Things We Wish We Learned Sooner about Health and Fitness

Things We Wish We Knew Sooner About Health and Fitness

Whether you’re new to fitness or have been around the block a few times, these tips are great lessons and reminders for everyone. If we could go back in time, these are some of the things we wish we knew about health and fitness sooner. Hopefully, we can help you learn from our mistakes, so you can skip the learning curve and not learn stuff the hard way like we did (:

Judging a “Good Workout”

If you’re leaving workouts feeling dead, beatdown, and like a zombie… you may not be getting the most out of your workouts and may be doing too much, lifting too heavy or going too hard.

Especially in places like CrossFit Gyms, Spin Classes, Orange Theory Fitness, etc, it can be common to see people “emptying the tank” and burying themselves during workouts on the daily.

Ever caught yourself competing for the top performance spot on the gym leaderboards? Or maybe you’re always hyper-obsessing over things like Heart Rate Zones and “Calories Burned” on data wearables?

Bear in mind that data from wearables (like “Calories Burned”) isn’t super accurate and probably isn’t worth paying attention to. And competing every day in the gym and redlining your body is a good way to quickly burn out, feel super beat down, and also put your body at greater risk for injury.

You don’t have to do the most to get the most out of workouts. And being super sweaty, super sore, and/or feeling completely smashed after your workouts may not necessarily be the best indicators you had a super productive Hypertrophy training session.

We’re looking for Goldilocks and The Three Bears: you challenged yourself and trained hard… but you also shouldn’t be leaving the gym feeling like a zombie who played in traffic and got hit by a bus, either.

When performing physique-focused workouts, the LOCAL muscles trained should feel fatigued after. Meaning that if you just trained legs, you should feel a little wobbly going up or down stairs after. Maybe the next hour or two after the session, you might feel moments that remind you what muscle(s) you trained that day.

But we don’t want to leave a hypertrophy workout feeling super systematically trashed. Meaning if your session leaves you feeling like burnt toast, dealing with super bad brain fog, or leaves you super excessively sore and struggling to squat down to the toilet – you may have pushed too hard or lifted a little too heavy.

Don’t chase soreness.

Mild soreness for a few days is just a sign that you trained the muscle(s) you intended to train, but soreness is mutually not required to see and make progress. Progressive overload is king, and progressive overload can only happen if we’re RECOVERING between our workout sessions.

Perceived Effort

The topic of “effort” and “how heavy to lift” during workouts has been a hot topic lately, especially in the Paragon community. This is absolutely one of those things we wish we knew earlier because we could have gotten from A to B soooo much faster.

Don’t get us wrong, there are definitely people doing the most, going too hard, lifting too fast, doing too much, lifting too heavy, moving poorly… but equal parts people sand-bagging weights/effort, people distracted by their phone, resting too little, resting too much, busy talking to other people…

Potential Red Flags:

  • If you consistently fly through workouts really fast
  • If you feel you don’t NEED your rest times between sets
  • If you finish the day’s programming and regularly still have the desire to go “do more” (like hop in another workout class)
  • If you aren’t breathing pretty heavily after each set // if you don’t feel each working set was pretty challenging
  • If you don’t need many warm-up sets (or aren’t doing ANY warm-up sets) before your work sets
  • If you aren’t seeing strength gains // improvements in your lifts over time (such as by the end of a training cycle)
  • If you’re having trouble changing your body composition

We’re trying to find the middle ground between pushing hard ENOUGH, lifting heavy ENOUGH, and also not trying to absolutely obliterate our body. It’s a balancing act and an art that takes time to learn.

Stop Comparing Yourself

One of the biggest things we wish we knew earlier was how to stop comparing ourselves to others who are maybe at a different point in their personal journey. Sometimes we’re at different phases in our lives. Maybe 5-10 years ago we didn’t have kids and/or a demanding career but now we do. Things change and we can’t always directly compare ourselves to the past.

What’s really most important is to MEET YOURSELF WHERE YOU ARE and try to be better than you are now. Any improvement that’s better than where you currently are, is progress.

It’s not about what you’re doing in comparison to someone else or what you could do in the past…

It’s about being better than you are now.

So how are you making yourself better right now and today?

Changing the Outside Won’t Help the Inside

Changing your outside appearance won’t generally solve how you feel about yourself. At least in the long term. At some point maybe it won’t be good enough or you’re still not happy. What truly makes us happy is when we’re living in alignment with what we value and what’s important to us. This is one of those things we wish we knew but unfortunately found out the hard way.

Most of the time, we have to learn how to heal from the inside out, if we truly want to appreciate the results of our journey. Learning how to enjoy the process is the most effective way for us to make progress, and for that progress to be sustainable over time.

Being healthy and fit is about developing a set of skills and habits you can sustain for long periods (ideally for life). It takes time to develop these skills and time to even realize why these skills are beneficial to you. But once you do that, that’s true change and there’s probably no going back to old ways. 

Need A Place To Start?

Our Paragon workouts are evidence-based and backed by science. You can choose to work out for 30, 45, or 60 minutes per day. We have workouts for all goals and levels of lifting experience. As well as the option to still include things you love (whether that’s running, Olympic Lifting, or riding your Peloton).

All of our programs at Paragon cycle through different exercise periodization phases, including hypertrophy (building muscle), strength, and metabolic cycles. So as far as goals go, you might have more options than you think!

Full Gym Programs = For those at a gym with machines, cables machines, and access to a barbell, dumbbells, squat rack, bench.

Choose between 3-Day Physique, 4-Day Physique, 5-Day Physique, or 45 Min Physique.

Home Gym Programs = for those working out at home or in a gym without machines. You’ll need a barbell, dumbbells, squat rack, bench, and bands.

Choose between 3-Day HG Physique, 4-Day HG Physique, 5-Day HG Physique, or Strength/Metcon.

DB Only Programs = for those with access to dumbbells and a bench.

Perfect for travel, home workouts, or those with limited gym equipment. Choose between 3-Day DB Physique, 4-Day DB Physique, 5-Day DB Physique, and 30-Min DB Quickie.

Click here to read more about our Paragon workouts!

LCK and Bryan from Paragon Training Methods

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“They say the best companies from solving a problem. Paragon Training Methods started w/ solving mine.”

– Paragon Founder, LCK 

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