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Before we train Fitness

Before we train…Must Read!!

Assuming you are not a novice to the iron game and your doc did not put you on the injury list or send you to rehab, you are basically ready to go and spice up your workouts. But before you jump right in, I’d like to give you some valuable advice.

Set goals!

In resistance training as much as in any other of life’s endeavors, the mental approach is very important. To really get the results you are after, I suggest you get your pen and paper and define exactly what you want your training results to be. In all detail, with a shipload of emotions tied to your description. More important than what will be your why. Why do you want to work out in the first place? Why do you want to change some ingredients of your workouts? Why are you willing to push your body in each session? Why will you follow a healthier diet? Why, why, why…?

Just the process of thinking about such stuff, linking the reasons together, and then writing it down, triggers some beneficial processes in your brain. A lot of good stuff happens to your hormone balance, you become more focused and more motivated. You will also start attracting more people, events and situations that help you get what you desire.

All the greats have done it and combined their written statements with regular, inspiring visualizations. Arnold Schwarzenegger could literally see every detail of a winning pose-down years in advance. Desmond Brooks, one of the greatest architects of our time, built his magnificent buildings (like the Bellagio in Las Vegas) out of pure vision in his mind’s eye and sold those projects to his clients by taking them on the same mental trip themselves.

Furthermore, you will need to have a written training plan that comprises all your workouts including the content of those sessions. Start small by setting up a quarterly plan, and when you get a feel for planning, plan half a year or a whole year in advance! What shall be the focus of your workouts at any time of the year? What will be the exercises and rep schemes (although this can be subject to a lot of change due to trial an error)?

Try to really work out professionally, hopefully, the same way you approach your job! The benefit is not only that you see the incremental steps in advance but that you will also know in hindsight why something worked or did not work, which in turn will make it easier to accurately plan further. Although goals and reasons why are highly individual, there are three general goals to follow when working out or training for a competition:

Avoid injuries during workout/training!

The worst thing that can happen is to get hurt preparing for games or working out. Why? Because it is totally unnecessary and preventable. There are hundreds of options to keep your workouts save but fun and effective. Unfortunately, humans will find thousands of ways to jeopardize their safety and health. So be thoughtful and don’t jump on every fitness craze or workout bandwagon just because it seems to be hip (e.g. balance training) Most of the time, the most basic and conservative stuff will take you the farthest.

Avoid injuries during the competition!

If you compete in any sport, note that it is practically impossible to eliminate the risk of getting hurt during competition! It is just part of the equation – you win something, you lose something! But by properly preparing body and mind for a game, fight or race you really can narrow it down to a few uncontrollable factors. So only when injury avoidance is taken care of, can you progress to the third big

Increase Performance!

Now we’re talking! This should mean the most fun to any athlete or weekend warrior. When the workout environment including your routine is set up for safety, you can get out of your comfort zone and work on progressively overloading your system. Before that happens, you only work on stabilizing your structures and getting them used to certain workloads without testing their limits. Once you have done your homework we work with progressions, unusual rep schemes and more intensive methods or learn more complex movements. That’s where real neuromuscular and mental growth kicks in. But you should always take a step back and think about safety issues along the way! goal, which is to increase performance!

Please follow those three guidelines in this exact sequence, or else you set yourself up for failure and health issues in the long run. You should train hard, but leave your ego elsewhere for the time being, and concentrate on training smart! That’s why you should also see recovery as a huge part of your plan.

Recovery is key!

Always keep in mind that progress is not only a product of training. Let recovery and nutrition be part of your plan! Your workouts only give the stimulus, but adaptions to that stimulus happen during rest times – preferably during sleeping hours at night. That’s when most of the beneficial hormones are released in their highest quantities. For best results, try to be in bed by 10pm! There are also ways to better time your workouts according to testosterone spikes.

We usually experience the highest testosterone levels during the day 3 and 10/11 hours after waking up. If you wake up by six in the morning, around 9 a.m. and then again around 4/5 p.m. would be ideal times for getting your workout in. Avoid working out after eight p.m. because it leads to great deviations in your daily hormone balance and your circadian rhythm, resulting in poor recovery. Nowadays there are many great ways to consciously stimulate recovery: sauna, light cardio work, steam baths, ice water, floating, meditation…but sleep still trumps them all.

Without knowing you, my guess is that your diet could use some upgrade. Most of us consume approximately the same fifteen to twenty foods more than 90% of the time. Usually, variations on our plates are rare, unless you really make an honest effort to bring more colour to your dishes. Mixing up the ingredients of your diet not only fills you up with a greater array of nutrients, but also reduces the risk of suffering from adverse food reactions. Remember that nutrition is the link between performance and recovery and those great abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym!