Listen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding tons of variety to your fitness routine, I actually recommend modifying your routine and introducing new exercises. As I’ve said before, change and modification is a must if you want to see results… just not at the sacrifice of those basic workouts and exercises that are responsible for creating build a strong foundation in fitness. There is a point where you have to go back to the basics.
Is it cool to do all sorts of dumbbell and balance ball acrobatics? Sure. Very impressive. But don’t lose sight of the fundamental workouts that have carried human fitness since the days of the Roman Gladiators.
This is especially important to understand today as we have access to so much fitness inspiration. You don’t have to look far to find amazing athletes performing never before seen workouts that quickly become a new training style. Workouts are getting complex, that’s great as we should constantly aim to challenge the body. Strive for better, introduce those challenging workouts; just not at the expense of those basic exercises that got you to that level.
It really comes down to one thing, results. Think about it this way, take a typical gym-rat that’s got an above average build but never seems to “get there” in terms of overall body conditioning.
They just never really reach their goals.
They hit a certain plateau, and while highly variable and muscularly engaging their method may be, it can only bring their physique to a certain level.
You know, that guy who’s at the gym 5 days a week and looks pretty good but for some reason his chest and muscles refuse to grow. Or the faithful gym-class-gal that hits all the metabolic conditioning and fit-dance classes, but never seems to get her thighs and waist to where she wants them to be.
Here’s a list of exercises that should be considered the core of your program. There are of course variations and progressions to each of these, but your core workouts should not be neglected.
Those are the fundamentals. Although sprinting is not for the beginner, the benefits and importance of this exercise are huge. Once you master those six workouts, then and only then should you add those advanced exercises that give a person bragging rights.
Truth is, mainstream fitness wherever you turn has removed itself from the 60-minute workout model and replaced with the “Smarter not Harder” approach.
And it’s backed by plenty of science and studies across the board, from first-person testimonials galore on fitness and exercise-based websites, to thick folders of clinical data.
The Sprinting Example
A sprinter gets a better metabolic and strength conditioning workout in a fraction of the time at average energy output levels. A powerlifter can completely demolish their upper body in a fraction of the set/rep count.
You can put yourself under tremendous pressure through manipulating body weight in less than 5 reps.
The Animalistic Reasoning
What the body gets used to produces no results. Once the musculature and nervous system adapt to a collective routine that’s it, no more strength, conditioning, and aesthetic growth.
It takes a shock to the system. One good shock can produce results that far outweigh months of mainstream gym routines. Simply because these shocks tell they body, “Hey you need to adapt to this or we could be in danger!”
Is “Changing it Up” Enough?
Does going from using the StairClimber to the treadmill count as a shock? Not for someone that’s fit unless they go straight to incline sprints out of nowhere. Then go back to the StairClimber but buy or borrow someone’s weight vest. Most of the time the things people do to “change things up” really aren’t providing a shock. They’re giving the body some variety in terms of movement, yes, but not an “OMG what was that?” shock.
Routine is the Enemy
Yes, you can create routines that force just about any kind of adaptation you desire, whether that’s a bikini model’s physique or a triathlete’s. Routine and repetition is calming, transfixing, and mesmerizing to the brain because it’s safe and predictable.
But, even those routines if you look closely continuously provide shocks to the system that stimulate the desired change: body fat reduction or muscle building.
Time is Irrelevant
So when you really dig down deep into the primal instincts that drive the human body to adapt, you see that time is completely irrelevant. Human beings for most of our evolution had to be ready to fight or flee at a moment’s notice. Quick bursts of massive stretch and adrenaline to escape or topple an enemy.
These days you can harness these instincts inside of 60 seconds, let alone an hour. Here’s some simple rules of thumb to follow when searching for system shock-worthy exercises:
• Gravitate to what you’re uncomfortable with or that which you tend to avoid. An easy example for guys and gals alike are overhand pullups. Obviously stay safe, and stay within safe boundaries, but definitely look to push yourself through adapting to movements and exercises you wince at.
• Focus on form first, add the shock later. So whatever it is, from power lifts to hardcore outdoor bootcamp-style stuff, focus on form and training your nervous system first. Then, and then only, add the shock value through dramatically increased weight, tension, and difficulty.
• Realize that almost all of the most difficult moves and exercises are body weight exercises. Yep. When was the last time you tried to do a perfect sitting V-into-handstand? Almost nothing in any gym can come close to competing with your own magnificent body with its 360 joints. And you can do these almost anywhere, safely, at anytime.
Looking for an intense workout that is quick and to the point? Our Evolution SIX workout plan comes free with the purchase of any of our quality nutritional supplements.
