Everyday Tips for a Successful Life

Everyday Tips for a Successful Life

Success doesn’t come easy, in fact there’s a saying about it: “The only way to guarantee success is with hard work.” That fits for anything you want to achieve. Do you want to be financially secure? Do you want to be a better athlete? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to be a better parent. For every one of your goals in life you will have to work hard to achieve that goal. But, working hard doesn’t have to seem difficult. In fact, with a little prep and consistency, you can nail your goals before you even get up in the morning. Here’s a few ideas how!

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is actually my favorite advice for people who feel like their mornings start on the losing end. It’s amazing how many people begin their morning in a race and end the last couple hours lounging on the couch doing nothing but watching TV.

So, how about you equalize some of your time and spend thirty minutes each evening preparing for the next day. A few easy tasks you can do the night before are:

  • Lay out your clothes for the next day.
  • Prepare your meals for the next day.
  • Start the dishwasher before you go to bed.
  • Throw a load of laundry in the washer before bed and swap it to the dryer when you wake up.
  • Shower and shave the night before.
  • Do a ten minute cleanup of your home.

Trying to do as much as you can the night before to prep for the next day will allow you to wake up and take your time as you get ready in the morning. This leads to less stress and the ability to take control of your life.

Have dreams

Do you remember when you were a kid and wanted to head off to Nashville with guitar in hand? Or, how about your dream of becoming an athlete. Well, just because you have more “Adult” duties now doesn’t mean that you need to put your dreams and passions aside. Whether you always wanted to write a novel, learn a new instrument or become an amazing chef, take time for yourself to pursue that passion. Even just thirty minutes a day to dream and go after that dream will put you in the right direction. After all, aside from hard work, pursuing your dream is the next best way to being successful.

Stay positive

Seriously, this isn’t always easy. Staying positive, for many people, is a near impossible task. But, if you can train yourself to do so, then there will be few things in your life that can keep you from being successful. Like everything else in life you’ll have to work to stay positive. Your life is filled with ups and downs. But, the goal is to try and turn those downs into manageable or positive thoughts. A few ideas:

  • When something bad happens, try thinking “How will this event affect me a year from now?” From someone cutting you off on the way to work to someone getting in the “15 items and under” line with a cart of groceries, these small things will not affect you in a year. In most cases, they don’t actually affect you at all, unless you let them.
  • Do something unexpectedly nice for someone. Have you ever bought a gift card at Starbucks and asked the cashier to give it to the next person in line? Then walk away to see the reaction from a distance. Being the anonymous giver can do wonders to boost your spirits. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
  • Try to look for the positive. You burn your dinner forcing you to eat ice cream instead. Bummer there, right? When someone is rude to you, then you know how you don’t want to treat others. When someone does something nice for you, take the time to thank that person. Smile at a stranger and say hi.
  • Avoid being stagnant. It’s hard to be successful if you spend several hours a day watching TV. How many times have you thought back and said to yourself, “If I just spent twenty minutes cooking instead of watching TV I’d feel a lot better.” Obviously, cooking can be replaced with a bunch of things. Being stagnant causes you to feel lazy, which over time can become a habit — and not a good one.
  • Live healthy. You don’t have to go crazy and change your life overnight, but clean eating, walking more, drinking more water, and exercise can change your entire outlook on life. Simple changes such as walking with your kids to the park, light yard work, and eating smaller portions will help you build good habits and help you feel better which is a nice cocktail for success.

Buy Clothes For Your Weight Loss Goal

Buy Clothes For Your Weight Loss Goal


Have you ever walked in front of a mirror and thought, “Man, I look good!” Then a couple hours later you walk in front of the same mirror in the same clothes and are like, “What the heck happened to me?” Your body and your weight, while tangible numbers, in your mind, is a matter of perspective.

Am I gaining weight? Am I losing weight? Or, is nothing happening at all? In most people’s lives they go through a bout of trying to lose weight or maybe trying to get as close to their college body as they can. From hours in the gym, running races to eating healthier and going after a holistic lifestyle, however you do it, it’s important to not only hit your target numbers, but to also convince your inner conscience that something is changing for the better. After all, 10 lbs on paper may sound great, but if you look in a mirror and don’t see the result that can be disheartening. And the same goes for all that you may do to get back into shape from tracking calories and eating healthier to waking up at 4:00 AM to hit the gym before work.

