Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.
In my 22 years of coaching I have seen this play out all too often. And it’s no mystery as to why it happens this way. You see, getting results from your efforts in the gym is in no way a mystery. It is a combination of physiology, biomechanics, and mathematics. But without understanding the rules of the road, as a 30 + year old, you won’t just accidentally get into great shape. It takes a bit of knowledge on the process. On the plus side, though, when you DO know the rules, getting results is fairly simple (not to be confused with easy!)
So, in this report I intend to give you the three biggest levers to pull in order to help you achieve the health and physique that makes you feel good about yourself.
3 Things to Focus on for Achieving Optimal Health and Physique
Progressive overload is a method of strength training that advocates for the gradual increase of the stress placed upon the musculoskeletal and nervous system.
Let me simplify this. You see, your body doesn’t want to change. Your central nervous system is specifically trying to make it’s job as easy and efficient as possible.
In order to build muscle and/or burn fat, you need to give it a consistent message that the most efficient method of survival is to do exactly that, pack on lean muscle mass. So, when a regular Joe (or Jane) start working out, that don’t have any education in such things, they typically just go to the gym and do “some stuff.” Maybe that’s lifting some weights, or taking some classes, or running/walking on the treadmill. 3-6 months later they are still just doing “some stuff.” They aren’t necessarily doing more work. They are probably just doing different work. Unfortunately, this is not telling your body to change at all. And if it doesn’t need to change, it wont. Here is where progressive overload comes in.
I’ll give you a simple example with strength training. Let’s pick two exercises. Squats and Push-ups, for instance. These can be loaded or unloaded depending on your strength and experience levels.
Day 1 you will do 5 sets of 10 squats alternated with 5 sets of 5 pushups, which means by the end of the session you will have done 50 squats and 25 pushups. Now, on day two you will go in and do 6 sets of 10 squats and 5 pushups, which comes to 60 squats and 30 pushups. Day three you do 7 sets off each, or 70 squats and 35 pushups. You get the idea. When you are progressively doing more work, your body has no choice but to adapt.
The way the body adapts to strength training is to build some more lean muscle mass, create a bit more bone density, and even strengthen your tendons and ligaments. But, on the flip side, if you are always doing something different at the gym, regardless of how much effort you are putting in, your body will usually find a way to stay as close to neutral as possible. Because, carrying around extra muscle takes work for your central nervous system (CNS), and that is the last thing that it is wants to do!
2 – FOCUS ON COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
Compound movements are exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups.
When results are what you are after, and time is of the essence (no one has a ton of extra time, am I right?), the bulk of your efforts should be focused on compound movements in the gym.
Compound movements are exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups. Some examples of this would be the deadlift, squat, bench press, pull up, and/or military press. These movements should generally make up the “meat and potatoes” of your training at the gym. Unfortunately, These days, people are often trying to make a full meal out of side dishes.
These ‘side dishes’ would be your muscle isolation exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and the hip abduction/adduction machine. Now these aren’t bad exercises, they just should be the icing on top of the cake, not the whole cake!
If you are looking to maximize your time in the gym, the majority of your time should be spent getting stronger at the big compound movements. This will give your Central Nervous System that message that I was talking about earlier. Put on lean muscle mass, which will in essence put a bigger engine in your car. A bigger engine burns more fuel. So getting stronger at the compound movements will ultimately convince your body to shed off some of that puffiness that we often accumulate in times of inactivity.
3- PRIORITIZE PROTEIN CONSUMPTION
When you don’t consume enough protein, your body begins to break down other energy stores, and often, that means loss of muscle mass.
Another common mistake that I see when someone is trying to shed a few pounds, is they just start eating less food without paying enough attention to exactly what they are eating.
Yes, “Eat less and move more” will help you lose weight. But that IS NOT the same as losing body fat.
You see, protein is the building block of your body. Your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, skin, hair, everything is literally built out of protein. So YOU are built out of the protein that you eat.
When you don’t consume enough protein, your body will literally go catabolic and start to break itself down! So while you may lose some weight on the scale, it is not all fat! Without proper protein consumption you will lose muscle mass and bone density, your organ function will begin to suffer, even your skin, hair and nails will deteriorate over time!
How much protein should you eat?
As a general rule of thumb, you should be shooting for 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean mass as a starting point. But science shows that we get worse at protein synthesis as we age. That is part of why we start to shrink as we get older. To start, most people aren’t eating enough protein for most of their lives, and then we are also getting worse at utilizing it too! So, even if you are putting in serious effort and hours at the gym, but you aren’t giving your body the necessary protein, your body will never change as you would like it too. It’s like trying to build a house without any building material. It simply can’t be done. It is a physiological impossibility.
Putting it all Together
So, there you have three of the biggest levers to create some serious physical change. Make sure that you are focusing on the bigger compound movements, confirm that you are moving more weight by recording what you are doing and consistently doing more, and make sure that your are eating enough protein. When all of these things are working in conjunction with each other, it is a physiological certainty that your body will change.
It’s certainly simple, but definitely not easy, especially in the beginning. That’s where having a qualified coach comes in.
If you are looking to accomplish some significant health and physique transformations, this is where we can help you at Original Strength Institute! I am launching a program called the Amazing 12 Express beginning on January 23rd, 2023! The Amazing 12 is The World’s Number 1 Physique Transformation program, and I am a proud coach of their program. The A12X utilizes the three rules above in extreme efficiency.
There are only 4 spots available per session, so if this sounds like something you’re interested in, let’s schedule a call to find out if this program is a good fit for you, and vice versa!