We learn many new things as we go through life. A lot of times we look back and think, “If only I would have known that sooner!”. Maybe things would have turned out differently, less struggles, more success, etc. There is definitely a handful of things I wish I would have known about fitness years ago, so I am writing this in hopes that you learn some of these tips SOONER than LATER!
I learned there are two parts to a warm up. A general warm up, and dynamic warm up. General warm up meaning do some sort of cardio-jog, bike, elliptical to get the muscles warm and prepared for work, but ALSO doing mobility and activation exercises. The mobility exercises should target the joints that need to have good range of motion with the main exercises you do, and the activation exercises should target the muscles that you plan on using. For example- if you plan on doing weighted lunges, you should do a dynamic warm up exercise that loosens up the hips . And if you plan on doing squats- you should incorporate an activation exercise that targets the glutes (ex. Bridges). This approach helps you move better during your workouts which = better results and injury prevention.
2) You Have to Set A Foundation
When I first started exercising, I thought lifting the heaviest weight was going to get me where I needed to be. I would even look for the MOST ADVANCED exercises to do when I was a beginner. But I soon learned that was not the way to go. Before you hit it hard with heavy weights, you MUST learn the basic moves of fitness either with low or no resistance. The main moves in fitness to conquer are: Squat, Lunge, Deadlift, Upper Body Pull (ex. dumbbell rows), Upper Body Push (ex. Push Ups). Starting out with heavy weights and/or advanced versions might emphasize bad movement patterns, and increase your risk of injury. Learning these foundational movements with low or no resistance will set a foundation for better movement so you can safely advance to more complex exercises.
Sure you want to sweat. Sure you want to challenge yourself. But your workouts are going to have to vary in intensity to prevent burnout and overuse injuries. I use to do high intensity interval workouts that were high impact EVERY DAY, and of course ended up getting knee surgeries, stress fractures, galore. Over training syndrome does exist, and some of the symptoms include low immune system, sleep issues, stress/anxiety increase, fatigue, and constant soreness. If you are doing a lot of high intensity interval training, try breaking that up with just a circuit strength workout. If you try to lift super heavy every workout, incorporate days where you lift lighter weights with higher repetitions. And throw out the “No Pain, No Gain” outlook. Studies show delayed onset muscle soreness (what you get a day or two after working out), is poorly correlated as an indicator of muscle adaptation and growth. So don’t use this to gauge how effective your workouts are.
Sure crunches, sit ups, and bicycles are a good way to increase abdominal strength, but as humans we sit a lot during the day. Add crunches plus long bouts of sitting, and you have UBER amounts of spinal flexion going on, which can lead to postural disorders. Not to say you shouldn’t do them at all, but anti-rotation and anti-lateral flexion exercises are the MONEY MAKERS. Very simply, your core muscles are supposed to brace your spine for stability. Therefore the best core exercises should be designed to prevent unwanted motion of the spine, such as bending and rotating. Anti-lateral flexion exercises simply mean you resist side bending. Most of these exercises take form in loaded carries. In addition to core strength, they improve hip stability and grip strength. Anti- rotation exercises simply mean your body is resisting rotation (side to side) in the lower spine.
So I was that girl. I followed the NO CARBS, NO FAT, NO THIS, NO THAT. Everything seems to be bad for us these days, especially as it pertains to weight loss and weight maintenance. When I cut out all carbs completely, it would just totally backfire and after two weeks I would start to binge all day on donuts, cookies, etc. Not to mention I had ZERO energy. When I cut out all fat, I was always hungry and would just end up eating more. So then I adopted the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the time eat clean and healthy, and 15-20 percent of the time indulge. Now by indulge I don’t mean eating a dozen donuts, but have a cookie on a weekend, splurge on a handful of french fries etc. By letting yourself indulge a little bit, your going to prevent going on big binges (which is WAY worse than just one cookie, right?). This concept will help you be more consistent with your eating habits and you will be more successful with your eating habits in the long run.
Speaking of eating healthy, wouldn’t it be nice to take the GUESS WORK out of eating healthy to reach your fitness goals?
I wanted to let you know about a NEW service I launched! Using the website portal called Evolution Nutrition, I can now provide clinical level meal plans personalized for any fitness goal.
There is a meal plan FOR YOU! Click HERE for more information and to schedule a consultation.