I have been at this fitness craze for a while now. The fitness craze I am referring to is my own. Recently, I can’t even remember who, someone asked me how long I had been working out. I had to stop to think. Well, my youngest child will be 12 years old this year. I started strength training when she was three months old. So, I guess nearly 12 years of body building of some sort. Now, my cardio training started about 20 years ago when I started running to lose weight. At that point I became a fitness junkie. As a fitness junkie, I immersed myself in research, half marathons, protein powder, spandex, and running shoes. Nearly, 20 years later I have learned some important rules of fitness.
1. Learn the Rules of Fitness: Research what is best practices in living a fit lifestyle. That means learning how to properly train, and properly eat. There are general rules that apply to everyone. We all have seen those epic gym failures. We have all seen faithful gym rats trying to out train a bad diet. There are tried, proven and true rules of fitness. You must learn them, otherwise you will waste time and money.
2. Figure Out What Works For You: Most people can tell you a good number of the rules of fitness. I don’t know a lot that have figured out what rules work for his or her own body. That is the really difficult part of being a fitness junkie. We come across so much literature on what someone else discovers works for him or her. Honestly, you must weed through the information with trial and error. I have had my trial, my errors and my successes.
3. Do I Fast Twitch Or Slow Twitch: For me knowing if I am dominant in fast twitching muscles or slow twitching muscles determines my success. If I am dominant in fast twitching muscles, I am going to be a great sprinter, but a long distant run will kill me. If I am dominant in slow twitching muscles I can nail a marathon, but high intensity work outs will kill me. I happen to be slow twitching dominant with the ability to train my fast twitching. So really who cares, I just want to be working my body, right? Well, by working both types of muscle fibers I develop the my whole body. This gives me whole body strength and muscle development.
4. High Reps, Low Weight or Low Reps, High Weight: There are a million articles that argue the merits of both. I have happened to try them both over the years. The winner for me is low reps and high weight. I know my body. My muscles grow faster and stronger when my point of failure is at rep six. I have never research why this could be. I just know it is me. The point is figure out which works for you. Just because one works for an expert does not mean it is the right choice for your body. Experiment with your own body to find the best fit for you.
5. I Am Built Backwards: Over the years, I have read many articles regarding making sure you develop your hamstrings and triceps. The reasoning is our quads and biceps tend to be stronger. If quads and hamstrings are not balanced injury increases. That was very puzzling to me, because my hamstrings and triceps out perform their counter part every day of the week. So I asked a good friend, years ago, what gives. His responds was I am built backwards. That was enough for me to know I need to focus on the opposite muscles to avoid injury.
6. Cardio Before Weights: This is the biggest question out there. I just read another research study regarding this topic this week. The latest research said cardio before strength training. I read it, with interest, and promptly disregarded the message. I tried this before. It was a failure to say the least. I felt it knocked me back months in my strength training, not to mention I gained body fat. Again, I can’t tell you why, except I am built backwards.
7. Find the Hottest Guy or Woman in the Gym: That’s right find the hottest people. Watch what they are doing to get the same look. Truthfully, I have learned as much observing ultra fit people as I have reading about fitness. I steal all kinds of training moves from fellow fitness junkies.
The greatest rules of fitness I have learned is have fun with it. Use the experience to discover how your own body best works. It is an amazing beast. If you are not getting the results you desire start researching and asking questions. I am not going to lie, it takes a lot of time to learn who you are physically and mentally in the fitness world. The journey is worth it!