One of my clients asked me the other day how it is possible for me to remember a million exercises as well as how, when, and why to implement them in my programs.   She also asked how I manage to be on top of constantly learning new things and yet still have somewhat of a social life.

Do you want to know what my secret is?

I hire a body double.In honor of all of the brilliant nonsense that goes on in my head, I wanted to share a few of my random thoughts with you today.  Despite what you may see, the wheels are always turning.

1. The first thing on my mind is regarding crash dieting or more specifically a “cleanse” diet.  I have touched on this in the past here but have recently had a client begin a 30 day cleanse consisting of only fruits, vegetables and lean protein.  On the surface it appears to be healthy approach and is similar to a pre-competition diet of a bodybuilder.

Here are three things to consider before you begin:

  1. What are you cleansing?
  2. Does the cleanse support or help maintain muscle mass?
  3. How will it affect you?

In my opinion it has the makings of a healthy diet as long as you are eating enough and adding a few more key nutrients such as healthy fats.  Eating too few calories will result in a slow metabolism and decreased immune system.  If the protein levels are too low then you will lose muscle mass which will make losing weight much more difficult.  If you are not eating enough carbohydrates you will lose energy and your training will suffer.

My advice if you do plan to do something like this:  Eat enough to support your metabolism and cut back on training.  It may not be the best way to lose weight but that is your choice.

2. If you are going to use partial reps for an exercise you are probably better off not exercising at all.  Your not only cheating your workout but your cheating your body.  Bodybuilders might use techniques like partial reps to but newsflash: you are not a bodybuilder.  Well, unless you plan to flex on stage in a thong with a gallon of self tanner.

Our bodies are meant to move throughout a complete range of motion with stability.  If you practice partial reps, your body will respond accordingly and you will lose that range of motion.  I am still shocked at the amount of people I see squatting a quarter of the way as well as doing things like biceps curls (what are these for again?) for partial reps.

3. How many exercises are in your repertoire?  I began taking videos of exercises for a new project and have a list of over 300 exercises that is still growing.  These are the exercises I add to each one of my client’s programs and rotate every 4 weeks or so.  Your body is able to move in an infinite number of ways.  Why are you still doing the same 12 exercises each week that you were doing 5 years ago?

4. People talk about working their core and yet always seem to bitch about how much they hate doing planks.  Whats even more difficult is doing an ab-wheel or stability ball rollout.  These exercises are going to solidify your core so proper exercise selection and progression is key.  Here is a video of Nick Tumminello talking about anti-extension variations.

Basically, if you are lordotic and have a curved lumbar spine, you may find it difficult to do rollouts.  The leg lowering exercise will train your core for anti-extension more efficiently as it reduces the pelvic tilt.

5. We recently added a new trap bar to the equipment and it seems like the predominant use is coming from the female population.  That not only shows me that women are beginning to see the benefit of lifting heavy things but they enjoy it as well.

6. Sleep and diet effect your training more than you realize.  As you all know, I am training for my first powerlifting meet on Feb. 12.  Training has been nothing spectacular as I have had to deal with a stomach bug, a cold, and just plain old being burnt out from work.  Both my diet and my sleep patterns have been way off over the past couple of weeks and my numbers have suffered greatly.

If I am affected by poor sleeping and eating patterns over a couple of weeks imagine what years of poor habits can create.  Poor metabolism, hormonal imbalances, and laziness are just the tip of the iceberg.

7. Ghostbusters is still an excellent movie.  Just sayin’.

8. I have been seeing more and more people using the foam rollers which is awesome.  In the same token, I have seen more people using the foam roller improperly.  Just like any exercise there are numerous benefits provided you practice great form and technique.  Here is my 3 minute video once again where I demonstrate a quick warmup routine:

9. I am still surprised that people who work out regularly that do not have a solid program have not checked out these books:

Start with one of these programs. It just might be the best $10 you spend this year.

Written by Steve