We've tried just about everything!
We've experimented with different training styles; read a lot of articles; reread those articles again; studied from various trainers; watched endless videos + then double checked those facts. After all of that, we still tripped + fell multiple times along the way.
Fitness is an endless journey + we're still learning as we go but there are a few more things that we wish we knew before getting started. Here are those things...
Rest is such an underrated form of recovery. It plays a vital component in growing + becoming fitter. It's easy to get swept up in the thrill of seeing results + you may even want to work out every chance you get. However, this will likely result in burnout, slowed progress, or even injury. Take it from us - one bum shoulder + 3 years later - we are now only slowly getting back to where we were when the excitement first started. Learn this now or end up like us, sidelined due to injury. Listen to your body; if you feel tired or a movement doesn't feel right, rest.
QUALITY > QUANTITY
All too often we see exercisers sacrificing form just to lift a heavier weight. Please let your pride go, it's not helping anyone. The quality of movement needs to take a precedence over how much weight you're choosing to lift.
When you use more weight than you can handle, one of two things can happen. One, you're setting yourself up for injury; + two, you're ultimately sabotaging your results. For example, when the muscle you're targeting is too weak to lift the load, secondary muscles kick in to push you through the movement. This leads to ineffectively strengthening your targeted muscle + thus overtaxing the secondary muscles. What does that mean? Injury.
There are reasons why each exercise has "proper form." It's meant to guide you to your goals. Only by nailing the form can you then progress the exercise by adding more weight.
THERE IS AN AWKWARD STAGE
Have you ever been asked to perform an exercise that was just completely awkward? (+ we're not talking about those crazy animal/crawl moves --those are awkward too, but more on that in a different post). We're talking about movements like the Hip Thrust, or the Clamshell, or a Kettlebell Windmill.
These movements or any movement when performed for the first time can make you feel silly or uncomfortable enough to skip it all together. But there's a reason as coaches we ask you to perform them - they work. So the only way to get past the awkward stage is to push through. "Act confident + no one will question you," is how the saying goes. This works for exercise too. Accept that it will feel funny at first + do it anyway. It does get better + you'll be thankful for it.
It's important that you're always interested + excited for your workouts. To do this, you should change things up. Give your body a break from the repetitive nature of workouts you've been doing + mix it up. This is called periodization; focusing on different goals at various points in time. It's a must, trust us.
For some months, you may be focused on gaining strength + then switch it up to fat loss a few months later. Not only will this help keep you mentally interested in your workouts but it will also help to prevent injuries in the long run.
What have you learned on your journey?
Stay tuned for part III.