Can too much variety be a bad thing? Sometimes we do so many different exercises and techniques that we have no clue what’s actually working. Whether you want to get lean, add muscle, or simply get fit and be in better shape, you must give your body a reason to change. That’s why it’s always a good idea to come back to the basics:
Basic Rule #1:
First, find something that you enjoy doing or you will not do it on a consistent basis. Consistency is key when trying to achieve your goals.
Basic Rule #2:
Volume + Intensity
Today’s general fitness world seems to be leaning more toward high-volume training. For example, CrossFit, P90X, and Insanity Workout. Weight is mostly kept to a minimum in each of these and the goal is to get lean. Of course, the key besides the high-volume is the intensity involved.
Basic Rule #3:
Remember the SAID Principle
Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID). Your body will adapt to any demands you place on it. If you work out at a high-volume and follow a good diet, your body will get lean. Low reps and heavy weight will cause the body to get big and strong. Of course, you also have to factor in your individual genetics and metabolic rate.
Basic Rule #4:
Each time you work out, you have to give the body a reason to get the way you want it to. Again, consistency is so important. If you just work out now and then, you won’t get the job done. Make your efforts count. When you finish your workout, you must walk out feeling like you accomplished your goals. Hold nothing back. Sometimes you should be simply wasted because you gave it your all. You have to force the body to do what it’s not used to doing.
Basic Rule #5:
Follow the EPOC Principle
Excess, Post-Exercise, Oxygen, Consumption (EPOC): Studies have shown that resistance training elevates EPOC up to 48 hours after your workout. Steady state cardio however doesn’t elevate EPOC very much at all. For example, one hour of steady state cardio will probably burn more calories than weight training in the same timeframe. However, once done with steady state cardio, you’re done burning calories. It’s different with intense weight training, resistance circuit training, or interval training; the after-burn can last for hours.
Basically, do whatever form of exercise you enjoy. Don’t forget to change it up now and then, but stick with the basics. Give your body a reason to change, to get fit, to get lean, to get strong. But remember the most basic rule of all: Work hard or nothing else matters.
Europa Sports Products Fitness/Wellness Coordinator
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Appalachian State University 1984-1990
Strength & Conditioning Coach Charlotte Hornets NBA team 1990-2001