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The 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started my Fitness Journey

I made a lot of mistakes when it came to my own fitness. There's a lot of info out there, some good and a lot of bad. Here are the main points that I learned and still apply to my training today.

1. Plateauing is always your own fault

People often get frustrated when they see great progress only for it to come to a halt. This happens for one simple reason.

You're doing the same things you've always done.

I think I ran the P90X program for over a year straight and wondered why I stopped seeing any progress. It was not the fault of the program.

This worked great for a while, but my body adapted and in order to keep your progress moving forward, you need to progress what you're doing and give yourself something to adapt to.

In the weight room this can be as simple as bumping up the intensity (load, reps, speed etc...), to improve hypertrophy and/or strength improvements or change up the movements you're doing.

If you're doing the same routine with the same weight and the same reps you've always done, you can expect a training plateau.

2. Nutrition is way simpler than people make it out to be

I always tell my clients that nutrition is simple but not easy. Eat your fruits and veggies, get lots of lean protein sources in, and have as much whole, minimally processed food as you can.

If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. It really is that simple. We tend to overcomplicate things when we don't want to change our habits.

For example, "keto is the only way to lose weight" or "carbs are the enemy" or "drink this ginseng tea to burn belly fat".

Keto is one method of getting yourself into a calorie deficit to lose weight. I repeat, one method among many effective ones.

Fruits and vegetables are primarily carbs too. Does that make them the enemy? It's also the body's primary source of energy.

Don't even get me started on supposed foods and drinks that target the exact areas people want to lose fat with.

The fitness industry loves to capitalize on peoples' impatience and unwillingness to change their eating habits with bogus products that claim to be the silver bullet when it comes to healthy eating.

The simple stuff that's always worked still continues to work today.

3. Injury rehab and staying pain-free is more intuitive than I thought

I used to divide all movements and exercises into "good" and "bad". Like cable flys are bad for your shoulders or leg extensions are bad for your knees.

But it's a lot simpler than that.

First of all, you don't want to work through pain and push yourself past your limits. You're only asking for something to give out. There's a big difference between a good challenge and ego lifting.

Managing existing pain and injury comes down to this. Figure out what movements/activities hurt, what you're apprehensive about and what your goals are.

Based on that, find a tolerable entry point and slowly progress the movement over time towards your end goal. Make simple modifications and regressions to exercises where necessary to allow yourself to train.

When I had a serious back injury (disc herniation), I was told to avoid all lifting and to essentially never deadlift again. DO NOT follow this type of advice. Avoidance does not solve the problem.

Find a place to start, train what you can, and keep building up tolerance from there.

To your good health,

-Coach Stephen


Getting started can be a tough thing to do, and the main reason is that people don’t know where to start, (especially when it comes to something as complex as deadlifting and protecting yourself from injury).

That’s where I come in.

Regardless of whether you live in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and can do in-person coaching with me or you live anywhere else in the world and can do online coaching, I can put a plan in place to help you get to where you need to be.

To book your complimentary consultation call, click here.

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