There is no secret ingredient
Sometimes I hate the fitness industry. There is always the new diet that you have to try, a new exercise fad that is the best thing for you, or the new piece of gym equipment you need for your home.
The truth is, the best new diet is one you can maintain, the best new exercise is the one you enjoy, and the best piece of workout equipment ever invented is a power rack.
There are no new, incredibly effective movement patterns that you haven’t heard of a million times. No one is coming up with a better way to pick things up than one of the many dead lift variations, and no one is inventing a drink that is better than food. Oh, and the best interval training was created a long time ago, too. It was running for your life, with a frequency of how often you were chased.
A healthy diet is the best way to lose weight.
Heavy resistance training is the best way to get that movie star body.
And endurance running, swimming, and biking are the best for your mental health.
There is no secret ingredient. These are just the facts.
That is not to say that there aren’t some awesome advances being made in the fitness industry. They’re just not the ones being advertised to you with pictures of sweaty models.
Advances like these are why I LOVE the fitness industry: its search for constant improvement and building on already-established knowledge.
For instance, we now know that everyone is truly unique. Whether it is sensitivity to gluten, lactose, or carbohydrates, people are different and can react differently to the same stimuli. Therefore, a healthy diet means something truly individualized.
A ton of experiments have found which exercises yield the most muscle activation (and that research took place six years ago!). This is hugely beneficial for efficient programing and targeting/developing certain muscle groups. While some exercise variations manage to score higher in activating certain muscles, overall you really can’t beat the classics.
So what does all this awesome information mean for you?
On the diet side, it means finding what works for you via trial and error. You can use this as a guideline. Unfortunately, tests for gluten sensitivity aren’t free, or I would have gotten one already, haha. In terms of exercise, it means that if you haven’t programmed the following lifts into your training, you haven’t been working as efficiently as possible.
Say you have only one day a week to lift heavy things. This is what that day should look like. (Note: Be careful; this is a lot of volume for one day. Consider doing it in two days, if possible.)
Lower-body champions and classics
Dead lift: 3 x 8
Front squat: 3 x 8
Glute bridge: 3 x 10
Upper-body champions and classics
Incline dumbbell press: 3 x 10
Supine barbell rows: 3 x 8
Pull-ups: 3 x 8
Farmers walks: 3 x 90 seconds
Got fitness questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.