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Never Have a Bad Workout Again

Workout

Guest Post By Dave Bonollo

Here’s why workouts are like sex and how my Ladder of Workout Awesomeness  will ensure you never have a bad workout again.

How many times have you had bad sex? If you consider the alternative of not having sex, even bad sex is still pretty damn good.

Now let me ask you: how many times have you had a bad workout?

Odds are this number is considerably higher. I’d argue it’s more frustrating than not getting any. Don’t lie. You’ve considered quitting the gym after plateauing for a while.  I know I have.

Then I go on Instagram and I see someone crushing a PR. It’s almost like everyone in the world is crushing it every day.

Workout

What’s A Bad Gym Session?

Before prescribing the cure, let’s first diagnose the disease. What exactly is a bad gym session?

Did you miss a PR?

Was your energy nonexistent?

Were you sucking wind more than usual?

Each of these things can put a damper on a pretty sweet gym session. Put them together and you might as well pack it up and consider the day a waste.

The truth is you can’t kill it every day in the gym; some days are just going to suck.


P.S.
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workoutAcceptance is the first step.  The next step is to define what a good workout is.

Hitting a PR? Lifting more than last time? Never-ending energy?

If these were the only criteria for a good workout, I’d only have two or three awesome workouts a month.  That wouldn’t have been enough to keep me working out hard for more than ten years.

An awesome workout and a bad workout, like everything else, are based on perception and perspective.

These days, I have only awesome workouts.  I don’t hit a PR every day, and that includes when I was recovering from back surgery hoisting those hefty 25’s.

I chose to look at my workouts like sex. Even a bad workout is better than no workout.

PR or Bust?

Using PRs is the obvious go-to for progress checking. It’s pretty badass when you push yourself further than you have ever gone before.

It’s also one of the hardest to achieve. It’s like trying to score an 80-yard touchdown every carry. You need to lay down some two-to-three-yard gains to set up that 80-yarder.

When you start working out you, racking up PR’s is easy. I mean, it’s easy since your previous PR was what? Zero? Don’t get me wrong. Focusing on PRs is a good way to stay motivated in the beginning, but it shouldn’t be the basis of an awesome workout once you have been lifting for awhile.

 

workoutIf you can hit a PR once or twice a month, then you’re trending in the right direction. 

And that doesn’t have to be a 1-rep PR. That could be a 5-rep PR or a 10-rep PR. Any progress is good progress.

Getting frustrated with your progress at the gym doesn’t do anyone any good.  

Reframe how you judge the awesomeness of your workout.

Perception is everything. If you have a crappy outlook, then everything will be crappy. 

If you look at your workouts in a different light…
…then workouts and sex belong in the same category of awesomeness.

As they should. They were for Arnold.

Here is how to reframe your perception.

The Ladder of Workout Awesomeness  Explained

If setting PR’s and lifting more than last time is your only criteria for a good workout, I wish you the best. You’re going to be one unhappy mofo.

It all comes down to measuring progress. Did you get better than last time? But there’s more to progress than PRs.

I introduce to you the Ladder of Workout Awesomeness (Cue the trumpets.)

The Ladder of Workout Awesomeness™  is:

Personal Record (PR): You’ve accomplished something you’ve never done, like a 405-pound deadlift.
Here’s a simple formula to ramp up to a new max.  

Weight: You increased the amount of weight lifted

Volume: You increased the number of reps.

Frequency: You worked out more often, such as moving from three workouts to four in a week.

Form: You stopped rounding your back on deadlifts. Score!

Did You Show Up? Consistency is the most important factor for transforming your physique.

The Ladder Of Workout Awesomeness Explained

This ladder works like every other ladder on the planet. You start at the bottom.

Did you show up? If you did, you had a good workout. This means you didn’t die last night. This is huge. Most people can’t muster enough motivation to get to the gym. But you did. Someone is looking for a gold star for the day.

Now I know you might be thinking that’s like giving everyone a ribbon for participating but keep in mind that most people don’t participate. They’re too busy thinking of excuses and rationalizing not going to the gym. You didn’t. That’s a huge win.

workout

Form. You can never go wrong when focusing on form. It’s the most important thing keeping you out of the ER. Good form takes practice; lots and lots of practice. Even if you could do a power clean in your sleep, a little practice now and then will help you when you need it most. If you can progress your form, you’ll be doing your future self a huge service.

