The devil is in the details.
It’s a saying we’ve all heard in the past and one that holds true in many situations, including training and living a healthy lifestyle.
There is no real secret to reaching your fitness goals, I have never been one to offer my clients the “one easy way to get six-pack abs,” or promise them that they will see drastic changes overnight. The truth of the matter is, like everything in life, it takes hard work, determination, and sacrifice to achieve any goal you have.
I cannot tell you how many people I have seen over my years as a fitness coach who have set goals and dedicated themselves to reaching them, but wind up falling short because they do not pay attention to the little things. You may have a perfect diet, go to the gym and train several times a week, but if you skimp on the details and take shortcuts in certain areas, you will not be the best version of yourself you can be.
Here are some of the minor, but most important, details and habits that will influence your training and life on an everyday basis:
Keep track of your progress.
Keeping track of your progress is something that can benefit any person who trains. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner, making sure you are improving on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis is something that will inspire you, even when the physical changes are not immediately visible. It doesn’t take a lot of effort either. Bring a notebook with you to the gym or download one of the handfuls of fitness tracker apps that can record your progress regularly. You should always be aiming to improve yourself every time you pick up a weight, perform a set, or go on a run.
This also applies to the changes your body will undergo. Write down your progress and set goals for yourself each and every week. In addition to that, take photographs of yourself every month and compare them. You will be surprised in the physical changes your body undergoes during that time period, especially because it is difficult to notice when you look at yourself in the mirror each day.
Making sure your body has enough time to recuperate after training is important and the road to recovery begins every night when you get into bed. The minimum amount of sleep I recommend to clients is seven hours a night. While you are sleeping your body is rebuilding the damaged muscles and is using stored energy (fat) to do so. While you are sleeping your body is also releasing hormones to help promote muscle growth and getting enough sleep will ensure that you do not need extra fuel (read: food) during the following day.
A proper sleep schedule will not only enhance your training and progress but also your mental well-being as well.
I know, this seems like a load of you-know-what, but breathing is one of the most important – and overlooked – aspects of a training routine.
The proper way to breathe is in through your nose and out through your mouth, not taking big gasps of air after a particularly strenuous set. Forgive me for being gross, but there is a bit of elementary science behind the proper breathing technique. Our noses have hairs on the inside which are meant to catch dirt molecules that are carried through the air and prevent them from getting inside our bodies and into our lungs. If we breathe through our mouth, not only are we getting dirty air inside our body, but much more of it as well.
You should repeat the breathing process on every rep in order to keep oxygen in your bloodstream as your body sends blood to your muscles to keep them energized as well as promoting recovery and growth.
Always stretch, foam roll and warm up.
I have covered this topic before and I continue to stress it on a daily basis with my clients. Stretching, foam rolling, and warming up are all imperative to safe, effective and efficient training. The same way breathing properly ensures that you get enough oxygen into the bloodstream, performing an adequate pre-workout routine will increase the blood flow to your muscle groups and help reduce fatigue and the risk of injury.
A proper pre-workout routine takes no more than five or ten minutes and can mean the difference between a safe training session and being sidelined for several weeks with an injury or developing a chronic issue.
If you practice these four tips in life and implement them when training, you will see a difference in both your physical and mental health and well-being. It’s the little things that often keep us from breaking through plateaus and making the jump from ordinary to extraordinary.
Call us to find out more information or to Reserve your spot for one of our group training session at 917-432-9418.