Stop Exercising...Start Training!
By Coach CJ
You’ve probably had every intention of getting in the best shape of your life THIS year, but still haven’t committed to the process. What went wrong?? It doesn’t matter if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for 20 years or if you’ve been going FIVE times per week, chances are you’re looking at it as 'EXERCISE' not ‘TRAINING.’
Let’s take a step back and discuss the difference:
Exercise is movement without purpose; motion without direction. It’s what my mother does when she walks around the block, or you go to the gym and make up a workout on the spot.
Training is a mindset. It’s, the way in which you approach any exercise you do. Training is doing that same ‘EXERCISE’ activity, but with a specific, measurable goal in mind. Training involves having a plan of action on how you’re going to get to that goal. If you want results, training is the most effective way to get there.
Here are 5 steps to begin training:
1. SET A PRIMARY GOAL & MAKE A PLAN
We at The Bar Athletics love SMART Goals (Refer back to last week's SMART GOAL BLOG). SMART Goals allow you to get started in the right direction. All too often we hear, “I want to get healthy [fit, strong].” In order to become healthy, fit, or strong, you need a plan to get to that destination. “Healthy” and “strong” aren't specific enough. I want you to think of a road map, the foldable kind our parents kept in the glove box and used for family vacations. My father would unfold the map, mark our home or our starting location, and then find our destination. Next, he would highlight the route from starting location to end destination, figuring out the most efficient way to get there. He included checkpoints for gas and rest along the way. The point here is that he had a goal, a destination in mind, and the map was his plan. Think of your goal as a destination on a map. What route and what checkpoints do you need to go through in order to make it to your goal? How will you become healthy, fit, or strong? It’s time to set some goals and get SMART!
2. SMALLER, MORE SPECIFIC GOALS
How do you know you're headed in the right direction? Smaller, more frequent goals. At any particular moment, training and exercise might look more or less the same. But as we discussed earlier, they are not. When you train, sessions have specific goals relative to the overall goals of a program. The activities, loads, and frequencies you use are vital. You do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. For example, when training for a competition 3 months down the road you will need to set expectations of your training in order to perform at your best ability when the competition date arrives. Smaller goals such as attaining a higher load or more repetitions, will benefit the ultimate goal of your performance down the road.
3. FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
Fundamentals are the basics of your training. Without them we should not and could not train. They also provide the importance of having a coach. Having a coach might seem obvious, but there are many athletes that prefer to train alone. There are several important reasons for having a coach, but two integral reasons are:
1. The coach has knowledge, experience, and can provide an unbiased set of eyes.
2. The coach will get an athlete to do things he or she wouldn't do otherwise.
4. TRAINING IS EFFICIENT
If you look at any particular element in your training program and you can't explain how it will aid in your primary goal, then you probably shouldn't be doing it. For example, let’s say you’re looking to fit into your bathing suit this summer and are only doing cardio and avoiding strength training. Oh, you just want to “tone up?” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but “TONING” is actually saying you want to build some muscle and lose body fat. Strength training is the most efficient way to “tone” up and lose body fat as it burns calories both during and post-exercise versus cardio which only burns during. An Olympic lifter, for example, would be wasting his time and energy doing hundreds of bench presses and calf raises when his focus should be on cleans, jerks, and snatches. In comparison, a bodybuilder doesn't need to be doing an hour of power cleans every day. My point here is to train efficiently for your goal. Do what is necessary to get you one step closer to where you need to be.
5. TRAINING USES STATS
When training, you will know before a session is even finished whether or not that day was successful. You don't judge training quality based on how tired you are, how sore you got, or the volume you were able to perform. Successful training is not judged on the pump you got, but on the progression toward YOUR GOALS. This is made possible by keeping record of all volumes, repetitions, and drills you use in training. Other items we must keep track of are our nutrition and sleep. If you didn't hit your planned number or rep scheme for the day, then there was a flaw somewhere. Flaws are due to the many variables in our lives. Maybe it was the programming, maybe your nutrition was off or perhaps you weren't rested enough. Good record-keeping will help you identify the problem and point you in the right direction to solve it.
