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Are You Ready to Step it Up?
July 15, 2013

So You've Been Training for a While
and You're Ready to Kick it up a Notch?

The other day I received an email from the Contact Me form on my site at It went a little something like this:

Love your website! It inspired me to start a fitness program and I have already lost 15 lbs. Your website showed me that I could put together my own workout plan without having to pay the fitness trainers at the gym to do it for me. I have a question. I feel like I am ready to make some adjustments to my current workout plan. I currently am doing a full body 2 x week with cardio on the rest of the days. Should I increase reps, weights, switch to 3 x week? What do you suggest?

First of all, let me say it just warms the cockles of my heart to receive an email like this. It makes the hard work and expense that goes into my "free" resources worthwhile. So, I decided to take this one and turn it into a newsletter this month. I'll admit it. The intention is two-fold. One, I will share this great question with all my readers so everybody benefits. Two, I will unabashedly toot the horn for my Straightforwardfitness website. Yup, I'll jump right on that train!

So, let's look at this question. To answer it best, I need more information. I need to know things like:
1. Details on the current routine: Specific exercises, reps, sets, weights, etc. on a typical workout day.
2. Current age, weight, height and basic health status as far as arthritic, elderly, etc.
3. How long have you been training on the current routine?

Once you have embarked on a new fitness routine, you will need to change things up now and then in order to continue to surprise the muscle. If not the progress will slow. That's why they call it progressive training. You have to overload your muscle with more work than it is used to doing. Once it gets used to it, you may reach what feels like a plateau.

You will find in the first few weeks or couple of months that your progress is quite noticeable. Right around the 6 week to 2 month mark, you may notice the slowing of progress. This is when it is time to switch things up a bit.

There are many ways in which to make the aforementioned adjustments.

    Let me just throw a few ideas at you:

  • If you are training twice a week you could begin throwing in a third workout. You could make that third workout a fullbody workout, doing three fullbody workouts a week, or you could take the first two workouts of the week and do a split routine, making the last workout a fullbody. For instance, workout #1 chest, shoulders, and triceps. Workout #2 back, biceps, and legs. Workout #3 Full body. Splitting the first two workouts in this manner allows you to do a more intense workout for those muscle groups.

  • Another thing you may want to try is changing the rep range. If you've been doing 2 sets of 12 reps per exercise, you could try 3 sets of 12, 10, and 8 reps, respectively. Going heavier with the weights as you decrease the reps per exercise.

  • You could do more exercises per muscle group or introduce new exercises, changing the entire routine or just throwing in a couple of new ones. If you've been focusing on compound moves, you may want to throw in some isolation exercises or vice versa. You could change the angle of the exercise, i.e., incline instead of flat or cable instead of machine, dumbbells instead of bars, etc.

  • You could change the amount of rest between sets to more or less than you have been doing, i.e., 30, 45, or 60 seconds or more according to your specific goals.
These are just a few of the options available. Or you could get totally crazy and hire a fitness trainer for some one-on-one training that will set your workouts into overdrive! (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Seriously though, a personal trainer could definitely show you some amazing ways to beat the plateau. It's what we do.

Be sure and read the cardio guidelines and strength training guidelines at to ensure safe and effective workouts. Plus, don't forget to stretch. Flexibility is important, especially as we age. Lastly, always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise, diet or fitness program. Now, go work out and have fun! No, really! Enjoy!

For more tips and info that can help you get better results from your fitness plan, be sure and check out my new eBook So You Joined a Gym...Now What? Part II Essential Workout Tips & Secrets for Beginners: How to Exercise & Train Smart." The information in this book will kick your workouts into overdrive, no matter what your level of fitness. Because it matters HOW YOU WORKOUT! This book will show you how. Go to Smashwords for any other format that isn't covered at Amazon.

This month's featured exercise is the Killer Core Workout. This is an amazing series of exercises for the midsection. It goes beyond a couple of crunches and extremely hits the abs, finishing up with a lower back strengthen and stretch move. Enjoy! But a word of warning: It's not for sissies!

Killer Core Workout
Primary Muscle Group Worked:
The Entire Core. Abdominals, including oblique muscles.

To see a video of this routine go to My YouTube channel

This takes practice. Certainly not for beginners. Enjoy!

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video is by a doctor named Peter Attia. While this video lasts 15 minutes, which is a lot longer than my average Ponder Pond vids, Dr. Attia quite poignantly and eloquently reveals that everyone, including himself, is a target for the diseases we tend to cruelly judge people for. He poses the question that maybe we have it all wrong, blaming the victim instead of the true culprit. More importantly, if he is correct, and I believe he is, the implications are profound at best and life-saving at the very least. Wake up, people! Take 15 minutes to watch this and begin to step out of the fog of misinformation of the past.

Be sure and check out my new blog site! Just click here. to head on over and give it a read! I will be posting a new blog in the next few weeks.

Please sign up for my mailing list and subscribe to my blog so that you can be informed when I post a new blog. I am a believer in less is more so don't worry about being inundated with posts telling you every time I had a snack or a new thought. On the other hand, I hope you find the wait between posts worthwhile as I plan to speak directly from my "writing" soul and I look greatly forward to it.


Go Here to buy my fitness books now for your Kindle! And did you know you can give Kindle ebooks as gifts – just click the yellow "Give as a Gift" button on the right side of any Kindle book page on Amazon.

The Now What? Fitness Series is for sale now at and is available for download to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

Or if you're a loyal Barnes and Noble customer, then by all means click here.

Say! Did you know that you can follow me on Facebook? Well, you can! Jump on over to and "like" my page, please. I post a fitness tip most days. Feel free to leave comments and check in often. Thanks ever so much! If you have read any of my books you can also go to my new facebook page at and drum up a conversation with other readers or me or whomever. It's brand new so don't let the crickets scare you. Somebody has to get this party started, right?

Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and for reading it and for your support. Our relationship is reciprocal as I live and learn from all that happens in my life, just as you live and learn through yours. We are truly in this together, and I empathize with your challenges as I do my own. I promise to hang in there and learn and grow along with you, and I hope that sharing through my writing maybe helps you a smidge. If it does, that is my payback. It is why I continue to do what I do.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about and Now What? Fitness Blog where they can get all the fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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