Home Blog Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 34

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 34

Written on February 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm, by Eric Cressey

In this week’s installment, Greg Robins has five tips you can immediately apply to your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.

1. Add resistance bands to common exercises for variety.

2. Always cook more than you need.

As part of my efforts to help our adult boot camp clients, I talk to them pretty regularly about nutrition. In some cases, I will review a 3-day food log for them. Here is a scenario I encounter every time. I’m not kidding – every single time.

Meal 1: sucks
Meal 2: sucks
Meal 3: a solid, balanced dinner

This goes on for the next two days as well. I get it,; they are busy parents and dinner is the ideal time to actually cook something of quality. By the time I go to the point of food log review we have already discussed the importance of food preparation. Additionally, every class member receives a hand out on his or her first day that touches upon food preparation’s importance. From here, I go on to explain a simple strategy, – one that most everyone can benefit from.

Each time you cook, do so for 2-3 more people than you plan on serving that night. If you don’t have the time, or just don’t want to dedicate a set time to food prep, then do it little by little. Double recipes, cook a few extra pieces of meat; steam an extra few bags of veggies. As soon as you’re done cooking, store the extra in your fridge. If you consistently do this, you should have a plethora of ready to go meals, random raw ingredients, and no reason to have two meals of suck anymore. Easy!

3. Remember that inefficiency can be productive.

Ever notice how often you receive conflicting information from fitness industry experts? It’s pretty prevalent. This is mainly the product of people effectively taking stances to make their products and articles more appealing. For example, one person says squatting is bad, and another says it’s the key to everything. Likewise, the sit-up has been put through the ringer numerous times. Many great coaches are all about doing them; others tell you they are as dangerous as blindfolded racecar driving.

If more readers took the time to examine the information, and less time spreading the information solely based on who delivered it, this would help lessen the confusion. Why?

         Different information is applicable to different populations!

One point I constantly see debated is the one on efficiency, mainly in terms of exercise selection within programming. Sometimes being INEFFICIENT is actually incredibly productive. Take these two examples into consideration next time you think out the programming of yourself or those you train.

A) Pairing competing exercises

People are quick to make sure that paired exercises don’t compete with one another. However, sometimes an inefficient pairing will help your cause. In the case of hypertrophy this is definitely the case, albeit not always the case. If you want to target a certain muscle group, consider pairing two exercises that do essentially the same thing. For example, bench press followed by push-ups, or pull-ups followed by the band pullapart.

The level of fatigue you cause doing this can actually be productive, especially when an all out assault on the muscles in question is your MO.

B) Fat Loss Exercises Selection

In large part, fat loss programming should be about being inefficient. The idea is to cause a great amount of metabolic disturbance. What better way to do this than by making the body work much harder than it normally would? An extra 30-minute walk a day is a great way to burn extra calories. It’s even better when you wear a 15lb weight vest.

Take into account what you are trying to accomplish with your training. After doing so, evaluate if being inefficient (and safe!) from time to time might be productive. Many times, it is!

4. Try the 1-leg dumbbell pullover.

In this post a few weeks ago, Eric talked about how valuable an exercise the pullover is.  Today, I’ve got a good progression for you:

5. Don’t assume athletes have the same goals, if any at all.

It’s pretty common practice when working with general population fitness clients to discuss goal setting. Many personal trainers make a point to monitor goals, and coach people on how to set them. For some reason, very few strength and conditioning coaches talk to their athletes about goal setting. Recently, I stumbled upon this research done at the University of Illinois, and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The study examined the relationship between having an effort goal and self-regulatory efficacy (SRE) beliefs in Division I football players. Self-efficacy is your ability to regulate how you feel in terms of accomplishing tasks and goals. A person with high self-efficacy believes they are capable of whatever they want to accomplish. Furthermore, they are more likely to approach difficulties with a fire to overcome them, rather than avoid them.

I am a huge advocate of stressing the human element associated with fitness and nutrition related success, or lack there of. Naturally, this study appealed to me right away. Interestingly enough, student athletes who met the criterion for having an effort goal had much better SRE. Additionally, as the magnitude of their goal increased, so did their SRE rating.

We can all learn something from this study. First, just having well defined goals (whether they are practical or not) boosts a person’s self-efficacy. So, the next time you want to shut a kid down who has a dream, don’t. Instead, get him talking about it!

Next, make it a point to ask kids about their goals. If they have them, you should know about them. It’s not enough to assume they are training for the same reason as the kid next to them. This brings me to my final point: some kids won’t have goals. I bet there aren’t many kids at the gym who truly “don’t want to be there.” They just have no clue why they are there. Give them direction and help them set goals!

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  • phil

    very rare that I can find anything fitness related on the internet these days that isn’t only wrong but isn’t also bat shit crazy. Eric Cressey is alaways a reliable solution and it’s obvious that he’s a great judge of talent.
    Thank you for an awesome article, looking forward to more.

  • Guys, awesome stuff! Love it and thank you!!

  • Ted

    Very good points on goal setting.

  • Barry C.

    As much as I disagree with a lot of the programing (or non-programing) of the Crossfit style workout, I think you hit the nail on the head with respect to it creating a “metabolic disturbance”. I think it is effective for fat loss but as you mentioned, I question how “safe” it is.

  • Good stuff!

    I travel to a different gym at least once a week to workout and a common thread in too many of them seem to be DBs that don’t go heavy enough. I always have my bands with me for this very reason.

    Loved the variation of the pullover!

  • Thanks, Phil! This one is all Greg, though! 🙂

  • Drew

    Hey Greg, always love reading the installments. I know you guys have your own nutrition program, but do you have any insight on where to find other quality handouts on food prep/nutrition. I am starting from scratch at a new facility as the head of strength and conditioning/education and don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

  • The goal setting section was so right. I train kids for sports who don’t really understand at first why they are training. They see pro athletes training and they want to do it too without understanding what end result they want to see. Getting them talking about it is definitely the right move. I find that it is infectious with kids, especially in small group classes that we run. They talk about what they want amongst themselves, compare and push each other. Good stuff Eric.

  • Great point with #3! I think the general population is so confused with examples like the sit-up being good then bad then good again etc. Very important to emphasize that it really depends on the client, and the goal and their situation. Thanks!

  • Another great post, Greg.

    I love the tip on cooking in bulk. It really helps when you’re strapped for time and need some food on the go.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jake

  • Awesome post guys! The portion regarding the band pull-apart and the use of a foam roller is phenomenal.
    Thanks,
    Eric

  • Good stuff.


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