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How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

How Seriously Should You Take Your Training?

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We’ve all been there.. We’re motivated, we’re ready to go, we’re really going to change this time. Time to get back that body you had in high school, or college, or whenever it was that you peaked. And when are we going to start? On Monday.. It’s always Monday. Your friends came over for a barbecue on Sunday, and Saturday you were recovering from Friday night so you couldn’t start then. So Monday it is.

 

Even if you’re already in a regimen we have moments, or ruts, in our training where we seem to just be going through the motions and not making any progress. A lot of times the reason isn’t that we aren’t putting in the work, but that we overreact to small speed bumps. You were counting macros at the barbeque on Sunday but then dessert came out, your eyes lit up, and that’s the last thing you remember. So after that, you just stopped counting. You decided to pick things back up on Monday.

 

What if I told you that you could have your Aunt’s famous dessert at your family cookout and not have to feel bad about it? I’m not talking about “if it fits your macros”. I’m not talking about macros at all. I’m talking about setting up the goals that are right for you.

 

So let’s get into it… First and foremost, what are your goals? Are you a weekend warrior who puts in 60 hours a week at a job and then crushes it on the weekends to stay healthy? Or are you an aspiring fitness athlete who is looking to compete? As you can imagine, these two scenarios are gong to play out with two very different goals. These are two people at opposite ends of the spectrum just to make my point, but there are stages in the middle where most people find themselves. We’ll go step by step and you can decide what category you fall into, and how you can decide how to follow a program from there.

 

Category 1: I just want to be healthy

 

A significant portion of the population will fall into this category. These are the people who have full time jobs on top of full time jobs. They might be married with kids, or travel for work 90% of the time. Or they just might not care a lick about the idea of “fitness” and just want their doctor to give them good news every year. It’s ok to be in this group! It’s not always about aesthetics! SD Evolution preaches healthy LIFESTYLES. Not all of our clients are training for a competition. A lot of them just want to be healthy. And we love that. We are building a fitness COMMUNITY and that covers all goals being HEALTHY and in any way that any of our individual clients views that.

 

SO, what does this mean? What do you have to do? What don’t you have to do? Well, this might come as a shock to hear me say this, but you DON’T have to count your macros. You don’t even need to follow a fitness regimen. The guideline here is just making healthy choices. Here is where I would recommend using the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% “hey shit happens”. You ate healthy all week, cooked healthy dinners for your family, and then the cookout came up on Sunday and you had an entire plate of dessert. I’m ok with it.. If you had McDonalds all week and ate nothing but Hot Tomales (my favorite candy by the way) while you watched Shark Week every night, then no, I would tell someone to slap that plate out of your hand you shouldn’t eat all that dessert! The world we live in sees most people getting the 80/20 backwards. That’s a whole other topic and I won’t get off on a tangent, but you get the idea. As far as training, a workout program would be helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Maybe you like finding new hikes. You just got a pool and you love swimming. You just joined a basketball league at work. Those are all forms of exercise; they just happen to be so fun that you forget you are working out. With enough frequency and balance, those are more than enough.

 

Why would I say all this when I run a fitness business? Well for starters, because I’m honest. But even still, we offer programs that consist of lifestyle coaching. So someone in this category would still benefit from an online coach, we just wouldn’t be giving them workouts and meal plans. They would be getting outlines of how to make their current lifestyle healthier, and we would teach them how to incorporate those things step by step, as well as keep them accountable.

 

Category 2: I don’t want to compete, but I do want to change my body

 

This category is where the majority fall into. Not everyone wants to go stand on stage and lift heavy weights, or put their sculpted physiques on display. Some people just want to feel more confident. I want to look good naked, I believe is what a lot of people talk about from this stand point. They might have accumulated a few pounds over the years, or they never really did have a great body but they decided they wanted to set their sights on having the mirror make them smile. Either way, they are at a point in their lives where they want to make a visible change to the way that they look.

 

These guys have to go a little farther than the 80/20 rule. To change your body, the numbers have to add up. We have this down to a science where “if you do this, then this will happen”. There are a lot of calculations that go into this, but the most basic form is a topic called caloric balance. If you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. If you are in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. There are a lot of other things that go into this, and some of those things actually make my previous statement false, but I won’t bore you with the details. For the vast majority, caloric balance holds true. From there, it is also very important WHERE your calories come from. We’re not just talking about the specific foods, but the macronutrient breakdown of those foods.

