Having worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years now, what I’ve learned from watching the trends is that one particular trend or “guru” will claim that their way is the only way to get fit or achieve your fitness goals.  Even if that means you MUST supplement with some plant extract or completely eliminate grains and any thing that looks like a carb from your diet, the ONLY way to achieve fitness superstardom is by following a straight, linear path.

Not every workout requires pumped-up muscles and gut busting weights. Stick with a lifetime approach to fitness.

I love fitness, but it’s not a religion. You aren’t always going to walk the straight and narrow, and nor do you have to. It’s perfectly fine to do a mix of low intensity and high-intensity cardiovascular work, for instance. Not every single workout requires interval training, high-intensity interval training, tabatas, and the like. If your body wants to crank out some moderate steady state cardiovascular activity without dripping buckets of sweat, you’re still doing a whole lot better than if you had done absolutely nothing.

Along the same lines, not every workout in the weight room needs to translate into the requisite day-after (or two days-after) muscle soreness.  Bodybuilders popularized workout splits that might have them in the gym 6 days a week, but beginner trainees can see results with as little as 2 to 3 times per week full body workouts.

And sometimes, an “easy” workout is appropriate. Though they’re not always my favorite, every once in a while, I have one. Maybe I slept poorly because a certain toddler had a nightmare, maybe I’m stressed, or maybe I simply am getting older, but I’ve had workouts where I feel like I’ve made little progress (e.g., not progressing in terms of weight). Nevertheless, I got it my workout in, took some time for myself, and did something other than complain that I’m stressed or just don’t have the time.

Just like exercise should not equal suffering, weight loss needn’t be an exercise in total deprivation. If you’ve packed on the weight and need to lose it in an absolute hurry to fit in your bridal dress or make weight for some athletic competition, that’s one thing. Perhaps a rapid approach to fat loss or slashing carbs might be a way for you to lose weight (and water weight) in a hurry. But just because you’ve heard that diet works super-fast does not mean it’s best for you. Most of my client success stories feature people that have lost the weight (and more importantly, kept the weight off) because their overall approach was more reasonable.  How? By using baby steps, incremental changes, persistence, dedication, forming better habits, lifting weights, and adding in moderate amounts of cardiovascular activity. Their approach was somewhere in the middle.

Here’s my point; you don’t need to kill yourself in the gym, slog through daily hour long cardio sessions, or avoid every single gram of carbohydrate to improve your strength, shed some fat, and improve your figure. The face of health and fitness is changing.  I see more and more elderly trainees, post-natal moms, first-time lifters in their 40s and above, and other beginners making serious gains and progress by keeping their approach moderate and their goals long-term.

And while your progress may not always be dramatic on the scale, your shirt soaking wet, or your muscles rippled and hard, the changes that are going on are undeniable.  The middle of the road approach might not be exciting but it’s reasonable, doable, and achievable—and might be the road for you.

  1. Cam 11 years ago

    Great article! It’s not about if there is no pain, no gain. Your body gets the message without hammering it into oblivion.

    • Will Brink 11 years ago

      Agreed! 🙂

  2. chuck markovich 11 years ago

    What a great day to receive this. I got home this morning from a 12 hour shift. Went to bed, then get a call from my child’s school. Have to go to see the teacher. Come home wide awake clean house for my wife who also is putting in the extra hours, Now fighting in my head about working out. This article just gave me the pass I need today !!! THANKS Chuck

    • Author
      Sumi 11 years ago

      LOL! New day now Chuck. Back to the gym 🙂

  3. Janjua 11 years ago

    Hi I totally loved your approach … I have question though if I achieve the body measurements I want then what min workout can help me just to maintain those measurements… How many days a week and how much time a day? Thanks

    • Author
      Sumi 11 years ago

      Hi Janjua! Sometimes it’s not just about maintaining a “minimum workout” but also about the amount of calories you’re taking in to maintain your weight. Will’s E Book, Fat Loss Revealed (fatlossrevealed.com) has some specific guidelines about calorie intake for maintenance. Have you seen it? It will require some amount of tracking on your part, too: either measuring portions (using a kitchen scale) or using an online calorie tracker like calorieking.com or myfitnesspal.com to figure out what works best for your body.

      • Janjua 11 years ago

        I haven’t read it but I’ll surely do that … I was always a heavy eater but now I’m controlling my diet for the sake of muscle definition … This shift in life style is quite difficult … But I totally agree with you that proper check on diet is a MUST for remaining in shape. I’m grateful for advice. Thanks

  4. Scott 11 years ago

    I have personally made good gains in muscle doing a variety of workout routines. I do not think it is as complicated as sometimes made out.. I do favor pure plant protein and whey after workouts. I believe the body responds to good physical stress. Certainly there are times for intense workouts. Moderation is right on. Some of us have to work the next day and can not be too lame. There are lazy people and then there are those who take workouts to extremes. Trying to do your all is commendable but from my philosophy, one does not want to be on either extreme for too long. Great article for sanity.

  5. Kevin 11 years ago

    I agree with this 100%. I’ve been training for over 20 years and hit the big 4-0 a few months ago. It’s all about consistency and giving your body adequate rest to avoid injuries. Every once in a while I’ll just take a week completely off. I always come back to the gym with increased energy and focus after giving myself a break.

  6. John 11 years ago

    Great read and added validation! I worked out consistently hard and heavy for years and ended up with muscle,ligament and joint problems. Since changing my routines to 4 days a week 2hvy/2light I’m relatively problem free and still maintaining weight and tone where I want to be.

  7. Chris Vetrano 11 years ago

    Definitely a mentality most people should at least consider adopting. So many people are “all in” and a lot of the time that just leads to not be able to keep up with their own expectations. What happens then? They just fall off the track.
    Hey Will, should I link to your articles if I post them on this forum or can I credit you, link back to you, and also copy/paste the article?
    Thanks! BTW I think your videos are awesome.

  8. Jeffrey. Duplechain 11 years ago

    That’s great advise Sumi.I believe you don’t have to kill yourself in order to get in shape also.Don’t misunderstand me though you must challenge yourself from time to time to see results but it doesn’t have to be all the time.

  9. Paul M 11 years ago

    Really great article! I wish more ‘experts’ in the fitness industry got this & helped people understand this. RIP No pain no gain!

  10. Robert Oliva 10 years ago

    This post makes perfect sense, especially for those of us over 60. Long term committment, dedication, and learning to listen closely to our bodies and minds are essential elements to attaining and maintaining health.

  11. clinic dermatech 10 years ago

    Great article……

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