Make Fitness Become a Way of Life

How do you make fitness become a way of life? Find your JAM, discover what works for you and your goals. -Craig McFarlane

Set Goals

Fitness should not be made complicated. Determine the overall goal and focus of your training plan, such as body fat loss, triathlon preparation, or just general health. Then, formulate the overall direction of your training plan.

It is crucial to look at the nuts and bolts of fitness and find the type of training that will provide you with the results you're aiming for. Training style is an important factor and will determine how quickly you can achieve a desired outcome. For example, High Intensity Interval Training Sessions (HIITS) might support your required metabolic and physiological needs in a 25 minute session, whereas a low intensity steady state cardio session lasting 45 minutes would only give you half the benefits in twice the time. Choose the training that moves you towards achieving your overall goal. 

Make Training Enjoyable 

If you dislike running, then it doesn’t have to be a significant part of your training. Complete most of your HIIT sessions with other cardio activities such as rowing, assault biking, and swimming intervals. The big picture is more about the intensity you are training at and not so much the modality. 

Similarly with the exercises that make up your progressive resistance training programs (PRT), there is more than one way to reach an end result. You have the freedom to play around with exercise selection. Examples include large compound lifts for the large muscle groups especially in the hips and legs. Here you can choose from many exercises like Back Squats, Deadlifts, Front Squats, Bulgarian Squats, Leg Press etc. These compound lifts generate a favorable physiological environment by:

  • increasing resting metabolic rate
  • positively impacting body fat reduction
  • increase overall strength
  • providing functional crossovers to everyday health and life
  • burning calories many hours post training session

These movements should be staples in every program.

Learn Lifting Technique

I prescribe all my athletes deadlifts, but it can be daunting for those who have little experience and coaching. If this is you, start out with Front Squatting as your key lower body lift. The Front Squat is a hard but a very safe lift, and provides the benefits listed above. While you are getting progressively proficient at Front Squatting, allocate time to learn the techniques and movement progressions to the Deadlift. Practice Hinging, Hip Thrusters, Romanian Deadlifts, Kettlebell Pickups, and use bands and benches until you are comfortable. Get the technique reps in. This will set you up for your next training phase, which is to competently and confidently include more advanced lifts. Deadlifts are one of the greatest exercises one can prescribe, but you need to be comfortable executing it.

Summary

First, figure out your overall focus and model your training plan towards that. Structure your sessions so that they meet the exercise requirements of the plan. Then, find out what works for you and stick to the basis of that. Adherence to a training program will be greater if the majority of exercises and sessions that you are doing are personalized towards your goals and preferences. Find the exercises, equipment, and environment that you enjoy, and unlock your potential through adherence.

References