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In the day and age we live in, it’s mind-boggling how many of us fail to take advantage of the available tools and resources we have at our disposal. Yet, funnily enough, we continue to weep and complain about how “hard” we have it.

For instance, you can hire a qualified trainer and have a pretty solid plan laid out… BUT, the ability to actually put in the work is no where to be found. Sorry, folks. You’re not entitled to anything, and results aren’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter.

Truth hurts.

1. Embrace The Suck Factor

 

It’s quite humbling that more and more people are starting to know who I am and what I do. That having been said, whenever someone tells me the ol’¬†I need to get in shape before I go to the gym¬†excuse, I just shake my head. ¬†That’s like waiting for the other three tires on your car to wear out before you take it in for repair¬†‚ÄĒ it makes no sense whatsoever.

Look, it’s hard and we all have grueling schedules. Suck it up! And, guess what? We’re always going to be put in less-than-ideal circumstances. In fact, something I’ve learned from working with my clients is that conditions are never going to be perfect (and are rarely in your favor). At some point you’re going to run out of excuses, and realize that you can’t get much done if you only work on the days you feel good.

Understand that taking care of your health, getting stronger, looking and feeling good, is a choice. It’s your choice.

Give forth an honest effort and work to make it happen.

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2. Alter Your Environment

 

When you’re trying to get in better shape, it is, in fact,¬†a daily struggle. At times it can get lonely, and it’ll feel like you’re walking on a thin ice ‚ÄĒ which is why having a supportive environment is more favorable. ¬†It’s surprising how a lot of people have next to no support. There’s a ton of value in being around other people who want it as bad as you do, and you’re cutting yourself short if you try to do it alone. When you surround yourself with like-minded folks, you automatically tend to do better.

The best program in the world won’t mean a thing if you can’t execute it to a T. Having support from your family, friends, or even your co-workers goes a long way.

If you find yourself always hopping on and off the horse, it’s time to establish an environment that’s conducive to your goals.

3. Change The Dial, Don’t Stop

 

For some, diet and exercise is synonymous with depression and unpleasantry. ¬†The thought of rolling out of bed to workout doesn’t get them excited. ¬†I don’t know about you, but what I find depressing and unpleasant is the thought of having to pop medication like candy.

An invaluable lesson I’ve learned from my years working at a commercial gym was that if you work easy, execution becomes hard. If you work hard, executing becomes easy. To give context, it’s much the same with training. Initially, it will be hard, but once you get the ball rolling, it becomes less difficult. Working diligently improves the odds of success. It’s all in a matter of staying consistent.

I’m all for taking breaks when needed, but it’s another thing when you completely fall off the wagon, and unfortunately, that’s what ends up happening. ¬†It’s virtually impossible to quantify the results when that becomes the recurring theme. The training never stops, folks. The dial just changes.

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1. You can follow a well-designed training program to a T, but if you’re not doing the simple things such as drinking enough water and getting adequate rest,¬†you’re just spinning your wheels.

2. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to suck¬†‚ÄĒ there’s no easy way around it. Welcome and embrace the suck factor. Balance is to be appreciated, but recognize that to a certain extent you’re going to have to trend further away from that to get the desired result you’re looking for. Nothing amazing ever happens by staying in the middle. If you want to make significant changes in your appearance, suck it up.

I’m not saying you should suffer, but it’s foolish to think that it shouldn’t be difficult.

3. It‚Äôs a clear observation that completely disregarding the importance of proper nutrition is foolish, to say the least.¬† Look, I get it ‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs incredibly hard. But consider how many benefits have the potential to dramatically improve your physique and performance if your diet was on point. ¬†Understand that there is a trade-off and you have to exercise serious discipline (not restriction).

4. At the risk of ruffling feathers, most folks would see promising results if they mitigated liquid calories (juices, alcohol, etc.) and increased their daily protein intake.

5. Progress¬†takes time to manifest, and it’s no different than cooking up a fine meal in the kitchen. Don’t rush it. Be patient.

6. How many calories you burn in a workout pales in comparison to what you do the other 22-23 hours during the day. With that in mind, a lot who struggle to get lean overlook the value of daily activity.

As a frame of reference, my activity level is pretty darn high when you factor in my own training, and the hours I spend coaching my clients. ¬†It’s the very reason why I have to eat a substantial amount of high quality calories in order to maintain my body composition. Now compare that to someone who works at a desk all day.

