How to Reorient Your Brain

More focus means more results.

Talk about déjà vu. You’ve been here before. You jump into an exercise program, ready to push yourself past any limit like any self-respecting Reps guy, only to realize that you can’t get yourself past the front door. So, what’s wrong? Here are a few tips to get you back on track.

1) Lose the “I Shoulds.”

You may want to shift your focus away from what you “should” do to be fit, functional and healthy and think about the top 10 things that make you thrive and how being fit and active supports those activities, suggests Margaret Moore, founder and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation, which trains fitness professionals to help motivate clients.

2) Focus on “Meaning.”

Moore also suggests linking fitness to what is most meaningful in your life: your contributions to your family, your workplace, your friends and your community. Being fit gives you the energy and calm to be your best. Being fit allows you to excel without the need for a lot of drama. “This will replace ‘I should’ with ‘I really want to exercise,’ says Moore.

3) Learn from past mistakes.

Some honest soul-searching might also be in order. “Recall past cases of exercise programs gone wrong, determine what happened and why and determine if there’s a pattern or similar reason for your dropout,” suggests John Raglin, PhD, a professor in the department of kinesiology at Indiana University who researches exercise psychology and human behavior. “If there is, you need to strategize about what to do if the event or feeling occurs again.”

Bodywork: Muscle-Up

In one seamless action, the muscle-up provides a complete upper body workout. The move starts with a basic pull-up, but instead of lowering yourself back down once your chin crosses over the bar, you keep going upward, transitioning into a front dip press.

Muscle Targets

Lats, rhomboids, biceps, chest, delts, triceps, forearms, abs

1. Warm-Up:

Do 1–2 minutes of light jump rope.

2. Setup:

Find a high enough bar that you have to jump to reach it.

3. Pull-Up:

Perform a pull-up but use a slight kipping motion to gather extra momentum. Thrust your hips forward slightly just before you begin the pull.

4. Sticking Point:

Pull explosively on the bar near the top of the pull-up to power past the tough point as your shoulders cross the bar.

5. Wrist Jerk:

Readjust your hand positioning with a quick flick of your wrists away from your body.

6. High Point:

Once your elbows go over the bar, transition smoothly into a dip press, straightening out your arms, but not locking your elbows.

7. Finish:

Reverse the action by lowering yourself back down in the controlled manner, keeping the muscles engaged.


Hit’s Muscle-Up Tips

Don’t worry if you’re having trouble at the start. Follow these pointers.

  • If you’re a beginner, start with a shorter bar so you can use your momentum to jump up to the top of the muscle-up, then focus on the negative.
  • Keep your legs as straight as possible throughout the exercise. If you’re just learning it, you can gain some momentum by bending your knees slightly during the pull-up phase.
  • Some people have a tendency to cheat the move by bringing one elbow up over the bar; you need to get both over at the same time.
  • Be careful not to snap your elbows into a locked position at the top of the move as it could mess up your joints.


Advanced Move: The Lateral Hop

For an advanced variation, explode off the bar at the top of the move and hop both hands to one side by about a foot. Grab the bar (don’t miss!) and absorb the landing by lowering yourself in a controlled fashion back down to the dead hang position.