Guys – you may have the best intentions with your health and fitness. You may exercise regularly. You may try to eat right. You may do your best to limit your stress and consistently get good sleep.

However, if you are finding that your strength, fitness, and mobility are still not where you’d like them to be, there are likely some things you are doing that are holding you back.

Unfortunately, most media outlets and social platforms promote these things as “what you absolutely need to be doing”, when in reality they are just making guys worse.

So if you are feeling this ways, I need you to understand a couple things:

  1. You have been tricked into believing these things by the mainstream fitness industry
  2. You can absolutely, 100% change it

What are these things that you have been told are good but are making you weaker, stiffer, and less fit?

There are three big ones we need to cover today.

  1. You need to loosen up your muscles

Stretching, foam rolling, massage guns, flexibility work, and mobility drills are based around the idea that your muscles are too tight and need to loosen up.

However, while these types of interventions and modalities can temporarily change the tight sensation and may actually increase range of motion, the results are typically very short-lasting.

Why might this be??

Well, tight muscles are often just a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. When you remove the tightness, you remove the symptom, but because the deeper issue is not addressed, the tightness returns.

Many times, the deeper issue is that many muscles within your body are not functioning properly and are actually too weak, causing other muscles to have to overwork and, eventually, tighten up.

Instead of focusing on trying to loosen up the tight muscles, focus on trying to increase the strength and activation of the muscles that aren’t doing enough. One of my favorite ways of doing this is through light isometric exercises where I am focusing on making a gentle mind-muscle connection and emphasizing the muscle contraction.

Another extremely effective way to do this is with Muscle Activation Techniques®, or MAT®. While you do need a trained practitioner to perform MAT® on you, there is nothing out there that will be able to match how potent MAT® is at getting your muscles to contract better.

If you’d like to learn more about MAT®, you can download a free 20-page report I put together on it here.

And, if you are in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs – including Schaumburg, Barrington, Inverness, Palatine, Hoffman Estates, or Arlington Heights – and would like to experience the hands-on work directly, you can schedule a time to get an MAT® evaluation with me here.

  1. You need to do a certain number of reps with each exercise

There is this nonsensical idea being promoted in the mainstream fitness industry that the number of reps you do somehow dictates the results you get from the exercise.

Especially when it comes to developing power, building strength, or growing muscle, there is a standard rep formula that almost everybody follows that is complete BS.

You may have heard it before:

  • 1 to 3 reps for power
  • 3 to 5 reps for strength
  • 8 to 12 reps for hypertrophy
  • 15 or more reps for endurance

The giant problem with the entire thing is that your body doesn’t know reps; it only knows two things – time and challenge.

How much is it being challenged and how long has it been challenged for?

Where guys get into trouble with this is when they start sacrificing how they are doing an exercise to achieve a certain number of reps, which ultimately sets them up for injury and feeling lousy after they workout.

So if you shouldn’t be counting reps, what should you do?

I recommend using time as the measure of how long to do an exercise for.

Instead of thinking about doing 3 sets of 10 reps, switch to doing 3 sets of 60 seconds.

This is important because instead of feeling like you need to do whatever you can to get another rep or two in, you will be able to mentally relieve yourself of that liability and just focus on doing controlled reps for the predetermined amount of time of the set.

If at any point you feel like you can’t get another rep in, you can always just hold an isometric until the timer goes off. That way you are still challenging your muscles for the full time but you aren’t risking hurting yourself by using compromised form to do another rep.

There are a number of timer apps available for download, so find one that works for you and start switching your workouts away from reps and start using timed sets.

  1. Soreness is a sign of a good workout

This is one of the most heavily indoctrinated ideas in the mainstream fitness industry.

Not only is soreness seen as something that is normal, it is also considered to be a sign that you did something good for your body. But this could not be further from the truth.

In fact, soreness is a sign that at some level your workout was inappropriate for your body.

The two biggest culprits of soreness are using too much motion and using too much speed. Even though the amount of weight often gets blamed for feeling sore, rarely is this the case. It almost always comes back to having used too much motion with an exercise or moving too fast when doing the exercise.

But, aside from not feeling that great, the bigger problem with soreness is that it can deter you from coming back to workout again the next day. I mean who really wants to go workout when their body is aching and stiff?

But here’s the thing, if you are going to build a healthy, strong, mobile, resilient, and fit body, you HAVE to be able to exercise consistently. Anything you do that jeopardizes your ability to workout multiple times throughout your week threatens your opportunity to build the body and health that you want.

So, instead of looking at soreness as a necessary evil, look at it as a sign that you need to change something about your workouts. Not only will this help you stay feeling well, it will also help you stay consistent with your workouts, which will give you the best chance possible of staying strong, fit, mobile, and healthy long-term.

Like I said at the start, each of these three things is 100% able to be addressed and changed. You can implement the changes on your own, or if you’d like guidance with it, that is exactly what the Exercise For Life Membership is designed for. Not only will you get access to hundreds of on-demand workouts and programs that you can do right from home, you will also be getting real-time guidance from me as you go through the workouts so you know exactly what you need to focus on during each exercise.

You can get two weeks access to the entire Membership for free when you start today. Just click here to get started and I can’t wait to see you there!


Categories: Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!