Never compromise your principles…This concept will always shadow my health and fitnessphilosophy, thanks to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a chubby, out-of-shape politician who somehow is one of my biggest workout influences. Before I carryon, let me non-regretfully admit that I heard him say this while watching his interview with Oprah Winfrey by myself, like Steven Glansberg eating ice cream alone in Superbad.
Having said that, I’ve tried various workout methods over the last few years, such as reps, how heavy and often to lift weights, sets and circuits, and how the hell to go about cardio. As I tried different styles, modifying my routines, I always maintained my FOUR WORKOUT PRINCIPLES.
- 1. NO EXCUSES
- 2. CARDIO BEFORE WEIGHTLIFTING
- 3. BODYWEIGHT STRENGTH
- 4. POUND-FOR-POUND WEIGHTLIFTING
These principles take precedence. They’re the four prerequisites to achieving my workout goals. Read on as I explain each one.
Your mind is your best muscle. Your attitude and mentality must permanently seek fitness success. That starts with saying, “No excuses,” because allowing one excuse leads to allowing several excuses.
Always show up to the gym on the days you say you will, and always get that shit done, no matter what.
There’s no excuse to do nothing. Every time I look for excuses not to workout, I’ll think about those who push through problems worse than mine. When I oversleep my morning workout, I’ll go at night, regardless of the time or my plans the next day. When I fractured my knee and was unable to run or lift lower body for 6 weeks, I still went to the gym and worked my uninjured body parts.
Cardio Before Weightlifting
Looking fit is better than looking just super strong, and that’s why cardio is crucial. I mean CARDIO, like running, stairs or biking. Minimal cardio, such as relying on circuit training or high reps. will knock your ass into worse shape. Those replicas of Humpty Dumpty in the World’s Strongest Man competitions may powerfully push cars forward, but aside from pushing things, they’re not well-mobile people.
If I cannot run 6 miles at a 7:30 minute per mile average, then I increase my cardio routines so I can. (Do what you can for your goals).
About a year ago, I decreased my cardio to once a week, thinking circuit lifting and less rest between sets would make a valid substitute. My gains in benching, squatting, and deadlifting occurred at a much faster rate but meant jack-shit, since my body fat percentage increased correspondingly. REAL CARDIO is the best way to offset getting too bulky as you’re gaining muscle.
I’ve said it before, you’ve probably heard (or read) me say it, and I’ll keep saying it…anyone can push or pull weights, BUT not anyone can push or pull his or her own bodyweight.
You’ll grow bigger muscles through weightlifting, but bodyweight lifts better measure how fit you are. Bodyweight lifts truly grade your strength, because they’re narrowly tailored to you and the power within your body, without any help from anyone or anything. Assistance-based lifts, utilizing benches, machines, seats, spotters or something else I’ll probably dislike, will only tell you what you can push or pull with that amount of help.
If I cannot do 20 straight pull-ups and/or cannot do 60 straight chest-to-floor pushups, then I change my routines so I can.
Surely, it felt great 5 years ago to move around weights while lying down, sitting on something, or through the help of some gym-rat spotter, but BigBerg’s bloated body couldn’t even finish 30 proper pushups.
- Forget soaring through reps of 225lbs on the bench press when you can’t even rep out your own bodyweightthrough pushups. CrossFit athletes, for example, look incredible as they lift a shit ton of weight, while also annihilating all sorts of bodyweight exercises.
Cardio freaks, like myself, face the risk of looking like one of Jigsaw’s scrawny, weak victims from those Saw movies. (I’d beat all of Jigsaw’s traps…I swear to God). Weightlifting is essential to avoid that stick figure physique but in turn may deter cardio.
The solution to weightlifting in a way that maintains your cardio and bodyweight strength is pound-for-pound lifting. Heavy people who lift heavy usually struggle at cardio, while lighter people who strongly lift in relation to their bodyweight can improve weightlifting while maintaining cardio.
Produce gains while weighing no more than 165lbs, or else change the routines. (Pick a maximum bodyweight that works for your goals and is in accordance with your body type, since everyone’s body works and develops differently).
I picked 165lbs, because that’s the heaviest I can weigh without harming my cardio goals. It is indeed harder to make gains lifting this way, but the results are golden.
As you piece together your own workout programs, know your goals and the principles needed to achieve them. Stick with those principles, do not compromise them, and it will be worth it!
Keep it up and see you next time – LeanBerg
Twitter/Instagram (if you dare) ~ @lean_berg
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