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Be Simple, Be Effective

Why are the following points so important?

Because they're very basic, simple guidelines to follow that WILL YIELD RESULTS.

But hey, guess what?! There are like, a billion other dope guidelines to follow other than the ones below, dude. It's impossible to compile them all. I've doubtless left out ones that are even more important. Seriously, I've thought of like, 4 more just while writing this. And I wanted to change the article, but that would just be ridiculous (**See below: DON'T OBSESS**). Sigh. Such is life.


Continue scrolling under the graphic for an in-depth look into a few key break-downs.

Exercise Do's & Don'ts

The Pairs

1) Be Consistent // DO NOT QUIT!

This rule could alternatively be called "Stop Making Excuses for Yourself". This is the most important and obvious rule, but I think it might just be a little too obvious... Because it seems to be ignored and taken for granted all the time. Don't worry about your macros, or tendonitis, or genetics. If you don't do stuff regularly, no measurable stuff will happen to your body (yes, I used stuff to replace a more aggressive word). Period.

There's nothing that will kill progress, hopes and dreams more quickly and effectively than stopping. The act of giving up, especially before it's actually warranted, is the #1 reason for lack of results, frustration, and then resentment for any future training. Conversely, consistency is the lynchpin of every fitness venture. You can get into any and every program or trend that's out there, but if you never stick to it, you'll only flounder (further read: Your Program Doesn't Matter). Working with a trainer can get you into insane shape. But not if you consistently find reasons to cancel. There's a reason why marathon runners don't pull off sub 4-hour times without many, many hours and months of training. CrossFit Games competitors don't get there by doing pullups and deadlifts once a week (look up some of these people; their physiques will draw your admiration).

Step 1: Start something.

Step 2: Make that something an integral part of your week, month, and year.

Step 3: When it gets hard, figure out a way to adjust or compromise if need be. But don't stop.

2) Make it fun 80/20 // DON’T DO WHAT YOU HATE (Or learn to love it)!

The #1 constant for exercise adherence (aka consistency, per the rule above) is enjoyment. This one, as well, should be obvious. Why wouldn’t we want to have fun? Kids don’t need to be told to do this (up to a certain age, at least). They do what they enjoy, whether that be playing sports, hopscotch, playground games, running around aimlessly. But as adults, for some reason we feel we need to torture ourselves because our friends or society at large has unconsciously guilt-tripped or peer-pressured us into doing what others enjoy. What do I mean? I’ll answer with a question. Do you, or anyone you know, treat exercising as a chore? Do you complain about it (or even just a part of it)? I thought maybe. This is a good sign that whatever you’re complaining about might not be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you hate just about every physical activity you’ve ever tried, you either need to keep looking, or it could be that you’ve conditioned yourself to dislike all hard physical exertion.

This is not a joke. We’re lazier now than we’ve ever been. “Sweating and breathing hard is like, so plebeian.” (But I’m not worried about you being in this crowd. You wouldn’t be here if you hated all movement.)

At least 80%, if not 90%, of my “exercise” is lifting weights. I just love to lift things and throw sh*t around. I also quite enjoy playing sports, so when the opportunities arise, I like to add that in to my week when I can. But I absolutely hate endurance cycling. In the name of everything holy, don't make me do it. And, as good as I am at making my clients do interval work because of its benefits, I’m pretty bad at making myself do it.

So I avoid biking. But I *try* to make myself get some interval work in, even if I’m not perfect, because it may not be my favorite work to do, but I don’t grimace at the thought of it. More importantly, I can live with the limited moments of discomfort because I know the value outweighs it. (Plus, weirdly enough, I actually enjoy interval work once I've started... It's just the dread of beginning that stops me. On the other hand, I never enjoy cycling).

I'm that guy on the left

What do you enjoy? Start there.

3) Stretch After // DON’T BE A BROKEN RECORD!

Alright, these two might not have the most in common, but they’re both important in their own right. Simply put, the old days of static stretching (“One Mississippi, Two Miss…”) before a workout are over. Warming up should be a gradual process, gentle at first and then more vigorous as you near your Big Boy or Big Girl work. Dynamic, active stretching is good. There are numerous resources and videos for this on the web, so there’s really no excuse anymore for continuing our slow-to-die habits. Simple warm-up guidelines:

1) Elevate the heart rate

2) Specifically prepare the body for the movements you’ll be doing in your Big Boy/Girl work (grease the wheels)

3) Start light and slow, progress to heavy and faster.

4) Prep the core.

This is general, but effective. AFTER your Big Boy/Girl work is when you hold your 30-second stretches.

Now, for the DON’T. Caveat: This rule only applies for those looking for better overall fitness. If you want to be a long-distance runner, soccer player, Olympic lifter, etc., you better be a broken record with your training, or you won’t be able to reach the specific level of expertise required for your passion.

