Reversing aging effect – How to get started?January 30, 2020
Have you ever been to the point where you want to make a change, but you have no idea where to start? You are ready to take action, make yourself healthier, improve your physical appearance, increase your self-confidence, but with all of that, you have no idea how to make it happen. I have been in the same situation lately from a different perspective. After a few years of learning, practice, and a continuous trial and error process, I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to help more people to improve their lives through science-based practical applications. However, I have no idea where to start. My thought process was telling me every day that I need to do something; however, the actions were lacking because I had no direction, no plan, no idea on how to do it. That was the point where I knew I need some help. I needed someone to guide me, someone who “walked the walk” and knew what the steps that need to be followed are. So I asked for help and guidance. Guess what? Everything is way more clear now although I cannot say that a lot has changed since. Why is that?
That is because simple advice or perspective of someone that has been struggled with what you struggle now is a magic pill for stress release and overthinking. You get to trust that person, trust the process, and you don’t need to make the same mistakes and lose your time (which is the most precious thing we have) in order to get to the same conclusions. With this being said, there are no specific ways of achieving your goals. No matter if you talk about fitness, business, or personal purposes, this world provides considerable variability and diversity, showing people who chose different pathways and still succeeded in the same field. The question is: Which one does fit you as a person?
These thoughts made me to create this blog and give you a bit of insight on how to make those changes happen and take action. Besides the high motivation- no action feeling where you want to do something, but you have no idea how to get to practice and achieve your fitness goals, there is the other spectrum. The spectrum of people who get to actions when they have something in their mind. However, let me be honest with you, sometimes in fitness, high motivation and no action can be safer than jumping straight into actions with no plans. I CANNOT EMPHASISE THIS ENOUGH. Starting a training program is like starting a business: you need to be patient, consistent, have a good work ethic and respect some principles. But what happens when your business fails? Well, fuck it, you can start all over again. Well, but what happens when your body fails as a result of your actions? You are fucked because you cannot get another one. The idea of ‘better safe than sorry’ applies when working on your body; it is the only element that will stay with you until the end, as opposed to business, material objects, or maybe friends. Therefore, a more sensitive approach could be beneficial.
The other problem which I usually hate when it comes to training and fitness is that feeling of when you are in the gym doing your exercises and from nowhere this thought kicks in: ‘Am I doing what I am supposed to do? All these people around are doing different stuff and I am doing this. They look better, should I do what they are doing? Am I losing my time?’ When this hits you, we need to take into account some of your previous actions. If, when writing or deciding on your training program, you followed what I am going to talk about next, then your worry is pointless. However, if you did not consider any of them and just jumped into actions with no planning, your thought may be valid.
OK, get a piece of paper and let’s do this!
I will start with a significant element that, unfortunately, you may not be able to do it by yourself. Although this may not help you and may make you feel a bit disappointed, I need to be honest with you.
Movement analysis is something that I implement with all my clients to assess their movement and potential issues that need to be addressed. Usually, the analysis is an objective assessment that is done post subjective assessment. In the subjective assessment, a simple conversation with some key questions which will allow us to find any previous injuries, limitations, habits, pain, medicine and several other aspects which could influence the objective assessment and the design of the training program. In my opinion, this is a crucial aspect of writing a training program, but I will assume that you have an idea about these aspects and their importance and I will move on. However, feel free to contact me if you want more details.
Now, is the time to check and analyze if your current training is beneficial or just time lost. Get yourself ready.
Training is an action that could be described through physical engagement in different activities to improve performance, health status, and physical appearance. Therefore, the next aspects should be considered:
Overload and progression
You need to expose the tissue (muscles, tendons, joints, etc.) to a stress which is higher than what is used to. For instance, if you are used to having a 15 minutes walk every morning, your body is adapted to it already; therefore, you can increase the stress by either have the next day a 20 minutes walk or just cover more distance in those 15 minutes. This could be described through elements such as frequency (how often you walk), volume (how many minutes) and intensity (how fast you walk). However, when considering overloading, it is wise to take into account that jumping from a 20 minutes walk to a 40 minutes walk (double the stimulus) can result in overtraining, injury or performance decrements. Therefore, more is not better.
When you continuously use overloading in a smart manner, the tissue will show a continuous training adaptation. However, if you stop training or decrease the training stimulus (e.g., you stop walking), your body will illustrate a reversibility of the adaptations. Therefore, although you reached 60 minutes of daily walking after one month and you stop, your abilities to sustain those 60 minutes of walking will decrease. In other words, you lose your progress. This will be highly dependent on the type of effort. For instance, maintaining muscle mass is more accessible than to grow it; therefore, having a scientifical based approach will make you train smarter and easier.
Each person is different and each training program has to fit individual needs. This is the point that makes me think about gym bros which are training together and let their ego to lead their training. They tend to compete in who is lifting more weights while doing the same workout, which already does not respect the principles of overloading and individualization. As an example, as a person who wants to increase daily walk time, you do not have to train like a marathon runner. However, if you wish to participate in a marathon in the future. The next principle is essential.
To progress, you need to consider activity and rest. This will likely result in a routine that will help you get closer to participate in a marathon from a simple daily walk, diminishing the risks of overtraining, injury and burnout. Therefore, you will have days in which you will increase intensity, frequency or duration and days in which you will decrease them or rest in order to get you to the final destination.
You need to incorporate elements that are specific to your goals. For instance, if you want to train to walk more, all you need to do is TO WALK. Lifting heavy weights will not make you walk more, although it may improve other aspects of training. With all these aspects, I will give you a few questions that you could address, their answers allowing you to develop your training program gradually.
Specificity: What is that you want to become good at? (e.g., lifting double bodyweight on back squat)
Periodization: What is your current level and what is the time frame of achieving my goal? (e.g. currently lifting body weight, want to achieve it in 12 months)
Individualization: What are my strengths/weaknesses during a squat (e.g., good thoracic mobility/ lack of ankle mobility and poor quadriceps/hamstring strength ratio)
Reversibility: Any elements that will interfere with your training and how do you plan to combat them? (e.g., 3 weeks summer holiday/ I will train during the holiday)
Overload and progression: How will I improve my squat and make sure I will continually progress? (e.g., break-down of squat technique and make use of a logbook).