Almost everybody has the potential to improve the way they look. Yes, there’s always going to be a massive amount of ignorance in terms of questionable methods — no way around that. But, thankfully, these days it’s become more apparent that placing an emphasis on the little things rather than shiny objects is going to produce long-term significant changes.

The truth is: there’s no magic or wizardry. Show up! As long as there’s a level of progression, good things will happen.

1. Be prepared to hit a few walls

 

It’s much easier to train when you’re feeling high and mighty, but once the dust settles in, it’s an uphill battle. So, be prepared to hit a few walls. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to suck. I’ve said many times in the past you can’t get much done if you only work on the days you feel good. Dejection creeping in is perfectly normal. Once all gusto starts to fade, it becomes more pronounced.

Get over it.

For better or for worse, your inner dialogue is always going to be knocking on the door, prompting you to kick your feet up and relax. You’re not going to get anywhere if you always let that get the best of you. Find a compromise — do what you need to do to get better.

2. If you don’t fully understand that calories matter, you’re wasting your time

 

Most people know this, but it bears repeating again. If your diet comprises of piss-poor food quality, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to why you’re not making progress. Period. Stop whining, stop fussing.

All the work you put in the gym is rendered ineffective. If you’re one of those individuals who is banking on more exercise to make up for the incessant need to stuff yourself with pizza, donuts and copious amounts of your favorite cocktail/alcoholic beverage, good luck.

That having been said, no matter how “clean” and wholesome your meals are, you can still experience a negative outcome if you don’t know how much you’re eating. Calories matter, folks. You have to be as equally, if not more, focused outside the gym. The ones who find success are usually the ones who are on point across the board, not just the training.

3. Do what you can to get your protein

 

Protein is the most important variable for building a better body. You’re putting yourself in an extremely difficult situation if you’re not getting enough protein — and deficiencies in daily protein intake are clearly evident across the general population.

General rule of thumb: shoot for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Make it a goal to have a palm-sized serving or two at every meal. Supplementing with a protein powder or drink is effective as well.

4. Workouts must be centered on getting strong

 

Once you have the points above in check, you’ve already taken a big step forward. In fact, you’ve solved the primary reasons why most people have weight issues. Now when it comes to exercise, absolutely anything sensible will do. Anything.

Just choose whatever program jibes well with you. Workouts that are centered on getting you strong would be the ideal route, though. It’s the most reliable way to trigger sustained muscle growth.

Sample 3-Day Split

Full Body Workout 1 – Monday

1) Squat Variation

2) Overhead Press

3A) Dumbbell Incline Press

3B) TRX Suspension Rows

4) Forward Sled Drag

5) Core Work

Full Body Workout 2 – Wednesday

1) Deadlift

2) Barbell Bench Press

3) 1-Arm Dumbbell Row

4) Dumbbell Hammer Curl w/ Fat Gripz

5) Assault AirBike Reverse Tabata

Workout 3: Circuit – Friday

  1. A) Kettlebell Swings
  2. B) Battle Ropes
  3. C) Sled Push
Sample 4-Day Split

Upper Body Day 1 – Monday

1) Bench Press

2A) 1-Arm Landmine Press

2B) Iso Pull-Up Hold

3A) Bicep Curl Variation

3B) Cable Tricep Pushdown

4) Core Work

Lower Body Day 2 – Tuesday

1) Squat or Deadlift

2) Bulgarian Split Squat

3A) Dumbbell RDL

3B) 1-Leg Hip Thrust

Upper Body Day 4 – Thursday

1) Overhead Press

2A) Seated Cable Row

2B) Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2C) Band Face Pulls

3) Cable Rear Delt Fly

4) Farmer Walk

Lower Body Day 6- Saturday

1) Sled Push/Drag

2A) Stability Ball Leg Curl

2B) Dumbbell or Kettlebell Goblet Squat

3) Core Work

5. Set realistic expectations

 

We’ve been deluded into thinking that we can transform our body rather quickly. We’re either willfully ignorant or blissfully unaware that it takes months, and years of hard work.

It’s one thing to adopt a discipline that pushes you to your limits, it’s another thing to always train to complete failure. A lot of us have no problem being aggressive. The predicament is that we always think we’re behind. As a result, we get carried away with doing more than is needed. 

Fact is, training to the point of exhaustion offers very little sustainability. Moreover, it’s a lagging indicator for progress. You have the freedom to do whatever you want. Truth be told, I have no right to mandate what you can or can’t do. Just be smart about your approach. Going berserker barrage every once awhile is fine, but you also need to ask yourself how is that going affect the following workouts.

Take it one day at time. There’s no rush.

Real talk.

Everyone is busy.

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Some more than others, but we’re all busy. Whatever the case may be, my point is that time is a valuable commodity. So, for most of us we can’t afford to spend every waking moment in the gym. Likewise, it’s impractical to train for an extended period of time in that manner.

In that same breath, though, you’re not going to see any significant changes doing a 5-10 minute ab workout. I’ve spoken on numerous occasions that it’s always better to get in something than nothing at all, but that’s not a compromise…you’re trying to cut corners.

