About 4 months ago, a woman asked me to help her get in shape. She had just recently lost 40 plus pounds doing one of the many diets floating around. However, she was stuck at 158 pounds and wasn’t going anywhere despite consistently training hard. When we discussed details, she stated that she was ready for whatever snazzy diet and killer workout routine that I was going to throw at her.
To her surprise, we did none of that but rather spent a few weeks reprogramming her “fitness mindset” and doing very simple moves. During that time, we focused on big, basic moves such as Squats, Leg Curls, Bench Press variations, Rows, Pull Ups and many other moves that yield the most bang for the buck in terms of recruiting as much muscle fiber as possible for each muscle group.
From there, I challenged her to perform each movement with flawless technique. We also dialed in how, when and why to make minor body adjustments while exercising. The name of the game for her was to master each movement because anybody can go into the gym and move weight but very few can execute perfect form, technique and body positioning. Another key factor is consistency, patience and program balance. Over those 4 months, she went from never having performed a squat motion to performing them as well as anybody in her gym. She went from doing an occasional jog around a park to climbing steep trails, trail running and pushing her body’s level of conditioning further than she ever thought possible. She went from counting calories and obsessing about her weight all the way to crafting a nutritional framework that matched her activities and heightened her focus on how well she performed all of her endeavors rather than what the scale read.
Before you get turned off and think that I instituted TV style “tough trainer” techniques, tested her willpower with glazed donuts on a serving tray, yelled through a megaphone or made her wear headbands with skulls and crossbones on it…please understand that I didn’t. Not even close!
The trick was breaking everything down to basics and changing her mindset to owning each movement by learning the fundamentals of proper execution of every activity that she did whether it was cardio, weights, flexibility or whatever! Many of her workouts were not difficult but rather challenged her attention to detail which garnered great results, adaptation and consistent progression. She has lost 28 pounds of bodyfat and is now 130 pounds of highly conditioned womanpower! The key to her success is her technique and consistency… not how loud she could yell or what she was wearing…none of that matters! She is super busy, so we had limited session-time in the gym. Here is a sample week for her:
Monday 3.5 mile run around her local park loop (rain or shine!)
Tuesday Whole-Body Strength Routine (Leg Extension, Pull Ups, Barbell Squats, Dumbbell Bench Press, Lying Leg Curls, Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Overhead Squats, Barbell Biceps Curl, Low Ab Leg Raise, Dumbbell Triceps Skull Crushers…2-3 rounds 8-15 reps of each move)
Wednesday– Cardio Combo of moderate intensity Spin bike and Agility Ladder drills. 40 minutes total
Thursday– Cardio Day…25-30 min on Concept II Rowing Machine, 10-15 min on Jacobs Ladder machine
Friday– Upper Body Blast (Seated Cable Row, Barbell Incline Press, Dumbbell Lateral Raise, Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises, Push-ups, Dumbbell Shrugs, Cable Biceps Curls, Triceps Dips, Reverse Crunches, Ab crunches on Exercise Ball.
Saturday– 1 hour Trail Run or 1-2 hour outdoor Bicycle ride
Depending on her work schedule and progress, her workouts change accordingly. We mix up her routines every single workout and no week is ever the same either. This is just a sample of what SHE does. If you are just starting a routine, be sure to go to your local gym and ask a trainer to devise a simple plan to build a foundation of strength, flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, nutrition and rest. Once you master the basics, you can then craft a unique plan with endless twists to keep your body progressing. Fundamental technique is everything!