I’ve heard stories about athletes who enhance their performance by sleeping in high-altitude chambers, drinking kale smoothies every four hours, getting deep tissue massages every day, or training with equipment that looks like NASA’s castoffs. Great for them. But for most of us, just finding 20 minutes a day to exercise is an impressive feat.
That’s why I remind the average guy to keep it simple. You don’t need Space Age equipment when a barbell works just fine. In order to make continuous progress and stay healthy, I’ve learned over the years that you just need to follow four principles. They’re not earth-shattering or original, but they work. Follow them, and you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of fitness success.
1. Pick the right program.
You have to be realistic when selecting a program, too. High-intensity weekend workouts won’t make up for five days of commuting and sitting behind a desk. You must find time for short workouts during the week that support your two-day plunges. On the flip side, you can’t expect to maintain two-a-days if you have a full-time job and have a family at home.
2. Take your time getting in shape.
These “six weeks to a six pack” and “90-day transformation” programs are fine for those people who can adhere to every last detail, but a consistent approach to training is better for the medal count. The longer you take to get in shape, the longer you will stay in shape. Your goal: Train little and train often over the long haul. If you do this, you’ll decrease your risk of injury and never burn out.
3. Place importance on the beginning and end of your workout.
4. Train for volume before intensity.
(Keep it simple with the The Anarchy Workout, a muscle-burning, fat-melting fitness DVD from Men’s Health that you can do from the comfort of your own home.)