 

That is why this group needs to track what they are eating. The simplest way to do so… Counting your macros. More advanced people in this group may not need to do so because they already have their meals planned out and prepped the same way they have been doing it for a long time. But most of us will have to do this on a day to day basis because we will not want to eat the same exact things on a day to day basis. Counting our macros allows us the flexibility to eat with diversity, but also gives us the structure to not overdue it on any one part. You can do this manually, or most phones will let you download an app where you can just punch in the food and the amount you had and BOOM, macros tracked.. **cough cough** “MyMacros+” **cough**

 

Your workouts should also be programmed in this category. You will need to track volume to ensure progress. You don’t have to go overboard, but knowing what you did last week, and how to increase it this week is pretty important. And again, this stuff doesn’t have to be all in the gym. A lot of the peeps in here like to do other activities in place of the gym. But making sure you reach a certain intensity for a certain amount of time during you basketball game should be tracked in order to make sure you are getting to the level you need to, to achieve your goals.

 

Category 3: I want to be the best

 

You want to be the best? You better work harder and smarter than the best. This category is where very few people will take it. Not a lot of people want to compete. The biggest, most shredded dude in your gym might not want to step on stage. He’s just there to be big and shredded, and that’s ok. But some people strive to be the best in everything they do, and they want something measurable to tell them that. That measurement would be which flavor medal you bring home from a competition. Anyway, this category is the easiest to talk about, and the hardest to achieve.

 

Are you tracking your macros? Yes… Unless you’re on a meal plan eating the same thing every day. In which case you or your coach determined your macros on day one and that is set until it is adjusted moving forward.

 

Are your workouts programmed? You better believe it.. One of the easiest ways to determine if your weight gain is lean mass or fat is to look at your lifts. Are they the same weight that you started with when you were 200 and you are now 210? That was mostly, if not all, fat buddy.. Sorry. How do you program for improvements? Very simply put, make sure you do more than you did last time. It could be an extra set, or it could be an extra 5 or 10 pounds on your lift. Your volume must grow for you to grow.

 

What category do you fall in? Are you doing the things you need to in order to reach your goals? Do you now know what your goals are? If you need help, you know where to find us…

http://www.sd-evolution.com/contact.html

Until next time,

Josh

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

Everything you need to know to successfully start your Post-Holiday workout reboot!

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It happens to all of us. Ok, if you really want to argue, it happens to 99% of us. The holiday season begins and things get crazy. Our workouts get rescheduled (or maybe one or two are even missed) and our diets become a little more lax… We’re running around getting presents and getting ready for parties and seeing family, and fitness takes a back seat for longer than we planned. We get a little softer. We start watching our results disappear day by day. But there is a light at the end of that tunnel! If you can sneak through that process relatively unscathed, you’re already in good shape. So here we are. We have officially made it past Christmas and we are all staring in the mirror. Now what? Now we get started…

The first thing you need to do is put your workout plan back in focus. Plan out your entire week of workouts and meals. DO NOT WING IT. You will have a very frustrating time getting back into a rhythm if you walk into the gym and plan your workout on the fly. You will walk right back out feeling like you accomplished little to nothing and that is not a positive note to start your system reboot on. Go in with a force. Throw your headphones on and get the job done. You are not there to socialize. You are not there to talk about what you got for Christmas. You are there to get your body back.

You must start by choosing what type of program you are going with. Are you continuing a weight-loss/cutting phase? Are you looking to put some more muscle on? Or do you want to continue a strength training routine? Chances are, regardless of what you are getting back into, you are going to be set back a little bit from where you left off. That’s ok, just record it and use that as a starting point. This is Day 1! Next, you get into the nitty gritty. Sit down and plan each day of your workouts for the entire week and STICK TO IT. If you don’t feel qualified to do so, get some help. The trainer at your gym probably won’t write you a program without you signing up for a personal training package. But if that isn’t in the budget, you have plenty of online options. Here at SD Evolution, we run a New Year’s Special on a very affordable 8 week program, and always offer our regular 12-week Online Trainer and Meal Plan.

Next, get your meals back in check. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. I’m sure you have plenty of left overs from the holiday parties… Give them away! Get back to what you know works. Go shopping for the healthy goodies and spend a day preparing it so you can take it to go as you get back to work. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. There is nothing that sets you back quite as bad as a bad day of eating. Nutrition is 60% to our workouts’ 40%. You can’t out-workout a bad diet, and a couple missed or poor-quality meals creates a bad diet.

Once you have all of this down, you need to remind yourself that this is a process. You will not be at your end-goal next week. So find a plan that you are comfortable with, and complete it. Don’t get through, one, two, three weeks and then quit. That will start a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s important to believe in the program you are about to start. If you trust it, stick with it. If you don’t trust it, don’t start it and find a new one that you do and that you will stick with.

