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Focus on the 90 (not the 10)

I see quite a bit of stagnation as it relates to exercise and nutrition, and I think a key reason is because people too often get caught up in the minutia.

Allow me to break down three different areas: cardio, strength training routines, and nutrition and give you some examples of how we major in the minors.

For starters, I get a lot of questions about workout routines and splits.

“Should I do upper body one day, and lower body another day?”

“How often should I do core work?”

“Machines or free weights?”

Unless you’re a highly trained bodybuilder or elite level athlete, it probably doesn’t matter that much. Stop wasting your time on the 10 percent, i.e. the finer details, and instead just make sure you’re actually getting to the gym and exerting some effort. I’ve seen people make great progress performing two really challenging total body lifts per week. I’ve also seen others make great progress working out 6 days a week, but focusing on 1-2 muscle groups at a time. At the end of the day, it’s more about pushing overall volume than it is executing the perfect workout split.

Another question I receive frequently surrounds meal timing…

“Should intermittent fast?

“When should I eat my meals?”

“How many meals should I have?”

Disclaimer, I’m not a dietitian, but I feel pretty confident saying that it’s probably more important for you to first get a much clearer picture on your macronutrient intake. Start by actually paying attention and track how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you are taking in each day. Your total caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown is likely going to be more important than eating in a six hour window vs. a twelve hour window.

Lastly, there’s cardio…

“Should I do cardio first thing in the morning (fasted)?”

“What’s better, cardio before or after my strength workout?”

I think you know where this is going before I even say it…Just make sure you’re getting your heart rate up a few times a week.

If you really have your fitness routine dialed in to the point where you are consistent with your strength workouts, cardio, and nutrition AND you are ready to optimize those routines for peak results, then I would say it’s fine to focus on the 10%. After all, the 10% is still importantBut for the vast majority of us, focus on the 90%, or the main and plain, because these are things that will move the needle the most.