The other day, someone posted online a color-coded picture of the human body divided into the major muscle groups with exercises for each and asked:
What do you think about these exercises?
Would you add or remove any?
While I had a few thoughts on the list (but we’ll save that for another time), it sent me back to when I was first learning about muscles and my approach to creating a workout was:
Work them ALL!
Meaning: make sure each muscle group gets the same amount of exercises… same sets… same reps — because that’s what balancing the body is all about (or so I thought).
Little did I know, certain muscles (such as the glutes) deserve MUCH more attention while others are so chronically overworked they don’t need extra pounding during a workout.
Anyway, this reminded me of my start in fitness (in roughly 2006) and how if I could give my younger self advice on how to eat and exercise to get better, faster results, here are 9 nuggets of advice what I would tell him:
9 Fitness Tips to My 16-Year-Old Self:
#1: Notice what foods your body reacts negatively to(even so called “healthy foods” in hindsight were slowing me down, boosting inflammation and draining me of energy)
#2: Get 6–8 hours of sleep consistently (and have a regular sleep schedule instead of fluctuating wildly on the weekends).
#3: Buy adjustable dumbbells/ resistance bands sooner (water-filled gallon milk jugs, duck taping colored dumbbells together and bodyweight exercises only take you so far)
#4: Don’t underestimate the importance of good form when lifting (it may have saved me from slipping a disc when picking up a 165lb on a barbell)
#5: Learn the abdominal brace sooner (this single technique by Dr. Stuart McGill allowed me to create a ton of stability at the spine and safely do exercises like deadlifts)
#6: Ditch sit-ups and crunches (Knowing what I know about spinal health, I would have stopped doing them cold turkey and focused on planks and other core exercises.)
#7: Go at least few days each week without eating until 11am (the importance of breakfast was hammered into us as athletes, however, knowing what I now know about intermittent fasting and the regenerate impact on the body — I would have done more of it).
#8: Don’t push yourself to eat healthy foods, instead find ways to prepare them (or combine them) so you enjoy them.
#9: Keep training with someone stronger than you, it’s one of the simplest ways to stay consistent and to keep your standards high.
For more fitness and motivation tips to get serious about fitness again — and to gain a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of lasting transformation check out the link below:
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