Maybe your local gym has reopened. Maybe you're just looking to get back in shape after years of a sedentary lifestyle. Maybe the doctor said you need to lose some weight. If you've taken time out of the gym or if you've never been, let's discuss some good starting points and things for you to remember along the way. I'm going to give you 3 main points to hopefully help to cut through the confusion and stick to the most fundamental aspects of training. We will discuss some universal truths whether you're returning after years away or if you're brand new.
Firstly let's get some perspective. It's important to know that when discussing or reading about almost any topic you should understand that context is everything. We can't just make a random statement and say that it's "good" or "bad." For example, if I were to say that heavy deadlifting is bad some would agree. However if technique is solid, range of motion is good, and loading is correct what would be bad about it? Another example would be partial reps. Are they good or bad? Well, it depends. If you're going for more of an aesthetic approach you would primarily want to stick with full range of motion lifts. If you're trying to move as much weight as possible, you're probably not going to squat too far past parallel. It's not that partial range reps are "good" or "bad." It just depends on the context we're discussing them in. CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING! Remember this when reading and engaging in conversation about exercise and nutrition. Almost every aspect of these depends on the specific goal you are trying to achieve.
Secondly let's discuss position. Position is probably the most widely neglected and yet fundamental thing in fitness. Poor anatomical position contributes to injury, engraves poor movement patterns, and doesn't allow for the muscles and joints to work the way they were designed to work. If you learn to lift heavy with poor positioning you're simply becoming a master of compensation. Prioritize position over everything else. If you are unsure what is a good or poor position spend some time researching it. Or you can always contact me and I'll be glad to help (shameless plug). Maintaining proper position will allow you to train more consistently over a longer period of time. It's important to understand that position is the starting point or setup of your lift. Technique refers to the mechanics of the actual lift. More on technique in a different blog.
Thirdly comes the blatant truth. Making ANY type of long lasting and enduring change takes time and effort. Any company, product, or trainer saying they've found a "revolutionary" new formula or exercise is lying. "Twice the results in half the time" doesn't equate to longevity. Take your time, have vision, see the long road ahead and embrace it. Time isn't to be rushed and you shouldn't try to find a way around it. You didn't get overweight, out of shape, or weaker overnight. Why would you expect to reverse engineer that any quicker? That's time now let's talk about effort. The truth is that you're going to have to lift weights that are heavier than you want them to be. And, you're going to have to lift them more times than you probably want to. And, you're going to have to do this even on days you don't want to. If you do this consistently along with nutrition for months and years, you won't even recognize yourself. It doesn't exactly sizzle, I know, but it's the truth.
I hope that you've been able to take something from this and use it to help you get to the strongest version of you. Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment and until next time...BE A DARK HORSE!