Instead of gulping down that military-grade coffee to get your mind and body into full-gear, hop out of bed and dramatically boost your metabolism through exercise instead!
You’ll burn tons more calories throughout the day and release a smorgasbord of beneficial neurochemicals like endorphins.
Here’s an easy morning workout we put together for you just so you can see how easy it is.
Basics: perform each of the 5 exercises in order as a full circuit. has 3 sets. There are no assigned rest periods. That’s up to you, but shoot to minimize as much rest as possible except between exercises.
Exercise 1: Kettlebell/Dumbbell Swings
This exercise is going to loosen up your entire body and get your blood pumping. You can use a Kettlebell or dumbbell and make sure you’re keeping your head UP and spine straight when you go down into squat position. Get low and stretch your glutes and thighs!
Exercise 2: Squat to Presses
Now that you’re warmed up, add some intensity to these squat presses. But make every one of them decisive, with intention and making use of a full range of motion. Squat low, keep the weight in-close, and then come up for a full-press. The ideal is not to stop at the top, then press, but to put your body through one continuous fluid motion throughout each set.
Exercise 3: Renegade “Touch” Pushups
Ideally you should have a set of dumbbells here, but you can do these at a slower tempo on your hands and they’ll be just as killer for the musculature and core. There’s three movements each rep, another full-body fluid motion: the pushup, bringing a dumbbell up to the chest, then bringing the corresponding knee up towards the elbow.
Exercise 4: Stationary Side Lunges w/ Frontal Raises
Okay, so from standing with two dumbbells at your sides, choose a leg and move it out to one side for a side-lunge. Simultaneously, as you step out, do a frontal raise so that when you’re fully into the lunge, your hands are almost touching. Then, immediately back up and repeat. This is hitting not just big muscles, but internal balance and stabilization mechanisms as well.
Exercise 5: Plank Triad
To finish off the circuit, hit your core with this 3 par plan sequence. If possible, work towards being able to do all three without adding any rest between sets for a full 90 seconds of planking.
• Part 1: Middle – 30 seconds
• Part 2: Left – 30 seconds
• Part 3: Right – 30 seconds
You’re Not Done Yet
After you go through this sequence 3 times, get out and do a short run around the neighborhood. The entire workout (including the run) won’t take more than 30 minutes. This sequence is perfect for those busy days where you’ll need the extra energy.
What’s great about these morning workouts is that you don’t have to feel guilty about not having time for your typical routine.
With that, get up, stay on your feet until you’re cooled down a bit then go take a shower and begin another wonderful day!
That’s right, all you need is a basic gym bench and your body and you’re set for this workout. Although…if you want, dumbbells would be a stellar addition and really kick up the intensity level.
The 8 Exercise Circuit
24 reps per exercise (for a total of 192 total!) with minimized rest from beginning to end. And by all means, if you breeze through the first circuit then go through it again, or even a third time. Great for conditioning, building core strength and enhancing body control. Enjoy!
Exercise #1: Leg lifts/Reverse Crunches
Lay down on the bench and make sure you’re entire spinal column is supported. Now, either grab the bench at your sides, or behind your head and do 24 leg lifts with your legs straight, or reverse crunches with your legs bench and knees together. Or, you could mix them up.
Exercise #2: Step Ups to Knee-Raise
Alternate legs for 12 each this set. Pick a foot to begin with, step up, find your balance and then bring the other knee up and forward into the air then step down. You can choose to hold the knee there a few second, or just make it one fluid motion.
Exercise #3: One-Leg Get-Ups
Again, alternate legs for 12 reps each this set. Sit down on the bench, pick a foot to stand up on, bring the other foot slightly off the ground, and get up using only that one foot. Then, come back down. This is a great way to condition for free-form one-leg squats.
Exercise #4: Decline Planks
Shooting for at least 24 second here, but feel free to go as long as you can without altogether sacrificing solid form. Get your feet up on the bench, keep them together, then get completely stretched out until your spine is flat and you’re upper body is resting on either your hands or elbows. If you need to modify, you can simply flip around and do an incline plank with your upper body on the bench.
Exercise #5: Knee-Ins
Sit at the end of the bench, or you could face sideways as well, extend your legs and then keeping them in the air begin to do 24 knee-ins.
Exercise #6: Dips
These are also pretty straightforward and effective and putting some strain on the core while focusing on the triceps. Perform dips on the bench with your entire body off to the side and your heels on the ground. Don’t let your butt touch down and maintain the tension throughout the set.
Exercise #7: Oblique Lifts
Do 12 on one side, then 12 on the other to spread out the tension across both obliques. Choose a side to begin with and place either your arm/elbow on the bench, or just your hand. Get into a full side-plank position with the other arm held out laterally and begin letting your body slightly dip up and down.
