When we speak about simplifying training what we really mean is making it more efficient and easier to stick to. You’ll also see an improvement in the pace that you will see results because you won’t be doing a tired routine that is easier to get out of than agreeing to third wheel on your best friend’s dinner date.
How do you simplify training while keeping it challenging?
One of the main ways to do this is to shift your focus to exercises that provide quality over quantity.
When you’re starting out every exercise will be confusing and complicated but that’s natural when you’re learning anything new.
You’ll be intimidated by guys and girls who have found the most complicated ways to do a simple exercise under the belief that doing exercises in different ways will yield different results, and they’re not wrong.
The issue with slipping into too much of a routine means that things can get boring and that’s why they approach their muscles in different ways, but simplicity works just as well.
Try fit these into your training days:
5-10 minutes treadmill, machine row, dumbbell chest press.
5-10 minutes rowing, weighted squats, pull ups.
5-10 minutes elliptical, deadlifts, shoulder press.
5-10 minutes treadmill, core exercises, lunges
Training really can be that simple. Your rep and set numbers can be determined by your inherent power/endurance profile that is based on your genetics. This way your training is personalised to your unique genetic make-up and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that the exercises you are doing are going to yield the best results for you.
But do you see that regime that can be done over the course of a 7-day week?
It’s simple, to the point, and involves compound exercises that target multiple muscles at the same time. You can fit this training regime at the time when it’s convenient for you to be at the gym and if you have some time to spare then it won’t do any harm to sneak in a few crunches, dips, bicep and tricep curls.
This isn’t training to live by but provides an example of how simple training can be while being equally effective.
Mastering the basics is where your real training begins.
Simplify your diet
You may be thinking that this is an article about training and exercise, so why are we discussing diet all of a sudden?
Well, because if you know anything about the basics of achieving your fitness goals you’ll know that staying fit and active doesn’t suddenly give you free rein on the fridge and the sweet cupboard. Nor does it mean that you can dine out and eat pretty much anything you want.
We know it’s wrong to assume but it’s more likely than not that you’re not an elite athlete who has the luxury of training whenever you want, and if you are then you wouldn’t be eating crap anyways and would be on a strict diet.
Want to see real results? Then you’ve got to be eating real, healthy food.
That means focusing on your macro and micronutrients and depending on whether you’re looking to build muscle or lose weight will determine how much food you’ll be eating.
The principles will always stay the same.
Focus on natural food sources such as lean meat, fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and quality fats like choosing butter over margarine. You should also try to cut out as much refined carbohydrates as possible and once you’ve done this you will see the results follow.
A natural food diet has now been described as “going Paleo”, but it doesn’t have to be so hectic. There is a school of thought that believes before agriculture and the rise of refined grains and more sedentary lifestyles everyone was in tip-top condition and had a robust health, lifestyles only undermined by a high mortality as a result of danger and disease. The truth nowadays is that none of the food products that we consume now are very similar to the ones that were eaten at that time, but through “clean eating” and focusing on the quality of foods we can maintain a nutrient-rich diet.
As the science around nutrition grows we also now see the value in personalised nutrition and genetically-guided dietary choices that relate to our DNA and what macro and micronutrients we require more or less of, and what we are sensitive to. With this information we can aid our training and fitness goals by eating the foods that we need to always be at our optimum in terms of health and wellbeing.
What to take away from this?
We already know the right way to do things, it’s just the process of implementing these positive lifestyle changes that can be challenging.
It’s easy to say that “yes, I’ll train four times a week, focus on getting in an hour in a day with early starts or training after gym and don’t worry, clean eating will be easy.” But this doesn't mean that it’s going to happen, and that’s okay too.
Most of us aren’t professional athletes, or training for a marathon or competition. We’re just normal, regular people who want to stay fit and active and eat as healthy as our cravings allow.
Living a healthy lifestyle is relative. Yes, there are some principles that you need to follow such as actually getting yourself into the gym, yes, you can’t just tell your friends that you’ve been five times this week when you haven’t…that’s just you cheating yourself, but the key is to set yourself a target, get yourself into a routine, and motivate yourself with your own progress that you’ll start to see.
Get Health Fit, our most comprehensive plan for those trying to simplify their efforts towards a healthier life.
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