Finally, track your progress. Complete measurements and weigh-ins along the way. You can even take weekly pictures. You may not be able to see the transformation on a day-by-day basis, but the numbers won’t lie.

The most important thing you can do.. Get started and stay dedicated! You are starting for a reason. You have a goal in mind. Get to that goal. It’ll take hard work, but you can achieve anything. I’ve seen incredible transformations throughout my career. Yours can be next!

 

Until next time,

Josh

Top 5 Mistakes Made in Workout Programs- Make Sure this isn’t You!

Top 5 Mistakes Made in Workout Programs- Make Sure this isn’t You!

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I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made a couple of these myself, so don’t take this personal. We’re here to keep you honest and help get the most out of your routine! Some of these hold more weight than others, but the bottom line is that fixing all of these issues will help you get the most out of each and every workout. So here we go!

MISTAKE #1: NO WARMUP

Not going through a warm-up prior to resistance training. Now I don’t mean a set of 20 pushups or 20 reps with 135lbs before chest day. Yes, that’s important too, but most of us are already on top of that part. I mean a cardio warmup. This should be no more than 5 minutes, and personally, I go in the 3-5 minute range. Keep it short and sweet. This is meant to begin raising your heart rate and increase blood flow. It shouldn’t be a sprint, a power walk will do just fine. The purpose isn’t to become tired, it is simply to get your body prepared for exercise. There are also plenty of direct benefits that will make you feel less like this is a waste of time. For example, during this warmup, your blood vessels begin to dilate. This allows increased blood flow which leads to that awesome pump we all crave each workout. A warmup also increases the secretion of hormones. The additional hormones are automatically secreted to provide your body with energy for the work it realizes it is about to perform. More hormones pumping=more productive workout!

MISTAKE #2: TOO MUCH CARDIO BEFORE WEIGHTS

Some of you may already be used to doing cardio before your workout, but perhaps a little too much. I’ve heard the logic time and time again.. “I do cardio before weights because I know I won’t do it after. I’ll end up just going home.” This is actually extremely common and I’ve had countless clients who I’ve had to correct this strategy for. As I said before, keep this cardio down to five minutes or less. Any more than that and you could be negatively affecting your workout. For starters, doing cardio first requires work. Work requires energy. By using this energy before you weight train, you are decreasing your strength and affecting the amount of force you can produce while resistance training. This leads to overall lower intensity and much slower results. Next, by doing cardio first, you are tiring your core. A tired core is a weak core. Our base starts with our core, and if it is weakened, it makes us more susceptible to injury.

As an added bonus of doing cardio after your workout as opposed to before, you will actually burn more fat. To cut down fat, we need to burn our fat stores. But to do this, we must first burn off our glycogen stores to get to the fat. Weight training typically uses glycogen stores for energy, which means that we will have much less glycogen to burn off during our cardio before we get to that golden spot in fat storage. So- there’s a little bit of the science behind program design strategy to burn more fat!

MISTAKE #3: TOO MANY MACHINES

Every gym has a giant section of shiny new machines. This section is pretty appealing to the new guys at the gym. They look cool, they are easy to use, and they make working out more comfortable. You even get to sit down while you go through the exercise! Well that’s the first issue.. You want to engage your core in as many exercises as possible during your workout. Doing any exercise in a seated or supported environment removes that element immediately. Not to mention, machines don’t place as much stress on your muscles as free weights do. Free weights allow for proper movement patterns during compound exercises. It is near impossible for me to call any machine exercise a compound exercise. Some arguments can be made but the bottom line is that they just aren’t as effective. I’m not saying machines don’t have any place in your routine. I love finishing some workouts on machines. They can be great for isolation movements, so I like to use them to get a killer finishing pump. The point- build your routine around free weights, not machines.

MISTAKE #4: DOING THE SAME WORKOUT

If I had a dollar for every person I’ve seen doing the same workout at the same time on the same days, I’d be a rich man. Half the time, I don’t even need to see their workout to know it hasn’t changed. Do you know why? Because they look the same. Don’t fall into the trap of making your routine, ROUTINE. A workout can be great the first time, second time, maybe even a third time if you’re lucky. But your body is smart. It gets used to doing the same thing. It adapts to the workout. Why do we get stuck in this common error? There are plenty of reasons- It may have worked for you in the past, so you turn to it again. You may have seen someone else doing it who is in incredible shape. And here is what may be the most common answer- you don’t know what else to do! You may have had a free training session with a trainer and then decided to just repeat that workout. I know plenty of instances where this was the case. There are plenty of places to turn if you need help designing your routine. Personal training may be one way to go. Online training is another, more cost-effective option. (We happen to offer both of these at www.sd-evolution.com) 😉 If not those, you can find broader, more general workouts that may not be designed specifically for your body, but are still different and could be worth a shot.