Frequency. After having good form, did you make it to the gym more this week than last week? Did you do two back workouts in one week? That’s progress. I bet you weren’t crushing two back workouts in a week a few months ago.

Volume. Are you doing 4 sets of 10 now? But isn’t that the weight you were doing 3 set of 10 last week? Adding an extra set or hammering out a few more reps than you did last week is all progress. Revel in it.

Weight. A numerical representation of progress that we showcase on social media. Adding more weight to the bar is tough to do. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 pounds or 50 pounds, progress is progress. Congrats bruh, you are in the upper echelon of awesome gym sessions.

PR. Let the euphoria of the PR wash over you as you post this on social media. Remember it’s not bragging if it’s true. You have reached the pinnacle of gym achievements. If you can lift more than you ever have in any lift, celebrate that shit.

The Takeaway

Excitement mounts as you go up the ladder. Personal records may get all the Instagram likes, but don’t forget about the factors that lead to your success.
First, you need to show up. Then, you may need to train more often, use more volume and add weight to the bar before going for personal records.

Once you ingrain these habits you’ll be well on your way to never having bad workouts again.

Read more about what to do once you get to the gym in my free Plateau Busting Cheat Sheet. <<<=== Download Now

About the Author

When not hating on the New England Patriots, Dave Bonollo is a fitness writer and Online Coach at Aesthetic-Physiques.com. He enjoys beer pong, his deadlifts heavy, and his shirts one size too small.

 

Seven Secrets For Early Morning Workouts

I’ve been there before. Work is insane and you’re schedule is spiraling out of control. No longer is your 6 p.m. workout feasible, there’s too much too going on. Heck, even when you leave for the gym your phone rings.

And rings. And rings.

You grab your bag, slide your shoes on, and head back for another meeting and another “emergency” that’s taking precedent over your health and wellness.

There’s no choice—you need to train in the morning.

Training before sunrise is never ideal. You’re tired, stiff, and trying to comprehend the hieroglyphic numbers on your digital clock.

 

early morning
Rise and Grind!

But we don’t live in a perfect world—if you don’t train first thing in the morning you’ll never get it done. As an early riser these seven tips have helped me make the transition to morning workouts.

1.)  Get Up ASAP

If you hit snooze you’re as good as done. Get up and get on your feet immediately. The longer you delay getting up the more difficult the workout will be.

Bonus: If you get up before you alarm and it’s within 30 minutes suck it up and get going. You’ll be drowsy if you wait.

2.)  Warm Water+ Black Coffee

One the fastest ways to wake up your body is hydration.The other? Caffeine!

Sleep leaves us six to eight hours without water consumption, putting the body into a mild state of dehydration. Dehydration is detrimental to training with high quality workouts, so it’s it’s imperative to rehydrate rapidly. I opt for warm water because it’s easier to drink and will boosts your internal temperature. After 20-40 ounces of water it’s time to ramp things up with coffee– hold the creamer. You’ll never need  to drop $40 on a fancy pre-workout drink, coffee is the go-to.

 

Coffee is key for early morning workouts
Coffee: The only pre-workout you need

3.)  Stand-Up

Getting up and moving is vital to working out in the A.M.  During sleep the spine decompresses, allowing the intervertebral disks to collect water, increasing stiffness in the spine.

And it’s not a good thing.

Standing up and moving will disperse the over-hydration and stiffness of the spine, allowing the spine to move more effectively and safely during training. Be up for an hour before spinal loading and warm-up thoroughly.

Bonus: If you’re workout includes squats and/or deadlifts consider performing a few exercises before at low intensity. Stability ball hamstring curls are a good option.

4.) Wear Layers

Maybe it’s the result of  living in Wisconsin and Colorado for last 20 years, but wearing layers ais essential to your warm-up.  After sleeping you’re muscles and joints are stiff and tight—not ideal for a workout. Added layers before your workout will increase core and ligament temperature to speed up your warm-up and improve workout quality.

Bonus: If you’re driving to the gym crank on the heat. I do this all times of the year for early morning workouts.

5.) Feast at night

If you’re able to feast at 4am more power to you, but most don’t do well with a full-belly during an intense workout. Instead, eat a big meal at night. Your carbohydrate stores won’t disappear while you sleep, they’ll be waiting for you in the morning.