So what do you do?

Well, an idea that was recently brought to me is from a client who decided he was tired of working out and feeling like he wasn’t getting anywhere. His weight loss was incremental, but after losing about 15 lbs he thought he would look better in a mirror. He was actually thinking of giving up.

That’s when his wife tossed a shirt at him and told him to put it on. It was the shirt that got him back into the gym. You see, two months before, he’d put this shirt on and was upset that it no longer fit him. It was tight nearly everywhere. Irritated, he slipped the shirt on. It fit! That’s when he got the idea to go to his favorite store — Eddie Bauer and buy a large button down. Now, he’s a big, broad shouldered guy anyway and had been used to wearing XL for years, even moving into XXL before he started working out. So, he figured if he could fit into a large that would be his goal.

Once a week, or when he was feeling like his goals were going nowhere, he would slip on the large shirt. Over time he would feel the shirt fitting, from buttoning one button, to two and three, and then the buttons around his midsection. Then he was able to not only button the shirt but could feel it fitting better. And after another six weeks something amazing happened. He fit perfectly into his shirt.

He recalls the moment that he put on the shirt and walked in front of the mirror. His wife walked in, looked at him and said, “Damn! You look good.” And that’s how he used a shirt to achieve his goals and avoid discouragement. 

Trick  your way to healthy eating

Trick your way to healthy eating

Recently a client of mine told me that he grew up with an eating disorder which wasn’t diagnosed until only a few years ago. It was called Binge Eating Disorder. He’d had it since he was a child and as he described it, most people would have never recognized the urges and guilt shrouded in decades of suffering with the disorder. However, once diagnosed, over two years he quietly chipped away at the psychology behind the disorder and changed his habits. He still has his urges and occasionally gives into them, but, as he told me, “For me it was all about keeping myself focused on what I was doing.” Now, he’ll tell you that he hasn’t lost his appetite or the need for constant eating. But, what he’s done is in a way tricked himself into eating healthier. He’s used a few tricks so that his eyes think he’s eating more than he is. Now, is his plan a way to overcome Binge Eating Disorder? It’s not likely to work for most people. Unfortunately, like most eating disorders there is a psychological factor, rather than simply not eating or forcing yourself to eat. It’s a long and complex journey. But, for my client, this was part of his journey.

When he was telling me his story, what I found is that his ideas would work great for most people looking to lose weight. He’s used two techniques of substitution and tricking the mind to lose nearly 50 lbs.

These are his techniques in his words (his name changed):


I don’t know why I never thought of substitution before. When I was a kid my family would always say, pass the food over to Jake, he’ll finish it. And I often did – plates and plates of food. As I grew older, those portions and the need to finish my plate and
as many plates as were thrown in front of me became habit. So, when I was in college and a girlfriend commented on me eating, I started to pay a little more attention. Strangely enough, as a top collegiate athlete I worked out enough that my food intake wasn’t
noticed on the outside. Little did I know that years later as my joints began to ache and a knee injury led to my retirement, those calories and binge eating would really hit me in a nearly 80 lb weight gain over two years.

In my late 30s I had a client who told me about his binge eating disorder. His symptoms were similar enough to mine that I investigated and was then diagnosed with the psychological eating disorder, which I still suffer from. However, I didn’t let the diagnosis throw me into shame. Instead I tried to turn things around by tricking myself using substitution.

I started with simple things such as switching out spaghetti squash for spaghetti. Then I moved onto replacing grilled hamburgers with portobello mushrooms. But, probably my biggest change was my trip to Chipotle – like three times a week. I began eliminating
the rice from my burrito and replacing it with extra veggies. Then I went from a burrito to a bowl.

The same works with pasta. At one time I would eat 8 oz of pasta at a time. But, then I began substituting 2-3 oz of pasta with about 5 oz of broccoli.

