Unless you have been living under a rock your whole existence, you know of educational tools like universities, books, videos, magazines and this thing called the internet. These items can be full of useful information to help you learn whatever it is you want to learn. They can also fill your head with too much information, a lot of it which is useless.
A few years back, when my daughter was two years old, I wrote a letter to her. I wrote this letter as a guide for her to use in fitness and life. My wife and I have taught Olivia to share, so she’ll be happy if you use this advice too.
A Letter To My Daughter
Please use this letter as your guide through fitness (and life)…….
Your fitness journey begins by mastering these basic movements. Do them 2-3x per week, every week for the rest of your life – Squat, Push ups, Deadlifts, Dumbbell rows, pull ups, lunges, kettle bell swings and abdominal wheel rollouts. Pay close attention to form. Once you have mastered perfect form you can be creative and come up with different variations of these movements. You will have a ton of options regarding repetitions, sets and rest. Learn by doing.
You will form strengths and weaknesses. Hammer away at your weaknesses without sacrificing your strengths. Whatever you find to be the hardest, do it first. So, if you’re having a hard time with pull ups, do them every day before you do anything else. Remember if it’s important do it every day. If it’s not, don’t do it at all.
The results you obtain will come from training consistently with maximum effort. You’ll have great training days, decent training days and training days that suck. The ones that suck are just as important as the ones that are great. The discipline required to push yourself physically will help you in all aspects of your life.
For your conditioning, stick with circuit training or interval training. Train fast. Do short bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest, followed by another bout of exercise. Sprints, uphill running, kettle bell swings and bodyweight movements done with high repetitions are great for conditioning.
Surround yourself with people who make you better. If you are in the position to help a friend who is struggling with fitness, do it. Maybe all they need is a little support. If you find that you are the one struggling, seek help. Find a place that specializes in fitness coaching. The environment should be supportive and fun. The coaches should be knowledgeable and have a genuine interest in helping you improve. A place like Breakthrough Fitness (shameless plug)!
Fitness should always be part of your life, not your entire life. Take things into perspective. If being extremely lean is your goal and you find out you are mentally miserable, step back and take a look at what makes you happy. You will get 80% of your results from 20% of what you do. Focus on intensity in your training. Training sessions do not have to be long to be effective. Dedicate 3-4 hours a week for intense training. On your non-training days make sure to do some form of physical activity. Go out and play a sport or go for a hike. Do yoga or go dancing. Spend more time outdoors with friends or peaceful time alone.
The beauty about strength training is there are many ways you can go about it. The best approach is to pick one goal at a time. For instance, you can spend six months focusing on strength and building muscle. Then you can follow up with a two month program dedicated strictly to fat loss. If you are training hard and eating the right foods you’ll accomplish multiple goals at the same time. When you make changes to your training do it one exercise variation or protocol at a time. Give it a few weeks before making any other changes. Pay attention to what happens. You’ll do this by keeping a training journal. Feel free to add life stuff in this journal as well.
Rest and recovery is essential for living a healthy, strong, vibrant lifestyle. Nutrition, sleep, hydration and light activity is all you need to concern yourself with when it comes to recovery. Get 7-8 hours a sleep each night and make water your beverage of choice. Have a day of light activity between your intense training sessions.
You’ll learn a lot about your body once you get a few years of training under your belt. Your body will tell you what you need to know. Every five to six weeks schedule a week off from intense training. By doing this you won’t be forced to have a week off with an injury.
When it comes to nutrition, keep it simple. Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds should make up the majority of your diet. Eat dairy products in moderation. Eat enough to fuel your day and your training sessions. Be mindful when you eat and stop eating when you feel slightly full. Pay attention to how you feel when eating certain foods. Use the scale and body fat measurements as guides for food consumption. Don’t believe the hype from food companies about their products. Knowledge is power. Take the time to learn about how food is processed. Make intelligent decisions.
Your fitness and health is your personal responsibility. You are in control. Embrace the discipline of challenging yourself physically. Your mind and body will thank you. Discipline equals freedom.