So if you want results from your exercise, set up a training program to get to your goal the right way. Use the five steps we discussed to get started today!
Not sure what goals to set? Meet with one of our coaches for a FREE goal setting session.
By Coach Meredith
I hope you all have been enjoying the milder Ohio weather and may have even gotten outside for some recent physical activity. Which brings me to my next topic: Physical Activity in the new year.
There are a number of reasons why we exercise. Although one of the main goals is to lose weight or maintain fitness, some of those reasons have absolutely nothing to do with losing weight. Regular physical activity can boost mental health benefits, improve quality of sleep, strengthen our immune systems, and is an overall essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise doesn’t have to be just about losing weight. For some it is a source of therapy or even just an escape from their day to day routine.
That being said, if your goal is to lose weight, you should know that working out isn’t enough on its own to actually make that happen. There is so much else that goes into weight loss and body fat loss; one of the main factors being good nutrition. Majority of weight loss regimens will include exercise because it is a great tool and is healthy for you. Something to remember: because there are so many aspects that go into weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, even if you are doing everything “right”, working out regularly and eating appropriately may not be enough. Lifestyle habits such as sleep and stress as well as health conditions (thyroid issues, depression, chronic disease) can get in the way of your weight loss efforts. Weight loss is an extremely personal journey that doesn’t look or work the exact same way for each individual.
That being said there are definitely certain exercises and workouts that can be useful in helping you lose weight or burn fat or change your body composition to gain lean muscle mass for a fitter, healthier you. These exercises are generally high-intensity and they burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Let’s explore a few common high-intensity exercise routines:
This is any form of exercise where your heart rate spikes and then comes down repeatedly within a period of time. This type of training keeps your heart rate elevated in a general range according to your age, which in turn keeps your metabolism going. The result: you burn more calories.
If you are generally crunched for time, Tabata workouts are your solution. Tabata is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that consists of 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, or any combination of work to rest in a repeated fashion. You can perform Tabata-style exercise for any length of time as long as you are focusing on a work to rest ratio in order to spike and recover the heart rate. This is also great because you can use different exercises to constantly keep the body guessing and increase the metabolism. Think this is your style of workout? Check out The Bar Athletics’ new B-FHIIT class held on M-W-F from 6:30pm-7:15pm. This class is an instructor led, 45 minute session that is guaranteed to get you sweating! This class is perfect for anyone interested in losing weight, increasing stamina, or just trying to have a great time. You can expect great music, great coaches, great friends all while achieving a great workout! This class is for all levels of fitness, beginner to advanced. All movements can be scaled to accommodate for any personal mobility restrictions. Furthermore, the importance of nutrition will also be discussed to promote a healthy lifestyle in and out of the gym.
CrossFit is a form of interval training and can also be considered high-intensity. Traditional CrossFit classes include a skill-based warm-up, skill or strength training, the Workout of the Day (or “WOD”), and mobility work. The workouts can always be scaled so that new athletes can workout alongside veteran athletes. Some days the WOD will be a 10-20 minute metabolic conditioning workout that combines several movements grouped into sets to be completed for time or in as many rounds a possible (“AMRAP”). Other days, the class will focus on a strength piece (like a 1 rep max deadlift) followed by a shorter metabolic conditioning “finisher” workout. We encourage all CrossFit athletes to record their workout times/scores in the ‘Beyond The Whiteboard’ app in order to track their progress over time. Because the workouts vary every single day, you may be doing anything from kettlebell swings to rope climbs and box jumps to front squats. That is the beauty of it: NO MONOTONY. Every day is different and there is always something to work on improving. Many people are intimidated by CrossFit, but must realize that the movements performed are basic fundamental movements you use in your daily life (aka deadlift- picking something up off the ground). And remember: ALL movements can be modified according to your individual skill level and limitations. So if you’re having hesitations because of your age or limitations, don’t. Come try out a class! I guarantee you’ll leave learning something about your own body movement and strength and make at least one new friend!
Check out the class schedule found under the ‘Schedule’ tab for available class times. See you at The Bar!