Now, for many people they’d say, well, big deal, you’re just swapping a high calorie food with a lower calorie food. Big deal! Well, it is a big deal. For someone like me who eats compulsively, substitution is a need. Swap the good for the bad.

Tricking the Mind

While substituting the good for the bad, another thing I recognized is that eating a lot is still eating a lot. And while I may have been dropping my calorie intake I was still taking in so much food that despite losing weight I still had a stomach that was frequently
stretched out. So, my next step was to reduce the actual bulk of what I was eating and it all started with cheese.

Why cheese? Well, I was someone who would regularly eat slices of cheese. I add them to the side of my plate, and snack on cheese throughout the day. It was my girlfriend in college nearly two decades before who told me that she always shredded her cheese because it looked like she was eating more than when she sliced cheese – and she was right. Sliced cheese can appear to triple or quadruple the size of cheese. This can be a big deal for someone and many people overeat not because they need a massive quantity of food, but rather because they focus on the eating behavior. With shredding all of my cheese I found that I not only thought I was getting more, but it also took longer to eat.

The effect can also be used with heavy water-filled foods such as watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe which all have over 90% water which is easily dispersed and disposed of from the stomach after eating.

With only these two techniques of substitution and trickery I was able to lose about 50 lbs. without exercise, although that did come next.

If you would like to get some guidance with a diet and/or exercise routine, book a complimentary strategy call here. Let’s set up a game plan together.

5 reasons why online fitness training PROGRAMS are the future

The advent of internet has undoubtedly shaped our life in a better way. Looking back 10 years into the past, life seemed comparatively dull and miserable. According to Statista, there are over 3.6 billion internet users as of 2017. The rise of internet technology has also influenced how we do things in virtually every possible way. From buying grocery items to booking flights for vacation, we accomplish every other task on our smartphone. The effect of internet tech can be seen on education sector with institutes like MIT offering their courses over the net. And with the growing adaptability of the technology, it is not only limited to STEM courses, personal training is also

1. Internet is widely available and is growing The internet is growing at a faster rate than ever. It is estimated to have been growing by nearly 82% each year. More than 1.3 billion people are starting to use social media websites. Not only user base, but the content available on the internet is sprouting as well. Facebook, the largest Social media on the planet, alone generates somewhere close to 500 TB of content data each day. With ongoing invention and innovation in the computing industry, the internet usage is only projected to grow with no signs of stopping. This makes online fitness training and coaching programs available to anyone with an internet access.

2Get trained by experts The internet technology has also made it easier for people to create and share their content with the world. Expert gym trainers are not too far behind in adopting the technology and are now many of them have started providing courses over the internet. IFBB Pro Trainer and founder of Tobias Young Fitness, Tobias Young, started offering courses online back in 2010.

3. Cheaper in price and flexible Not only are online courses available to everyone around the world, but it is also astoundingly more affordable as compared to some of the on-site gym training courses. Furthermore, it is also beneficial to coaches who can share their content with a wider audience, hence covering more people in a single batch than traditional brick and mortar buildings. In other words, it’s a win-win situation. Another added benefit is flexibility. You don’t need to be at the gym exactly at 9 AM for the training. You can join in at 11 AM and follow the online program. This is extremely helpful for multi-tasking people who’re always on the go.

4. Gyms are getting smarter Gone are the days of traditional gym training with boring equipment. Smart fitness dollies are already a real thing that’ll transform workouts like never before. Fitness equipment with internet connectivity, voice controls, devices like Fitbit, Apple Watch are now rendering data collection and analysis possible which can help in bettering your workout routine. Fitness apps can help you track and improve your progress.
5. Get better control on trainers. What if you join a training center and you don’t like the service? Most probably you’d want to leave but you’ve already paid a fee which they may or may not refund to you. But that’s not the case with online fitness training programs. Almost all of them come with a refund policy within 15 or 30 days if a user is not completely satisfied with a easy claim process. This way you get a better control over your trainer and you can switch them with a click of button.
So online fitness and coaching programs have got a lot of potential to change the way we think about building muscle or losing body fat.
Set up a free strategy call with Tobias Young here to see if online coaching may be a good fit for you. Or you can follow Tobias on Facebook or Instagram for personalized fitness tips and motivation. 

