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Matthew Basso

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Restoring Your Rhythm: 3 Tips for Choosing a Program That's Right for You

Posted: 08/28/2012 9:08 am

Realize it or not, your life is pulsing to a rhythm, a beat oscillating between kick and snare that drives and balances you. Even people with no concept of "time," as musicians call it, are moving to a soundtrack of their own life. Our very existence is reliant upon movement, and our bodies instinctively understand and react favorably to a groove.

As a busy fitness professional, I consistently see how a workout can cause a rhythmic blockage that inevitably leads to poor performance, lack of intensity, and therefore no results.

It was in my former life as a bassist in a rock band that I first realized the importance of continuing a rhythm when working out. One day while on tour, somewhere in the middle of Colorado, another band member and I decided to catch a workout. Yes, we were very forward thinking -- especially because we didn't have a fancy tour bus, but rather a van and a trailer in which the mobile weights and a bench were crammed in. Anyway, as I was pumping iron I recall the rhythm guitarist, who had opted for a jam sesh over a sweat sesh, started strumming a tune over newly-changed strings. As I was lying on the bench doing dumbbell chest presses my body started instinctively moving to what was the bass rhythm of the song being rocked. Instead of counting reps, I got lost in trying to keep up a tempo. The result was that I maxed on intensity because I didn't pause at the top or bottom of the movement, and I increased my overall reps because I got lost in the beat. I simply tried to continue through my workout in that groove, regardless of the exercise.

The next day, in fact the next two days, left me sore enough to think about how to plan workouts so that I could move fluidly, avoid awkward pauses between exercises, and identify optimum tempos for different goals.

For you to restore your rhythm and reach your goals you're going to have to follow a program. You need a plan. You need well-thought workouts that act as a map that you can read and understand before you set foot into the gym. It's important to see yourself doing the exercises in the prescribed order so you can map out your uninterrupted movement from exercise to exercise.

Exercises can be difficult, and the gym can be an intimidating place. You need to change your hesitation with movements and meandering toward equipment into an all out assault on exercise and sprint in the direction of steel. Having a goal and sticking to a fitness plan is like a choreographed dance. Planned moves with a definitive starting and ending point, equal results.

Okay, you're ready to get focused and to pick a fitness program that's right for you. There are many workout regiments out there, so you need a strategy for getting started. Here are my three tips for picking a program:

1. Think about your goals and write them down.

If you want to get to Hawaii, you're not taking your car. Similarly, if you are looking to burn fat you're not going to start a power lifting program. Decide what you want and be clear about your vision. Write it down to make it real and then hunt for program that is congruent with your goals.

2. Get a program that is scalable and provides options.

Life can and inevitably will get in the way. Choose a program that has workouts that can be executed both at home and/or at the gym. Make sure it has some quick routines as well. You aren't an Olympic athlete, and no one expects that every day's priority will be working out. Having these options do, however, make it easier to stick to your plan and limits your ability to use the "I don't have time" excuse.

3. The program must include a nutrition/meal plan.

Exercise can be a waste of time if you don't follow a nutrition plan. You can't out work your calories -- they always catch up. When I created the DBX3 Functional Fat Loss Program, the first thing I did was write the nutrition guide. Any program worth following out there with have some kind of nutrition component.

Restoring your rhythm isn't just exercising or working up a sweat. It's having a program that maps your route to success. Taking the time to create your path and understand how you'll move from where you are to your optimum fitness level is worth your time. Sacrificing a little bit of time the night before to look over the next day's workout means getting results and adding time to your life.

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