The increase of the thermometer may bring the increased awareness that you haven't likely had a great off season. Your midline has hibernated, and it is showing no interest in coming out for Spring. For the last two months you swore to yourself that you would start your workout regimen, and like the masses you're scrambling at the reality that boat season is coming. Now you're thinking about all the potential Instagram tags and those bathing suits you hid because you didn't need that kind of negativity in your life. Well it's here now, well almost.
I'm not saying you gotta be a slave to the life. I get it. The winter comes so you throw on a few extra layers, and it's dark outside so even when you really hate yourself, you can still hide in the darkness. Depression leads to more binging, and the cycle repeats, so the waist line increases. Fear not, you're not the only one. Take a drive down Park Ave at any given day and someone is #grindin. Trudging uncomfortably block after block swearing to run off all the poor decisions, step by painful step.
[rant]Why people choose to do this on Park Ave is beyond me. For one, there's more stops, streets, and cars than anywhere else. If you want to get in shape, take your pain face to a more private, less obstructed street. [/end rant]
You guys all like lists, so lets start with the 5 things you're likely doing, and are doing wrong. Unfortunately you've probably been completely uninformed. So I'll follow this up with 10 things you can do right now to save your summer!
PLEASE NOT THIS:
- Cutting Calories. This is likely more so whatever diet you came across, and perhaps unknowingly calorie restrictive. Or largely just uninformed and misanthropic. However if calories are bad, you just gotta eat less of them right? So Salads it is! NO, just no. Food and the right food, quantity and maybe even timing is what stands between you and mirror solace.
- Forrest Gump. If running is hard, running must be good. I sweat, I breathe hard, it hurts, I shall do more, I shall succeed. Wrong again. Unless you're trying to render yourself soft and doughy, steady state cardio (read long runs to nowhere) are an excessive way to achieve your end game. "Look better naked" Running is a lot of stress, and as you get better you double your durations which doubles your stress. This increases your stress response mainly, and for the record, that response will do everything you seek not to do. Like gain weight, lose muscle, and decrease coordination. So stop.
- Double time! This is a lot like 2. You've wasted your time the last few months, so if you just double your time now it will pay off. Were hardwired as humans to equivocate struggle with success, and while this is not categorically untrue, its not as clear an algorithm. More work out is not better.
- Be like Mike! Here is a hard one. You see someone, they look good, they look like you want to look, you should do what they do. Like spark notes for your abs. Except here's the trick, fitness and health is not so simply one size fits all. What works for mutant x may not work at all for you. In fact, you have no idea what works for you. Except that one time you didn't eat all summer and weighed the least you ever have. You were just unsure at all about your body fat percentage, and getting out of bed was as close to fitness as you could achieve then. You have to know yourself, your metabolism, your energy systems, your goals, and your paths. Or you'll spend the summer lost, and the next 10 until you find yourself.
- You're doing it alone. Maybe you tagged a buddy in to do steps 1-4 with you, and that would actually be better than doing it alone. At least you have some accountability. What you need is a team. Sounds excessive, but ill get to that now.
Show of hands, how many of those were you? 1,3, all five? We're a peculiar race. We scramble and procrastinate, and most of all we love to over complicate things. So I'll list 10 concise things that will save your sanity, and maybe even your sex life.
- Hire a coach! Not a trainer, not a personal trainer, or even a Groupon. Hire this person. That means interview them, project your needs and goals on them and measure their responses. A coach is someone who will see you through it all, not just your hour. They will set you up for success far outside of a few grueling workouts. Coaches always have a great referral camp. See if they fit a few criteria like:
- Understand individuality, or do they push their dogma on you.
- Understand movement, I respect you may not yet, but give them an ailment and see if they can help. Or just divert.
- Do they care about your goals, or just their fees.
- What do people say about them
- This list can go on, but you get the point.
- Consult a dietician, or nutritionist. There is more armchair experts than ever before. However to truly understand yourself, you're going to need someone who specializes in this. They can help with allergies you may be unaware of, macro nutrient prescriptions for health, and most importantly educate you. Find someone who has proven success, and not someone who's just got someone ready for the stage, because I can assure you, that you're not about that life, and that is not life at all. What you need is to understand, not just a blind prescription.
- Harder, not longer. You don't need more work, you need to simply work harder. Like less than an hour believe it or not, and in that hour, you need to find the darkness! Silly as it may seem, intensity is the most important variable in physical adaptation. That thing youre trying to do. The hours post workout will burn an excess amount of calories in recovery. Without going into a bunch of sciency jargon, this is what you need.
- Lift heavy, and lift often. Girls I know you think if you touch a barbell you're going to get bulky. You're just simply not. Not to mention this is the one thing you need to get all they instagram followers you want. Muscle is the key to burning all those calories you want to burn, and the way to do so by doing nothing. Thats right, do more work, so you have to do less work. Not only that but muscle looks good, bone, not so much.
- Learn to move. As in the complete way your body was designed to. Gymnastics, and not in the upside down sort of way. Compound, and functional. Stop isolating on machines and start using your body. Identify your lack of range of motion and improve that. I repeat get off the machines!!! They were designed more to babysit you than to help you.
- Sprint! STOP RUNNING. Well aimlessly anyway. Drop the duration, increase the intensity. Intervals are key, keep the distances short enough to elicit 110% intensity, rest and repeat up to ten rounds.
- Variation is the spice of life. (this does not apply to advice for your love life) Routine is the enemy, consistency is not. Don't confuse the two. Most make this mistake and consider doing the same things over and over is consistency. Thats not. Consistency just means the frequency and regularity of which you train. Which for the record should be 3-5x a week, with enough intensity to elicit a recovery response, and enough recovery to elicit peak intensity. 3 days on 1 off will always be our default prescription.
- Address your lifestyle. You cannot make a change when everything around you is set up for your old life. If you want to move forward, you have to address the other 22-23hrs outside of training. Sure working out is key, but its a fraction of a fraction of your day, be conscious every hour of the day. Cut unhealthy relationships, avoid unhealthy social settings, Just take an honest look at your life and ask is this going to help me with my goal. The gym will take the rest.
- Change your life. This seems a lot like number 8. However this is the personal stuff. This is working on you, not the world around you. Seek a setting that will educate you not just train you. The more you know, the better and easier your life will be to move the needle forward. Read, learn, listen, and even meditate.
- Join Paradigm. 1-9 are all the staples of what makes Paradigm paradigm. We're a community designed to move everyone forward together, utilizing fitness as the medium. Fitness is defined as constantly varied high intensity functional movement. We lift weights in enough volume to support muscle growth, practice and develop gymnastics enough to redistribute strength across all range of motion, and we keep duration short to elicit intensity and recovery. Honestly if you do one thing, do 10. It will change your life.
Don't despair, no work is bad work. If you're reading this, your life is not over. The summer isn't even here yet. You have some time. Its just crunch time. No pun intended.. You need to spend the right time, doing the right things is all. So find a community that will support you, develop you, and grow with you. Even if its not Paradigm, community changes everything. Seek this first!
P.S. If you want to keep in touch with what we're doing, follow our Facebook page, and if you want to check out a class at CrossFit Paradigm Performance, visit paradigmperforance.members.pushpress.com to take a look at our class schedule!