wrong that they didn’t want to admit.