Change Is Tough. Change Is Possible.

Posted: October 8, 2017 in Training

First, let me start out with a question:  How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m doing EVERYTHING I can possibly do but not making any progress!” Or better yet, how many times have YOU said that? If you’re truly doing everything that’s required to take control of YOUR health, YOUR fitness, YOUR physique and even YOUR life, what’s the issue?  What’s stopping you?  Who’s stopping you?  Is it the lack of intensity? Are you only going to the gym 2 times a week? Are you spending 45 minutes getting ready but only 15 minutes doing work? Are you not doing weights AND cardio because you don’t believe in one or the other?  The list goes on and on of ways you can self sabotage your progress.  And while all these are things may seem small, when you add them up, they can have a big impact on whether you succeed or fail.  Below are answers to all of these issues I just discussed and how you can go from making excuses, to making changes.

It’s something I call F.I.T.T.

Frequency – This has to deal with the amount of times you workout, visit the gym, or engage in physical activity. You have probably seen and heard all sorts of claims that you only need to “workout 2 times a week to achieve your goals.”  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but they are full of it and lying to you. They’re trying to give you a shortcut. In a society that demands instant results and gratification, they are taking advantage of you.  There is NO WAY to lose weight or gain muscle by doing something some of the time.  In order to achieve the dramatic changes you seek, you have to put in the time.
My recommendation:   If what you are doing now isn’t making a difference, do more.  If you go to the gym 2 days per week, do 3.  If you go to the gym 3 times per week, do 4 and so on. No one said this was always convenient.  Shoot for 4-6 days or workouts, per week.
*Don’t do just enough, DO MORE.

Intensity – This is a big one that really drives me nuts.  Intensity is how hard you are actually working, not how hard you think you are working.  It is true that you need to vary the levels of intensity with your workouts, but there is an intensity goal that you should aim for on a regular basis.  On a scale of 1-10 (1 being just walked into the gym and feel no fatigue at all and 10 being “I am DONE DONE”) you need to be at 7-8. The tricky part is this: When someone is just starting out and has never exercised or is terribly out of shape, they will not know what their true 10 is. Which makes it harder to determine what their 7 or 8 is.  In the beginning, when they’re working at a 4 or 5 and they’re sweating and huffing and puffing, they think they’re at a 10. Maybe even an 11! But in reality, they’re just so de-conditioned that it seems like they’ve reached their limits.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news again but… NOT TRUE. Your body can do more than what your mind tells you.
My recommendation: First and foremost, no one said it was going to be easy, stop making excuses or saying, “you’re tired”, “I’m sweating too much” or my favorite, “I’m outside my optimal fat burning heart rate zone.”
*Suck it up and get it done! If it doesn’t challenge you, then it won’t change you.

Time – This has to deal with the overall duration of each workout. There are a variety of workouts you can do ranging from short 15-20 minute bursts all the way up to 60+ minutes.  Depending on what your fitness level allows you to do, as well as your reason for exercising, those should determine the length of your workout. Not, “what’s the quickest I can be in and out?” If you expect to complete every workout in the 15-20 minute range, then you must be spot on and perfect with your intensity level and hitting multiple workouts per week. Don’t expect much change or progress if you’re sitting on the recumbent bike catching up on your Real Housewives gossip for 15 minutes a day.  Unless your rehabbing an injury, don’t even waste your time and definitely don’t tell people “I workout” because 1 week, 1 month, and 1 year from now, you’re going to be sitting in the same spot spinning your wheels wondering why nothing’s happening.
My recommendation: Plan for your workout time as if it were a meeting, an appointment, or something you have to attend. Expect to engage in some physical activity on a regular basis but plan for 3 different scenarios.
1) 15-20 minute circuit workout where you get in, get it done, and get on with your life.  This is plenty of time to do a total body workout using nothing but your own bodyweight.  No excuses, get it done.
2) 30-45 minute weights and cardio workout where you have a little more time to utilize both cardio AND resistance training.  Whether in a circuit or start with one and finish with the other.
3) 45-60 minute “do it all” workout.  This is more than enough time to stretch, warm up, workout, and do post workout cardio all while going at a moderate pace.  Whatever you do, get it done. Long story short:  If you aren’t seeing changes and you’re working out for 20 minutes a day, do 30.  If you’re doing 30 minutes a day, then do 45.  It’s that simple.
*If you find that you “don’t have the time”, then you aren’t serious enough to make the sacrifices needed to make the changes you want.

Type – This refers to the actual form of exercise you are doing.  This one is the EASIEST of them all.  If you are running and only running, do something different (or in addition to).  If you are weightlifting and only weightlifting, then do something different (or in addition to).  If you aren’t getting the results you wanted, but continue to do the same thing over and over while expecting to one day gain different results (or any results), you now know the definition of insanity.
My recommendation:  Mix it up.  One way is not always the only way.  2+2=4 but so does 3+1 and 5-1. Let me break it down for you. Make sure to include everything in your workout routine from resistance training to cardio to mobility and recovery to fully maximize your body’s potential.

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