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4 Quick and Easy steps to Guarantee Health and Fitness Success

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 06 June 2014
Hits: 2573

Designing a Fitness Plan that gets results must be based on a series of tests and follow a set of easy to follow rules. What is the saying, "If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail". This is so true within the fitness industry as so many people are doomed for failure before they have even started! When starting a new exercise program it is quite common for people to jump right in to exercise that is way too hard for their body because they are so motivated and want to get results RIGHT NOW! Using fitness methods to get healthy will never work. The method of going hard too soon will guarantee you an injury, or illness which by the way is the worst thing that can happen to you, because if you get hurt or sick you stop training! This article I am going to share with you the secrets of how to design not only a plan that works, but guarantees you long term success and keep you healthy, and fit, so you can live the life of your dreams.

Use This Formula If You Want Great Results With Your Health & Fitness Program

Before jumping straight into doing a bootcamp class or trying to smash it out running and lifting weights it is important to know where your body is currently at and what your starting point should be. We are all very different, so it is impossible for us to follow the same program. You need to take into account previous injuries or health problems, and assess all of the potential areas that will set you up for injury or illness. If we disregard nutrition and lifestyle habits to begin with and look solely at the exercise component we find there is a simple method that works every time. We use this extensively with our rehabilitation programs and this is what Paul Chek refers to as the Success Formula. We have been using this method for a long time at No Regrets Personal Training and they key structure of ALL our most successful online rehabilitation programs for knee pain, back pain and piriformis sydnrome

Trust me I wish someone had showed me this years ago as it would have saved me lots of pain, time and money and potentially would have made me a much better sportsmen than I was. So here is the formula in order of what to address first
It is VERY IMPORTANT to follow this formula in the correct order!

Now you might be thinking where is FITNESS on this formula? Well you can only become fit when you are healthy first. I see so many people trying to adopt exercise programs that are way to difficult for the body to cope with and all that ends up happening is they get injured or sick. When you start a training program, the emphasis MUST be on trying to IMPROVE MOVEMENT SKILLS, ADD MUSCLE AND STRENGTH. However before you can get to this stage you need to make sure that everything will be able to cope with the demands of this type of training. This is where you MUST start with the first phase which is Stretching.

Step 1 - Define What Muscles Need To Be Stretched

Disaster is guaranteed if you try to strengthen something that is not flexible or stable enough to handle the load. You must strive to improve flexibility to a point where the body feels more balanced and you are able to move more freely with good range of movement. Many of the exercises you will need to do and exercise methods will require your body to perform movements needing optimal range of motion. Just randomly stretching everything will potentially cause more harm than not stretching at all. An intelligent way of selecting stretches and mobilizations for the TIGHT MUSCLES ONLY is what you need to do. This now prepares the body to execute movements with loads or at high speed without risk of injury. It must be noted here that some people may actually not need to stretch much at all! This is becoming increasingly common in particular with dancers and people doing Yoga. Their bodies have become too loose, which you may think is a good thing, but unfortunately this can lead to joint problems due to the joints being at risk of hyper-extension and dislocation! You can now see why you need to define what is best for you!

To find out how to do this read our article on How to improve flexibility for more detail on how to create your own stretching program. I also discuss how long to stretch and even what time of day is best. And below is 2 videos giving you ideas on how to improve flexibility for what we find are the most common tight areas.

Now that you have defined your flexibility problems and are beginning to put your program to work you are ready to move to the next phase which is stability.

Step 2 - How To Improve Your Stability

Now when I mention the word stability this does not mean being able to stand on a surfboard or balance on a swissball. Stability is needed across all joints in the body, spine, shoulder, hips, knees etc. Stability is very important as only a stable body can provide a good structure for you to complete complex movements or activities. An example would be a person who feels very unstable walking down stairs. It would not be wise to do a series of step ups with dumbbells until we worked on their stability issues first. Strength and balance are completely separate from each other and must be trained that way. Along with flexibility, stability training is where we spend considerable time working with rehabilitation clients as this is usually why the person was injured in the first place. Use of exercises for abdominal stabilization, pro-prioception of ankles and shoulder and a strong focus on improving posture are great exercises to begin with. Remember you are trying to prepare your body for much more rigorous and risky exercise. It is also in this stage we classify MOVEMENT SKILLS as stability training. We base all of our programs around what is known as Primal Patterns which involve 7 different movements that you need to strengthen. These Movement Patterns are: Squat, Lunge, Bending, Pushing, Pulling, Twisting & Gait ( Walking / Running). The interesting fact here is that when you improve your movement skill you instantly improve other abilities and skills such as balance, agility, coordination and even strength! We have found that with our Older Adults training program this is the fastest way to improve strength - by improving movement! Read our article here Strength Training For Seniors to see the full explanation. The key is to execute each movement PERFECTLY! Technique is everything!

