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How to build yourself a fitness program that really works

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There is no doubt that we live in a "We want it now!" society. Just like we want our New England Patriots to raise the Lombardi Trophy every season, when it comes to our fitness and health, we want results and we want to see them quickly.

Unfortunately, impatience can lead to frustration, forcing us to get derailed from our training routines and sometimes even stop working out altogether. Usually it's just enough time to put the pounds back on and get terribly out of shape, again. Sound familiar?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can get so hyped to improve our fitness that we actually end up over-training, basically doing too much, too often. Not allowing our bodies enough time to get the proper rest and recovery can eventually result in injury or burnout.

Either scenario will lead to the same place: failure.

Although some of the workouts that you see in infomercials boast attractive results, the express mentality is not always the best solution. Most of the time, people don't and can't maintain such programs. And for those that do it successfully for the specified length of time, well, what happens next? Six days a week?! One hour a day?! Repetitive exercises?! One-muscle-at-a-time movements?! That's not for me and probably not for you either!

Here's the question you should be asking yourself: How can I be efficient with my time and be highly effective with my workouts?

If you want to finally make a difference for your body, you need to follow a program that is well designed and organized, and focuses on working out smarter, not longer.

So how can you do that?

First, know that you are not alone. I, just like many others, have fallen into the same fitness traps, but finally, I've found a way to maintain and sustain a fitness program while staying safe and keeping a healthy lifestyle. Real results the right way!

Consider the factors that stop most people from being able to sustain a workout program and transform their bodies.

  1. Perceived lack of time
  1. Boredom
  1. Injury
  1. Frustration and lack of results

Now, I want to share with you my BMAX (Berler Maximum Activation Xtreme) theory, which was developed to get rid of those negative factors and give you a workout program you can actually sustain as part of a healthy lifestyle. It's all about my training principle, maximum activation, or the idea of working out smarter, not longer.

Here's how those negative factors look now.

1. Lack of time: "I don't have time to work out!" Many studies have shown that 30 minutes of exercise works just as well as an hour. I'm talking about 2 percent of your day. So, it's not about having time; it's about making time. If possible, be consistent with the time of day that you devote to your fitness program.

2. Boredom: Most of us have been doing the same routines and exercises for years. Now it's time to add some fire to your workouts. Try constructing a program that doesn't repeat exercises and moves quickly. Keep your workouts alive. I want you dripping 'n ripping in every workout!

3. Injury: It's very important to decrease your risk for injury. This is where my training principle of maximum activation really pays dividends. By not repeating exercises over and over, your body will have less potential for Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), which is the most common form of injury among novices in the gym. Also, by focusing on compound movements instead of isolation (bodybuilder) exercises, your body will fire so many more muscle fibers, which will in turn build the smaller muscles that support the big, primary muscle groups.

4. Results: I've found that most people are not even close to pushing their limits and, generally speaking, their time in the gym is inefficient. So, let's work harder in a shorter period of time. Start by making your repetitions time based rather than stopping at say, 10 reps. I've found that doing an exercise for 40 seconds with a short 30-second recovery is the way to go. Next, set some goals. Keep track of your repetitions achieved for a given exercise and next time you visit that same movement, beat your number of reps, or at least match it. Put the blinders on, get the job done and get out. You will not believe how your body responds.

So, no, you don't need to work out every day! Rest and recovery are important for success, and if you're a recreational athlete, giving yourself rest days can help you maintain a balance between home, work and fitness goals. If you're "activating," go for every other day, baby!

Now let's ask that question again: What are your reasons for not working out?

Have a fitness question for Andy Berler that you'd like to see answered here? Send it to lifestyle@patriots.com.

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