James's Top Ten Fitness Tips
1. Always have a goal in mind- Putting on muscle, losing body fat, improving endurance, increasing strength, decreasing pain, improving mobility and flexibility.. These are some of the possible goals you may have when starting a new program. There has to be some sort of start off point that is measurable in a few weeks time. This way you can really see if you are actually making a difference, standing still, or going backwards.
2. Do not just do an exercise for the hell of it- We all have done it at some point. You download a program off bodybuilding.com and you read it and try to do it. You see something as complex as a dumbell pullover(see picture 1) and you try to replicate it. This exercise has so many moving parts and if done incorrectly, it could result in injury or even worse.. NO GAINS!! So for the future, know the context behind WHY you are doing an exercise and WHAT exactly you have to do. It truly can make or break your program.
3. Jogging/Running is not a warm up- I know this one is going to hit home for a lot of people.. Please know that I don't mind you doing cardio before your workout.. Having said that, that IS what you are doing.. cardio. Your warm up should be specific to what you are doing on that day. If you are hitting your chest and back, bang out a few low intensity push ups and body weight rows. If you are doing squats and deadlifts throw in a few inchworms, lunges and body weight squats. Start to familiarize your body with these movement patterns before you load them!
4. There is muscle fatigue and there is joint pain/discomfort.. Know the difference!- You have 1 person who is doing walking lunges and their glutes/quads are BARKIN! You feel a burn but you can finish those last 3-4 reps. This is great and its where amazing results come from.. You take that same person and they realize half way through that their hip,knee or ankle are killing them.. You have to put an end to that ASAP. This could be due to poor form, too much weight, crappy recovery or not enough range of motion. DO NOT push through this pain. It's not you being a baby.. It's called being smart.
5.If your goal is purely aesthetics.. Its 100 percent nutrition- I know I know.. Don't hate me.. Everyone and their mother wants to hit me when they ask "what are the best ab exercises to lose belly fat?".. My one response? Proper nutrition. Let me nip this in the bud really quick.. We all have abs people! Some are more defined then others and some are a lot stronger.. But we all our six pack abs and obliques.. They are just hidden under a pillow of body fat. The idea is to cut your calories consistently to the point where that decreases and your abs are actually visible. THEN you can ask me what sort of exercises can really make them grow and pop! The same can go for lats, biceps, quads, hamstrings, triceps, delts, pecs etc.. Figure out your nutrition, then sculpt.
6. It has to be difficult- This is a huge realization everyone has to come to terms with. When you are starting off your routine, there are so many variables that can throw you off. Finding the time to get to the gym, knowing what to do in the gym, knowing how hard you actually have to push yourself, making sure you have correct form, eating properly, drinking the right amount of water.. Not to mention there are 1 million+ articles to choose from dictating what is right and what is wrong. It truly is chaos.. Want to know the secret? EVERYTHING YOU LEARN AT FIRST IS DIFFICULT! From basic math to driving, we all have obstacles we have to overcome and eventually we figure it out! The point is to know that you have a journey ahead of you and it is OK to be a novice. If it's that much of a priority you will take the time to learn or seek some help.
7. You don't have to be panting and covered in sweat in order to have a GOOD workout- This one I see all the time. Sometimes I have clients who want to be strong and lean.. They dead lift 2xs their body weight, have a great upper body super set, end with some core and conditioning and they aren't dead on the floor. Did we lift to failure on each set? Check! Did we have adequate rest to make sure we have consistent and safe form? Check! Did we challenge the body and keep our exercises goal specific? Check! Anybody can be a glorified ass kicker.. 20 burpees, 40 push ups, then 10 rounds of sprints.. GO! There's no science there.. No specificity.. No value.. Always approach each program with a fine tooth comb, make sure it makes sense, and make it as enjoyable as possible. That's it!
8. Self awareness is the first step. Do not be in denial!- I don't care if you are a beginner or if you are an advanced lifter who let yourself go. Self awareness needs to be present when you want to change. Do you know how many people come up to me at a party or social function.. Beer in one hand with a plate of complete crap next to them.. "James you don't get it.. I do everything right! I DO NOT eat carbs, I run every day for 3 miles, lift 4 times per week..The body fat just isn't coming off! It's my damn age." DUDE! I follow you on social media! Happy hour every other night, you may post about your run once per week and you just do arms chest and back at the gym. I am not judging you at all.... by all means enjoy yourself anyway you see fit.. But I would respect you more if you said " I workout when I can, I eat crappy sometimes, go out to happy hour with my coworkers after work.. I'm trying to do what I can but it's really tough. How would you recommend i make this a little easier on myself?" THAT I can work with! No my response will not be.. "stop what you are doing now and do this.." That's crazy and not realistic. Cutting out one happy hour or adding one more day of exercise is already a step in the right direction.. You don't have to go 0-100.
9. Do it for you- It doesn't matter what your goals are.. If you are trying to please everyone else, you will never be happy with your results. Let's say you are a female who has been trying to lose weight.. You finally get to a point where you feel bikini ready.. You go to the beach and someone makes a snarky remark. You know the work you put in and you know that you earned the confidence to wear the bikini. The jerk who said something is clearly feeling insecure about themselves.. When your confident, that aura radiates throughout your body and it shows. Does that mean we don't take 2nd party criticism into account? Of course not! We're all human..Feedback is completely necessary when assessing your level of fitness. But don't let any criticism make or break your confidence.
10. You're not alone- Everyone started somewhere.. Everybody hit rock bottom.. Everybody is self conscious.. Everybody knows it's difficult.. Everybody needs to work hard consistently. Everybody has to juggle life and fitness...Everybody will hit a wall.. Everybody will think there is no way out.. Everybody finds their version of success. Everybody eventually finishes what they set out to do.
I hope this helped! I will be happy to go over any issues you are having when it comes to developing your program! Message, text, email, DM , call.. Whatever you need..Thank you!!