A detailed, complicated, and complex regimen will produce better results than a simple, basic, bare-bones approach… or so some would have you believe. However, SIMPLE works, and it works ferociously well. As you’re about to see, achieving your performance, health, and aesthetic goals really is simple. Say “good-bye” to stressful and complicated routines that control your life, and “hello” to simple, practical, and flexible guidelines you can follow long-term. The six essential rules below will allow you to reach your goals.
Sane and Simple Rule #1 – Lift Heavy Things
“Heavy things” aren’t just limited to free weights; it can also be applied to bodyweight training as well. The important thing is that you challenge yourself with an appropriate load. Use a 6-12 rep range or heavier sets of 1-5 reps. Also, higher rep sets of 15-20 can work well for certain muscle groups and exercises. But, the majority of the work should be performed in the 6-12 rep range with a challenging load.
So whether you’re a member at a fully loaded gym or you prefer to work out at home with just your bodyweight, you’ve got no excuses to not get the results you want and deserve. You’ve just got to make the most of what you have available, and do the work. If you use the following exercises or their variations with a challenging weight, you’ll do incredibly well.
- Push-ups, parallel bar dips, dumbbell, and barbell bench presses
- Standing dumbbell and barbell presses and handstand push-ups
- Chin-ups, inverted rows, and 1 arm dumbbell rows
- Squats (goblet, back squat, front squat)
- Deadlifts (conventional, rack pull, trap bar, sumo)
- Reverse lunges and rear foot elevated split squats
You can also sprinkle in some accessory exercises like back extensions, hip thrusts, and direct abdominal work, but the exercises above will provide the majority of the results. If your routines consist of those exercises you’ll do incredibly well. That is, as long as you apply Rule #2 . . .
Sane and Simple Rule #2 – Lift Heavier Things Over Time
Lifting heavy things is great and will definitely help you build the physique you want but you must lift heavier things over time. Doing the same exercises with the same weight for the same number of sets and reps will not improve your performance or physical appearance. Getting stronger and improving your performance is mandatory. To do this with free weights is simple; just add more weight to the bar or perform more reps with the same weight. With bodyweight workouts it could mean progressing to more challenging variations. For example, progressing from traditional push-ups to close grip or feet elevated push-ups and from rear foot elevated split squats to skater squats.
Gradual, consistent improvement over the long-term is imperative. For example, if you set the goal of squatting your bodyweight for 10 reps, performing several bodyweight chin-ups and parallel bar dips, and deadlifting 1.5 – 2 times your bodyweight, you’ll definitely reap some incredible aesthetic results on your journey to reaching those goals, and once you do achieve them, you’ll see the difference physically and most likely feel a huge increase in self-confidence as well. Lifting heavy things is good. Slowly, steadily, and consistently lifting heavier things is even better.
Sane and Simple Rule #3 – Eat Plenty of Real, Tasty Food
Please take note of the “Plenty” part of Rule #3. Practically every popular diet and magazine article is all about finding ways to consumer fewer calories. There are all sorts of “tricks and tips” for not eating as much food. It seems like a never-ending race to see how little food you can truly consume without collapsing. But if you want to achieve your performance and even look-good-naked goals, you’ve got to make sure you’re eating enough.
Following a crazy restrictive diet usually leads to a few things, and none of them are good: stress, hunger, and worse yet, binge eating. If you try to live off of 1200 calories for months on end, you will have zero energy, and you won’t lose fat despite a super low caloric intake for a long period of time. Once you start eating more food (real, whole food) you will have much more energy, and that means you will actually enjoy your workouts, which will allow for steady, consistent progress on a weekly basis. And not only that, but you will learn that sometimes eating more and working out less actually helps with fat loss. Ladies, we’re not birds, so don’t eat like one. It’s time to embrace the fact that it’s acceptable to eat and enjoy plenty of real, delicious food and to feel satiated.
Sane and Simple Rule #4 – Occasionally Eat Your Favorite Not-So-Healthy-Foods, Guilt-Free
Again, don’t miss the “Guilt-Free” portion of Rule #4. Yes, it is important to indulge in your favorite “treats” or not-so-healthy foods on occasion. For you, that may mean enjoying some ice cream or drinking a favorite micro beer. Often, we may try to completely avoid things like ice cream, beer, or other home-made goodies that are “unhealthy”, but all that does is make us want those foods even more. Also, it can lead to some horrible binge eating.
So by allowing yourself to enjoy, guilt-free, some of your favorite foods on occasion, you don’t obsess about them and you’re not tempted to binge. Keep in mind, the majority of the time your eating real, whole, delicious foods, so a couple of beers per week or the occasional bowl of ice cream is not going to have any negative impacts on your results. Call this “Sane and Simple Nutrition“, and it’s very effective. So the next time you’re craving your favorite treat, eat it. Enjoy it absolutely guilt-free and unapologetically.
Sane and Simple Rule #5 – Get Enough Sleep
I’ll bet your eyes glazed over as you read this one; no doubt you’ve seen this suggestion hundreds of times and for very good reason. Sleep is very important for your recovery from working out and overall health. Do not neglect this. It’s a super basic principle but some people refuse to heed its advice until they’re constantly run down and getting sick frequently. Do yourself a favor, and strive to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. If you have to go to bed a bit earlier, just do it. If you can find a way to trim down your morning routine so you can sleep in a bit later, then do it.
This principle is so basic and simple (and important!) that you have no reason not to apply it most of the time. When you make sleep a priority, you will finally be able to bust a fat loss plateau and achieve your other performance goals.
Sane and Simple Rule #6 – Repeat Steps 1-5, Consistently
Consistency over the long-term is where the magic happens. Practically anyone can follow a complicated regimen for a few weeks, but most people quickly abandon them soon after starting. But when you can be consistent with your efforts for months, and eventually years, then you’ll achieve and maintain the results. Better yet, you’ll ingrain some long-term, sustainable habits. That means you’ll never have to search for the “latest and greatest diet” or some magic fix because you’ll already know what to do.
When you focus solely on implementing the 6 Sane and Simple Rules listed above; after a few weeks you may think that something “magical” has happen. However, there’s no magic involved. When you focus on just a few basics and apply them consistently, you will get results. And perhaps more importantly, you will be significantly less stressed than if you followed something complicated. The reduce in stress you will experience when taking a bare-bones-basic approach, like the one above, is a huge contributor to the positive results you will achieve.
Stop stressing. Stop following a complicated regimen that dominates your life. Take the simple approach, and experience just how powerful it is. So if you feel overwhelmed from your current regimen or you’re looking for a new plan of attack, return to the Sane and Simple Rules above. What do you have to lose?
Tip of the Day
Make a breakfast smoothie! Smoothies are a tasty breakfast option. For a quick smoothie, try orange juice, non-fat yogurt, and frozen mango slices (or other fruit). Add ice, blend, and enjoy!