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The basic idea

Updated: Apr 8

Every so often (or even daily) I will ask myself what I believe about a certain topic. I do regular check ins with myself to make sure that I am still on the right track or if an idea that I have held for a long time still holds true. I have always done that.

Its amazing how many of my ideas have evolved with experience and maybe even a little wisdom.

One of the ideas that has always been at my core has been minimalism. I never understood having more of something than what I need, and I always believed that I can do more with less. If I have a limited amount of time, which is usually the case, I make my minimal amount of time count. I also wanted to get really good at a few basic skills in life, instead of trying to do everything. I never considered myself a jack of all trades, master of none type.

I have always taken that approach to training.

I believe in picking a handful of the most effective exercises and focusing on mastering those exercises. I always gravitated towards squats, deadlifts, cleans, barbell presses, dips, push-ups, pull-ups, and hanging leg raises. Before I even knew what a compound exercise was, which is an exercise that works multiple muscle groups at the same time, I was drawn to these exercises because I liked how they seemed to work me harder than , a bicep curl with a dumbbell. These compound movements always seemed to work me differently in a sense that I felt stronger somehow and they got me sweating faster. Before I understood the mechanics and physiology of these exercises, I just knew that they worked for me, so I focused on them.

I am able to have a super effective training session in a short period of time with little more than the old power rack in the corner of the gym with a barbell and some plates. I could keep to myself, focus, stay in my little corner of the world, and get after it.

I always am entertained when I will be training at a gym, and the gym owner will bring in some new fancy piece of equipment and everyone flocks to the shiny new toy, while I am still content over in my same little corner training my basic exercises.

The idea of focusing on using my body as my primary form of resistance brought another appealing aspect. As I figured out how to make basic bodyweight exercises harder, I could now get a great training session done in my living room, bedroom, or garage.

To a minimalist at heart, this brought tremendous satisfaction. Now I didn’t have to rely on any equipment except for maybe a mat and something to hang from like a pull up bar, bleachers or a tree branch.

I have splurged at times and had a few jump ropes over the years too. I have also been known to fill up duffel bags with sand or have an old kettlebell around, but that is a topic for another day.

My point is this whether I am training with bodyweight resistance exercises or jumping back into using barbells and dumbbells, I have always been able to get incredibly effective workouts with a minimal amount of equipment in a minimal amount of time by focusing on mastering the most basic yet effective exercises.

Training does not need to be complicated. The simpler and more straightforward my routine is the easier it is to work in to my daily routine, while eliminating excuses for not doing it. If I can knock out sets of bodyweight squats, push-ups and leg raises on my living room floor in 20 minutes or do burpees for a couple of two minute rounds, then I can’t use the old “I don’t have time to train” excuse. Since I know that is not a valid excuse, I always have to own the fact that if I am not training, most likely I am just being lazy.

Also, because I focus on the basics, my routines are much easier to remember. I tend to like using my mental energy to focus on the work at hand, instead of trying to remember same complicated routine.

I take the same approach with people that I help train. In my experience, most people that I work with need help mastering the basic movements of life such as squats, pushes, pull and abdominal strength. Instead of loading them up with a large variety of exercises, I choose to have them really grasp the basics. We have to walk before we can run.

There are many different approaches to training. For me the most effective way to train is by mastering the basic movements and using my time in the most effective way possible.

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