Anyone’s first time in the gym is both an exciting and daunting prospect… an alien world filled with big machines, big weights with even bigger egos. Most people will join the gym with the best intention of achieving “the best version of themselves” but time and time again they are destined to fail.
In my time as a personal trainer, I have taken a number of inductions where people’s first instinct is to stick to the cardio for the first 2 weeks to regain some level of fitness. You are not going to last too long running on a treadmill for 20 minutes hammering your knees and ankles with unwarranted stress wondering why your lower back pain is flaring up again…well maybe its time for a different approach?
If you are new or even a trained individual in the gym, adopting a military style ethos to your training will allow you to become a one man/woman army. I’m not proponing you fully regiment your lifestyle. You already do this by get up and going to work each day. What I suggest is applying a few principles to certain aspects of your training with some quotes to place them into perspective:
Discipline – this is an absolute necessity. Discipline in your lifestyle for both training and dieting, eating less (sh*t food) and exercising more…this the golden formula for for weight loss! Let me reiterate: not regimented. You do not have to shovel chicken and rice down your neck and train twice a day to achieve your fitness goals. Training 3 – 4 times per week on a basic strength and conditioning program with a well balanced diet will be the best choice for your body and mind. Once you see yourself gain strength and become more conditioned for life, it becomes addictive.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha
Efficiency and Effectiveness – This relates to your workouts. Not knowing what to do in the gym can be just as detrimental as a poor diet. Train smarter, not harder. To really relieve that low back/shoulder pain (wherever it may be) you experience, seek help from health professionals! Pain is the most primal signal telling you that something is defective in your body. If you are looking for 1-1 sessions, see how other trainers train their clients, if you’re going to part ways with your hard earned cash do your research on the trainers. What are their client results? The personal training industry is an image-based business. Just because a PT is in great shape with “shredded abs” DOES NOT mean he/she is a good trainer.
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
Proficiency – This is related to movement. The key work in this point is to MOVE, it is what your body is designed to do. The majority of people these days spend hours-on-end sat behind a desk…I am dumbfounded when I see these deskbound athletes (you know who you are) arrive at the gym to sit down for a further hour and a half to chase a pump on a seated shoulder press machine.
Your mind conducts the way your body moves and performs day-to-day and because the majority of people’s jobs involve sitting behind a desk, the only time you will be able to stimulate the movements is in the gym. Learn how to fluidly move your body and strengthen the critical fundamentals and your body will be ever so grateful.
“Stimulate, don’t annihilate” Lee Haney
If you were to watch a squad soldiers going through basic training, they learn to become disciplined, efficient, effective and proficient out in the field. During training when conducting drills and marches they learn to move as a unit, working in unison and playing different roles to reach the common goal. All of this training is done without any load in their weapons to stop any potential danger (for obvious reasons) and this is how you should train your body. Your mind needs to reconnect with its primal and basic natural movement patterns. As soon as your body can move as one unit, only then can it be loaded so you can start attacking the weights.
Once you master the fundamentals and become autonomous at performing these specific movements, only then can you go from a corporal to the colonel of the squat rack. If you neglect this when you start training you are halting your goals as a result of IED’s (individual egotistical demise), which is a sure fire way to get shot down with injury. There is a wide range of progressions and more importantly REGRESSIONS that will excel your performance in the gym. The neural and physiological adaption and stimulation from movement and free weight training will far exceed any work done on the abs/core machine…
What I mean about the “basics” are the fundamental movement patterns that, when mastered, will reduce risk of injury and accelerate your performance with regards to the application to gym training but more importantly life!
Please click on the link below to find out more about the fundamentals movement patterns, so that you can master them to enhance your precious time away from your desk.