15 Tips for Developing an Exercise Routine

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Working out may seem like some weird conglomeration of movements that you don't quite understand. Maybe you think these movements seem awkward, stupid or just plain don't make sense. If you don't want to read this entire article and want to know the best workout equipment to use for overall fitness, mobility, fat loss and strength, the answer is kettlebells. Nora Gedgaudas and many of my friends in the online health community recommend them as well.

Either way, modern gyms do have large amounts of people in them that will be open to a friendship to motivate you.

Gyms also contain machines, saunas, and free weights that have the potential to sculpt your body more than a caveman workout like lifting heavy rocks and climbing trees. (Even though I do that too and love it just for the primal feeling)

Running and playing with friends is the best way to exercise outside the gym.

Starting a workout routine that you will enjoy and get results from is the most difficult step when first joining a gym or exercise group. 

I prefer to be a member at a gym for moral support, friends, positive atmosphere and the beautiful and dedicated people that can help you achieve your goals.

1. You decide whether you are most productive working out at home or elsewhere. I prefer the gym for the social aspect and motivation I receive.

2. The first thing to keep in mind is to start slow. This means, listen to your body, if you are very sore take a day off and replenish your body with good food and an ultimate smoothie.

I have been working on getting my body into optimal shape for 4 years and have friends who are 50 and 60 years old that have been training for 30 years+ and still aren't where they want to be.

3. Understand that working out will increase your confidence, create higher happiness levels and motivation towards your entire life. 

You will look great and get praise from others.

4. One positive compliment from someone noticing your body transformation is very motivating.

Have the respect for yourself to accept a compliment!

Many people just deny the fact that they are getting results and get down on ourselves. We see ourselves everyday and tend not to see the bigger picture.

5. Achieving the body you want with the help of Paleo diet and exercise is a marathon, not a sprint.

Don't rush your fitness and sacrifice your health by over-training and under-eating.

Note: Many people agree that working out can make you more self-conscious. You start paying attention to things on your body that you haven't noticed for 30 years. Generally speaking, this can be very motivating for most and discouraging from some.

I recommend taking progress pictures at least every 6 weeks. This is a general time frame to start noticing results from the combination of your diet and exercise.

Now, lets role play to cover a few common questions:

I just want this fat on my arms and stomach gone, what should I do?

6. Well to start out, you can not spot-target your fat loss. Here are a couple paragraphs that may help you understand. From Yalescientic.org,

"Many of the exercises commonly associated with spot reduction do not actually burn many calories – and if you are not burning enough calories, you are not going to lose much fat from anywhere in your body.

You are more likely to shed your love handles by taking up a running program than by doing crunches and sit-ups every day, simply because cardiovascular exercise is a much more efficient calorie-burner.

High-intensity interval training (alternating between brief periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercise) can be particularly effective, due to the phenomenon of after-burn – that is, an increase in resting metabolic rate that occurs for up to 24 hours post-exercise.

Weight training can also help to achieve optimal results.

It is important to maintain your muscle mass because you will not achieve a toned look if you lose lean tissue along with fat.

Good nutrition is essential. After all, even if you burn 500 calories by exercising, you will not end up losing any fat if you also consume 500 more calories than usual. 

If you want to learn more about the best way to burn fat, you should read my article here.

Doing 100 crunches a day can effectively strengthen your abdominal muscles, but it probably will not make them any more visible unless you also take other steps to reduce your overall body fat.

If you combine cardiovascular exercise with weight training and sensible nutrition, fat cells will not stand a chance.

I have witnessed a lot of people (men & women) trying to spot-target fat. The main regions are always belly fat, love handles, legs, buttocks etc.

How to get rid of arm, belly or any fat 

7. Eat small but wholesome, meals throughout the day such as lean meat, a side of low-glycemic fruit such as blueberries, nuts and a vegetable. Repeat whenever hungry.

8. Paleo newcomers may not see why this is so important yet, avoid bread at all costs! It's a "created food" just the opposite of things like pineapple and almonds. Grains such as bread will not benefit your body. If you eat out at a restaurant try to convince them to give you a discount for ordering only the meat and bacon for a sandwich. (it's worked for me before  ;-) )

9. Train 2-3 days a week for around 40 minutes-1 hour max. If you are performing a 40 minute workout compared to those that have 2 hour sessions, you must put 100% effort in.

Save the daydreaming for the sauna or shower afterward.

Your body will grow once you break it down. This is a good thing despite the words "break down".

If you are one of those 2 hour workout people, I suggest shortening it up.

Cortisol will kick in guaranteed by the 1 hour mark of exercise. This is the stress hormone that, in high enough levels, can literally slow or halt the muscle growth process. I learned this from experiencing a lack of growth after having 1.5 hour workouts.

10. Replace any sugar containing drinks with pure, delicious cool water. The body absorbs and rehydrates better with cool water, not ice water. Ice water is hard to drink. We should be drinking water to keep our cells hydrated and our muscles satisfied. 

11. Avoid diet soda even if your life depends on it - There is a whole realm of people researching aspartame and it's awful health effects, you can read into that if you'd like.

Basically, diet soda or anything containing aspartame such as chewing gum or flavored waters can cause cancer, birth defects, weight gain and depression.

Onto the next question:
I have no idea what I'm doing in the gym. All these machines confuse me, how do I figure out how to use them?
 
If you are past this step, great job, but you can still probably benefit from this answer.
We are meant to have a free flowing body and have usable strength, not just be strong in a certain motion on an exercise machine.
Which leads to you my answer..
 
12. Discover that the best workouts come from performing kettlebell and dumbbell (also called free weights) exercises over a machine. You will not only build isolation muscles (smaller muscles that are not used on a machine), but you develop a better sense of coordination, balance and confidence when handling weights.

Note: Machines can be very beneficial to increase the mind-body connection when getting started with a workout plan. Use of free weights will take a higher level of concentration and experience but have greater results.

13. Use few machines, opt for free weights, resistance bands and body weight exercises - I use two machines to prevent joint pain such as a tricep press, otherwise it's all dumbbells and kettle bells. Most gyms have labels on their equipment. I will try to make a video of tricep press so you can see the proper form and look of the machine, but it is a great way to build up your arm strength.

14. Ask a personal trainer or someone that looks friendly for some advice and tell them your fitness goal, often these people will be generous enough to give you some free tips. I have learned the hard way with most of my exercise mistakes by getting minor pains or injuries or being laughed at by the physique legends. Personal trainers do have a lot of book knowledge and can come up with very unique exercises. 
15. Start simple - Some easy to learn exercises are leg extensions, tricep press, bicep curl, chest press and hack squats (this does not involve a bar on your back, hack squats are the beginner method to building a strong lower body and back). You can search youtube for all these videos, but be cautious of those that are not professional with their form teaching, you can hurt yourself.
16. Bonus Tip - Have fun! - Improving your health doesn't have to be such a serious lifestyle. You can drive yourself crazy if you are cooking everyday, over-analzying every aspect of your food and how you can be healthy on-the-go, and other things that we face. But, if you aren't having fun, you probably won't continue to be as dedicated. Improving your health does get easier as you go along, which is why I wrote an article called the snowball effect here.
As you all submit more questions, I will continually create articles for them.