Featured Health & Wellness

The #1 Tip I Tell My Personal Training Clients

The answer is simple, repeatable, and often overlooked

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When it comes to exercise, people often think that in order to get results, you need to move fast, hit quick and go hard.

You don’t…

I’ve witnessed many people dive head first into the latest exercise trend. Clever marketing promises them fast results in the least amount of time. People often become convinced that they need to exhaust and strain their bodies in order to see results. They adhere to the mantra: “No pain, no gain.”

That is the wrong approach.

The people who go all in on these types of overly intense workout plans typically end up quitting early.

They quit because:

  • The exercise is so intense that it’s not manageable
  • They’re not seeing the results they want
  • They dread working out

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Unfortunately, oftentimes these people abandon exercise altogether, disappointed by the failure of the unrealistic exercise regimen.

They may tell themselves things like:

  • Exercise just doesn’t work for me.
  • I’ll never lose the weight or build muscle, so I may as well lay on the couch and eat the snacks I want.
  • I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, so what’s the point?

What they often don’t realize is that in order to see real physiological improvements, you need to approach exercise from a comprehensive knowledge base about how the human body works. More specifically, you need to know how your individual body works.

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Treating exercise like it’s a chore is the worst way to approach it.

Who wants to do chores? Nobody. Except the singing small mammals in Cinderella. But probably not you.

The best type of exercise is the one you stick to. Period.

People who swear they have the best, most effective exercise to get you shredded, ripped, swole, skinny, 6-packed, etc. don’t. They can’t. Because the answer is different for everyone.

The most effective type of workout is the one that works best for your individual physiology, lifestyle, and goals.

There is no one size fits all, like there is no one workout suits all. Yes, there are certain scientifically-backed exercises that are proven to be very effective for a fit body composition, such as HIIT. HIIT, as an example, stands for high-intensity interval training, and is defined by short bursts of intense movement followed by brief rest periods. HIIT keeps the heart rate elevated throughout the workout, and is a very effective and time-efficient form of exercise compared to other modes of cardio training.

But if your individual schedule, level of conditioning, and personal preferences don’t align with a particular style of training, you won’t stick to it. It won’t matter how effective it is. Nothing that you won’t stick to can possibly work for you. The best type of exercise is that which works for your individual needs.

By YOUR standards, your exercise regimen must be:

  • Convenient
  • Enjoyable
  • Manageable & maintainable

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These factors can change over time. Your go-to workout in January may not be your favorite by August. You may get tired of it, you may plateau physiologically, or your schedule might change.

This leads me to my #1 training tip that I tell all my personal training clients:

Don’t get bored.

That’s it. Simple.

Contrary to the ill-informed exercise dogma that insists effective exercise must be grueling, the best form of exercise is the one that keeps you motivated to continue working out.


Varied workouts are key, mainly because they keep you engaged.

When your exercise regimen stimulates you, you’re motivated to stick to it. And so you’ll continuously see results because you’re constantly challenging new muscles.

Switching up your workouts — in a method called Periodization — is scientifically proven to continually improve your physiology and level of fitness.

 

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What is Periodization?

This is the style of training that NASM, a leader in fitness professional certification and development, teaches its personal trainers.

“Periodization is a systematic approach to program design that uses the general adaptation syndromeand principle of specificity to vary the amount and type of stress placed on the body to produce adaptation and prevent injury.”

— National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

In other words, periodization is the strategy of switching up your workouts once your body adapts to the style of exercise you’ve been practicing.

When your body adapts to your workout, it loses its ability to produce further physiological improvements.

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According to NASM, each phase of training should last about 4 weeks, as that is often the amount of time it takes for your body to adapt to your workout. Some other health sources recommend changing your workout between 4 and 6 weeks.

The best rule of thumb is to change your exercise regimen if one of the following is true:

  • You’re no longer seeing physical improvements
  • You’re having trouble focusing during your workouts
  • The exercises no longer feel challenging
  • You dread working out

Ultimately, your individual level of physical ability, goals, and engagement in the exercise program will determine the right training duration for you. You should never dread your workout. No matter who you are or what your interests, there is a style of exercise that will engage and motivate you. A good trainer will be able to identify this for you and plan a program around it.