I mentioned above that 80-90% of my workouts are weightlifting. While this may seem repetitive, it really isn’t. Now, if I did the same 5 exercises, with the same set-rep scheme without any progressions or regressions for a matter of weeks, months, or years, that certainly would be redundant. That’s a broken record. But changing all the many variables in the weight room keeps it fresh. (Side note: weightlifting and strength training in general happen to be some of the best all-around fitness-building methods known to human kind. So even if you, like me, are predominantly a weightlifter, don’t fear. You chose a good outlet!)

Another broken record:

Monday: Run 10 miles

Tuesday: Run 10 miles

Wednesday: Run 10 miles


Congrats! You’re going to: a) be a great 10-mile runner (assuming you actually push yourself hard) or b) suffer from overuse/repetitive motion injuries. The same can be said for swimming, doing the same lifts in the gym, walking, jumping rope, etc. The general message here is that if you want great overall fitness, you need to check all the boxes. Power, strength, endurance, stability, balance, cardiac output capacity, mobility, flexibility, speed, agility, etc. Some of these aren’t applicable for all (i.e. my joint replacement peeps), and others yet may already be sufficiently proficient in one or more areas (i.e. my bendy yogis) but we all need to hit the marks that our bodies allow us.

4) Challenge Yourself // DON’T OBSESS

Let’s look a bit more at our above runner example by illuminating through contrasting. Runner A and Runner B both run 10 miles a day, every day. Both runners also have the same capacity for work, meaning at their fastest clips, they would both have the exact same 1-mile and 10-mile time (this would never really happen, but it serves our purposes). So far, so good, and so equal.

Runner A runs at a 10:00 minute/mile pace, fairly comfortably but still getting a “good sweat”. Runner B, however, runs at a 9:52 pace, pushing to about 9:40 for her last mile (these are amateur runners, so all you career runners out there can knock it off with your nubie-pacing comments). She can’t tell you how she feels at the end because she’s quite out of breath and panting heavily. So, who challenged herself more? Runner B. Who will reap the most rewards? Runner B. Is this oversimplified? Yes ma'am. But the general concept stands: If you don’t push yourself, you won’t grow (in whatever capacity it is you wish you grow).

One of my biggest values as a coach, as I’ve found time and time again, is helping people push themselves and learn their true limits.

I can’t begin to recount how many times someone has told me:

“Yeah, these 15 lb. dumbbells feel pretty good.”

At which point I'll say:

"Cool. Take these 20’s.”

"Pretty good" isn't what we're after. Don’t sell yourself short.

Now, the negative to this rule, DON’T OBSESS, is so important but so vague that it can be applied nearly anywhere and everywhere. If we wanted, we could obsess over EVERYTHING, and it would get us nowhere except likely in the wrong direction. To simplify, here are just a few things that we could obsess over, but shouldn’t:

  • Your exact mile pace

  • The exact weight you lifted this week compared to last week

  • Perfect consistency (it’s OK to lapse every now and again, as long as you get back to it)

  • Exact macro ratios

  • Any sort of perfection, extremeness, or exactness

It’s OK to not consistently improve 100% of the time. It’s also OK, and prudent, to take breaks every once in a while. What we're looking for are good habits and good trends, not absolutes. Show yourself some love but not micromanaging your own fitness life.

5) Be Holistic // DON’T IGNORE YOUR DIET

Straightforward, yes, as with everything else on this list. But maybe the hardest for people to do. Who the hell am I kidding. Definitely the hardest for people to do. Take the cliches “Muscles are made while you sleep” and “Abs are made in the kitchen”. Both annoying. Both pretty accurate. The point is that most of us think of fitness and wellbeing strictly as the actual working out part. It’s important, no doubt. But so is what we eat and how we treat our bodies the rest of our time on earth.

Sleep is indispensable. It’s 100% more important than working out. Maybe not for putting on muscle, but for living a high-quality, energetic and full life? You betcha. Same with what you eat. Same with dealing with stress. Same with having healthy relationships with others and yourself. All of these habits are learned skills, and have great bearing on your overall wellness (whatever that word even means nowadays).

I highlight DON’T IGNORE YOUR DIET because what you eat and drink can have some of the most direct impact on all these other components of health (especially if you’re trying to gain or lose weight or alter body composition), and it often is the weak link for many struggling to get their bodies where they want to be. A strict diet of weightlifting, yoga and HIIT don’t mean nothin’ if you follow it up with Twinkies, Rice-a-Roni and Taco Bell. But it doesn’t stop there. This faux-food can affect your sleep, how your brain works, and how your body deals with stress. That’s pretty big. So start taking seriously the food and drink items you shove down your gullet on a daily and weekly basis.


When in doubt, remember rule # 1: Be consistent, and don't you ever quit.

With love and a huge thumbs up,

Coach Chris & The House

One of the most despicable characters in one of the best movies ever, just sayin'.

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