There’s just something sexy about feeling strong.
—Carrie Underwood told Woman’s Health
None of this should be news. I’ve talked about basic strength, food journaling, and boxing, for years. That’s how everyone stays in shape. But strength as a context for staying lean is a powerful tool for keeping your head in the game.
Everyone feels better about their body when they are proud of what it can do. Your first time doing a new pushup variation, your first time doing a pullup, these are lines that once crossed, you know yourself as a different person in releationship to your body and your fitness.
What I love about Carrie Underwood’s quote is that it’s just such a good mindset.
Sometimes the game of fat loss can get so tied up in how we see ourselves, and our body composition goals are so personal, it can make you crazy.
Apparently, researchers have found that this week is the most deppressing week of the year for people, as it’s when most people first start to get resigned and cynical about their New Years Resolutions. Lets try something new by changing the context for your workouts for a little while.
When Fat Loss Goals Get Overwhelming
Whenever one of my fat loss clients is feeling like they are getting too neurotic about their fat loss goals, is repeatedly running into plateaues, or breaks down crying after a bad measurement re-test (this is the real world y’all, happens), I know it’s time to change it up.
And how we change it up is to put fat loss on the back burner for a month or two, and focus on a performance goal. Like pullups. Or deadlifts.
I’m a big fan of pullups because they are so empowering, so rare in “big box” gyms, and so obviously reward leanness.
Sometimes what you need is to take a month or two and just work on pullups. Keep tracking food, but don’t get too crazy about it. Think about food as fuel for your performance goal – pullups.
Simple Pullup Plan
1.) Work on form: Pull your elbows down and back. Forget about your hands completely. Brace your abs.
2.) Spend time on the bar: even if it’s just hanging with your shoulders pulled back and down. Nothing gets you to your first real pullup faster than hanging from the real pullup bar. I recommend holds at the top, at the bottom, and partial pullups starting from the top (even if they are only an inch or two at first). Start every workout with an *easy* set (3×3) of partial pullups.
3.) Do lots of pulling: It all helps. Truth be told, my favorite are still good ‘ole one arm kettlebell bent over rows. I like heavy rows, early in the workout. Skip it on days you are doing circuits that have lots of pulling in them.
4.) While not popular in the kettlebell world, I actually have had great success with clients using the assisted pullup machine. At the same time we are getting on the bar and doing partial pullups or pullup hangs, I’m also making sure that their assisted pullups get at least 10lbs stronger each month.
Other Performance Goals
You could do this with any performance goal. Could be your ketlebell military press. Could be a certain number of swings. Could be a new pushup variation. There is something sexy about feeling strong, and anything you get strong in will make you feel better about your body, and add to your ability to get leaner.
When you feel like you’ve had a break from the potential craziness of a fat loss goal, and you’ve made some progress on a performance goal and gotten stronger, then you can go back and put fat loss first again.
Back to Carrie Underwood
Stop looking for magical workouts, and start looking at how you can get better at the basics. Essentially, Carrie Underwood has spent the last eight years getting better at the absolute most simple fat loss elements there are, that you already know.
Plus, I never get tired of blogging about hot, girly looking celebrities, who aren’t afraid to get strong.
And getting strong is one of the most empowering and healthiest contexts you can have for working out.
by Josh Hillis