And don’t forget: An effective exercise program should revolve around YOU as an individual. A capable trainer will know this and adapt your routine to best suit you, your life and your body.


A high-level example of periodization in action over the course of a year could resemble something like the below schedule.

Note — The below provides an example of an annual schedule with just a few sample exercises per progressive phases of training; individual programs will differ based on your physical ability, goals, and history of injuries.

JANUARY

— Phase: Stabilization — Focus on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Goal of improving neuromuscular efficiency and stability of the core musculature.

Sample exercises: Planks, step-ups to balance, floor bridges

FEBRUARY

— Phase: Strength Endurance— Focus on musculature endurance and building up the body’s ability to repeat high levels of force over an extended period.

Sample exercises: Dumbell bench press, cable pushdown, leg press

MARCH

— Phase: Hypertrophy— Focus on the enlargement of muscles or tissues in response to overcoming heavy volumes of force.

Sample exercises: Tricep kickbacks, lateral raise, lat pulldown

APRIL

— Phase: Stabilization — Focus on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Goal of improving neuromuscular efficiency.

Sample exercises: Squat jump with stabilization, stability ball chest press, wood choppers

MAY

— Phase: Strength Endurance — Focus on musculature endurance and building up the body’s ability to repeat high levels of force over an extended period.

Sample exercises: Seated row, deadlift, lat pulldown

JUNE

— Phase: Hypertrophy — Focus on the enlargement of muscles or tissues in response to overcoming heavy volumes of force.

Sample exercises: Single-leg Romanian deadlift, bench press, bicep curl

JULY

— Phase: Stabilization —Focus on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Goal of improving neuromuscular efficiency.

Sample exercises: Single-leg balance reach, superman, V ups

AUGUST

— Phase: Strength Endurance — Focus on musculature endurance and building up the body’s ability to repeat high levels of force over an extended period.

Sample exercises: Plank row, bicep curl to overhead press, deltoid fly

SEPTEMBER

— Phase: Hypertrophy — Focus on the enlargement of muscles or tissues in response to overcoming heavy volumes of force.

Sample exercises: Incline bench press, barbell squat, Romanian deadlift

OCTOBER

— Phase: Stabilization — Focus on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Goal of improving neuromuscular efficiency.

Sample exercises: Plank with BOSU ball, roll outs with balance ball, single-leg balance on balance pad

NOVEMBER

— Phase: Strength Endurance — Focus on musculature endurance and building up the body’s ability to repeat high levels of force over an extended period.

Sample exercises: TRX row, TRX deltoid fly, squat to curl to overhead press

DECEMBER

— Phase: Power — Focus on improving the body’s ability to produce the greatest amount of force in the briefest amount of time. Goal of improving speed, agility, and quickness.

Sample exercises: Plyometric push up, tuck jumps, soccer throw


The above schedule systematically progresses you through phases of training in order to produce optimal adaptation.

In other words, your body never gets used to the exercises, so you won’t plateau. Instead, you’ll continue to see improvements in your body composition, level of fitness, and engagement factor.

Periodization also reduces risk of overtraining, compared to overly intense exercises that falsely promise fast results in little time.

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To Recap:

  • In order to see real physiological improvements, you need to first understand how your individual body works.
  • The most effective type of workout is the one that works best for your individual physiology, lifestyle, and goals.
  • To set yourself up for success, your exercise regimen must be convenient, enjoyable, manageable and maintainable based on your unique standards and circumstances.
  • Most importantly, don’t get bored with your exercise regimen. The most effective form of exercise for you is the type that you want to stick to.
  • Periodization systematically progresses you through phases of training in order to produce optimal adaptation, elicit different adaptations of the body, and avoid plateau and burnout.

Exercise is a privilege. If you view it is a burden, you’re doing it wrong.

Movement is a natural human inclination. Find what style make you feel good. Do more of it. And do less of what doesn’t make you feel good.

Marketing and misinformation make health seem like something you have to work really hard to achieve. But, really, it’s about removing the unnecessary, taking away that which is burdensome, and getting to the core of what makes you feel good. And doing it. A lot of it.

Exercise: Do it because it feels good.


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