There’s a big secret that supplement companies and publishers in the fitness industry don’t want you to know. No it’s not a miracle supplement or formula for getting strong, and nor is it a great training programme that’s guaranteed to get you in great shape at once. There are no silver bullets when it comes to exercise and that’s part of the secret. To put it succinctly, the big secret regarding fitness, health and staying in shape in general is that it’s easy. That might sound like a bit of a sweeping statement or an over-generalisation, but 99% of the time it’s also completely accurate.
So what is meant by the term ‘easy’? That is to say that right now, with the information you know and the items in your fridge, you could easily start getting into shape. If you didn’t read another word on fitness or bodybuilding and never bought a supplement then whoever you are you could still have a six pack in a year’s time. Bodybuilding and fitness is so easy that you already know practically everything you need to know to have a basic and modestly impressive level of achievement not long from now.
Let’s look at the facts; what we know about staying in shape. First of all we know that repetitive motions in while experiencing resistance – holding a weight for example while performing curls – will cause our muscles to grow. Similarly we can achieve the same affect by using our own bodyweight as the resistance, performing press ups or pull ups. This works by tearing the fibres in the muscle which grow back thicker, but that’s not really important. In order to start gaining muscle we simply need to start doing these resistance movements.
At the same time we can feel when these repetitions are working as it should hurt. Basically while we might be looking for a way to gain strength without feeling the burn, we know deep down that the main way to build up our strength is by causing that burn purposefully. You then wait until that pain has gone away over the course of the week or a couple of days (depending on the intensity) to start working out that muscle group again.
We also know that we should eat a lot of protein in order to convert that hard work into muscle. This works by supplying our body with the amino acids it will use to rebuild the muscle fibres and make them thicker, but again – that’s not important. Finally we know about weight loss, and we know that all it takes is continuous aerobic/cardiovascular exercise such as running or swimming performed for an adequate amount of time which will cause our bodies to ‘burn’ fat. This coupled with a lower intake of calories will mean that we have a ‘calorie deficit’ so that more is going out than going in; and we will therefore lose weight.
It’s not rocket science and it’s something that we’re all familiar with. Sure there are additional pieces of information that can help improve our progress. For example when weightlifting it’s greatly beneficial to use a system of sets and repetitions with rests in between. However even this isn’t crucial in order to at least get started. Meanwhile a protein shake will help you grow muscle a lot more rapidly, but again you can achieve the same thing with a little more time without using one.
And yet it’s not uncommon to find people who have no weightlifting experience trying out new and fandangled training programmes that involve crazy splits between workouts and unusual movements. They think that this will ‘cure’ their bad shape and so they start out following it to the letter and get disheartened after a week. Worse are those people who decide they’re going to wait to start training until they’ve ‘learned everything’ or until they’ve found a good programme. Other people make other excuses like they can’t afford a protein shake, or they don’t have a gym membership. And so they wait until they do, and then blame the gym for their failure. Other people claim they don’t have time, and yet somehow find time to read up on reams of information regarding exercising – that’s the time they could have spent actually working out.
Theory is find to a point, but not in the place of action, especially when working out which is completely dependent on you actually doing what you need to. The sad fact is that most people who make excuses or research without making any gains are actually just stalling. They don’t really want to put in the hard work involved in getting into shape and so they look for an easy route, or put off the start of their programme by reading up on every minute detail of the biology behind the gym. This then of course results in them getting nowhere and with only themselves to blame.
So you want to start getting into shape? Great! Then stop reading now and start lifting things, anything, until it hurts. Then do this five times a week for the next year. That’s what it takes, that’s all it takes. Stop deluding yourself or blaming outside factors and just get to work.