Things I wish I'd known when I started training

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Frodocious, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    I thought it might be a good idea for people to list things that they wish they'd known or been told before they started on their health and fitness training.

    Can we keep it to health, fitness, nutrition and injury related posts please, as there are a number of threads for martial art specific beginner's questions.

    I'm not looking for long posts with multiple references, but more of a bullet point summary that gives newbies ideas about the sort of stuff they should be thinking about or looking up on the forum.

    So does anyone have anything they wish they'd known earlier in their training life?

    I'll start with some things I wish I'd been told:

    1. Buying a 50kg vinyl barbell set from Argos is a false economy as you will rapidly outgrow it. Save your pennies and get a decent Olympic set of at least 100kg (more if you can afford it and with bumper plates, if possible).

    2. Free weights are better than machines for building strength as they activate stabiliser muscles, which isolation exercises using machines don't.

    3. Women should lift heavy using the same exercises as men - 20 reps with a pink dumbell is not strength training!

    4. 3x10 is not the best method to use to build strength.

    5. The core/abs should be trained in exactly the same way as the rest of your muscles. If you want to build strength in it do heavy weighted exercises.

    6. An awful lot of personal trainers are totally clueless about the best way to train!

    7. Diet is the key to weight loss or weight gain. If you're struggling to do either of these then (unless you are sick), you're not eating properly.

    8. GPs are not necessarily the best place to go to get sports injuries diagnosed and/or treated.

    9. Invest in a foam roller and/or visits to a decent sports massage therapist. Your body will thank you for it in the long run!

    10. Training like your favourite UFC star is not a good idea for beginners. These people are professionals who have built up a certain level of strength and conditioning over a number of years. If you try to follow their routines the chances are you will get injured.

    11. Bodyweight training can be a good form of strength training, if you do the right exercises (not multiple sets of basic pushups and crunches).
  2. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    mine isn't actually something i wished i'd known since i developed it pretty quickly through karate and it later skyrocketed with tai chi, but it's something every single person should know before even starting to exercise:

    body awareness is king (and queen. no cheese though). the sooner you learn to control and self-monitor your own body, the better you will control your movements, and the better progress you will make when working on your body.

    it can mean the difference between spending months trying to simply be able to do something, to picking it up in three sessions and having those months free for technique correction and actual work.
  3. tonyv107

    tonyv107 Valued Member

    Very good point. Doesn't that kind of thing come with training though? I've always been pretty bad with things like that and it took me awhile to learn how to execute my judo throws quickly. Some people are just more in tune with their body I guess.
  4. Cowardly Clyde

    Cowardly Clyde Valued Member

    * Without the correct nutrition you can work out for years & not get any results - strange that no PT every mentioned this little gem to me!

    * Be nice to your knees & back - listen to what your body is telling you because one day it will fail to fix itself!

    *Don't believe the lies - always question what your MA instructor tells you (Pre-Internet this was more difficult as the community just wasn't there to bounce ideas off) that's why back in the day everyone thought that their karate teacher was a lethal killing monster even tho he was (probably) quite fat & out of shape!

    *Foam roll everyday

    *Spend time getting to know your grandparents!
  5. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    it comes a lot faster if you know you're supposed to do it.

    physical activity newbies will ALWAYS, without exception, start doing things without thinking about how they're moving, and it tends to take quite a bit of time until they figure it out, however if you give them specific corrections (KEEP THAT SHOULDER DOWN FFS!!!!!!!! *evil glare*), it will speed the process along massively once you get them to understand that they need to look at the process rather than the end result when working on technique.
  6. LCC

    LCC Valued Member

    Have a trusted spotter when lifting heavy.

    Don't over-stretch or do excessively long warm-ups before training (strength and martial arts).

    Quick absorption carbs are just as important as quick absorption proteins in a post-workout shake.
  7. Gary

    Gary Vs The Irresistible Farce Supporter

    Great thread!

    My own additions:

    Know your sources: There's tons of info on the Internet and people have a habit of taking the written word as fact. Check your sources. Is it referenced? Do those references check out? Does your source have an agenda? It takes minutes to check these but could save months or money.

    3 things that improved my training: Compound, heavy movements. Diet. A good training partner. In no particular order.

    Ego=injury: it's always tempting to let good form slip for a few extra lbs or reps. It'll be just as tempting next time too. Eventually it will catch up with you and the results could permanently affect your training.

    Women that lift properly are hotter than women who don't.
  8. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    1) If you pick up an injury and have to take time off training - take twice as much time as recomended. You can never be too careful and rushing your body back into training will only end badly - as I found out the hard way.

    2) If dieting for a fight, start the diet earlier than you would want to - but give yourself a day off the diet once every week or two. Don't binge eat junk food on it, but the mental relief is great and the overall results will make you feel much happier in your diet and less like you can't wait to get off it.

    3) If matched for a fight, don't try to get down exactly to the fight weight until the day of the weigh ins. Your opponent wont, he'll lose the last couple of kilos in water and then rehydrate after weigh ins - resulting in him stepping into the ring at least a couple of kilos heavier than you.

    4) if you train with knees and clinch, get a steel ball guard - not the plastic ones advocated by the likes of blitz etc. When you catch a hard knee and it splits, do you REALLY want to trust to luck that you'll still be able to have kids?

    5) Drink lots of water, all day.

    6) Don't eat just before going to bed.

    7) If striking is your thing, then you NEED to be supplementing your training with High Intensity Interval Training, sprints and plyometric exercises. Train the way you plan on fighting.
  9. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Several really obvious(?) ones:
    Rest is as important as training.
    Fitness starts right now- not next week or after the last slice of pizza...
    Train for motion, but also train for stillness- a relaxed muscle is a faster muscle (and that includes your brain).
    And i think the listening to your body stuff is very important (particularly if your a late starter, like me).
  10. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    To add to this point, you don't need to be fit to start training in a martial art. A good instructor will allow you to progress at a rate suitable for you and you will gain fitness as you train. This fitness can be supplemented by doing strength and conditioning work outside of class time.
  11. The Wiseman

    The Wiseman Valued Member

    I wish I had known it was kinda difficult. Then I wouldn't have done it. But I'm stuck now...

  12. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    Actually I'd slightly disagree with this. I expect everyone in my gym to do the session I give them. However, I don't necessarily expect them to be able to complete it. If everyone can complete my training sessions then I feel I've made it too easy. I don't shout at my guys, I don't berate them and I don't act negatively towards them in any ways. But I expect my guys to give 100% all the time - not try to pace themselves. that's not how boundaries get pushed and fitness leapfrogs. So, if someone new starts they're still expected to train hard - for them. If they're not the kind of person who can deal with giving 100% and leave then, they're not the kind of person who'll stay in the long run anyway.
  13. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Good idea here’s my list

    There’s a reason boxers, Thai boxers and combat athletes have done road work for years, and it,s not because its fun or easy or nice to get up early in the morning and go for a jog, its because it works

    There’s a correlation between the amount of time a trainer spends on line writing articles and how good he actually is (hint the good ones don’t post on line that much …..they don’t need to)

    Unless someone trains people for a living and is good at it I don’t listen to them, I don’t care if they are fit and strong or have a 6 pack, if they cant show the same results with countless clients I don’t want to listen to them, if there product is simply them in their garage working out I don’t listen to them, I want to see other people in their videos and testimonials from their clients

    Fads come and go, people jump on band wagons all the time but there’s a reason the basics have always stood the test of time (road work, powerlifting, OL lifting)

    Don’t train like how a pro trains now, train like he did when he was starting out

    Its really not that hard, lift heavy, do your cardio, do your sport eat sleep and rest

    Plan your recovery days first

    I’m not advanced and if you have to read bulletin boards too chances are your not either, so stick to the basics

    I’m not special, 99% of us aren’t and we don’t need the next special routine

    Find something you enjoy and be consistent, that’s the real key
  14. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    counter-point: some of them can be turned into that kind of people with the right feedback.

    counter-point to my own counter-point: that takes time away from you that could be used to train your other students.

    it's all in the focus of the class. in any case, what i think frodo meant (or at least what I think, making me inclined to defend her statement as i perceive it as similar :p ) was that it's the training itself that makes you fit. people have a tendency to be downright silly and say that they can't train because they're not fit. that could be simple lack of knowledge, but also in some cases irresponsible denial and excuses not to break the comfort of everyday routine.
  15. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    There is nothing wrong with training hard and expecting someone to push themselves in class. However, a newbie might only be able to do 10 pushups before being totally gassed out, whereas your top fighters can do multiple sets and reps with no problem. I also don't think you should expect 100% from a newbie, partially because your idea of 100% and their idea (and capabilities) of 100% will be completely different and partially because if they've only just started exercise, after a long break, pushing then to 100% could end up with them injured.

    Exactly, too many people say 'I want to get fit and then start martial arts', then spend ages faffing around not doing anything and never getting round to doing either.
  16. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Another thing that has just occurred to me...

    You need to train your legs to develop strength in them. Newbies frequently post up a 'how's my routine' type question and when you look at it it consists of curls, pressing and tricep work and no leg work.

    The best methods for training your legs are weighted squats and deadlifts. The Olympic lifts are also good, as are pistols, glute ham raises, lunges and other one legged work.

    You should balance pushing work (benching) with plenty of pulling work (rowing).

    Range of motion is important, there is no point claiming to being able to squat 400lb if you only bend your knees 1" - it doesn't count!
  17. Gary

    Gary Vs The Irresistible Farce Supporter

    Hey squats are hard, besides I spend loads of time on the treadmill and play football every other Sunday...
  18. Master Betty

    Master Betty Banned Banned

    There's a whole load of exercises that are good to spend a huge amount of time on using kettle bells, bulgarian bags and the like. Work your legs, your arms, upper body, and more importantly, your core, all at once if you know what you're doing with them. Easily my favourite 2 pieces of training apparatus.
  19. Doublejab

    Doublejab formally Snoop

    1) If something works it works. Its easy to get caught up in semantics and thinking things are wrong for the sake of it. Different types of hooks are a good example, they can all KO someone, experiment with what works for you and get on with training.

    2) Arguing about style vs style is a myth and a waste of time. Theres good training, and theres bad training. Every style has good and bad schools, and whether they're good or bad schools partly depends on the student who trains there and at what stage they are in their development. Some styles are on average much better taught than others, but that doesn't mean theres nothing to be learned from them. At the end of the day they are simply tools for self improvement, and should never be more important than the practitioner.

    3) You can't do the same exercises/programs over and over and expect improvement. You have to shock the body periodically to get any major improvements. And on that subject, being able to do large sets of press ups or sit ups is massively overrated by many people.
  20. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Aaarrggghhhh! You almost had me with that one! I was about to post a 'you is talking rubbish, muppet' type reply and then I scrolled up the page slightly and spotted your username! :mad: ;) :)

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