By Dillon K.
Whether you are training for endurance, speed, strength, or weight loss, an exercise program should be something that you become “religious” about. There are three main pillars that must be implemented for any structured routine, and in doing so you will achieve your fitness goals in the most optimal way possible.
Consistency is King
You must be consistent and be in it for the long-run. Staying Consistent is what will create an environment that forces your body to adapt and change to the conditions you are putting on it. An environment does not establish by missing days in the gym. It takes time to create physical change to the human body so consistently staying committed to your routine day in and day out is what is going to mainly achieve your goal.
A personal tip for staying consistent is as follows: The days you don’t feel like going or trying do not matter. Go in the gym feeling horrible and get done what you are supposed to get done. If it is the worst workout you have ever done it does not matter. You are creating a new habit. If you don’t go just because you don’t feel like going, then you are creating a negative habit loop. Every time you give in to the lethargy or excuses, the habit is more deeply ingrained that you can bail on your exercise program.
Progress must be measured
You must be saying that of course progression is something to implement in reaching a goal, and I am not oblivious to the fact that this is an obvious idea. I want to emphasize the fact that actually implementing progression is through measurement and effort. So many people attempt fitness goals and do not measure their progress. So many just stay in a rut for such a long time because they have reached a point of the training where the progression isn’t as easy anymore and they think that if they keep lifting the same weight, or running the same amount they will see improvements like they did in the beginning. Your body is adapting and you must keep pushing it to where you want it to be.
I recommend measuring all progress because you are creating micro-goals. Having your measured progress keeps you creating new micro-goals and forcing yourself to push closer and closer to the macro-goal. When you are measuring anything you are in control of it. If you are training for agility or speed, measure the time it takes to perform your movement and keep improving. If your goal is weight loss have a structured weightlifting and cardio routine and track the calories you burn doing cardio, the weights you lift, and what the weight scale says. Doing this forces your mind to engage more with your fitness and you will end up reaching your goal in the quickest way possible.
Progression is never a straight line up. There will be plateaus and there will even be set backs. What is important is that the macro-goal is kept in mind and whatever you are going through with your program is figured out and moved past.
Structural Integrity at all times
If you are performing any type of movement, especially consistently, it is important that you have sound bio -mechanics. The biggest cause of injury comes from muscle imbalances and poor movement so, it is important to have structural integrity. Structural integrity means that your joints all function properly through their full ranges of motion and you can properly contract and relax the correct muscles through your movements.
Your muscular system should be strengthened in hopes of creating full alignment of all your joints. It is nearly impossible for someone to achieve perfect structural integrity and stay there, because our bodies are always being effected by gravity, and through constant movements in our everyday lives it is likely that our bodies are tighter in some areas and laxer in others.
As a starting place it is best to start with fixing your posture. The position in which you live your everyday lives is the most important part of your journey to structural integrity. The most simplistic view on good posture is as follows:
- Your shoulders should be neutrally set with your chest stretched open.
- Your hips or pelvis should be straight and aligned with your shoulders.
- You should have a 20-40 degree curvature in all three major segments of the spine (neck, upper back, lower back)
There are many different ways of trying to manipulate your mechanics and restore proper function in your joints. Again to simplify this without getting too much into the science of physical therapy, you want to strengthen the areas of your body that are weak and relax the areas that are too stiff.
In my opinion, proper mechanics and positioning are the most important things in fitness. If your body is considered healthy but it can’t properly do the things it was built to do, then what is the point of being a fit person.