I Think I'll Just Do Upper Body or Run Today
Interesting fact. Most people go to the gym and immediately do the exercises they like. If you’re a man, that means bench press and curls. If you’re a woman it means hopping on the treadmill for a long slow walk or a long slow run. I think this might be the reason most people look so bad. They are always going to work on the stuff they can’t see or don’t like to do tomorrow but, tomorrow never comes.
As a college strength and conditioning coach I encountered the same problem early in my career. I came to the early realization that Monday would always be lower body day. This was done for one simple reason. Every day I was forced to do battle with human nature. Athletes are no different than the average gym-goer. They want to do what they like. I was like the parent who needed to say, “no TV until your homework is done”. When we first began developing training programs for athletes, our athletes were just like the folks described above. Athletes who were not on a program would wander into the weightroom, do a couple of sets of bench presses and then wander over to the curl bar for a few sets. After this, they would simply leave. My solution to this problem was simple. The first day of every week was always a lower body day. This meant that athletes would return the next day to do the stuff they really wanted to do. A simple but effective solution.
The solution for a fitness person is even simpler. Perform a full body workout every time you go to the gym. Do your lower body and pulling exercises (like chin-ups) first. Save the bench press and curls for last. If you just did a squat or squat variation, a pull-up variation and then benched and curled the result will be a vast improvement in your physique. The average persons work ethic in the gym is the equivalent to going to a restaurant, ordering dessert, getting too full from dessert and skipping the meal. Lots of empty calories and none of the stuff you need.
The truth is that training is much like nutrition. Ever notice that everything that is good for you doesn’t taste very good. In addition, all the stuff that tastes great is fattening. Exercise is the same way. Most of the exercises that are best for you are the ones that are least popular and seem to hurt the most. Have you ever noticed the popularity of exercises where you sit or lie down. The whole machine concept is based on appealing to the lowest common denominator of human nature. You can exercise while seated on a padded chair. Just remember, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.