New Years Resolutions Part 2

  • Last week I wrote about starting your fitness goals off by building the habit of fitness. If you missed it you can check it out here
  • If you noticed in the first post, I only recommended building into the habit of exercise. There is no need to start off like a crazy super intense gym guy, especially if you haven’t done any real exercise since grade school.

 

 

Now that you have started slowly, it is time to set some goals you want to achieve.

First you want to think about long term goals. These goals should be something you can achieve in 6 months to a year.

Once you have 2 or three of those written down write down 2 or three short term goals for each of your long term goals. The short term goals should be something you can achieve in a week, up to a month.

With your short term goals, you can make them outcome oriented or process oriented. I usually recommend process orientated at first as to keep with the theme of building the exercise habit first.

For example, an outcome orientated goal is to lose 5 lbs. A process oriented goal is to do 20 minutes of walking 3 times a week.

The reason process oriented goals are better at first is because you have total control over them. To lose poundage there are a lot of factors associated with it. If you don’t achieve that goal that week or month to lose X number of pounds then you many not feel very excited about continuing because you were not able to achieve your goal. If your goal was to go for a walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes, then you have almost 100% control over that being accomplished.

Each week or month you need to revisit your goals and build off of them so you can continuously get closet to your long term goal.

If your goal for the week was to go for a walk 3 times a week for 20 minutes and you achieved it, then you can easily build off of that goal. For the following week or month maybe your goal is to walk 3 times a week for 25 minutes. When setting and resetting goals you don’t need to make crazy big adjustments. Small achievable steps work best for success.

rome-wasnt-built

 

When setting goals use the SMART principal

Goals should be Specific

Goals should be Measurable 

Goals should be Achievable 

Goals should be Realistic 

Goals should be Time based

Saying ” I am going to get in shape” as a goal does not follow any of the principals mentioned above.

An example of a long term goal that meets the above principles is

” My goal is to lose 30 pounds in 6 months”

That is now my long term goal. for two short term process oriented goals that will help me get to that long term goal are

  1. Go for a 15 minute walk 2-3 times per week for the next 3 weeks
  2. Reduce the amount of fast food I eat from 3 times per week to once per week.

That long term goal and the two short term goals satisfy everything that I mentioned in today’s post.

  • First you need to do some research and make a plan.

 

 

 

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The New Years Resolutions Part 1

It is that time again, the Monday after New Years. Everyone is trying to get back into their regular routine and those that made fitness resolutions this year are starting to head to the gym. If you are a frequent gym user, you are nervous about the first few weeks in January, but this post is not for you. It is for those people that are trying to make a positive lifestyle change, those that are making that resolution to get in shape, lose weight or in some other way improve their health. If you are one of those people please read on. 

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If you are not a frequent gym user and are starting  that lifestyle change and making a resolution to become more healthy, to make your health a priority this year, congratulations. You won’t regret making this decision. It pays off huge dividends along the way. 

The biggest obstacle, barrier if you will,  you need to overcome is the habit change. If you have not been a regular exerciser and have not really done any real exercise since grade school the first few weeks in any fitness program will be a shocker to your system.

But don’t give up. We want to prove to all of those naysayers that say resolutioners will be gone in a few weeks. 

NGU

Like I said above you need to build the habit of exercise first. Too many people have the mentality that when they get into the gym they should “go big or go home” that is not the case. Going too hard the first little while may make you think you are doing good but you could get hurt or push yourself to the point where you don’t like exercising.

Just start with small amounts of exercise just enough so that you feel more energized (like a brisk walk for 15-20 minutes). Once you are able to do that on a regular basis  (2-3 times a week) for a month or so then you can add in other exercises or make the sessions longer or more intense. 

Look at it this way, if you are doing nothing right now 15-20 minutes is a lot better than nothing. If you tried exercising previously and ended dropping out after a few weeks think back as to why. By starting off slow you are setting yourself up for success.

Next thing is to only do exercises that you enjoy doing and only do them at a comfortable pace. If you don’t like the treadmill then don’t go on it. By doing exercises you enjoy doing you are more likely to stick with your program. 

If you don’t know how to use a machine, do an exercise or the unspoken rules of the gym you should look at hiring a personal trainer.

They will get you to where you need to be a lot faster and a lot safer than if you tried to figure it out on your own.

Don’t be the person in one of those gym fail videos on Youtube

 

 

 

Try the 15-20 minutes of some sort of exercise for the first few weeks. You can always add more in as you go and this way you will keep the positive feelings around exercise instead of associating exercise with soreness and pain.

