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Success Story: Consistency and Discipline for Working Out

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Shorter Version


Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

My name is Casey Sagolla-Slamp. At 18 years old, shortly after beginning college, I decided to focus on creating the best and healthiest version of myself by maintaining a nutritious and active lifestyle. I prioritized working out and eating well; both of which helped me reach my ideal physique. Nearly everyone wants to improve his or her physical and mental health in some capacity…here’s what worked for me!

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Longer Version


Est. Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Building confidence is critical for working out

All throughout elementary, middle, and high school I was the short, scrawny kid. I developed a bit of a self-conscious disposition, thinking that women would pass me up because of my physique (or lack thereof).

Upon graduating from high school, I was 5’8” and weighed 115 pounds.

Once I moved to college, I made the concerted effort to change my physique and adopt a series of mantras which allowed me to transform my body to what I then found was my “ideal image.” Within the first year of establishing my gym routine, I was able to gain 30-40 pounds of healthy, muscular weight. Through this transformation process of working out, I gained the confidence I needed to build successful relationships with the women who I once thought I wouldn’t be able to date.

Here is my workout routine

My transformation started with developing and maintaining a gym routine. I was lucky and had a good friend who was a cross-fit trainer outside of his studies. He introduced me to the different kinds of equipment and exercises one can utilize in pretty much any type of gym. A year or two after I began working out regularly, I earned my personal training certification from the American Council on Exercise. I did this simply to learn more about the body and how best to exercise without sustaining injuries. Here is the weekly routine I’ve developed over the past 6 years:

Frequency: 6 times per week (Monday-Saturday)

Monday/Friday

  • 3-mile run
  • Bench press (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Body-weight dips (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Incline bench press (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Cable flys (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Decline bench press (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Tricep pull-down (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Push-ups (10 sets, 20 repetitions per set)

Tuesday/Thursday

  • 3-mile run
  • Pull-ups (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Cable rows (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Incline bicep curl (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Cable pull-down (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Deadlifts (5 sets, 8 repetitions per set)
  • Preacher curls (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)

Wednesday/Saturday

  • 3-mile run
  • Lateral shoulder raises (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Handstand push-ups (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Squats (5 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Strict shoulder press (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Dumbbell Thrusters (3 sets, 10 repetitions per set)
  • Overhead weighted lunges (3 sets, 10 repetitions each leg per set)

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The most important takeaways

Make working out work for you

First, it is important to mention that this is the routine I developed over 6 years of trying hundreds of exercises. And, I’m sure that my future routine will be different than what I do today. Your body changes with age and therefore resistance-based training programs must adapt so as to ensure injury prevention. As you begin your program, you will not and should not try to copy this routine verbatim. Start with basic movements to build consistent technique. Personal trainers are a great resource and can help you feel comfortable in the gym. Most times, trainers offer one free session for you to go through a sample workout as well as see if the chemistry is right between the two of you. My advice is to take advantage of that opportunity!

Group the exercises together

Second, some of the exercises may be foreign to you. However, it’s important to mention that I’ve grouped the exercises with respect to the movements. Monday and Friday are my “pushing” motion days, Tuesday and Thursday are my “pulling” motion days and Wednesday and Saturday are my “leg and shoulder” days. I’ve found that I am less sore and can give my muscles ample recovery time if I don’t do the exact same motions back-to-back days.

Include cardio

Third, you’ll notice that I include cardio each day prior to going through my resistance training. Cardiovascular health is essential to overall vitality, therefore, I absolutely include a cardio workout (running) each session. I’ve also found that cardio workouts promote blood circulation, which is essential to preventing injury during load-based exercises (lifting weights).

Working out and nutrition are linked

You’ll notice that I don’t do any isolated abdominal exercises during the week. There are two reasons for this. One, squats and other full-body, compound lifts/movements are extremely effective in strengthening core and trunk muscles. Two…

Abs are made in the kitchen!

Nutrition is absolutely essential when it comes to physical health and maintaining a lean physique. I’ve tried a few different nutritional lifestyles, including vegan and vegetarian. Through my experiences, I’ve found that eating unprocessed, mostly plant-based foods has allowed me to feel healthy and maintain my ideal physique. There are tons of diets out there to try, but ultimately, avoiding processed foods is the secret. I’ve included sample meal plans below for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Breakfast

  • 3 egg whites, 1 egg yolk
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt with whole, unsalted almonds

Lunch

  • Quinoa, vegetable, chicken stir-fry
  • Apple

Dinner

  • Grilled salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Grilled vegetables

Snacks

  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Lentil snaps
  • Granola

Actionable Steps


1

Make a schedule

The secret to being successful with regards to working out is to maintain a consistent schedule in the gym. This means picking a time of day and sticking with it. I typically go in the morning prior to work.

2

Consult your resources

American Council on Exercise, National Academy of Sports Medicine and various other fitness organizations have online libraries containing hundreds of exercises with videos and instructions. Additionally, both of these organizations offer contact information for fantastic personal trainers all over the country. You can ensure each trainer has a large knowledge base if he or she holds a certification from an accredited certification body like the two organizations above.

3

Learn to cook

Spending more time in the kitchen preparing food typically means you’re more likely to avoid eating processed foods. Brown rice, lentils, quinoa, clean meats, vegetables, fruits, etc. are all easy to prepare and taste great with minimal work or depth of cooking knowledge. “Forks Over Knives,” by Del Sroufe is one of my favorites.

4

Contact a professional

Dieticians and Nutritionists are excellent resources for meal planning and preparation. Additionally, they are trained medical professionals who can provide top-notch advice as well as monitor your habits to ensure you are following a healthy diet.

About the Author


Casey Sagolla-Slamp

Casey Sagolla-Slamp

Percussionist, Educator, Composer, Small Business Owner

Casey is a professional musician currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned his personal training certification from the American Council on Exercise and has competed in various Spartan Races across the country.
Facebook | CSPercussion


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