My Commandments for Working Out

Because you need to learn how to crawl before you can walk…

A very common question I’m asked is, “Dude, how are you so ripped and throwing up all that weight???”  The first thing I tell people is that diet is 80% of the equation (as you’ll learn as I keep writing about it).  Then, I tell them that I have certain rules that I follow in the gym that ANYONE, regardless of their goals, can learn from.  So with that said…I give you my “Commandments for Working Out”

Thou Shalt Stretch Before Lifting a Single Weight

It seems dumb and rudimentary, but you’d be amazed how many people neglect to get a really good stretching session before their workout.  Hell, I do it TWICE before lifting: once the moment I wake up and the moment I step foot into the gym.  I don’t care if you’re a beginner, a musclehead, an early riser, and after-work cardio person.  Your muscles need to be activated PRIOR to physical activity.  A good 5-10 minutes of stretching (emphasizing the body parts you’ll be working) will do wonders!

Thou Shalt Not Forget to Bring a Notebook

Before you step foot into a gym, you need a plan of attack.  You need to have in your mind what exercises you’ll be doing, how much weight you’re going to start off with, how many reps you want and for how many sets.  There is nothing more counterproductive than going to the gym and then saying to yourself, “Well…the bench press machine’s open…then I guess I’ll go over and do calf raises.”  Also, how the hell else are you supposed to know you’re making progress?  I make notes of things I do as I go along, even pointing out where I lost my control on a rep.  This makes the next time you work those body parts easier since you’ll be inclined to beat the numbers you put up last time.

Thou Shalt Not To Full-Body Workouts Every Time

Your workouts should be focused on (at most) two body parts, preferably in a push/pull combination.  For example, have one of your days consist of chest and triceps work.    I understand that a gym can look a lot like a buffet, but in a way it is:  tons of options, but if you try everything, you’re going to leave feeling worse than when you walked in.  Four moves for two body parts (or, for you mathematical geniuses, eight total moves) will make you more focused, thus creating results.

Thou Shalt Control Thy Movements

I don’t care if your goal is weight loss (high rep/low weight) or strength (low rep/heavy weight).  You need to slow…down…your…reps.  For starters, it’ll force you to incorporate more muscle fibers, tearing down more tissue that’ll need recovery (translation: muscles get bigger or more toned).  Also, if you try the “grip it and rip it” method, you leave yourself open for serious injury.  The last thing you want is to swing up a few poor reps of barbell curls at 100 lbs. and throw out your back in the process.  If you can’t control the movement for the amount of reps/sets you’re going for, the weight is too heavy.  There’s no shame in dropping the poundage.  Your body will thank you.

Thou Shalt Have a Protein Shake Nearby

After a workout, your body goes into a catabolic state, meaning it will search for energy anywhere it can.  To counter this, you need to have a protein shake consisting of a 3:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrate (in grams) within a window of 45 minutes to an hour after your workout, if not sooner.  That is the optimal time for recovery immediately after a workout.  The only other time your body really has a chance to recover is while you sleep, which brings us to my final commandment…

Thou Shalt Sleep…Period

Countless studies have shown people who get six to eight hours of sleep a night are not only more mentally alert, but also rebuild muscle in a more efficient way.  If you’re a party animal, this may mean you need to make a decision about what’s important to you.

Are there any questions?

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