A morning shake is doable for most, but keep it light.

Here’s my latest Creation:

6.) Go to Sleep Earlier

No brainer—right?

If you’re getting up an hour or two early you need to adjust your sleep patterns. You might get away with less than six hours/night for a few days, but doing so consistently will yield bad training sessions and poor recovery. Get at least six hours and adjust your schedule as needed.

Bonus: Struggling with sleep? Hack your Sleep here.

7.) Extended Warm-Up

Later in the day I dedicate 10-12 minutes to a solid dynamic warm-up, but morning requires a bit more time. Opt for 12-15 minutes of dynamic drills and movement prep early in the day. An extra 2-5 minutes isn’t much too ask for and it’s better than six weeks of bird-dogs, manual therapy, and a rickety low-back.

Wrap Up

Pre-dawn workouts are tough, but implementing these tips will get you training consistently regardless of your schedule. Get up early and take control by “doing you” first; you’ll set positive tone and seize the day.

Find this post helpful? Get the latest updates with Bach Performance here!

 

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IMG_0751

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15 Minute Fix: Morning productivity

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.  ~Richard Whately

So why not maximize your morning from the beginning?

Start with a crummy morning, you’ll have a dreadful day. Brew a few dreadful days together and you’re messing with a recipe for a shitty life.

Screw that.

With simple steps and daily practice you can make mornings productive and even enjoyable.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/voglesonger/2172138920/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/voglesonger/2172138920/

What’s the recipe for a crummy, shit-tastic morning?

It starts with the piercing noise spewing from your alarm clock.

Slowly rolling over, you blindly throw your hand at the snooze button, only to miss and smash your numb hand on the nightstand.

Fantastic.

Clenching the covers in your aching fists, you roll back over and attempt 15 minutes of shut-eye.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Great.

Stumbling your way to the kitchen you struggle to find your balance, and shock your eye-balls with bright light.

You make a shitty pot of coffee and slop down a shitty bowl of sugary multi-colored cereal (heart healthy by the way). Glancing up from your bitter coffee and sugar-bomb cereal you squint at the florescent-lighted microwave clock. “Shit”, you rush to your closet throwing on clothes that fit the “casual” criteria, and sprint out the door.

Time for day of doing un-rewarding things you don’t want to do. Awesome.

 

“But Eric, I don’t have time for anything in the morning.”

I hear you, but that’s bullshit.

Take 15 minutes in the morning (yes, you have 15 minutes) you can prime your muscles and mind, build a healthy muscle building breakfast, and set the table for an awesome day.

The First Few Minutes

-Get up right away, even if you wake up before your alarm. Your sleep cycle has ended and smacking the “snooze” will prolong your sleepiness. Pick a relaxing alarm, such as rain or crashing waves.

– Drink a large glass of cold water. You just spent 6-8 hours (hopefully) sleeping. 6-8 hours without fluids leaves you groggy and dried out like a raisin. Slugging down a large class of water re-hydrates your body, jacks up your metabolism, and gets your body rejuvenated for the day ahead.

– Turn the lights on immediately. Light turns off melatonin production, helping you wake faster. Start your coffee, tea, or warm beverage of choice.

Wake up your Body

-While your beverage is brewing use this time to get the blood flowing with a short workout.

Try This

1a. Push-Up x12 reps

1b. Plank x30 seconds

1c. Push-Up x10 Reps

1d. Body Weight Squat x12

1e.Bodyweight Reverse Lunge x6/leg

Feed The Machine

While sipping your coffee, whip together a healthy, muscle building super-shake.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/36933654@N00/7986327244/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/36933654@N00/7986327244/

Eat This

-In a blender mix the following

-1 scoop vanilla protein

-1 cup blueberries

-1 cup cottage cheese

-1 cup spinach

Optional: Water or a few ice cubes.

Enjoy your coffee. Then, get dressed, grab your supershake, and head out the door.

 What To Avoid

–      Avoid your email/social media. Waking up right away to check your email, creep on Facebook, or tweet #’s wastes time.

 

Ready to Maximize your morning?

We all have the same amount of time, how enjoyable that time is remains up to you. Take control of it and maximize your morning productivity. Setting your morning off right takes a little bit of knowledge and willpower. Will you take advantage?

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius

 

 

photo credit: cvogle via photopin cc

photo credit: ad454 via photopin cc

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