It’s 2019 and there’s no shortage of information on how to “live well.”
Every person with an Instagram account is a fitness or life coach.
Photoshop, filters, and lighting makes it look like 90% of the world is chiseled and ready to win the Crossfit games.
Every training program has the words “Extreme,” or “Insane,” in the title.
Yet obesity rates are rising.
The number of people who are clinically depressed is up.
Opioids are rampant.
Needless to say, even with this onslaught of information, a lot of people are struggling.
I’m not trying to sugar coat this or make it appear that following the below rules will magically solve all your problems, but exercise and healthy relationships help with depression. Depression is linked to drug abuse. Drug abuse correlates with crime.
Maybe, if we can cut through the clutter and find sustainable, productive training programs that make you feel good, we can make the world a better place one pushup at a time.
Here are 21 ways to help you feel better, nourish your body and mind, make more progress in your training, and build better relationships.
1. If you rely on motivation to get things done, you’ll be waiting a long time. Take the first step forward, and action often begets motivation. You can turn a previously negative feedback loop into a positive just by getting started. Simplifying and executing goes a lot further than overcomplicating, overanalyzing, and inaction.
2. Keep showing up. Consistency wins in everything. Remember the tortoise and the hare?
3. If it hurts, don’t do it.
6. Do 5-10 minutes of calisthenics and/or tumbling. Some pushups, bodyweight squats, and lateral squats combined with skipping, high knee running, and carioca steps will do wonders for waking you up, preparing you for a training session, and addressing your joint health.
7. You lose power twice as fast as strength as you age. Keep your power and athleticism by doing 10-15 total reps of jumps and 15-30 of medicine ball drills or kettlebell swings after your warm up. Throw hard, swing fast, and land softly.
8. Understand that the best training volume is 3×52: 3 times per week, 52 weeks per year. (kudos to Tony Gentilcore for that line) Consistency trumps intensity if you want real results.
9. Have a handful of indicator lifts that you use to know you’re continuing to improve. Set 3, 5, 8, and 10 rep records over time.
10. Make sure to include a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise, a single leg exercise, either a squat or hip hinge, and an “anti” core exercise in every training session.
11. Keep your reps in the 5-12 rep range and shoot for around 25 reps for each exercise. 3×8, 4×6, 5×5 are all good options.
12. Focus on keeping tension and perfect technique on every rep of every set. Save 1-2 reps in the tank, almost always.
13. Occasionally let it fly, but only on bodyweight exercises like pushups where the risk is extremely low.
14. Keep the exercises the same for at least 4 weeks and strive to add 1-2 reps or 5 pounds every few weeks. Remember, things don’t progress in a linear fashion forever, and muscle confusion doesn’t exist. Master the basics, get stronger, and the look will follow.
15. Do 5-10 intervals after your strength training sessions. Use a heart rate monitor and go hard for 10-30 seconds, then rest until your heart rate returns to 120-130 beats per minute before going again. If you don’t give yourself adequate rest, you won’t be able to go hard again. Then you won’t be doing intervals anymore. You’ll be jogging.
16. Find activities that you enjoy outside the gym. Hike, bike, surf, play a sport, or whatever. This should be how you get “cardio” in on the other days of the week. It’ll be more a million times more enjoyable and sustainable.
17. Make sure you average 10,000 steps a day. If you fall short on a day, make up for it with a long walk another day. If you follow #17, you’ll start getting this in organically.
18. Eat real food. If it comes in a bag or a box, it’s not real. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs are really hard to overeat and will keep you satiated for longer. There are a million diets out there to follow, but having a nutritional plan rooted in real foods can’t go wrong.
19. Sleep at least 7 hours every night, but try for at least 8. Just one week of getting less than 6 hours a night can drop your testosterone by 20%. Good luck trying to feel good, be mentally on point, or build muscle like that.
20. Stop collecting contacts and start building relationships. Put the phone down and be present. Meditating daily helps me with this. Insight timer and Headspace are great apps to help you if you don’t know where to begin.
21. Be aware of Dunbar’s number, which states that you really only have the capacity to have about 150 stable relationships. With hundreds of thousands of social media “friends” and followers, it’s hard to differentiate sometimes who is who. Be thoughtful about who makes your list of 150 and cut the fat when needed. Sometimes you need to cut the negativity away in order to thrive and move forward.
If you need some direction in your training, sign up for my free newsletter and get a month of Online Performance Coaching on me. Helping you build bigger biceps is cool, but helping you live a better life through training is what I’m in it for.