The New Rules of Fitness

Have you ever seen the guy at the gym who never seems to leave the free weight area and drops the dumbbells on the floor after every set? He’s pressing 80s and curling 50s while the sweat puddles beneath the weight bench and everyone seems to give him a little extra room. He’s a gym bad ass, right? Maybe… Then again, he might have the mobility of a statue and all of his impressive gym time doesn’t translate to fitness in the real world. How would he hold up if he spent a weekend building a fence? Could he hang if he had to chase his kids through Disney World? Will he end up with back pain and shoulder issues in a year? There’s a lot more to being fit than how much weight you can lift. TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE

Why do you work out? If you’re like most of us, at least part of the reason is to look better…maybe like an athlete. Yet, all of the crunches, curls and calf raises in the world won’t give you anything more than greater strength in your abs, biceps and calves. When it comes to real fitness, single-joint, bodybuilding exercises are passé. Athletic (read functional) conditioning is what’s now. Start with these five moves:

Bent-over rows target your back and biceps while challenging your core stability.

Squats work your legs (quads, hamstring and glutes) and they promote whole-body fitness by challenging your core, balance and coordination.

Lunge and shoulder press combines upper and lower body power with the added benefit of strengthening your core.

Pullups challenge the strength and stability of your upper body. Feel free to ask for an assist.

Skaters, step ups, burpees and other dynamic moves jack up your heart rate and force your body to balance, stabilize and act with power.



Would you agree with Einstein’s definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? If you have been following the same workout plan for longer than a couple of months and are still expecting a greater level of fitness, it is time to change. Your body adapts quickly and what initially challenged you is too easy now. It’s not just because you’re so awesome J. So, try this 10-week plan to cycle your workouts for better results:

Weeks 1-3 use 2 sets of 15 reps to and focus on your stability and mobility in your joints.

Weeks 4-6 go to 3 sets of 10 with a focus on strength.

Weeks 7-9 change to 4 sets of 5 and add dynamic moves to increase your power.

Week 10 focus on recovery and try something new like yoga, hiking, pilates or new recipes.

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Pina coladas are nice indulgence…once in a while. However, they need to be balanced with a healthy diet, lots of water, a good night’s sleep and a balanced blend of exercises. Not only should you work the front and back sides of your body for symmetry and injury prevention, but add variety to your workout routine. Balance on one leg when you do front raises, spice up a plank by balancing on a ball, do one-arm chest presses, try box jumps for the first time…you get the idea. Your body will respond to the variety of movements with better performance, more fat burning and you’ll improve your fitness.

Read more from John Holley about fitness and clean eating at and visit his author page on Amazon at