Exercise #8: Decline Pushups
Finish off with 24 decline bench pushups and you’re golden for this circuit. Make sure to keep your back straight!
I’ve been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1997 and I still personally train clients on a daily basis.
I have worked with hundreds of people and I have seen exactly what works and what does not.
At the end of the day, if you’re trying to change your physique, what works is proper nutrition. I’m sure you have heard the old saying…
You can’t out train a bad diet
Well, there’s a lot of truth behind that statement and most personal fitness trainers are afraid to admit it. Personal trainers are taught to put emphasis on exercise technique and programming. Of course exercise is important – i’m a fitness trainer and I preach the benefits of exercise all day.
Take a look at these key points in regards to exercise & nutrition:
Okay, so where does one start when it comes to cleaning up their nutritional habits?
Well, over the years, I have found that simply providing a list of meals or quality foods is not enough. We all have nutritional habits that we continue to go to.
I’m willing to bet that what you’ll eat this week is going to be very similar to what you ate last week and the week before. We all have our “go-to” meals.
What’s the most efficient way to substitute those meals for better choices?
It’s the simple process of elimination.
It’s the starting point that always works. Find those foods that might be problematic towards your fitness goals and eliminate them.
I come from a culture that is very big on food. I grew up eating red meats, cheeses, breads and dishes filled with flavor – and of course calories.
As an adult I realized two things.
I personally gave up red meat and minimized (almost eliminated) my cheese intake. Just red meat alone was HUGE for me. No more beef burgers and since pepperoni, sausage and meatballs are no longer an acceptable topping, no more pizza as well.
Since foods which I shouldn’t eat are no longer an option, I’m now naturally eating more of the food that I should be eating. Everything starts to fall into place once you eliminate certain foods.
So, what foods will you be eliminating?
To help get you started, here is a starter list of common foods that my personal training clients have eliminated (or at least minimized)
Obviously, the list can go on and on…
What are some foods that can be introduced aside from the traditional “more fruits, veggies and grilled chicken breast”
So, what are your going to eliminate or minimize? It’s not a rhetorical question… commit to it. reply in the comment box below…
Also, be sure to take a look at our quality nutritional supplements for even faster fitness results.
Like always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding your fitness program.
Looking forward to helping you reach your fitness goals.
Even dedicated fitness nerds needs a little reminding once in a while. That said, below are the 8 most common things that you may be forgetting to do at the gym to keep moving onward and upward to/past your fitness goals. Enjoy!
If you’re not writing anything down, that means you’re winging it or using a half-ass plan. Don’t tell me you can effectively do everything in your head from day to day, week to week. Countless have tried, none have succeeded to get fabulous physiques without following a system. What’s yours look like?
Sure, you probably hit up the water fountain a couple times to take a breather but water really isn’t mentally included in your fitness regimen the way protein is. Bummer! Is it really THAT hard to invest in a water bottle? Come on folks…
If you exercise alone without a motivated friend, in a group setting, or with a trainer, you’re probably going to rest far more than you need to. It’s only natural. This is why working out with a buddy, investing in a trainer, and tossing in a couple fitness classes a week is so incredibly effective for just about everyone.
Maybe perfect is too strong of a word, but you get the point. Along with resting too much, the vast majority of Lone Ranger fitness lovers skimp on ideal form because they either don’t know exactly what it looks like, they don’t understand the full benefit, or they’re just not holding themselves accountable for it.
Don’t do a big set and then sit down. Don’t go through a metabolic gauntlet for 40-60 seconds then lean up against a rail. Walk around or do some hops or something to keep the momentum going and play it safe with your cardiovascular system.
This is a big one. Are you consistently challenging your body when you exercise? If not, then don’t complain about average results. Conditioning is all about harnessing the power of your body’s adaptive process. If you’ve reached a plateau in terms of weight, that’s fine, start branching out into performance goals, or experimenting with new fitness approaches.
Many of these blend together don’t they? Listen, there’s countless ways to exercise and hundreds upon hundreds of exercises to choose from. Yet, the average fitness lover is taking advantage of maybe 10 each week. No kidding!
These days the circuit-based approach is crazy-popular, along with functional fitness. Awesome! But, it’s pretty common to see people get stuck into this “light to medium weight only” mind frame and neglect strength training altogether. Everyone should incorporate working with heavier weights at least once a week.
How did you measure up? Chances are you’re not doing at least 3 of these things on a consistent basis. That’s okay. No worries. Now that you’re aware, you can put more attention on areas that need improvement and see much better results!