6 Top Trainers' Best Advice Ever
Mike Boyle, strength coach to the 2013 world-champion Boston Red Sox, was told early in his career, "You can never exercise enough to overcome a bad diet." Today, this knowledge still underpins his food choices while training. "I enjoy my indulgences, but I don't make them a daily habit," he says. "Instead, I fuel my body properly so I can go harder and longer."
Great advice like that can stick with you forever. So we decided to turn to Boyle—and other Men's Health fitness advisers who have risen to the top of the industry—to find out what they preach now that they've made it. Here's what they had to say.
Owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts
Perform a pushing, pulling, leg, and core exercise during every workout.
It's a simple four-move formula, but it has big results. "No matter how short or simple your workout may be, it'll always be well-rounded if you perform moves in those categories," says Boyle.
Here's why: Knocking out sets of the bench press makes you tired, but it only works your chest and arms. Whereas performing a quick body-weight circuit following this four-move formula—like the pushup, row, squat, and plank—works your whole body from head to toe, explains Boyle.
Strength coach in Salt Lake City, Utah and author of Intervention
What you're doing today prepares you for tomorrow.
"A super-fast, heart-thumping workout is fun, but you shouldn't do one every day," says John. Instead, train intelligently and make the most of your time at the gym. That means your workouts should have purpose—to make you a combination of better, stronger, and faster for tomorrow's workout. Sure, practicing your form on fundamental movements like the squat and deadlift can be boring at the time, but the more you refine it, the more you'll be able to lift the next day.
TONY GENTILCORE, C.S.C.S.
Co-owner of Cressy Performance in Hudson, Massachussetts
Learn to walk before you sprint.
Handstand pushups look awesome, but that isn't a good-enough reason for you to try one. "Many guys want to jump right into an advanced movement when they're not properly prepared to handle it," says Gentilcore. The result: Trying a "cool" exercise today can land you on the disabled list tomorrow." Before attempting a complicated exercise, make sure you can perform all the regressions first. Once you've perfected those, you're ready to try the advanced version.
BJ GADDOUR, C.S.C.S.
Creator of Men's Health StreamFit
Consistency trumps intensity.
There are a million excuses to skip a workout—you're tired, it's leg day, it looks like rain. Unfortunately, British researchers found that skipping just one workout can increase your odds of missing another (and another, and another) by 61 percent.
So when you consider playing hooky from the gym, ask yourself: Have you ever regretted a workout? "Chances are, the answer is no," says Gaddour. "Even if you can only have 10 minutes to spare, just show up." And that doesn't mean you have to physically go to the gym, either. All you need is 6 feet of floor space to get in a quick sweat session. To break a sweat and improve your cardio, try some of Gaddour's 39 jumping jack variations.
TRX trainer of the year, and owner of The Lab Performance & Sports Science in West Caldwell, New Jersey
Pursue mobility and flexibility with the same intensity you pursue strength.
Strength gains, muscle growth, and weight loss don't happen while you're sitting on the sidelines with an injury. That's why Piercy recommends dedicating 10 to 15 minutes of every workout to mobility and flexibility drills. Mobility—a joint's range of motion—and flexibility—the elasticity of a muscle—keep your body working like a well-oiled machine. Try an exercise like the Spiderman stretch. It simultaneously tests your hip mobility while also stretching your glute muscles. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds before switching sides.
Founder of StrongFirst, and author of The Naked Warrior
Think of strength as a box: The larger the box, the more it can hold.
Lacking strength has bigger consequences than not being about to lift more weight. You need strength to succeed in everything, says Tsatsouline. Think about it: The stronger a soccer player, the easier he can barrel through defensive tackles. The stronger a yogi, the longer he can hold poses. The stronger the father, the more painlessly he can lift his kids from the floor. Be strong first, says Tsatsouline, and the other skills will come.