Do What YOU Want to Do

What’s up everyone, me again! This time I come back to you as a certified personal trainer through the NSCA (NSCA-CPT). I could honestly say that outside of all the studying I have done to prepare for this test, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family. There has never been a more satisfying feeling than receiving that email informing me I was officially a trainer.

Anyway…

Two things that have really caught my attention as of late are philosophy and psychology. Ever since I discovered the holistic approaches Somatics teaches during my internship at Matrix, internal well-being has become a major interest for me. And let’s face it, a grasp on our mind and health become a premium when trying to develop that external body we all want.

Over the past couple years, the fitness industry has taken off like it never has before. New research comes out every single day it feels like, which constantly remodels the “fads” we see in the gym today. Kettlebells, functional training, Crossfit, MMA training, boot camps, the list goes on and on. The resources about exercise at our fingertips have basically become endless.

So, what’s the flaw behind this?

Well, everyday I walk into the gym I work at and am amazed at all the personal trainers that hire themselves overnight. Seriously. I’ve seen people here try to coach things like the hip abduction machine and stationary bike. Okay maybe, that’s not true, but you get the point. Usually it’s two guys together, one seems to have some gym experience while the other one looks like it’s the first time he has ever stepped foot into a weight room.

In all honesty, I like this. I like seeing people try to help one another in the gym. Hell, I wouldn’t be a personal trainer without all the guys that have taught and helped me along the way. But, I am a firm believer that you can only preach what you practice. I’m not going to sit here and type pretending I know everything about anything, but I make sure that I use the same concepts with my clients that I use within my own workouts. Some of the “trainers” I see in here try to coach back squats with their friends meanwhile they can’t execute a single proper squat with nothing but their own bodyweight, let alone a bar with some plates on it. This really grinds my gears, but enough with this rant. Let’s get down to business.

Fitness itself, is an art in my eyes. There are no written laws or rules when it comes to working out.

You want to join Crossfit? Do it.
You want to run a marathon? Do it.
You want to work strictly with kettlebells? Do it.

No one says you can’t do any of these things (of course there’s exceptions, you’re not going to be a world class marathon runner and be able to squat 1,000 pounds).

Crossfit, for example, gets bashed a lot and tends to be an organization trainers advise to avoid. Personally, I like Crossfit. Yes, there may not be much science behind their methods, and some of their principles are questionable, but they also provide benefits others cannot. Camaraderie and a family-like atmosphere are two of the beneficial factors Crossfit brings to the table. What’s better than getting your ass kicked than getting your ass kicked while motivating and being motivated by your friends around you?! Sounds like a win-win to me!

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Exercise is strictly a results-orientated field. If you’re a salesman and can’t sell products, you’re broke. If you’re a doctor and can’t cure your patients, you’re a quack. If you aren’t dedicated with your workouts and expect to see results, you’re dead wrong. Just like anything we do in life, if you don’t give complete effort, you aren’t going to achieve your optimal potential. Plain and simple.

So what am I saying? Experiment. Become your own lab rat in the gym. There are many articles online about certain exercises and their benefits, but they haven’t come from your own experiences! Not everyone’s body works the same way, therefore everyone is going to have some type of variety within their workouts. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind when building workouts in the gym.

  • Figure out the environment, you’re not going to deadlift 800 pounds at Planet Fitness without that stupid alarm going off and getting kicked out. Find a gym that fits your needs and make it your second home!
  • Choose exercises that you enjoy. This doesn’t mean sitting on a stationary bike watching Netflix on an iPad with an extra large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts with God knows how many Splenda packets inside of it. Pick challenging exercises with multiple progressions/regressions that you love to do. Below is an example of progressions we could perform with the squat, master each one before moving on!Bodyweight squat -> Kettlebell Goblet squat -> Barbell squat -> Barbell squat with chains or resistance bands attached
  • Time management is an important key when in the gym. If you only have 45 minutes to workout, don’t spend half an hour foam rolling and stretching. If you have the time luxury, then take advantage on the soft tissue work and getting a good warmup in. Just remember that managing your time efficiently is huge!

If you keep these three things in mind, you should have no problem producing successful workouts consistently in the gym. At the end of the day, it all comes down to you. Your work ethic and motivation will determine everything. The goal is to create the strongest version of yourself, a phrase made famous by Elliott Hulse and it’s one I stand by, and will always stand by. There are many paths that lead to this final destination, you just have to figure out which route works best for you!

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