MISTAKE #5: YOU CAN’T OUT-WOROUT A BAD DIET

This mistake isn’t a part of your workout program, but is still a major part of your fitness journey. I’m going to include it because your workout program will be useless if you aren’t controlling what you eat. I’ve had many clients come to me with minimal results initially because they thought that just by increasing their workouts, they could continue eating the way they had been. But working out alone isn’t enough. I argue that your diet is more important than your workout. Don’t get me wrong, they are both vital to good health and seeing results, but your diet will control exactly how your body changes. Whether you are going for weight loss or muscle gain, your nutrition needs to be on point to achieve your goals.

Going Against the Grain- Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Try New Things at the Gym, Even if “so-called” Experts Say it’s a No No

Going Against the Grain- Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Try New Things at the Gym, Even if “so-called” Experts Say it’s a No No

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In one breath we hear a set of rules, and in the next breath we hear that every body responds differently. “Complete high-rep circuits for weight loss. Lift heavy to get big.” Well what if I told you that you could complete high-rep workouts and get big, and lift heavy to lose weight. Would you believe me? Well, both of those are true. Yes, high-rep circuits can be useful for weight loss. And lifting heavy can help you gain mass. But they also work vice versa. How can that be? How can they work both ways?

For starters, program design has a lot to do with how you want to use a certain workout for a certain goal. If you walk up to a pretty new lifter in the gym who was looking to get big and told him that you were going to get him huge using sets of 15-20 reps, he would most likely shake his head and walk away. It is pounded in our heads from day one that rep ranges 3-5 are for strength, around 6-12 for hypertrophy, and anything higher than that is for endurance and weight loss only. This simply isn’t the case. The overriding factor here is volume. If you can create a workout of 15-20 reps per set that creates a higher volume workload, then you will be training for size. And if you do put yourself through this, you will experience one hell of a pump, especially if you’ve never incorporated anything like this before.

And what about lifting heavy for weight loss? Again, we are looking at program design here to differentiate between doing this for added strength and size, and weight loss. When looking for weight loss, we are looking to use heavy, total-body compound movements. The fact of the matter is that moving the heaviest weight possible requires a tremendous amount of work. What do we use to make our bodies do this work? Energy. Energy=calories. We burn the most calories while moving the most weight. A program alteration I would use to avoid lifting for size would be to keep everything in the “total body” category. Avoid overloading one specific muscle group with a lot of volume. However, just because you are lifting heavy doesn’t mean that you are going to gain size anyway; even if you do overload a muscle group. So don’t be too cautious worrying about that. You need to eat for size. If you are on a cutting diet while lifting heavy, you won’t be adding pounds. In fact, this will actually help you retain your muscle and strength while losing fat, which will further help you burn more calories and look amazing!

So what’s the other part of this? I mentioned earlier that every body responds differently. I don’t mean everybody. I mean every BODY. People can do the exact same routine, eat the exact same thing, and have exact OPPOSITE results. One of my biggest pet-peeves is seeing an article guaranteeing new-found success toward this one goal by using this new workout method. You can’t guarantee that. These “cookie-cutter” programs are bogus. The truth is, until someone knows exactly what you’ve done in the past and exactly how your body has changed from it, they can’t tell you how your body will change with this program. Some people put on muscle very easily. Some lose weight very fast. And some genetic freaks get the best of both worlds. But the majority of us don’t. You need to try new things to see how YOUR body adapts to them.

That is why I stress constantly trying new things. That is something I have been working on. The past 6 months, I have spent time in the gym and in research, coming up with new ways to push my body. Some methods have been effective, while others have yielded minimal results. But they were BOTH positives in my regimen. They both showed me what my body responds well to and what my body has no response to. So in designing future programs, I already know what works best for certain effects on my body. Some of these are things that I would have scoffed at two years ago, but some of them have worked.

If you are too ignorant, like I was, to try something new simply because it goes against what people say, then you are limiting your potential. You will never know what can truly take your body to the next level until you try a major variety of methods. Only then will you know what works best for you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t work, that’s great too. Honestly.. Don’t consider it a couple wasted weeks. You are now two weeks closer to your perfect program, and one step closer to YOUR perfect body.

 

Until next time,

Josh