Everyone wants to make progress right? Makes sense. Who doesn’t want to get better?
Most individuals make progress in the gym. Pick a reasonable routine. Follow reasonable progressions. Watch your form and you’ll see improvements.
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One of the biggest things I see people struggling with is what to do outside of the gym. Typically, most beginners will get the bug and ask for more – additional workouts to do at home, ways to work up a sweat or anything they can add that will speed up their progress.
They want more.
There’s a misnomer that more is better.
Health and progression is something that requires a change in lifestyle and creating new habits, rather than adding more and more things – especially for beginners.
Add too much and the foundation crumbles.
Instead of adding more, the most beneficial thing to do at the start is to maximize and alter what you’re already doing. What habits are you already doing that you can change to get you closer to the person/body/accolade you desire?
Next question: What is a habit?
Understanding how to alter existing habits requires the knowledge of what a habit actually is. A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and is generally an action of the subconscious.
Habits typically are hard to give up, because they’re so developed and depending on the context, can be good for or damaging to your health.
Think brushing your teeth and daily showering over say snacking on Cheetos during work or smoking.
Humans are creatures of habit
As humans, we have the amazing ability to change and adapt to almost anything.
Below are a few habits I’m going assume you have already and ways in which they can be altered or tweaked to drive you firmly towards your goals in the hours outside of the gym.
These things do not require adding in more.
Your day will remain the same. The difference is your new habits will see you progress quicker towards your goals rather than hinder you.
As a caveat to keep in mind, these are not quick fixes. Building habits takes time. You’ll have to get used to the adaptions, while taking your time to do so. You have a lifetime, so don’t worry if these things take a little time to stick.
3 Healthy Habits
Habit 1 – Increased Mobility
Current Habit: Sitting on the couch watching TV in the evening.
New Habit: Sit on the floor instead.
Reason: Some have called excess sitting the new smoking. The damaging effect to health has been well documented and the evidence is ever mounting.
Too many are slowly turning themselves into the shape of their car seat, office cubical or couch.
Chronically shortened hip flexors and hamstrings, non-functional glutes, lower back pain, anterior pelvic tilts, shortened pecs, winged scapula… Obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, cardiovascular disease…
A simple fix is to spend more time on the floor.
Push the coffee tables to a side, get a comfy rug and make the floor a place to be.
Sit, move and get comfortable in an array of positions. Don’t be tempted to use a backrest either. Learn to sit unaided.
It’ll be deceptively hard at first, but honestly, put in the time and watch your mobility increase almost magically. Plus as an additional benefit, you’ll have to repeatedly get up and down off of the ground.
Nearly 10,000 older Americans die due to falls each year. It’s been reported that a third of Americans over 65 fall each year and that number has been called a gross underestimate. Of those falls, 47% don’t have the strength or mobility to stand unaided.
Put in your time on the floor and you’ll feel better, move better and age better.
Habit 2 – Drink More Water
Current Habit: Coffee, energy drinks and soda.
New Habit: Switch to water!
Reason: I can’t believe in this day in age that it’s so difficult to get people to drink water.
Water is the key to health. A lack of water has a plethora of health issues including, but not limited to – headaches, mood swings, muscle cramps, fake hunger pangs, fatigue, anxiety, a lack of concentration, constipation, dry skin, bad breath, sugar cravings, joint aches, bad back, impaired motor skills, UTI’s…
Look, a 1% decrease in water in your body can decrease mental functions, concentration and reaction time by 10%. A 5% decrease can impair work capacity and physical output by 30%.
This habit is a simple one. Throw out the sodas, the “sports” drinks and all the other crap and replace it with plain old water.
Not only will you consume fewer calories, you’ll look better, feel better and perform better.
Habit 3 – Sleep!
Current Habit: Delaying sleep because you’re on your phone.
New Habit: Ditch the phone and sleep a full night.
Reason: Much like water consumption, people’s sleep habits are dire. And just like a lack of water, a lack of sleep can have horrendous negative health effects including – high blood pressure, slowed reaction times, fatigue, poor reasoning, logic and problem solving, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, a lack of sex drive, low testosterone, depression, aged skin, obesity, paranoia, poor immune system function, poor balance and coordination…
Simple takeaway is, screen less, sleep more.
The body is a complex machine that needs time to recoup. Resistance training breaks down muscle and sleep is the time it repairs and grows.
If you don’t get enough currently, the only way to fix it is to sleep more. If you’re chronically sleep deprived, then you’ve amassed quite a sleep debt and it will take time to recover fully.
8 hours is typically the number recommended so shoot for that.
Put away the phone, Instagram and Facebook will still be there in the morning.
I could delve so deeply into healthy habits, but I wanted to ease you into some that can be implemented immediately without adding in anything new to your current day.
These things may seem simple, but they will radically change your life.
You put so much effort into an hour or two training at the gym, now is the time to maximize what you’re doing with the other 22/23 hours of the day.
Doing so will get you dramatically closer to your goals in a much quicker time. You’ll look better, feel better, perform better and age well.