Where’s The Gap In Your Training?

Let me add one more opinion to the dumpster fire of opinions you’ll hear about exercise.

Asked simply, where is your gap? How will you improve it?

This article is primarily for general population and is not suggested to be the best advice for competitive lifters or seasoned athletes.


Depending on who you are and what your current level of fitness is, I’m going to start with walking. It’s easy to do, it’s easy to recover from, and while it certainly isn’t the most aggressive in terms of burning calories (assuming that you’re aiming to do so), the benefits add up. It’s good for the brain, good for the heart and good for the body. Start here: If you have a smartwatch, look at your average daily steps. Try to improve that number. If you don’t have a smartwatch, put your smartphone in your pocket while you go about your day or buy a pedometer and set it on your waistband. Let’s assume you average 3000 steps a day. Try to increase to approximately 5000-6000 a day. It will take concerted effort but see if you can push your average up. You don’t have to do it all in one go. You can split your walk up into separate bouts throughout the day. Some people will say that walking isn’t exercise but that really depends on the individual. For some, walking is all they are able to do and I am #teamstepcount all the way. Get that average up and make a commitment to stick to it. You don’t have to do 10K steps a day unless you’re already in the vicinity of that number.

Low Intensity Cardio

If you’re already walking or your step count is not an area of opportunity, find 2-3 days per week when you can add in some structured low intensity cardio. This could be on an elliptical, an elevated treadmill (or power walk), a rower, or a bike. If you can slot out 20-30 minutes per day, that would be awesome. My favorite tip is to tell clients to use that time with your favorite streaming device to crank out your cardio while you zone out to an episode of your favorite show. Keep in mind that traditional cardio may drive your hunger up so if you’re using cardio to help with a fat loss plan, you’ll want to be attuned to those hunger signals. Similar to my thoughts on walking, it doesn’t have to be done in one-go depending on your schedule but if you can get it done in one bout, have at it. And just like walking: good for your brain, good for your heart, good for your body.


At some point, you may want to spice things up a bit and sprints are another way to do so. I won’t give an exhaustive opinion on sprints but I do want to give you some options. If we were gauging exertion on a scale to 10, with 10 being as hard as you can possibly go, walking would be a 1-3, low intensity cardio might be a 3-6, and sprints would be around an 8-10. They should be difficult but short in duration.

Consider these options:

-10 second sprint with a 20-30 second recovery

-20 second sprint with a 30-40 second recovery

-30 second sprint with a 30-60 second recovery

A recovery can be a full stop of the movement or it can be at a much reduced rate.

Typically, you can run these alternating sprint intervals for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. It stands to reason that if you can go HARD for 10-20 seconds, you may not be able to sustain that same intensity at a 30 second sprint. Do the best you can but you’re aiming for high on that exertion scale. I normally only suggest sprints 1-2 times a week. They can be performed on elliptical, rower, treadmill, bike or you can get creative with kettlebell swings or battle ropes if you have access to them. I’ll reiterate: sprints done effectively are good for the brain, good for the heart, good for the body. Ask your doctor if you believe you have a condition which might make sprints too risky for you.

Strength Training

I don’t want to dismiss any other forms of movement like yoga, barre or Pilates. They are all beneficial and they all serve different purposes. Ultimately, it’s of primary importance that you find a style of movement you enjoy and can stick with. I’ll let my bias show that strength training (using bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, machines, etc) is the other area I’d like you to consider. For many people 2-3x/week of strength training is adequate. Whether you train full-body or you separate into splits (upper-lower, push-pull-legs, etc) is up to the person, the preference and if you’re seeing the results you want to see. In a “perfect world” you’re looking to see yourself make progress via an increase in reps, sets, weight, time under tension or with variations in recovery time. While there is nothing “wrong” with doing something different every time you workout, it is much easier to chart your progress with certain exercises when you can stick with them for a lengthier period of time (like a 4-6 week training cycle). Listen to your body but CHALLENGE your body. If you can lift a weight for 12 repetitions and it’s not challenging by the end, it’s probably too light. By the same token, if you crush yourself every time you walk in the gym, you may be negatively affecting your recovery. There are few things more discouraging to your personal progress than an injury and while it’s nearly impossible to not get some annoying ache and pain along the way, you do want to build enough resilience that you can bounce back quickly if an injury occurs. Lifting weights isn’t just about vanity and aesthetics, it’s to push back against sarcopenia and osteoporosis as we age. As one of my favorite coaches Matt Gary said: Strength is always an asset, it’s never a liability.

So, in reading this, find the area(s) you feel are missing from your plan. Start with the simplest one to implement that you can do consistently. If you’re currently lifting weights but your step count is abysmal, try improving the walking. If you’re walking every day but you’ve never done a sprint, add one day a week of sprint work.

Lastly, for whatever reason you choose to train your body, look at the long game. Lift, move and recover in ways that make it possible for you to do so for a lifetime. In doing so, make sure the foods you nourish yourself with support those goals as well.

And if you need my help, drop me a line.