Everything has to start somewhere, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman or you’re looking to trim your fat or build your muscles. But at the start of your journey of getting into shape, it can be difficult to find the right path to success, which may often leave you jumping from one program to another, not really getting anywhere.
And with so many conflicting ideas and studies saying you should do one thing or another, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to achieve that body you’ve been dreaming of. However, there are some simple rules that you can follow that will help you to achieve your ultimate goals, and without getting bogged down in all of the technical jargon that’s out there.
Here are the three rules you should be following:
Get Into the Right Gym Habit
According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, we need to get ourselves into a habit by cueing the behaviors we want to reinforce into action. For example, if your goal was to go to the gym four times a week before work, your “cue” into action would be something like putting your weightlifting shoe next to your bed before you go to sleep. Then, the first thing you see when you wake up is this item, which reinforces the routine that you’re trying to get into. Eventually, the idea is that you won’t need this cue once the routine becomes inbuilt.
So, the key to getting into a successful routine is not just to say, “I’m going to start going to the gym.” Instead, it’s about creating little reminders and nudges for yourself that will help to prevent you from backing out of your deal. The reward? Better fitness and health.
Make Sure Your Training’s Consistent
Everyone who’s working out will have a different set of goals, access to different equipment and will have a history of different injuries. This means that what works for someone else might not be what works for you.
However, this doesn’t mean that everything is equally as good as something else. Instead, it means that whatever you are doing needs to be consistent. The program that you follow consistently will be the one that works for you.
Use the Fundamentals to Build Yourself Up
At the beginning of your program, it’s important that you don’t get too caught up on what exercise is working what muscle because this will come later, if at all. Instead, master the art of several proven exercises first because you can always worry about fine-tuning these further down the line if you wish.
Here are the categories of exercises that you should be mastering. Choose at least one of each of these exercises from each category that you practice:
Squats: These include goblet squats, box squats, back squats and front squats.
Hip Hinge: These include a Romanian deadlift, a sumo deadlift, a conventional deadlift and a trap-bar deadlift.
Single-Leg Work: These include step-ups, a hip thrust with a single leg, a single-leg Romanian deadlift, Bulgarian split squats, lateral lunges, forward lunges and reverse lunges.
Pushing Exercises: These include push-ups, landmine presses, push presses, military presses, dumbbell press variations and bench press variations.
Pulling Exercises: These include pull-ups, chin-ups, standing cable rows with a single arm, dumbbell rows with a single arm, barbell rows, chest-support rows and cable row variations that you do whilst you’re seated.
Carries: These include cross-body carries, waiter carries, unilateral (suitcase) carries, and bilateral (farmer’s) carries.
Core Lifts: These include roll-outs, plank variations, split-stance exercises, overhead lifts, tall-kneeling lifts, half-kneeling lifts, chops and pallof presses.
Following a program that focuses on these seven categories will help you to build up your physical strength and muscle definition, and you may be surprised at how well your body responds to these. If you want to lose fat, these movements will enable you to work hard in the gym, burning the most calories in the process. If you want to add mass to your body, these movements will provide your body with the training it needs whilst helping you to use the most weight. Equally, if you just want to become more athletic and get stronger for whatever training program you want to do in the future, these core exercises will give you the tools you need to go on and do this.
Zachary Cook is a small business owner who writes about all manner of business topics relevant to today’s small business owner. From starting up to growing and perhaps even selling.