When did the training process get so complicated? I can see why someone on the outside looking in might be confused. I mean you have P90X, CrossFit, Zumba, Pilates, Cardio Kickboxing, Spinning, and the list goes on and on.
Sure, this might be a good thing, a bunch of options means that you are likely to find a form of exercise that you enjoy, and if you enjoy it you are more likely to stick with it. However, in this land of "muscle confusion" and "metabolic conditioning", the basics still remain the best choices.
The fact is you do not need a billion different exercises to get stronger. The best powerlifters I know thrive on the squat, bench press, and deadlift, and a bit of supplementary work. I know of many Olympic style weightlifting programs that utilize about 6 exercises. The key to getting stronger is to work the basics, and work them HARD!
The bodybuilders I know tend to keep things basic as well. When I look at their training programs I see about 8-10 primary exercises that make up the bulk of their training programs. Not "muscle confusion"
Competitive athletes tend to use very few exercises in their strength and conditioning programs as well.
The main point here is the fewer working parts, the better. It's easier to analyze what is or isn't working when you only have a few items to deal with.
Most fitness people I know just want to be healthy, and possess a lean physique with low levels of body-fat. Do you want the fastest route to that goal? Here's the secret:
- clean up your diet - the best way to lose body-fat is through a clean healthy diet
- lift weights - nothing builds and tones muscle like a free-weight program consisting of the basic movements
- do your cardio - there's a reason bodybuilders do a lot of cardio, it works.
The most important thing to remember when working to accomplish your health and fitness goal is to be consistent. Focus on clean nutrition daily, if you get off track just get back on track at the next meal. If you're driving down the road and get a flat tire, do you jump out of your car and deflate the other three tires, or do you fix the flat and move on? Treat your nutrition the same way! Exercise daily.
If you are just looking to get healthy and lean up, do your strength training one day and cardio the next and keep alternating with one day off a week - that gives you three strength training sessions and three cardio sessions you are responsible for each week which represents about 4 1/2 - 6 hours of exercise weekly. If you cannot fit this into your schedule you need to seriously re-prioritize things.
Now, if you want to take things a step further, and try doing a billion and one exercises, the latest MetCon fads, or whatever else strikes your fancy, you are more than welcome to. However, if you are like most people, you'll find your way back to the basics eventually!
“Before I studied the art, a punch was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I studied the art, a punch is no longer a punch, a kick is no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick is just like a kick.” -Bruce Lee
Stay Strong AND Healthy!