Fitness, like life, can get too complicated. With all the marketing and advertising that goes into selling you new products and new workouts it’s no surprise that sometimes hitting the gym can feel like a rocket science level task. It shouldn’t though, fitness is basic, don’t let it get cluttered. Here are some exercises that can help you declutter your workout.
1.) Skip the treadmill. I have never understood treadmills except for people who live in areas where running outside is impossible or for a warm up for a weight training workout. Running is the most basic workout, shoes, shorts and a shirt (in the summer) is all you need. Don’t pay for a gym membership just to use the treadmills, run outside and stop making this basic staple into something requiring a huge machine and expensive membership to do.
2.) Chin-ups and pull-ups. A great workout that hits your back, biceps, triceps, traps. Pretty much your entire upper body is engaged in this one. All you need is a hanging bar or even a sturdy door frame if your fingertips are strong enough to grip the trim. No need for complicated equipment or even weights to work these muscles. (If you can’t do a chin-up or pull-up then you can consider using the assist machine at the gym or fitness bands looped over the bar and your feet to give you a boost).
3.) A bar with weight. This is all you need to get in shape. Put some weights on a bar and lift it. Squat it, curl it, shrug it. Basic large movements with heavy weight. No need for a full set of dumbbells, no need for complex weight machines. All you need is an Olympic bar, some weights, a sturdy power rack and a bench. All that stuff costs a lot of money (and space) so a gym membership comes in here. Look for a gym with lots of the above mentioned ingredients. The plus here is that if you grow bored with the basic power lifting moves you will have access to the free weights to start concentrating on individual muscles more. I am still a firm believer in just lifting heavy weights on a straight bar as the best way to lift.
4.) avoid the fads. Sure they are great and I love doing and working with things like ropes and kettle bells. They are fun and challenging but the more you chase fad equipment and the fad workouts that come with them the more and more cluttered the workout gets. They are usually only going to get you to the high end of novice in terms of fitness before you max them out. Instead of chasing fads set a fitness goal like squatting 315 pounds or running a marathon. Aim for basic things involving core movements like squatting, dead lifting, running, bench press and even swimming. You will not only get fitter but you will have something measurable to strive for.
5.) Don’t rely on classes. Group fitness is great and I am a huge fan of it. I love how it gets people moving, motivates people to get in shape and teaches people good fitness. I caution here because they can also add clutter to a workout, add stress to something that should be stress free. Rushing to classes on lunch or after work adds a layer of stress to your workout. Skipping a workout because you missed a class only adds another excuse. Use classes to supplement your fitness, not to form the core. I have seen too many people stop working out because the classes got too stressful.
6.) Remember that it does not need to be complex. You can get fit without a gym. If you have ever worked an active job you probably know this. Just adding more activity into an otherwise sedentary day can make all the difference. Take more walks, carry your groceries back and forth from the car before bringing them inside, play with your dog or kids. There are lots of ways to get more active and they don’t all involve a gym and complex workouts.
Get back to basics a little if you’re finding that your workouts are becoming too complex. Your body wants to be fit, it craves it, so it should be easy to do. There is not need to make it harder than it is by adding so much clutter.