Here are some strategies to get the most out of your training without living in the gym.

1. Choose the appropriate exercises

 

Discard, or at the very least, minimize what I like to call “fluff” exercises. If you’re truly pressed for time, don’t waste it doing lateral raises, bicep curls, and crunches for almost half an hour. It’s really nonsensical when the time you have could be spent doing more productive exercises that will stimulate your entire body.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly more than one way to go about it. An argument could be made if those exercises are applied and distributed appropriately throughout the week. But, for the vast majority it’s highly unlikely that will be the case.

Example

Day 1:

1) Squat Variation: 2 sets x 8 reps, 1 set x 10-12 reps

2) Incline Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets x 6 reps

3) Pull-Ups: 3 sets x Max Reps

4A) Timed Farmer Walks: 3 sets x 1 min

4B) Plank: 3 sets x 30 secs

Day 2:

A) Push-Up Variation x 30sec

B) Face-Pulls x 30sec

C) Bicep Curls x 30sec

As many rounds as possible for 15 min.

Day 3:

1) Deadlift Variation: 4 sets x 4 reps

2) 1-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets x 10 reps

3A) Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets x 8 reps, 1 set x 12 reps

3B) Lat Pulldowns: 2 sets x 8 reps, 1 set x 12 reps

4) Lunges: 3 sets x 20 total reps

2. High frequency, short workouts

 

Like I mentioned above, there’s more than way to go about it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are others who react differently where if I suggest looking into the possibility of cutting down their workouts, their response is…

It’s not uncommon for me have differing views with productivity junkies adamant on training 5-6 days a week.

To each their own.

Here’s a solution: you can still train 5-6 days a week. The caveat, though, would be to keep it brief. In other words, high frequency muscle stimulation.

People who train almost damn near everyday make the mistake of going hard every time they hit the gym floor instead of varying their training intensity. There’s only so much damage your body can take before progress starts to slow down…or worse, diminish.

Example

Day 1: Pump Work

Day 2: Main Work (High/Max-Effort)

Day 3: Moderate Intensity

Day 4: Pump Work

Day 5: Moderate Intensity

Day 6: Pump Work

3. Prepping your meals work big time

 

Your nutrition is what ultimately determines the outcome. It is the prime contributor for improvements in both performance and body composition. Regardless of the training method you’re using, it will not offset a horrible diet.

I’ll admit, there’s nothing sexy about prepping your meals.  It’s utterly boring. However, the potential to drop body fat and build muscle at conservative rate goes up when you plan ahead.

I mean come on, why would you leave your progress up to chance like that?

Simply put, it’s worth it to make the investment to designate an allotted time period where you’re planning your meals for the day and/or week.

If not, there are a handful of meal prep services in the market.

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4. Get off your ass

 

Last week, I stopped by the mall to go pick up a few things for Christmas. As you know, trying to find parking can be a complete hassle during the holiday season. So, rather than park right in front where everybody goes, I purposely parked towards the end where hardly anybody goes to.

It served as an opportunity for me to get in more movement, and save me the headache of having to find parking. It turned out to be a ten minute walk.

Little things like this make a huge difference. Instead of taking the escalator, walk up the stairs. If you have a desk job, stand up every now and then. After your meals, go for a walk.

The more movement, the better. Don’t just rely on what you do in the gym.

 

Maximize your training and get a head start on 2018 with my new training resource, Assault.

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>>Assault<<

It’s holiday season, so I thought it best to shed some light on strategies that many of us tend to overlook when it comes to effective fat loss.

Hint: There’s no big secret. It all comes down to making an effort, and creating good habits.

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1. Improving Sleep Quality

 

In a hierarchy of importance, insulin sensitivity and thyroid function are at the top of list. Both of which are highly affected by the amount and quality of sleep you’re getting.  If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re only getting 5-6 hours of sleep, good luck.

In short, lack of sleep makes you fatter.

If you’re constantly looking around the market for the best fat burner and detox without addressing the quality of your sleep, you need a reality check.

Pro Tip: If you’re having a hard time sleeping, I recommend supplementing with magnesium and vitamin D.

2. Creating Structure

 

Attempting to execute on the fly rarely works in your favor, so develop a sound routine — one that allows you to remain consistent. For God’s sake, please don’t wing it.

Plan ahead.

Make it a priority.

Get it done.

‘Nuff said.

3. Drinking More Water

 

So simple, and so painfully obvious, yet it behooves me to continually advocate it.

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s still surprising how a lot of people overlook the importance of adequate hydration.

It’s not rocket science. Don’t make it super complicated.

Drink a 12-16oz glass of cold water first thing in the morning to kickstart your metabolism. Then, hydrate throughout the day.

Take Home Message

 

It all boils to down to keeping it ridiculously stupid simple. Yes — it’s not sexy or arousing information, but it works.

Glossing over the details or what’s currently trending rarely leads to “long-term” success.

Get really good at executing the basics, and you’ll reap the benefits.

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