Stretching Myths – Busted!

As a kid I remember hearing a coach of mine tell a teammate that if he bounces when he stretches he’s going to tear a muscle. So, naturally, for years after, I never moved while stretching. And for athletes around the world, stretching before a workout is commonplace, yet is that the best thing for your body?
Stretching has its benefits from providing your body with a better range of motion, strengthening your joints and providing better blood circulation throughout your body. While stretching won’t prevent injury, what it does is put your body into a healthier position to manage awkward – and common – movements where you might normally pull, strain, tear or rip a muscle, tendon or ligament.
As with any workout, movement or fad, stretching comes with its own myths, and frankly it’s time that some are busted. Today, I’ll be looking at stretching myths that you likely still think of as fact. Luckily, when it comes to stretching, most myths have a strain of truth, but if you want to be a better athlete, it’s better to know the whole truth.
I only need to stretch before I work out:
Who hasn’t heard this myth before? If you ever played a sport or even attended you gym class as a kid you more likely than not started your day by stretching. Of course back then, few kids gave more than a half effort and even if you went full out, a young limber body is less likely to be injured than your 30+ self trying to get back into shape.
So, why is this a myth? Studies have shown that it is important for the body to warm up a little before stretching. Before you start your workout your body is probably stiff and lacks the full range you will need to perform your stretches. By stretching with stiff muscles and joints you are more prone to injury than if your body is already warmed up.
It’s better to start off with a light cardio exercise to get the blood flowing through your body. A slow jog on the treadmill or elliptical is great, but any light exercise where you can use slow and steady movements will help. Then, once warmed up, feel free to stretch.
Don’t bounce or you’ll tear a muscle:
To understand this myth you must understand that there are different types of stretching: static and dynamic. And yes, this half-truth is accurate, during static stretching you can injure yourself by bouncing if you stretch.
Static stretching: Static stretching are those stretches you likely grew up with and everyone is aware of. Any stretch where you hold your body in a position for a set period of time before returning to a normal body position is considered static.
Dynamic Stretching: While you probably think of static stretching when you hear the word stretch, you’ve likely been practicing dynamic stretching since the same time. Think high-knees, arm circles, and skipping.
Understanding both forms of stretching will help you understand that movement during stretching can be helpful – if you are performing the right stretch for movement. Slow and concentrated arm circles will help your shoulder muscles, yet if you are performing a quad or calf stretch, you can injure yourself by bouncing around.
I can’t over stretch:
While rare, overstretching is possible and the difficult part is you may not know you’ve overstretched until after the fact. An obvious sign is muscles that appear lax instead of toned. While tears in muscles, ligaments and tendons can occur, for most athletes the problem is joint instability which can lead to extreme injuries.
It’s important to understand your limits when stretching, and while you want to be able to provide a comfortable stretch, you don’t want to get to the point of tear muscles. Remember that stretching helps to loosen your muscles for flexibility and mobility, not damaging the muscles for growth as you do in weight training.
The best way to avoid overstretching is to practice dynamic stretching, and when static stretching make sure your movements are slow, fluid and not adding more stress than necessary.

5 Signs It's Time To Change -UP Your Routine

Okay, so I want to start out by saying that if you are exercising regularly or going to the gym a few times a week then you are already better off than the vast majority who aren’t. But, let’s be real here, if you haven’t changed your workout in awhile the gym has become more of a daily habit than a routine to improve yourself. I’ll say it again, as long as your at the gym, playing a sport or exercising regularly your still doing good. But, you don’t read my blog to just maintain, do you? You are here because you want to improve.
So, here are five signs that it’s probably time to change-up your routine. After all, you don’t improve without change.

