I’ve been training a young lady since the end of last January, and let’s call her Mrs. X for respect and anonymity. As with all my clients, I’ve been monitoring her fitness progress levels such as strength, endurance, power, etc; areas most trainers tend to keep an eye on. Mrs. X on the other hand, she monitors her training through BMI, measurements and body composition areas where most clients are commonly interested in. We both have our methods and similar goals as to what we want from each other, but both of us working for her goals and interests. For example maintaining a strong fitness for future competitions in obstacle/strength type games is definitely one of her main interests. Her goal is also to place not just compete, so her specific demands are met with specific adaptations in her training.
After our last session together, she mentioned she got some professional pictures done and that she was quite happy with her progress but would definitely like to see better results on the body composition side. As stated earlier she started training late January of 2015 and since then has lost 25+Lbs, is down to 21% body fat and looks amazing. Some might say that those numbers are realistic and fantastic from the general population’s point of view. From my point of view, she’s using 210Lb squats as her working weight, up over 40Lbs from where she started. Mrs. X can freely do sets of 6 to 8 dead hang pull ups and maintain a 5km run under 30 mins. She has begun to shave seconds off her sprint all in her preparation for the Toughest Competitor Alive which is a Fire/Police type game of a decathlete type sports. Not to mention that this summer she won individual’s silver medal at FEMSPORTS as well as a team silver.
As a trainer I’m always adamant about training for realistic goals in mind and the body composition will follow. What I’m trying to say is that I never promised her she’d lose 15Lbs in 12 weeks using an 800 Cal diet, complimented by some ridiculous interval training routine like you see being promoted in social media. She might succeed in losing the weight but most likely rebound back to the same weight, if not double the weight she started at like in many cases out there. Sustainable fitness isn’t something that happens over night, and isn’t a 12 week program or a miracle diet. Sustainable fitness is a way of life that demands you stay the course through three major factors; Programming, Diet, and the most important one of all, Mindset.
Fitness programming based on health issues, biomechanics issues, and yes let’s not forget goals is usually the first step. The next one is your diet, and here we repeat ourselves over and over as trainers and members of the unified health and wellness fraternity the importance of complimenting your training with a great daily diet. The last is the most important one of all and that’s your mind set. We can train all we want but sooner or later we slip if we don’t coach our minds to autopilot when it comes to schedule, dedication, discipline and of course accountability. I think back to 70’s bodybuilding or some would call it the golden age of bodybuilding and most pros, Arnie included never had to lose more then 10-15Lbs to cut down for the Mr. O’s. This means most competitors of that era walked around with an average of 12-15% body fat. The same goes for professional athletes within different disciplines, I’m sure they’re not looking in the mirror looking for flaws in their physique; the training, the diet, and the mindset sustains them a physique that suits their particular sport.
The reality of ‘Sustainable Fitness’ is to put these steps into play and ‘commit’; yes I said the one word that is not ‘option.’ I know, millennial’s are cringing as they read the word ‘commitment,’ but it is the only way people like most business not unlike my own will move forward in pursuit of those enigmatic goals. If there’s a business coach that tells me that for a $10,000 2 week course he’ll double my income in a month, I’d say show me the execution of your program! How does it work and what systems did you implement to make that sort of return, but more importantly; is it sustainable for growth.
Training works the same; we push the envelope in the gym while training smart, and compliment the systems implemented by eating well. This is all wrapped up neatly into a mindset that was prepped daily prior to starting to train in our session. Sustainable fitness puts people in a position to dedicate themselves to a journey. Sustainable fitness is not a quick fix or the diet of the month. It is a lifestyle not a session or a program, and the physique we crave is simply the byproduct of hard work over a period of dedication, commitment, hard work and accountability. Maintaining 3 very important factors to remember; Intelligent programming, goal oriented but sustainable diet, and a strong disciplined mindset. I’d say that’s a recipe for success; in the meantime Mrs. X will surpass her goals and compete at a very high level while still balancing a demanding career, 2 kids and a husband, and let’s not forget dealing with me on trainings day!
Simple Rules To Programming
Interesting isn’t it but with the inundation of workout fads, DVD’s, magazines, phone apps and philosophies it’s hard to understand why it’s still not a simple task for the general population to figure out a program. Ok so everyone wants the secret to the six pack, or those elusive wonderfully tight glutes, and even a pair of great biceps!
The reality is that in this article you will get a little of what COGO Fitness + Performance’ training philosophy is and for those that want a hand learning a little about how to program on your own. Before I start I want to dispel a few things that people constantly use in training and where we at COGO differ. Generally people like to train body parts where we prefer to train movement. People train core with crunches, sit ups or V-twists we prefer planks, anti-rotational cable work, or hip dominated med ball work as a few examples. The reason we stay away from specific body part training is because the human body doesn’t move in one plane rather many planes of motion. Also to add insult to injury (no pun intended) working one body part at a time generally causes imbalances in muscles and joints that lead to overuse injuries such as tendonitis, crepitus, impingements or joint ruptures.
Ok ladies and gentlemen, here are a few rules we use at COGO Fitness + Performance to program for you, but more so influenced by how a body moves, and the technique necessary for this movement:
1. Big muscles before small muscles, for example back, chest, or legs come before your biceps, triceps, or calves
2. Joint mobility/stability (depending on the joint), core stability and muscular strength and flexibility, which means full range of motion in all movements.
3. CORE, CORE, CORE, CORE and stop doing CRUNCHES!!!
4. Hip hinge movements such as squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges, etc.
5. Knee stability such as a split squat
6. Vertical push or pull such as shoulder press, single arm kettlebell press, pull ups, or different pull down variations.
7. Horizontal push and pull, like a bench press, or cable row
8. All upper body push/pull variations vertical or horizontal must be led with a scapular retraction or in layman terms, squeeze those shoulder blades low.
Well there you have it, turn some of those workouts into a superset, and you now know our secrets, or do you? the hard truth is there’s obviously more to this depending on mobility issues, sport specifics, or simply what your goals are that you want to achieve. In the mean time I hope that this might be a good start to learning how to program, rather than running your old high school program for the guys or being so confused in the gym that you run to the nearest Zumba class for the ladies. We at COGO Fitness want you to ask as many questions as you can because the more we teach the more education you’ll want; we don’t benefit from keeping secrets rather we benefit from sharing what we know. Remember that performance is for life and in the mean time;
Stay healthy my friends…