 Any exercise, as long as it is being done correctly, even in small amounts will be well worth your time and effort. 

Check back later this week for part two of New Year Fitness Resolution tips. 

 

Stay Strong!

 

 

 

 

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Work – Life Balance

With a lot going on in my professional career lately I have been thinking about the old work – life balance a lot. I personally talk to a lot of my clients that have difficulty getting their workouts in and tell them they need to work on their work-life balance.

Work-Life-Balance 3d

Those conversations got me thinking about my own work life balance. I don’t skip workouts, but I do put off other things important to me, like this blog. Hence why it has been a while since I posted something.

Dilbert has a lot of funny comic strips about work – life balance. Check out more if you get the chance.

1151-work-life-balance

 

In all seriousness it is something we need to address. I was reading somewhere that the average workweek for most is 50 hours a week. I personally know people that are putting in many more hours that that. What ever happened to the 35, 37.5 and 40 hour work weeks? And weren’t computers supposed to make life more efficient and reduce the number of hours we work?

While doing some searching on the net I stumbled upon an excerpt of a speech given by Bryan Dyson a  Former CEO of Coca Cola.

There was some controversy around the entire speech and around the man that gave it but regardless, the quote below is true and should make people think about their priorities and what is important to them.

 

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, FamilyHealthFriends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

 

Very short but very powerful.

 

Nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at the office”.

— Rabbi Harold Kushner

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Getting Certified as a Trainer or Instructor

Hi Everyone, 

I don’t have fitness tip this week but I do have exciting news on other projects I have been working on. 

I have written a few posts on hiring certified personal trainers and making sure that the instructors in your fitness class are certified. Check one article out here http://robdickson.net/?p=54

Well at the gym I manage we are offering certifications courses now. If you are Interested in getting certified as a fitness instructor or just interested in learning more about the fitness industry you can sign up for one of these courses. 

There is an exercise theory course on September 19th. In this course you learn some anatomy, physiology, nutrition, basic principles of training and program design. 

After you take the exercise theory course you have the ability to expand into other areas of fitness. Maybe you want to teach spin classes, or boot camp classes or work with special populations like older adults. Well take the exercise theory to get the base knowledge and then you can expand and take those courses in those streams. 

All the courses we are running are through the Provincial Fitness of Alberta. You can check them out here. http://www.provincialfitnessunit.ca/about-aflca/

That way you can teach people about how to exercise properly so they don’t end up in one of the gym fail videos on Youtube

The best part of the whole thing is we have Jessica Power Cyr teaching the courses. Jessica is a guru in the fitness industry and a leading industry educator. 

You may also see other industry leaders teaching on these courses (Wink, Wink). 

To register or check out more information about the course check out Jessica’s website http://jessicapowercyr.com/education/

 If you have any questions check out any of the websites mentioned above or drop me a line.

 

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The best exercise to include in your fitness program

I am often asked what is the best exercise to include in a program.

There are a lot of really good exercises out there, some may not consider it the best but it will be in the top list of all quality trainers.  All exercises have their place in a program, depending on the person’s goals. However a really good exercise that I do recommend in some way shape or form in almost every one of my clients programs is the squat.

Nicknamed the “King of Exercises”.

squat-the-king-of-all-exercises

People may argue if it is the best exercise, but who can argue with a nickname like that. I like the squat for a number of reasons.

1) it is functional, meaning training squats in the gym has a direct relationship to movements in everyday life. You squat dozens of times a day, sitting down to standing up. If you have difficulty getting out of a chair adding squats to your exercise program will strengthen your legs to make that task easier.

2) It’s natural, how do I know? Because babies squat. They were not taught how to do it, it just comes naturally, because it is a natural movement.

I can’t take credit for this first pic, already all over the internet but it is a good overview of the squat, performed by a toddler, without training.

sqUAT

 

squat 3

 

SQUAT 2

 

Avery Squat 2

Avery squat

 

The last two pictures are of my daughter. It is really cool to watch her squat, how she does it flawlessly without thinking about it.

People  will argue that babies have more bones, more mobility and a lot of other excuses why they can’t squat but babies can. Older people squat too. In many countries it is still how they go to the bathroom.

Take a look at these guys, not spring chickens and seem to have no problem getting a good deep squat.

squat-asian

As a side note there is a company called the squatty potty that believes not squatting when going to the bathroom causes a lot of our GI issues. They invented a device to combat that.

