Going to try something new every Monday here at Roc’s Ramblings, and yes, I’m aware it’s Tuesday. Had a rough day. I’m going to use the name Fit Fleet. It’s not mine but it fits. Every Monday we’ll discuss some aspect of nutrition, exercise, motivation, whatever you want. You can either hit me up in the comments here with ideas or questions, or @rocwieler on Twitter, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first topic will be getting started, as this is often the most challenging. Our bodies and minds naturally resist change. We are truly creatures of habit. We will fight ourselves every step of the way as we attempt to form new habits and it is probably the single most difficult thing we can ever do.
Remember, you control your mind, not the other way around.
DISCIPLINE AND CONSISTENCY
There is only way to form a new habit – keep doing it. Sound easy. It’s not. Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Do not let up. Do not give into excuses. Do not skip a meal, or a day, or whatever your goal is. Utilize your discipline to remain consistent. It’s the only path to success.
Particularly with working out, a lot of people want to get big in a hurry. They figure the heavier the weights, the quicker it will happen. These meatheads make me laugh. I see at the gym all the time. They’re the guys throwing a bicep curl up while swing their back into it. The person doing huge weight leg presses then locking out their knees to catch a breath. It’s all high risk, more than likely resulting in physical damage or bad form which is less beneficial than using light weights and doing it right.
As a rule of thumb, you’re trying to stress a muscle when working it out. You’re not out to give it a rest. That just seems contrary to logic and inefficient. Let’s look at the bicep curl example from above. Your elbow shouldn’t move. Your arm shouldn’t fully extend. It also shouldn’t fully contract. Think about it. Can you walk around for a while with your dumbells/barbell fully extended? Or fully contracted at the shoulders? Probably. Know why? Because you’re resting it and using other muscles and bodyweight to support it. How can that be stressing your bicep, which is the goal of a bicep curl?
Start with a light weight. Get the form. Bend your knees slightly. Breath out from your tight core. Keep your elbows in place. Pull with the bicep, not letting the elbow move. Come up 80 degrees. Lower slowly to 170 degrees. Make sure you take advantage of both halves of the exercise. Don’t just let the weights drop. The negative movement is just as important as the explosive.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
It’s important to push yourself. There are misconceptions that you have to push yourself to your limits every single time. That simply isn’t true. There are times I push hard. There are times I push harder. You should always push, but be smart. If you’re dizzy, or blacking out, or puking, or can’t stand, or anything out of the ordinary, stop. It’s ok. You’re done. Come at it again tomorrow.
When we’re starting out, we often feel insecure because we may not know what we’re doing. If you’re at a gym, find someone who looks like you want to look like and ask them how they do it. Most people are friendly and happy to share their experience. Get on a program. Following a program is a great way to develop consistency and accountability, as well as educate yourself. Don’t just blindly follow the program, but try to understand why it works. Ask questions of people you respect in this field, like me. A great starter program for nutrition and exercise is the Beach Body Insanity program. If you’re not up for the exercise portion because you have some ancillary issues due to obesity, it’s still a great program even to do the nutrition plan alone the first time through.
Got a friend? Workout with them. Having someone to be accountable to will keep you on track. You can even have me keep you accountable if you want. Whatever it takes.
I hope this helped get you motivated, encouraged to succeed in changing your life. Please, feel free to comment below if I’ve missed the mark or if you have a more personal question that these generalized guidelines didn’t address.