How to Get Results the Right Way

In my previous article, I went over how to get in shape—without the gimmicks. The article gave a very brief overview of what’s required to help you build muscle, lose fat and feel great. In this article, I’ll start to go over exactly what needs to go into your program, how to progress it slowly, how to choose your exercises and how to tell if a coach/trainer that is doing more harm than good.

Here’s what has been proven to work time and time again, and will get you the results you’re looking for as safely and effectively as possible.

Earning your movements.
Understanding the correct way to progress through an exercise program has become a rarity these days. Be able to regress movements to using just your bodyweight first, and then add barbells and dumbbells. They will help you gain the motor control needed to do more advanced movements. I don’t care how cool CrossFit is, if you don’t have very good control of your body, you shouldn’t even consider doing a WOD.

Important Movement patterns:
Horizontal Push— Push up
Horizontal Pull— Bodyweight row on a TRX, or smith machine
Vertical Pull— Pull-up (If this is a weak point, try doing isometric chin up holds.)
Vertical Push— Pike press (If this is a weak point, do some downward dogs.)
Hip Hinge— Dead lifts (Have a coach help you with this, or research how to improve hip mobility, technique and glute engagement to take stress off of your lower back.)
Squat— 4 Point squats, Goblet squats, front squats, back squats, overhead squats (in that order).
Loaded carry— Grab some heavy dumbbells and walk around. Seriously.

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Don’t overdo it. Feel good after working out.

Feel good after your workout.
Fitness should be something that you plan on maintaining for your whole life. Personally, I would like to spend my remaining years walking out of the gym feeling great, because you’re there to become healthier. But if that’s the case, why is it that nearly every time I drive past certain gyms, I see some dude outside puking in a trashcan? I have to wonder: how much longer can that last? This is hurting people; if your trainer or coach encourages this, fire them.

Plan and track your workouts.
Tracking your weights will help you find out what you need to improve upon, and planning will ensure that you give your body enough time to adapt to the stimulus that it’s been given. With that being said, plan on changing the program up every 4 to 6 weeks.

Conditioning two times per week.
This doesn’t mean the elliptical for an hour. You’re better than that. Try a Training for Warriors “Hurricane.” You’ll be burning fat for 72 hours afterward, building muscle and feeling great.

Lift weights.
Lift 2 times per week and utilize proper periodization. No machines—those are really good to sit down on between sets of dead lifts, but that’s about it. If your trainer or coach uses these, fire them.

I will never give out a cookie-cutter workout program; not only do workouts need to be scaled for some, but exercises may need to be replaced entirely. I’d like to finish this article with a quick summary:

-If your coach thinks it’s awesome when you’re on the ground panting and covered in sweat, they’re beating you down. Find one that will encourage you to walk out sweating and smiling, without sacrificing results.
-If you’re missing one of the major movements that I covered in the beginning of the article, start doing them (Hip hinge, loaded carry, etc.).
-If you aren’t ready for an exercise, you aren’t ready. Avoiding injury is worth the wait.
-I have friends that are amazing CrossFit coaches. I don’t specifically dislike CrossFit, but I do dislike the extremes that they encourage and oftentimes glorify.

We’re all a little afraid of being in control of our destiny, no matter how big or how small it may be. Take the reigns, make yourself uncomfortable and most importantly, strive to be even just a little bit better every day. Little things often produce the biggest result.

Stan Dutton is a coach for Training for Warriors Boston. Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, he found fitness at an early age and worked his way up to a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon do. As a TFW Level 2 coach and a graduate of the American Academy of Personal Training, he has the drive and knowledge to help you find the warrior within!