Sunday, July 25, 2010

Exercise Routine: Does It Matter?

I get a lot of questions in my sessions about workouts -- splits, sets, days, exercises.

Important questions but not in the way they are often intended. Let me explain . . .

Splits, sets, exercises etc. matter only after the most important issues are addressed, and those are:

1. Diet. You can eat more bad things in 30 minutes than you can work off in 8 hours. Unless you have the diet under control, are counting calories, carbs, fat, and protein and getting at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and no more than 1 gram of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight, you'll never reach your goal -- if your goal is to look lean and muscled.

2. Intensity. I have the opportunity to work out in a lot of gyms and I'd say less than 25% of the people I see are working out at an intensity level that will take them to the next stage of their physical development. When I say intensity, I'm not talking about yelling, screaming, cursing and grunting. I'm talking about focus and the ability to work through pain, to get an extra rep after you believe there is nothing left. This comes with focus and practice.

3. Regularity. We work weights 5 days a week as follows:

Monday - Chest/Abdominals
Tuesday - Back/Calves
Wednesday - Legs
Thursday - Off
Friday - Arms/Abdominals
Saturday - Shoulders/Traps/Calves
Sunday - Off

What we do and the order we do it in is not important, at least not as important as doing it - every week -- not missing a workout, even when we're on the road.

Only then can we talk about exercises. We train primarily with basic movements -- bench press (barbell and dumbbell) , squats (machine and bar), dead lifts, pull ups, and barbell overhead presses. Everything else follows these. I'm not a 'one-arm reverse wrist curl while standing on an exercise ball" kind of guy.

Bottom line: If you haven't got your diet right, you're wasting your time. You'll never add muscle and you'll never look ripped. And that maybe OK -- no judgment there. But I am perplexed when I get e-mails about how this guy or that girl followed my routine and didn't get results. I always go back and focus on their diet and in every case they were getting too many carbs, too many calories, and not enough protein. And, final thought for today -- if you think of the gym as a social experience, then enjoy it. Just don't expect results, except perhaps some new friends.

Train hard; diet harder!

Have a great week.


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