I am not endorsing this product, but I do find it interesting.

http://www.squattypotty.com/

3) Squats are a great overall body exercise that involves almost the whole body including the core.

4) Squats can be done anywhere and you don’t need any equipment. For added resistance you only need minimal equipment.

5) There are many variations of squats to suit your needs, goals and limitations.

There are tons of different variations of squat that can be done, body weight squats, back squats, front Squat, sissy squats, box squats, hack squats, wall squats, split squat, and the list goes on.

Next time you are in the gym, working out at your house  or just sitting around thinking “I should do some exercise today” try a few sets of squats. If squats are  already part of your workout program, try some variations to keep things fresh.

 

Train hard!

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10 ways to take calories out of your day – Part 1

As I mentioned in my last post if you are able to take some calories out of your diet and get into a negative caloric balance then you will be able to lose weight.

If you haven’t seen my last post check it out here: http://robdickson.net/?p=246

If you are not gaining or losing weight right now you are in balance. The food energy you take in  every day  balances with the amount of activity you do every day.

calories-in-calories-out

There are two main ways to make that energy balance work in your favor to help you lose weight. The first is to add more activity into your day, usually via a standard exercise program. The second way is to change your diet around so you consume less calories every day.

Taking in less calories each day is easier said than done. Here are  5  ways to help you take some calories out of your diet.

The first thing you need to understand is how many hidden calories are in the products we eat every day. Coffee or tea are great to have and can have some positive health benefits; however what you choose to put in your coffee or tea my be holding you back from your goals. There are a lot of hidden calories in many of the foods we enjoy. Some of these tips may seem very simple, almost too simple but they do work. The problem that arise is that people need to stick to the plan long enough for it to work.

 

Coffee Time 

Tim Horton coffee – Regular coffee (1 cream, one Sugar ) = 70 calories. Double double = 140 calories that is for their new small (formally medium coffee size. The amount of sugar and cream you get in a coffee is proportionate to its size so if the cup is bigger you get more therefor more calories.

Black coffee = May have up to 10 calories

Blubbery muffin = 340 calories

Boston cream donuts = 220 calories

Anyone surprised to see that there are more calories in a muffin than a donut?

Check out Tim Hortons nutrition guide here: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/index.php

 

original-blend-product

 

Tip 1. 

Change cream and sugar out of your coffee or tea for milk and sweetener or better yet drink it black.

Quick math time – If you had a double double and a blue berry muffin every day of the work week and changed that to just a black coffee you would take 480 calories out of your diet every day that is 2400 calories a week and 124,800 calories a year which equates to 35 lbs of fat a year.

 

Serving Size 

Think about the serving size you have of any particular meal. The serving size of what is recommended on a package of food is a precisely measured amount. How much we actually eat in a sitting can differ.

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Tip 2 

Reduce your serving size. If you are actually trying to track the calories you are taking in you need to have an accurate measurement of food. Next time you prepare something instead of eyeballing a serving, take a extra minute and actually measure out a serving to your plate according to the package. That way you will have an accurate count of the actual calories you are consuming.

 

Product change 

There are different food products on the market and more coming out each day. Some are low in fat, reduced calories, reduced sugar and calorie wise.

Tip 3

Change the type of product you use to a reduced fat, reduced sugar or reduced calorie version you can also look at choosing alternative products. Look at having vinegar based dressing instead of cream based dressing on your salad, tomato based sauces over alfredo based sauces for your pasta, or skim milk rather than 2% milk for your cereal. There are a lot of healthier choices and options out there to take calories out of your diet.

Choose products that are light , or reduced calories on the label. But don’t be fooled. Just because the product says that it is light doesn’t mean that it is better for you.  Read the packages, compare products, make the healthiest choice. Remember the small things add up over time.

 

Meat

Meat is a great source of protein, which is filling and aids in tissue repair. Many diets out there use meat as a staple to help people lose those extra fat pounds. The problem arises with getting the right piece of meat.

Tip 4

 

Look for cuts of meat that are lean or extra lean. Cut off any visible fat before cooking. Try elk or bison that are much leaner then beef. Avoid processed, deli meat or prepacked meat, they contain a lot of added salt and fat. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. By taking that out of your diet, by eliminating visible fat from cuts of meat you can remove a lot of calories.

lean meat

 

 

Booze

Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. That doesn’t seem like a lot but we don’t measure alcohol in grams, we measure it an oz. and there are 28 grams in an oz. It take a little bit of math depending on the percentage of alcohol you are consuming but that beer or glass of wine can have quite the number of calories in it.  Besides the calories from the alcohol itself, if you drink hard liquor the mix can also have a lot of added, unneeded calories in it. Pop or juice are loaded with calories that you don’t need.