  1. Your workout fits under the category “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!”: When you first stepped on the elliptical maybe level one or two was all you could do, but it’s been six months and you are practically dancing as your legs and arms swing forward and back. And those weights, well you might still be doing three sets of eight reps, but in reality you could put up those dumbbells fifty times without feeling a burn. If your workout is so easy you don’t sweat, burn or breath a little harder then you probably want to change things up.
  2. Your heart rate doesn’t break 100: For many athletes, heart rate has become more important than ever. Watches, straps and even the cardio equipment has monitors so you can track if you are at 60% of your max heart rate. Well, there’s a reason heart rate is so important. It is one way of identifying how hard your body is working and expending energy. So, if your heart rate isn’t over 100, then you’re likely not working hard enough. Maybe you’re dragging, or maybe it’s time to switch it up!
  3. You don’t feel the burn: I love to feel the burn. It makes me feel like I’m doing something. But, if you haven’t felt the burn in a couple weeks, you might be ready to push yourself a little harder. That could mean bumping up your cardio level, trying a new class or exercise or adding more weight to the bar. Whatever it is, if your muscles aren’t burning, then they are probably feeling a little stagnant.
  4. You’ve thought of bringing a pillow to the gym: For most people working out is a better way to wake yourself up than a cup of coffee. But, if you are practically falling asleep as you work out then you probably aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Introducing yourself to a new workout, class or exercise routine is a great way to refresh your energy.
  5. No gain: Sure, you started out great. You saw quick results when you started your routine, but lately you haven’t seen any change in results. In some cases, your results might be worsening. One reason why people are willing to stay with routines that don’t work is that they are easy, and the other is that the routine you are sticking to is the one that brought you early results and you have faith those results will come back. But, like any exercise routine, without changing things up and growing you aren’t going to see results. So, if you don’t see any gains, then it’s time for you to change it up!

How Journals Can Change Your Outlook

I recently had a friend come up to me with the claim that a year ago he regularly spent $900 a month on food. What’s worse is that he thought he was spending about one third of that. The company that he worked for offered a class on managing your finances and budgeting. He didn’t think that he actually had an issue with money, but he knew that he could probably pocket a few more bucks each month than he did. After leaving the class, his first task was to take a look at the last three months of bank statements to try and figure out where his money was going. That’s when the truth came out. For at least three months he averaged around $900 in food. How, you ask? Takeout was the main culprit. But, he’s also a grill junkie and ate expensive steaks – and big ones – regularly. However, he spent it, he knew he had an issue.
This was his wakeup call and from that point on, he was devoted to watching his finances. In fact, he was able to lower his monthly food cost to $300 a month and instead of spending that additional $600 on other things he banked it. Yes, all of it!
Don’t you wish that improving your workouts and diet would be that easy? Well, for many people it is likely you’ve used the tool before.
Workout and diet journals are not just there so you can set your next workout. They provide a wealth of information that can help enlighten, improve and transform your health. Below are three reasons why I love workout and diet journals and use them as a primary tool in helping you help yourself.
The Wakeup Call
Like my friend, if we don’t pay attention to what we are doing then we often don’t think we are doing anything wrong – even if we aren’t seeing results. So, while you might enjoy a 500 calorie fish sandwich from McDonalds, a 300 calorie fry and a 300 calorie soda, what you may not realize is that that small meal just busted your diet for the day. Similar to identifying where your eating habits are killing you, a workout journal can help identify some holes in your plan. A good example is simply tracking the number of workouts you’ve had in the past week. Do you know how easy it is, even for someone who works out regularly to lose track of time. How many times have you joined a gym and think that you just missed a couple weeks of workouts, only to find out it’s been a couple months?
The wakeup call helps you stay accountable to your health. Whether you are tracking your protein, fiber and potassium intake or making sure you are putting the time into the gym and not just focusing on arms, journals don’t lie – they wake you up!
Help You Grow
The human body is amazing and can quickly attain results you never dreamed possible. Yet, without challenging your body you will find it hard to achieve results. So, if you’ve been hitting the gym and eating “right,” but not seeing results, there is a good indication that you aren’t doing as well as you thought. You may not be pushing yourself. A journal is a great way to track your results, and plan on how you will improve them. Are you adding weight onto your strength training each week? Are you upping your cardio workouts? Have you been able to reduce your sodium and carb intake?
Regular journaling will overtime help you see results, both in your journal and in the mirror.
Improves Your Mentality
You go to the gym, you’ve lost weight, improved performance and feel great, but you may still be holding onto small love handles. This can be demoralizing, because those guys are hard to get rid of. But, if you feel good you probably are good and regular journaling can attest to your improvements. So, those days you second guess how well your doing, you have a journal to boost your spirits and remind you that you’re doing great. Your thinner, your stronger and everyday just makes you that much better.
Journaling takes a few minutes each day and the payoffs can be life changing. From my online tracking program to fitness apps and the old fashioned notebook and pen, if you are tracking then you are improving. So, keep up the good work!
I’d love to hear about some of your success stories journaling your eating and exercise habits! In fact, I think we all would.

