January 30, 2012 by fitnessbaddie
Sometimes I feel like there is nothing new left to say. All the best research has been written, all the best training techniques analyzed, all the best principles discovered and yet so many people are still lost. I don’t get overwhelmed by the mountains of knowledge yet to discover (that brings on mindgasms), but more by the question; what will I bring to the table as another voice in an industry crowded with voices? I feel my role right now is to help desseminate the proper information. Filter it down from those who have come before me (ahhhhh I wax poetic). Ok, well this post is about exercise investment in relation to investing in exercising at home. Two things matter most
Chances are if you are a home exerciser it is because of one of those two factors. Gyms are everywhere, but they require both money and time. Two things we all squeal about wanting more of. One of the biggest contradictions I see is getting people to invest the RIGHT way when it comes to fitness. Not just invest. You can throw money and time away on anything. And then complain that you don’t have enough of either. OR you can do what most people do; inadequate research of what will cost them both commodities that cannot be given back once spent. If you spend 60 bucks a month on a gym membership, yet see no lasting physical progress……. a couple 100 on supplements, and are still fattish……..minutes and hours here and there worrying, wondering, pondering your weight etc…..
Well, perhaps this short post will shed some light on a couple ways to get around wasting your time and money. We are going to focus on the best exercises and equipment for the home exerciser. This is in response to quite a few inquiries along that line. Friends that can’t get to a gym, or who buy certain equipment or start following certain routines but don’t see good results, or who tell me all the stuff they just got, or do, but I know they will plateau and be discouraged soon enough. Let’s just keep in mind the law of adaptation. ANYTHING will be better than nothing, for a bit. What I write below is the best investment in terms of LONG TERM SUCCESS. Which, if you want temporary success…. well thats just dumb. Dumb people shouldn’t read my blog. Go away.
If you are going to work out at home start here:
1. Invest in your own education. Unless you don’t mind stumbling around for years and following every routine under the sun OR sticking faithfully with a mediocre one….. put a bit of effort into finding out what works best. As I mentioned before, you will start coming across certain trends that all the best will advocate. Good principles do not change. Method can. What are you aiming for? Strength? Leanness? Goodlooking nekkidness? Remember that the good majority of us only have average genes to work with. Chances are you will never look like Ronnie Coleman no matter what you do. Zusanna Light of bodyrock.tv as well. BUT you can get as close to your genetic potential as you want. And most people aren’t even CLOSE to that. Whatever you look like now, you usually can at least double improvement. Most people won’t compete, won’t “use” their fitness per se. We just want to look awesome and feel great. That’s not so hard to do. How much time and stress would you save if you looked as good as you wanted??? Well, you can’t get there mindlessly. Put a bit of effort into educating yourself. Sure, you’ll read some bullshit, try some dumb stuff (not TOO dumb I hope, like exercise ball push presses), but if you want to get it right, you will. And if you’re reading this, you’re off to a good start. 😉 Books like Starting Strength, Beyond Brawn, 5/3/1 and Convict Conditioning are all a great place to start learning about getting strong. Remember to think about where any advice you follow is coming from. If you are not planning on being orange in a thong on stage, theres not much sense in following a strict bodybuilding hypertrophy routine. If you don’t plan on competing in powerlifting stop running around buying straps, belts and gloves. If you know that long moderate cardio is not the best way to burn fat, why are you still running 5 miles a day? Don’t look at what the bro next door is doing. Get to know yourself. Get to know the basics and then put the two together to get the best results for you.
2. Find a routine or video to follow to orient yourself to bodyweight movements if you don’t know where to start. I’ve done my HUGE share of Cindy Crawford, Taebo, Kathy Smith, NY Ballet, Denise Austin blah blah blah. I did them all for YEARS. They bring minimal success in the long term. The new trend in video exercising is toward short intense conditioning. This is good. Just remember, that STRENGTH comes before SPEED. A lot of jumping, explosive plyometrics and tough bodyweight strength is great. That’s all good, just don’t worry about going as fast in the beginning. GET THE MOVEMENT DOWN FIRST. Then speed it up.
3. STRENGTH COMES FIRST. If you are going to spend money on equipment for your home DO NOT splurge on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or cable cross multi machine. You are spending a lot of money for what will bring you minimal return. Strength is the basis for everything. If you want shapely muscles, fat loss, coordination, lean muscle growth. Whatever!!! Even if you want to do CrossFit workouts better :D, developing a strength base is first and foremost. I learned this the long way around. hahaha. So learn from my example and save yourself some time. 😉
Invest in (cheapest/easiest first)
– Some guts (no whining)
– Pullup bar
– Set of free weights (10-50lb)
– Kettlebells (15 and 35lb women/ 35lb and 70lb men)
– Barbell and weight plates (bit more expensive, but worth it! 5-45lb plates)
– Squat and bench rack
The list COULD go on and on, but it doesnt have to. You can do years of wonderful workouts with your body and a few extras. Medicine balls, sleds, ropes, box jumps, sandbags etc etc. Depending on your space and money you can spend. Do you see a trend here??? No machines??? No need to spend thousands of dollars (unless you WANT to get a full Eleiko weight set). People tell me about how they can’t get to a gym to squat or deadlift, but will buy a treadmill. DITCH THE TREADMILL, get some weights! If you want to get leaner, lose fat, build muscle, you need to get strong. How do you get strong???? Not by running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike for an hour. You need to learn to lift some weight. Invest in that. If not, start with your bodyweight. A lot has been written about bodyweight exercises, and they are far superior to sitting on a machine and can keep you challenged for a good long time with a little creativity. Learn to use
– Pushups, Pullups, Chinups
– Sprints, Stairs, Hills
– Dips and Planks
– Squats, Jumps, Lunges, Burpees
– Handstands/HSPushups (Oh yes you can learn them!)
Remember, a shorter amount of time on some compound (uses your whole body) weighted movements brings you a better investment in terms of fat loss and strength gain. Here are some links to websites that provide bodyweight routines. Some of these will seem more advanced depending on your level of fitness, but its an idea of what you can build up your body to do with a bit of practice of the basics. There are ENDLESS variations you can do with your body. Can you do a one-arm pullup? A pistol squat? Kettlebell snatch? Handstand walks? One-arm pushup? Can you push your car running? If not, stop complaining that “there are no new worlds to conquer”. Get creative. Before the advent of gyms, machines and swollen drugged bodybuilders, people still got strong.
As with anything, patience and paying attention to learning the movements will get you better strength levels faster. Doing 100 head-bobbing-elbows-wide pushups means nothing; cause it’s not a proper pushup and you’ll plateau quick. Course, I can’t save the whole world from ridiculous form and every decent trainer out there is familiar with the heart-sinking feeling that you will never get through to someone (who will then spend their life in frustration), BUT I can implore you to PAY ATTENTION. STICK TO THE BASICS and WORK SMARTER not just HARDER. Anyone can throw themselves around a gym or their house for an hour, turn beet red, pant, puke and sweat and feel the burn……….and get shit for results. Ever seen one of those people?? Who regale you with tales of brutal workouts accomplished and yet don’t LOOK that impressive for all the time they seem to spend on their body. Yup. Don’t let that be you!