Are you ever reminded of a dream that you have had and wonder why you keep thinking about it? The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about a dream I had a couple of years ago. My great grandmother, grandmother, mother and I were sitting at a farm style kitchen table.
We had just completed a tour through a museum of years past. We were on a military base (go figure) and the museum had rooms set up like kitchens, rooms with furniture, etc and they went from the past to the present. It was a very calm environment. With the 4 generations sitting at the table together I looked at my grandmothers and mother, sensing there was a lesson in this meeting and asked, “What was I supposed to learn from this?” Without speaking they told me, “Keep life simple.” I finally remembered that part of it this morning as I was journaling.
I believe keeping life simple can also be related to the way we eat and the way we workout. Even the way we do our jobs, spend our free time, everything. We have lost balance in our lives. We make life much more complicated than we need to. Keep life simple, keep your workout simple.
Let’s go over exercise first. How many times have you been waiting in line at the grocery store and the cover of a fitness magazine catches your eye? The cover says, “The latest exercises for the best buns”, “exercises for a massive chest”, “Reveal your six pack of abs” or, “The secret to great legs.” You grab the magazine hoping the cashier will be delayed; you are feverishly flipping through the pages to learn the amazing new secret. You just know there’s some little trick that you haven’t tried yet to get the results you’ve been striving for.
Could it be that I need to do pyramids? Should I add drop sets or super sets? Do I go high reps, low reps, heavy weight, or light weight? Should I work a split? You’re just pages away from discovering the answer to your prayers!
To your great disappointment, what you find is actually the same basic exercises that have been around since Adam and Eve; squats, lunges, bench press, lat pull downs, and crunches. Yes, your basic foundational exercises. They have been around forever because they work. Here are a few tips to help you understand what might help you:
o First and foremost; proper form is essential. If you are performing the exercise incorrectly, it won’t work. Hire a trainer, get a workout partner, or watch yourself in the mirror. Do whatever you need to do to be sure you are performing the exercise correctly.
o Only use enough weight that you can maintain proper form. If you are benching 250 pounds but the arch in your back looks like the Golden Gate Bridge, you’re using too much weight.
o Switch your workout plan every 6 weeks. Always using the same workout is the same thing as the definition of insanity; do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you do the same thing the same way, you will get the same results. If you are performing 4 sets of lunges and 1 set of squats, switch to 4 sets of squats and 1 set of lunges. Or, go lighter in weight and higher reps.
o Unless you are a power lifter, don’t take any more than 60 seconds of rest between sets.
o Before you lift the weight visualize the result you want.
Just slight variations in your workout make a big difference but again, keep it simple. Remember, when you go to the gym or workout at home, you’re there to workout.
I have had clients come to me and say that they work out for 2 hours a day and aren’t seeing any results. Let me share with you some of the most common mistakes in training.
o Not using enough weight. If you can perform 25 reps for a bench press, you’re not pushing enough weight to get results. You are building endurance, not strength or muscle.
o Improper form. You might not be executing the exercise correctly because you don’t know how or because you’re trying to use too much weight. Get someone to help you.
o Intensity. Not working hard enough.
o Way too much socializing. Remember, no more than 60 seconds between sets. Keep your focus on your workout.
Those are a few of the basics in exercise. Now, you’re doing all the right things, you’re dedicated to your workouts, you have visualized the body you want. So, what’s the problem? Why aren’t you rippling with muscle? Is there any possibility it could have to do with the food you’re eating?
Next time in part 2 of “Keep Life Simple”, we will go over the basics of what foods you should always eat, what foods you should never eat, how much and how often. Until then… live your best life!
Phyllis Stewart is the author of God’s Temple-40 Steps to Total Transformation, Christian Fitness Coach, and Personal Trainer. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org