Are any of the old fitness clichés worth paying attention to?
Since I began writing for Men’s Health back in 1998, I’ve heard just about every training chestnut there is. Some I agree with. (“The best workout is the one you haven’t done.”) Some I don’t. (Abs aren’t really made in the kitchen, and I defy anyone to show me a diet plan that produces a body-fat percentage under 10 without an accompanying training program.)
But there is one truism that’s both useful and underused: “If it’s important, do it everyday. If it’s not, don’t do it at all.” I heard this from Dan John, an athlete, author, and coach. He attributes it to wrestler Dan Gable, one of my childhood heroes.
My version: “If it’s important, do it every time you train.” That might include foam-rolling, mobility drills, key lifts and basic movement sequences (squat, lunge, hip hinge, push-up and row, for example), but the list goes on. “The advice is common sense, but adopting it takes courage,” says John, who notes that the idea can and should be expanded to include such habits as eating enough protein, drinking enough water, and logging enough sleep each night.
To this basic wisdom I would add, “Do something fun every workout.” Sprint the last 20 metres of a run, pound a speed bag, do your favourite exercise from an old bodybuilding magazine – whatever puts a smile on your face. Because if working out isn’t fun, you may eventually decide that it’s not important either.
* Lou Schuler is an award-winning journalist and the coauthor (with Alwyn Cosgrove) of The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged.