What’s in your tool box?

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I’ve worked with 3 different construction crews through my high school and college career. While there were many differences in how the crews were ran and the styles of buildings we built, every single one of them had one thing in common. A well stocked tool box.

We had tools to do any type of job we could get hired for. If we didn’t have the necessary tool, we got it because that’s what it took to get the job done.

When it comes to training and nutrition we all had different tool boxes. Some peoples tool boxes are nearly empty, believing that their way of doing things is the only correct way, while others have such a variety of tools that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

When aerobics were first introduced to the world it was hailed as the end all-be all to fat loss. It would supposedly save your joints and turn your body into a fat burning FURNACE! They were widely popular because not only could nearly anyone do them, it was easier and far less intimidating then lifting weights. However, in typical human fashion we were far to quick to pounce it as a miracle exercise prescription instead of treating it as the the tool that it is.

The problem with this style of approach is that while the tool you are using may be appropriate for some portion of the job you are doing, it won’t be appropriate for the entire project. Hammers can’t cut boards or drill holes while saws can’t drive nails or finish concrete. I’m a huge fan of heavy lifting and high intensity interval style conditioning but it’s not appropriate for everyone.

When attempting to lose weight or gain muscle the first thing that should be taken into consideration is your diet. You absolutely can’t out train a poor diet in the long term. Sure a beginner may add muscle or lose weight when they first start but the body will quickly adapt to the new conditions and progress will stagnate.

NUTRITIONAL TOOL BOX

With a new diet fad popping up every single week it’s hard to know what the hell to believe anymore. If you truly want to get the body you’re dreaming of then you need to eat like the men and women who diet like their lives depend on it and get on stage.

Do you have to count every single calorie you take in? Nope
Do you need to track the amounts of all the protein/carbs/fats you take in? Nope
Do you have to pay attention and make better food choices? YES!!!

I’m not going to lay out a specific diet plan for you to follow because it’s not necessary until you get your body fat down into the mid to low teens. What I am going to give you is 1 simple guideline to follow.

IF YOU CAN’T PICK IT, GROW IT, OR KILL IT, THEN DON’T EAT IT!!!

That’s it.  99% of your diet should consist of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, fresh meats, and fish.  No breads, no pasta.  Nothing healthy comes out of a wrapper.  Period.

TRAINING TOOL BOX

Just like your body craves a variety of foods, it also craves variety from your training as well. Only lifting weights, only running, or only doing aerobics is a sure fire way to quickly hit a wall in your training.

There are as many options (good and bad) for weight training and cardio as their are for your diet.

Body Weight
Suspension Trainers
Sandbags
Stones
Sledgehammers
Barbells
Dumbbells
Kettelbells

That’s just a short list off the top of my head and for every implement on that list there are countless different protocols for using them.  While I do prefer to use a variety of different implements in your training, you have to have some consistency as well.  According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do.  That 20% isn’t going to be something that changes a whole lot.  This is going to be your big strength movements like squats, deadlifts, swings, and presses.  The other 80% that is always changing will be things like your programming, sets, reps, rest periods, and assistance exercises (which should change according to what your weaknesses are at the period of time).  A well stocked tool box is crucial to not only making progress but keeping your training fun as well.

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