I highly suggest reading our article Why Movement Skills Is Superior To Isolated Strength Training

Below is a video that explains exactly how to train Stability and why it precedes strength training.

Once stability has been established you are now able to move to the next phase - STRENGTH TRAINING!

Step 3 - Begin Strengthening The Body

This is not the last phase as we are still trying to prepare the body for something harder which is to move fast and powerfully. Before we can do that we need ensure your body is strong enough. Your strength training program should be built around Functional Movement patterns that you just worked on in the stability phase. This is where use of tools such as balance boards and BOSU's can be effectively used as well as the obvious factor of load. The worst thing you can do here is to sit on machines or use Body Building Techniques to become stronger. Unfortunately this is where the plan falls apart. Most people, and personal trainers for this matter, adopt body building training techniques for this is all they know and have seen. They do not understand movement which is of much more importance the body than strength. Isolation strength training, can be used to help switch on lazy muscles but should only be sparingly used with a purpose of trying to integrate into movements standing up. Body building techniques only serve to create dysfunction in a person's body. We do not move like robots so do not train like one! Sure you can improve muscle but you will not help this person move better because the body ONLY KNOWS MOVEMENT PATTERNS. It does not think in terms of individual muscles. And your body will choose the movement patterns it knows the most, even if it is a bad one that will hurt you! Hence this is why it is critical to address any movement pattern problems early on. Watch the video below explaining the difference between machine training and movement skill training. The second video runs through all of the essential patterns of movement to train.

You will need to spend a considerable amount of time in the strength phase for you to fully perfect many movements and skills. As I said at the beginning we are all so different in terms of age, gender, previous injury, occupation, sport, etc etc. You get the point. You need to work on what you need and be honest about where you are at. You are always trying to get to a new level, you just cannot skip levels. Two great articles about how long you need to spend in training phases you can read are

How many times should you exercise per week?

How do you know when to progressive your rehab program?

Now that you have your strength program in place you are almost ready for the last phase - power!

Step 4 - How To Exercise With Power And At High Speed

The last phase is Power which is where most of the FITNESS TRAINING methods are found. This phase is commonly used in sports and again a training skill not usually done well or at times even at all in the gym. And often this phase is not often used in rehabilitation due to the risk involved. Many physios, osteopaths and doctors would not suggest this type of training but I would argue this is just as important to the rehab process as the flexibility stage as this is where injury is likely to happen. Meaning that if you develop your skills in the gym in a controlled environment your body will adapt to the training and become so good at the required movement pattern that injury is highly unlikely! I like a quote from Tony Robbins on this. "IF YOU CAN'T, YOU MUST". Meaning that the movement or exercise that is likely to hurt you is the same one you must become the master of!  What a paradox! While the Power stage is important to do but you MUST have completed the other 3 areas first for you to work in this phase. So when starting out with us don’t be frustrated if for the first month you are only working on flexibility and stability because we know this is the best way for you to get great results from your training. Each phase is a stepping stone to a harder phase.

Watch the videos below of examples of power training.

Conclusion

If you stick to these rules when designing a your exercise program you are guaranteed to have long lasting results and find everything gets easier, and more fun! If you address all the boring stuff in the beginning and spend the time to get it right, you will only have to maintain this ongoing. Meaning you will have more time to do the fun stuff like interval training, sports, crossfit style workouts and never get injured. You will develop extreme fitness and just love life. But remember, if something does go wrong always go back to Step 1 and start over. For the answers to most of the problems we see are found in Step 1 & 2.

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