I turned 37 last week, and realized that I've been a student of fitness for more than 20 years.
When I look back at everything I've been involved in from high school wrestling, competitive bodybuilding, professional wrestling, to competitive powerlifting, I've learned — a wide range of powerful life lessons. Like it or not, I'm going to share them with you.
1. Balance is good. Balance strength training with cardio, with regeneration, with mobility training. Taking a more integrated approach to your fitness training provides you with the freedom to do more outside the gym, and makes you less susceptible to injuries. More balance within each component is good, too. Change your rep range in strength training, change the machine you use on the cardio deck, alternate stretch techniques, etc. Broaden your training horizons — and reap the benefits.
2. Keep learning. We can never know everything when it comes to fitness. There are many, many ways to use the foundational principles. In more than 16 years of being a fitness professional, I'm proud to say I don't know everything. I love getting different perspectives on what I do know, and learning cool new stuff from some of the best people in my field. You should, too. Read, listen and watch everything you can on the subject of fitness. Apply what you think is good and discard the rest. Never think you've got it down. There is always more to learn.
3. New challenges breed motivation. I find that when I am a few weeks from a wrestling match or a powerlifting meet, my motivation to train is ridiculously high. When I don't have an event to train for, I skip workouts, slack off on my eating practices, and don't get as much sleep. Especially, it seems, as I get older. So it's important to me to always be working toward something, to keep me from deprioritizing my fitness training. I'm always looking for something else to "win" at, to push myself forward to, because I love the feeling of winning. Do you? Find your next challenge, and watch what happens in the gym.
I've got more ideas in store for you, but think about what you've read here, and how you can put it into play. Just these three alone are going to put your performance on turbo boost. Be back here next week for part two.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, radio show personality, and author of www.hometeamfitnessblog.com. Find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.