If you have ever looked into the art of lifting weights on Google you will likely agree that there is an abundance of information out there
Splits, linear progression, crossfit, bodyweight workouts, strong lifts, starting strength.. when to lift, how much to lift, what to eat, do this, don’t do that.
The problem with so much information is that it’s far too easy to get overwhelmed. Even if you are currently working out you may find yourself switching workouts regularly because BroAbs54 gained 15lbs in 4 weeks.
But working out doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact working out should be simple. The best thing about simple is it’s easy to maintain and consistency is far more important for the average joe.
So what is a simple workout you may ask? Well that depends entirely on your goals however here are some great simple examples that I use myself. The most important factor is finding what works for you though.
We all have our own reasons for lifting weights. Some people want to look like they could audition for the next Expendables movie. Others want to look like Brad Pitt from Fight Club.
Personally I just want to be fit, healthy and strong well into my twilight years. Between work and looking after the kids for half the week I don’t have time to spend 9 hours a week in the gym — nor do I want to.
So for me the best two simple workouts are StrongLifts and Starting Strength. Both are simple linear progression full body workouts based around core compound lifts.
It is true that you likely won’t be able to do them forever however both offer great transition options when the time comes.
You only need to work out three times a week at most — spending a total of around 3 hours a week under the bar.
If you are getting on in years there are also options to slightly tweak the workouts. You could cut the workouts to only twice a week or you could substitute the middle workout with lighter squats and deadlifts.
Now that we have taken care of our muscles and bones we should also look after the most important muscle in our body — the heart.
The best bang for buck heart exercise format is HIIT — short for High Intensity Interval Training.
One popular format for HIIT is called Tabata Training named after Dr. Izumi Tabata. Each workout is only 4 minutes. You can do this 3 or 4 times per week using just about any exercise you can think of.
Step 1: Workout hard for 20 seconds. This should be near maximum effort. For example if you was running you would sprint. Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks. You can use any single exercise or combine them for a circuit but the emphasis should be on effort.
Step 2: Rest for 10 seconds. That’s it.. stop and breathe.
Step 3: Repeat 8 times.. 8 x 30 seconds = 4 minutes. That’s it. Simple but effective.
Last but not least it’s important not to neglect our other biggest asset, the brain! There are a few different ways to workout the brain but I will discuss what works great for me.
Firstly I recommend a regular meditation exercise. I do this first thing in the morning for 12-15 minutes. This sets the tone for the rest of the day and has a great flow on effect where I can call upon my learned mindful skills during daily living.
Stuck in traffic, stressful work problems — stop, breathe, push feet in to the ground and look around to notice the environment I’m currently experiencing.
The second form of mental workout I love to do is so easy it won’t even feel like a work out. Pick any form of outdoor activity. Hiking in the mountains. Mountain biking through the hills. Cycling around the neighbourhood. Walking through your local park. Kayaking at the local lake or river. And do them regularly! Preferable every day or at least 3 times a week.
That’s it, just get outside in nature — make sure you can see lots of green. Grass. Trees. Flowers. Birds. And be sure to pay attention to what you see.
Remember to go easy and don’t overwhelm yourself but all of these things have helped me immensely. While I am human and sometimes life happens and I slack off of one or all I can always depend on getting back on track for improving the way I feel and function.
Give it a try and see what works for you — but most importantly remember it can be simple!