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Tip 5 

Limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Use diet pop, or water to mix your hard liquor or have reduced calorie beer. Some beers and drinks, depending on how they are made can have over 200 calories per drink. Don’t forget about the snacks you have when you have a drink or two. Usually those snacks are not the most healthy choices.

 

Conclusion. 

Here are my first 5 tips. So far I don’t think it is anything ground breaking, just simple every days tips to help take calories out of your diet. As I bonus tip I encourage you to physically write down everything you eat each day, for at least a week, you you get a good idea of what you are consuming. Things look different when written on paper compared to what you are thinking in your head.

 

Rob

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Nutrition the 80%

Nutrition is always a hot topic in the health and fitness industry. It seems that every other day there is a new diet, pill, or powder coming out to help people on their quest to get in shape or lose weight.

fad-diets

When we are bombarded with all of these quick fixes and fly by night cures how can we tell what is going to work and what is not going to work?

Well the truth is that nutrition, along with exercise science, is very young when compared to the hard core sciences like physics, chemistry and math. So young that we are learning new, groundbreaking stuff every day. The problem is deciphering  the hype from the truth and sometimes it can be a bit grey. Often you have to take everything with a grain of salt.

Take Canada’s Food guide.

Canada_Food_Guide_2012_side_01

 

This has been a staple of many dietitians and nutritionists core beliefs for years. The government actually made some serious changes a few years ago and moved some of the food groups around in order if importance and added a bit more info on other things.

This past March there were more changes and last week in the news the government is considering making more changes based on its recommendation of fruit juice in the guide. There was even a MD that was interviewed claiming that if you followed the food guide exactly you would gain weight. Is he right? Maybe. From my point of view it really depends on your metabolism and your activity level. He may have been making a generalization,but nun the less it has some concerned.

When a Doctor says that you will gain weight by following Canada’s food guide on TV it ll make some panic. If I followed the food guide to the letter I would lose weight.

The idea behind science is to have evidence based results. Meaning people have a thought that doing something will get you certain results. They conduct an experiment in which there are strict parameters and see what the results are. If they are what you concluded then you have evidence of what result will occur. Others should be able to do the same experiment with the same parameters and get the same results.

As we learn more and more how food interacts with our body scientists will be doing more studies and what we think is best for us now may change in the future.

This is how we find out new things and advance science.

What does this all mean for us and what we should use as a guide for food intake. How do we know what to do if everything contradicts everything else?

What you need to do is a little self experimentation.

young girl examening a test tube in a science class

A few small rules and suggestions and it you should be able to figure out what works best for you. Having someone tell you what to eat, especially if you don’t like that particular food or have some other food preferences won’t work for most people.

Here are some suggestions, some never fail general recommendations to help you lose weight and to be healthy overall.

1) Stick with natural foods. The less processed the better.

2) Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, more veggies then fruit but keep both in your diet.

*Note if you are not gaining or losing weight on a regular basis then your body is in balance. The energy from food you take in equals the energy you expend.

3) Keep a detailed food diary. Include what you eat, how much of it you eat, when you eat it, how it makes you feel and your energy level after eating it.

4) Weigh in every week. Same day same time.

5) Study your results and make changes based of of them.

Do the above for a few weeks and track your progress.

For the most part many of us have a tendency to eat similar foods every week or two. If you notice that your energy is low or you just feel like crap after eating a particular food then remove it from your diet.

Think about when you feel bloated, tired, or sleepy and try and pinpoint particular foods that may be associated with those feelings. Then take them out of your diet for a few weeks and see if you notice a change.

Same goes for when you feel lean, more energetic and have a clear mind.

If you haven’t lost or gained any weight you will need to remove some calories form your diet. Stay tuned for next weeks post on how to easily remove calories out of your diet without even noticing.

 

 

 

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My trip home

Last week I was back home at my parents place in Nova Scotia taking care of some family business. Every time I go back home I am always surprised how much things don’t change there. Years ago the area lost its major employers and main sources of economic revenue. Unfortunately for the area there is not a lot happening there anymore.

I often catch up on work  in coffee shops. I spent several hours out there just sitting and reading in coffee shops and it gave me the opportunity to do some people watching. Not creepy people watching, just observing behaviors.

