What I wish I knew when I first started working out.
I just received an email from the Customer Experience Olympian (actual job title) for an app that I coach clients on. (The app is called Fitmo, the personal trainer in your pocket. Check it out.)
Inside this email was a request for a quote that will appear in Men’s Health, or Maxim Magazine.
The quote is to be about what I wish I had known about training, nutrition, or fitness in general when I first started training. Something that only experience taught me.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you I’m fired up. After all, I’m just the guy with a blog. Appearing in either of these mags gets my heart racing.
I also love the question. Being the stubborn type, I actually learned most of my lessons through experience rather than research. (Just another way of saying that I learn my lessons the hard way)
I’m elated to share what I wish I had known. The only problem is, I’m not sure which lesson to go with.
This blog post will serve a couple purposes.
Getting Strong is Important, No Matter What Your Goal Is
I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels when I first began. Despite trying every technique in the book, I made very little progress in my first couple years of working out.
All the advanced techniques in the world didn’t amount to much because I just wasn’t strong enough to make them count.
Once I switched my focus to building strength my body finally began to make some visible changes.
The stronger I got the easier it was to get leaner and more muscular.
When you’re strong, every workout you do becomes more effective. You’re able to lift more weight and burn more calories. This results in more muscle and less fat.
A Great Body Takes a Long Time
Progress can come fast, but a really great body takes many years.
This is something that everyone faces sometime in their first few months of working out. The realization that if you want a truly great looking body it is going to take a ton of time and work. Suddenly it makes sense why you don’t see many people with really impressive physiques walking around.
This is the point where it is tempting to give up. The process looks daunting, and the mountain is higher than you initially thought.
I empathize, because I faced this as well. It was tough slugging it out each day after realizing the changes to my body would be so incremental.
The key for me was to focus on those incremental wins. I took my attention off of the end goal, and kept a laser focus on daily victories in and out of the gym.
This created a ton of forward momentum. 16 years later, I’m really glad I didn’t give up.
Less is More
It can be tempting to jump on every new exercise or technique that comes down the pipe.
Add a new exercise here, and a new technique there, and suddenly your program starts to look like Frankenstein’s monster.
When I first began working out I did all kinds of wacky exercises. Besides the novelty factor, they didn’t do me much good.
After 16 years of training I have come to realize that trimming the fat from my program and going all in on the basics produced the best results.
Simplicity always wins when it comes to fitness. Instead of getting too fancy, get good at squats, deadlifts, presses, chin ups and rows. Nail down the basics for the best results.
Which One to Go With?
I still have no idea which topic I’ll go with for my quote, but laying the options out like this was helpful.
I’m also open to suggestions. If one of these jumps out at you as particularly helpful, help me out and let me know. (I’m actually leaning towards the first one)
It’s also my hope that this post will save you some time and frustration in your own training.
If my mistakes and hard-learned lessons can help you in or out of the gym, then it’s all worth it.
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