Get up, and get more movement in.

7. ¬†Your environment can overwhelm you if you’re trying to improve your approach on the nutrition¬†front. So, if you find yourself always hopping on and off the horse, you need to do a better job of preparing your meals ahead of time.

8. We all have our trigger foods. We tell ourselves just a few bites, but they’re just too irresistible. As much as I love pizza, it doesn’t give me a solid ROI¬†in terms of having a positive outcome on health and body composition because I just end up eating the whole box. ¬†There’s no guilt, but that’s just way too many calories. If you can’t control your portions, look into the possibility of cutting it out (for the time being).

9. It doesn’t matter what training protocol you do. You can’t out-train a destructive lifestyle. Regardless of the training method, all you’re doing is breaking your body down.  What you do outside is going to dictate your results. If you live for the weekends, you’re not going to get anything in return.  Yes, there are people who can get away with eating crap, and getting minimal rest. But, there is a tipping point.

Good intentions and justifying yourself on social media doesn’t mean much. Consider the different elements in your lifestyle that are a hindrance. Work to gradually change them and in turn, you’ll maximize results in the gym.

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Let’s face it, training is incredibly demanding. It’s a beautiful thing to see what your body can do when you push yourself; but there’s no reward if you’re not willing to do that. At the same time, you also have to appreciate that more isn’t always better.

There’s a delicate balance between being conservative and getting out of your comfort zone ‚ÄĒ and you’ll find that operating between two extremes can produce positive outcomes, especially when you’re trying to boost your performance on the field.

To read the full article on STACK, click HERE.

 

1. Perform Face-Pulls and Band Pull Aparts to keep your shoulders healthy

 

The shoulder is perhaps the most commonly injured area not just in the athletic community, but also the general population. They’re a ticking time bomb because at some point they’re eventually going to flip you the finger ‚ÄĒ whether it’s from inappropriate training, or from¬†poor posture.

The simplest, most-effective way to reduce likelihood of shoulder pain is to develop the muscles of the upper back. Hear me out, Face-Pulls and Band Pull Aparts are not just corrective exercises or activation drills. Applying them appropriately into your training can strengthen the weak links in your upper back and improve posture. Win-win.

2. Use Fat Gripz in your warm-up sets

 

Focus, concentration, and technique are more important than a lot of people think. These are all critical when working up to an appreciable load on compound movements like a deadlift or a bench press.

While using Fat Gripz is a great tool to improve your grip strength, another cool thing about it too is that by adding them in your warm-up sets it actually enables you to lift more weight after you’ve taken them off. You’re essentially making the exercise slightly more difficult to trigger the heightened involvement of your nervous system. By definition, you’re recruiting more muscle, but with less loading.

3. Prioritize single-leg work

 

Before you throw the yellow¬†flag, I‚Äôm not¬†against traditional squatting and deadlifting. They’re still vital to a well-balanced strength training program.¬†Your body, however, takes a beating. There‚Äôs only so much load that it can tolerate before you start to get diminishing returns.¬†Splitting the load up in half, and prioritizing single-leg work¬†still provides you with a comparable training effect, if not better.

You’re not imposing a ton of sheer and compressive force on the spine, and since sports are played on mostly on leg, it’s much more sport-specific.

4. Do Banded Sumo Walks to activate your glutes

 

Your glutes are responsible for producing a ton of force, so you’re not doing yourself any favors by not paying close attention to them. If they’re firing on all cylinders, your knees and/or low back end up taking a hit. Activating your glutes by simply adding a mini-band around your knees and forcing your knees out while you walk side to side enables¬†you to move and perform better.

5. Pair up your strength work with mobility drills

 

Freakish levels of strength should be commended and appreciated, but I’ve learned the hard way that being strong doesn’t mean a thing¬†if you move like a tin-can. Placing an emphasis on mobility goes a long way because if you can’t move well…guess what? You’re not going to perform¬†well.

Have fun sitting on the bench.

Understand that being strong and mobile are inseparable ‚ÄĒ the two go hand in hand. A great way to avoid the monotony of mobility work is to pair them up with your strength work.

Main Exercise                              Mobility Drill

  1. Squat                             Stationary Spiderman w/ reach
  2. Bench Press                  Quad Hip Flexor Mobilization
  3. Deadlift                          Prone 1-Arm Trap Raise