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One thing I noticed was that behaviors of a large group don’t change that much over time, especially from where I’m from. People do not like change. I have talked about this before and I am a firm believer of it, many of us have an aversion to change.

Change is hard and can be scary at times. Form many people we avoid change for fear of the unexpected, or the fear of failure. To achieve anything outside our daily routine we need to do something different. We can’t expect a different result if we keep trying the same thing over and over again.

It made me a bit sad seeing the same people doing the same thing as they were years ago and still complaining. They want to change but they don’t want to make the effort to change. If there is a quick fix or the promise of a quick fix then people will jump on that before anything else. Many always look for the easy way out.

There was one really go’s success out there. I got together with my friend Kris and since the last time I saw him he has dropped 30 pounds. I send my congratulations to him and wish him the best on the few more pounds he has to go to get to his ideal weight.

good job

 

 

Kris decided to go on a Keto diet. Basically a diet where you eliminate almost all carbohydrates from your daily diet.

Is it hard? Yes at first especially of you eat a lot of carbs, like the taste of carbs and crave carbs. But Kris was able to do it and is still doing it. We even went out to eat and he got a burger with no bun and a salad.

Kris is a great example of someone that made a goal, developed a plan after much research into it and is able to stick to his plan even when life throws him a curve ball like meeting up with friends to go out and eat. He was able to make the changes and now he is reaping the rewards.

If you want to change or make changes in your life start now. Little changes over a long period will make a big difference. But that is the kicker, it has to be done over the long haul. Making things a habit is hard, but don’t quit keep going and get back at it again.

Failure is a part of life and a good part as long as you learn something from it. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to try.

Just think, if someone else can do something, why can’t you do it too?

 

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Why hire a personal trainer?

It is tax time again. If you haven’t started doing your taxes or sent them out to get someone else to do them you are running out of time.

 

tax

 

Years ago I did my own taxes. It wasn’t too too hard. It was slightly more difficult than I originally thought, but I got through it. This was before the days of being able to file your taxes online and nice soft wear programs that take most of the math and other work out of the equation. I did it the old fashion way on paper!

Many people now a days choose to do their own taxes and with software and the internet it can make the process a lot easier.

The same thing goes for their fitness program. Many people choose to develop their own program and with the help of the internet. It can makes things a lot easier, or at least seem easier and more cost efficient.

I learned many years ago that for the best results I take my taxes to a professional accountant. It may cost me a bit of money up front but in the long run it is a lot better. It saves me time that I can use to do other projects and it can save me money at least get me more money back than I would normally get because my accountant knows a lot more about the stuff than I do. My Accountant keeps up to date on new tax laws and regulations. He is also there if my wife or I ever get audited by the government, which is exactly what happened a few years ago.

When it comes to keeping up with what is new in the fitness industry. This goes double for personal trainers, or at least it should. Trainers need to keep up on what is happening in the fitness industry and what new science is coming out, the newest training protocols and should be able to distinguish between what is a fad or fly by night promise and what will actually work for their clients. Anyone can yell at someone to exercise  doesn’t mean you can be a trainer.If you are looking to pick up a personal trainer read my post on trainers and their certifications here http://robdickson.net/?p=54

Bad-Personal-Trainer

 

I’m a smart guy, but if I need someone to do my taxes I go to a professional Accountant, I get a certified technician to service my furnace and I take my car to a mechanic. Could I figure out how to do my taxes, clean my furnace and fix my car on my own? Probably, especially with the internet but I leave it to the professionals. When in any doubt get your training routine and exercise form assessed by a professional.

If i have learned anything form reading business books over the yeas is that time is money.

istock_time-is-money

And you can always earn more money but it it harder to have more time.

The time I can save by going to a professional, especially if something is not the norm or something goes wrong can be a huge savings.

When it comes to trainers, they are the professionals. If you are a beginner it is especially good to get a trainer so you can get constant feedback on how you are doing the exercise. You need to have correct form and work around any limitations and or injuries you have.

Having someone there one on one that can give you constant feedback and make necessary corrections is a lot more valuable than watching youtube videos and trying to keep with the moves. It it really hard to get that feedback from a magazine article or a video.

The programs from magazines and the internet are OK, very generic but if you don’t currently at least it will give you a jumping off point. But before you get too far ahead of your self you need to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly. Is your back straight? are you breathing? Are your feet or hands in the correct position. Is your body travailing in the best moment path? Are you doing the exercise the correct speed and getting a full range of motion? If you are not doing things correctly the chances of hurting yourself skyrocket.