Jumping Into Training After A Lower Back Injury

Jumping Into Training After A Lower Back Injury

For anyone who’s had a lower back injury it’s no joke. Even a minor lower back injury can be debilitating and knock you out of your sport or the gym for weeks. The problem that most people face is that as soon as the pain is gone they want to jump back into those squats which often results in re-injuring your back, a cycle for some which can last years.
Well, for you to stay strong and get yourself back where you want to be, here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction – the right way!

  1. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint: Injuries take time to heal and the first thing you need to remember is that your life is a marathon and that old adage slow and steady wins the race can’t be more true than after a lower back injury. You don’t need to jump in and go hard as soon as you don’t feel pain. Take it easy, slow down and remember you have time.
  2. Focus on limbering up: How many of us can admit that stretching hasn’t always been a top priority in our workouts. The problem is that most injuries are the result of poor stretching habits that limit our movements. Before you jump into your regular routine you’ll be keeping things light, but I recommend taking extra time each day to practice controlled and slow stretching movements to get, not only your back, but your whole body into a limber state that will strengthen and improve your flexibility.
  3. Stay away from jarring actions: Are you a fan of plyometrics? Do you like to sprint? Even if you play a sport that will spontaneously twist your torso, you’ll want to stay away. Trust me, basketball and tennis players are cringing at not being able to hit the courts as soon as the pain is gone. But, those motions will hit you hard and the consequences will last much longer than the few weeks you move to a lower impact routine.
  4. Low weights, high reps and lots of control: You might like testing your gains every couple weeks, but with a lower back injury you’re likely to put yourself in a bad predicament by trying to put up 200 lbs on the bench. When you are ready – you know, after the doctors says go for it – start weight training with low weight and high reps. But, more important is maintaining a slow and controlled movement, making sure that you aren’t speed-racing through your routine. It will be more important than ever to ensure you are lifting properly and not irritating your injury.
  5. Head to the pool: Swimming isn’t the only thing you can do in a pool. In fact, more people are looking to the pool to workout after a big injury than ever before. It allows for liquid and controlled movements, but most importantly the pool will provide support and balance when you need it most.

Don’t be afraid to rest: Sure, you’ve already been away from the gym for weeks or even months. But, if you feel pain or stiffness, don’t be afraid to call it a day and take a break. Relax in a jacuzzi or warm bath can feel great.