Just like my taxes, there are a lot of things to take into account when you are working out. It is good to have that expert there with you to make sure you don’t get hurt and that you maximize your time in the gym. There is no point in spending time in the gym doing the same thing over and over again if you are not seeing results and making improvements.

Programs form the internet may be a little better. If you at least get to consult with someone regarding your goals, limitations, injuries, like and dislikes and someone develops your program around that, it is at least better then a generic program, but still has faults. I usually only recommend internet based programs only if you are in continual contact with your trainer, and you are an advanced exerciser.

Even if you use a personal trainer like a doctor or a dentist, go for regular check ups just to make sure everything is working well in your program. But don’t be afraid to make extra appointments if things aren’t working well or your not seeing the results you want. Look at getting a personal trainer as an investment. Allow the professionals do what they are trained to do.

 

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Changing it up

time-for-change

 

No one really likes change. It often scares people because to takes them out of their comfort zone into unfamiliar territory. I experienced this first hand last week when I moved the equipment around on the weight floor at the gym I manage. This caused quite an uproar.

dude-wtf

I didn’t do it to cause trouble or because I get joy in moving around extremely heavy weight machines.  I actually need to make room to train hockey players. That type of training involves a lot of athletic movements, agility, speed and power drills, not just lifting weights.  My actual intent was to move things around so that there is enough room for both the hockey players and the rest of the members.

About half the members that I talked to said they like it the other half say they don’t. A few people actually say that the change messes with their chi. Those members that dislike the change got quite vocal about it and demanded that I change the floor back to its original layout.

That got me thinking a lot more about how much many people dislike change. Everything from change in daily routines, weight rooms layouts, phone numbers, your favorite tee shirt and everything else in between. People are creatures of habit and are reluctant to change things up.

That also applies to peoples workouts. Everyone should change up out workouts from time to time, not only to reduce boredom but to improve training outcomes.

I have seen people doing the same routine day in and day to for years. If you work in a gym where that happens it can sometimes seem like you are in the movie Groundhog day.

ground hog day

I give everyone  props for sticking to an exercise routine and actually doing something. Advanced lifters that keep doing the same thing over and over without much change are more than likely just maintaining their current fitness level. That is fine if it is your goal but if you want to improve you need to stress your body.

Our body doesn’t like change, it likes to stay in homeostasis, meaning it likes to remain stable and relatively consistent. It doesn’t want change so it must be forced to change by providing enough stimulus so that it is forced to adapt.

Beginners, you guys can keep doing the same thing over and over until you build that exercise habit. Once you have been sticking with a program for six months to a year, if you haven’t changed things up already, you may want to think about adding a little variety into your program. You don’t have to wait that long, especially if you are getting bored, adding change can make exercise more fun and seem less mundane.

If you are not seeing progress then it is definitely time for change. You need to do something different if you want to challenge your body. If you are not challenging your fitness your body will have no need to adapt ( get stronger, bigger muscles, better cardio, more endurance, faster, etc…). The changes don’t need to be huge. I have had many clients that I get to change  one or two little things or add in something different  into their program and it makes a world of difference.

Athletes train in cycles. These cycles vary depending on the competitive year if they are pre or post competition or competitive cycle. They train like this to either maintain their fitness level during their competitive time of year or to increase their power, strength, speed, endurance or size. Depending on their sport and how long their off session is they may do several weeks of each type of training.

To achieve this athletes will change up the number of sets, reps, exercises, types of exercises, rest between sets and tempo of the exercise. They change up all theses varies to elicit the training response they want, build more muscle, get faster, stronger, leaner, etc…

 

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Even if you are not an athlete you can still train like an athlete. You don’t have to work out at the same intensity you can still vary your program to add variety.

Here is a short but by no means complete list of things you could do to add variety in your workouts

Change the order of your exercises

Change the days in which you train certain body part

Increase the number of sets you do

Vary your reps either up or down and adjust your weights accordingly

Try interval training

Try different handles or grips on cable exercises 

Try new machines or exercises.

Vary your tempo (usually slow it down, too many people speed through reps)

Try advanced training principles like supersets, tri sets, drop sets and rest pause set

Decrease your rest time between sets.

If you are stuck in a rut, getting bored with working outs, your progress has stalled or you haven’t  been seeing much progress, embrace change. It doesn’t have to he big or dramatic, just adding in one of the above mentioned workout variations can give your program that kick it needs.

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