You’re going to find that I keep coming back to the topic of improving your workout and motivation. That’s because when I see people give up on their program I can’t help but wonder, “what the heck could I have done to keep them going?” Working out, whether at home, the office or the gym is as much about staying motivated and feeling better about yourself as it is seeing gains in your marathon training or you squat.
So, if you feel like you’ve been in a funk lately, here are a few tips to help you stay motivated and improve your workout.
Work-out early:
Have you heard that people who work out first thing in the morning tend to get more done in their day? Well, there is good reason for that. A morning workout is a way to get your entire body, from the physical to the mental in motion. It de-stresses you before stress piles on and helps to improve your overall mood. Think of your body as a vehicle and your workout as a gas tank. In order for your body to function you need gas in the tank. So, if you can start your day in the gym, that’s a day you start with a full tank of gas, and we all know how great that feels heading into a long commute.  
Stop going to the gym:
Whoa! Whoa! Did Tobias, just tell me to stop going to the gym? I sure did. But, it may not be what you’re thinking. I’m a firm believer, that if you stop working out, even for a short time, this can lead to further reluctance. But, going to the gym isn’t the only place you have to work out. You can set up a home gym for a few hundred dollars, you can go for a run outside, workout at the park, or join a sports team. The thing is that while some people—me included—love the gym, others may become bored at the same equipment, the same people and the same ole, same ole. So, if you are going through the motions of the gym without feeling the same energy as when you started, maybe it’s time to change up your location a little. Don’t cancel out your membership, but occasionally throw in a new activity in a new place.  
Create a new ritual:
All athletes have their rituals. For example, have you ever watched a tennis player about to serve. They perform the exact same ritual every time they serve. One bounce, two bounces, or maybe three. The player will swing their racket, tap it on the ground, spin it in their hand. But, regardless of what they are doing, they are always doing the same thing. It’s how they build confidence in their serve. But, what happens when the serve continues to land in the net? A lot of coaches will force that player to change up their routine. And it works!
Watch the people you regularly see come in the gym. Everyone has their routine. From going to the water fountain, to finding the exact same treadmill, to doing a quick stretch on the way to the weights. People love their rituals, but if you are in a funk, sometimes you need to break your ritual to break the funk.
Test your limits:
In talking about working out, people often consider “testing your limit” as adding more weight on the bar or jogging an extra mile. But, what I’m talking about here is putting yourself in a place you’re not comfortable with. For example, how many bodybuilders do you see in a Zumba class? Testing your limits is about overcoming your fears or taking on challenges outside your comfort zone. Maybe you love the treadmill; try stepping into the free-weight area. Perhaps you love the free-weights; maybe you should try the rowing machine. Are you all about the energy? A yoga or Pilates class might help you relax.
Testing your limits, even just once, will help show you that you are capable of more, it will build a little adrenaline and maybe you’ll meet someone you would have never met before or find a new workout you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.


It’s common for the average person who hasn’t been to the gym for a while to be hesitant when walking into the free-weight area, and even the assisted weight machines. Much of this anxiety stems back to your high school years when the bigger kids bragged about how much weight they could put up. Maybe you were even one of those kids. But, after taking time off, you know that you won’t be able to put up the big weights you want—and you shouldn’t. Trying to lift more than you can is a sure way to injure yourself—and what could be more de-motivating than that? Still, there may be a way to get the same results you’re looking for with lower weights than with high weights that you’re not ready for yet. So, whether you are looking to put on mass, tone-up, or build strength this technique may not only help you feel more confident in the weight area, but also help limit injuries.
For decades, the general rule of thumb is that if you want to build muscle you will use moderate weights and 8-12 reps. If you want strength, you would use heavy weights with lower reps. Heard that before? I’m sure you have, it’s how we all grew up. But, what if there was another way to look at how you work out?
Do you want bulging biceps or massive calves? Do you want to break your personal bench best? Or, do you just want to look good? Ignore high reps, low reps, high weight and low weight and focus on fatigue. “Fatigue is the great equalizer here,” Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., reports. Phillips is a kinesiology professor at McMaster and the senior author of the study, wrote about the research. “Lift to the point of exhaustion and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.”
In his study Phillip’s team asked 49 men around 23-years-old to perform a 12-week total-body resistance program. He divided the participants into two groups. One group focused on high reps (20-25), lifting 30% to 50% of their one-rep max. The second group lifted 75% to 90% of their one rep max while focusing on low reps (8-12). Both groups were asked to lift to failure for four exercises: inclined leg press, barbell bench press, machine-guided knee extension and machine-guided shoulder press.
After the 12-week program, each participant was tested for muscle mass and the results showed that both groups achieved the same gains in strength and size, with one exception. The bench press was higher among the low-rep group.
So, why the equal gains? There does appear to be a simple formula and it happens to be perfect for those hesitant to hit the weights. The total work volume (reps X weight) is a great calculation to achieve your results.
Of, course, over time your gains will grow as you add on more weight, so don’t be surprised to find yourself pushing up heavier weights and lower reps as your strength grows. But, for the average person looking to bulk up, or the aging athlete who wants to compete again, this is a great way to get back into the game and both see results while avoiding injury.