powerlifting training

The basics work 100 percent of the time, and should always be something on which you focus. Think about this real quick: can you add or subtract without understanding what numbers are? No, numbers are the basis for math, and you need to know how to count before you can add or subtract. This applies to anything in life, including working out and nutrition. So, why is most of you think you can skip the basics of working out and the basics of nutrition.


Understanding the Basics

The basics of anything are the basis upon which something is built. Think of the ground a building is built upon. It needs to be prepped before the foundation is laid and the actual building of the structure begins. Think of workouts and nutrition in the same way.


These building blocks for nutrition and workouts will aid you now and in the future. You will never reach a point where you do not need to remember and focus on the basics. You cannot skip the basics and hope to build a strong and healthy physical structure.


Think about the building again. It takes math to build. If a person does not understand math, he or she cannot build a home or other building. In that same line of thinking, a person must prep the ground before laying the foundation. A poorly prepper ground can lead to a foundation that is uneven, sinks, cracks, and is an unhealthy base for the building.


Your body works in much the same way. You need the basics of nutrition and workouts to build a fit and healthy bodily structure.


The Basics for Workouts


The basics for workouts include basic human movement patterns that people use, but also a rudimentary understanding of 


  • Volume
  • Loading
  • Rest
  • Difficulty


These things couple with the four basic movements patterns help you to create a workout program that will allow you to reach your goals. The four basic movements patterns are:


  • Running
  • Pressing
  • Hip-hinging
  • Squatting


When you pair the first four with a movement, you determine how much to do for that movement, at what level of resistance, with how much rest, and at what scale of difficulty. Being able to do many of these areas allows you to maximize your workout.


The Basics for Nutrition


At the very base of nutrition is mindfulness. Mindfulness could also be referred to as awareness. The terms are interchangeable. Whether using awareness of mindfulness, you need to have knowledge of what your current eating habits are like, and that starts by paying attention to your nutrition habits.


Mindfulness can be expanded into being able to read when you are hungry versus when you are emotionally eating, how to understand when you are full, and adjacent topics. At the base, it still comes back to paying attention to your eating habits. This means the food you eat but also how and why you eat.


Once someone is aware of their eating habits, then we can talk about calories, macros, food timing, and other topics. The food portion of reaching physical goals is typically harder. That is, for most people, it is easier to hit the gym a few times a week than it is to be aware of food all week. 


Both workouts and nutrition play a role, but in general nutrition is the more important topic for most people. 


Beginning with the Basics of Workouts


There are four basic movements patterns that should be included in all workout programs. These movements patterns are:


  • Running
  • Pressing
  • Hip-hinging
  • Squatting


Volume is the number of times you complete a movement, the number of sets, and the number repetitions in a given period. This period could be any length, but for now let us focus on a single workout.


Even though running often is not considered in this kind of volume, it can still be measure in very much the same way as the other three movements. Imagine you are going to


Run once in the workout, you are going to four intervals (sets), and you are going to run for 30 seconds (repetition). This equals


  • Run x 4 sets x 30 seconds = volume


Pressing, hip-hinging, and squatting are commonly measure in sets are reps. For pressing, consider you are going to perform the bench press once in the workout, you are going to complete four sets, and you are going to do 10 reps per set. This equals:


  • Bench press x 4 sets x 10 reps = volume


This seems pretty simple, but when someone who is inexperienced with working out first looks at a workout program, they often get confused by the volume layout. Understanding this can lead to less frustration and better workouts early on as well as in the long run.


Loading refers to the weight you use for a movement. This does not apply to running typically and instead only applies the press, hip-hing, and squat. For the bench press, it might look like this:


  • Bench press x 4 sets x 10 reps x 45 pounds, 95 pounds, 135 pounds, 185 pounds


This means you would use 45 pounds on the first set, 95 on the second, 135 on the third, and 185 on the fourth. Again, pretty straightforward, but in the beginning things like this can be confusing.


Rest in this context means how long you will rest between sets of one exercise but also between exercises. This number can be any amount and is relative to need as well as time you have available to workout.


Rest in a workout is not used for the sake of having rest in a workout. Rest in a workout is meant to give the body time to recover, in this instance, between sets, whether this is sets of the same exercise or sets of different exercises.


How much rest a person uses is based on need. In my opinion, this is one area a lot of people get wrong. They rest long or too short. The reason this happens is a person needs to be able to read how received they are in the moment. Since this is a learned skill that takes time to develop, an arbitrary amount, such as 60 seconds rest, is often used. This is okay in the beginning, but a person should learn how to read how much rest their body needs.


Difficulty means how hard any given set or exercise is in a workout, but also how difficult a workout is overall. There are many ways to gauge this, but often these are arbitrary methods. That said, this is still an important approach to consider.


Pushing yourself too much in a workout can leave you more fatigued and sore than needed. Pushing too little can lead to less progress. UNderstanding how hard to push yourself in a workout becomes a necessary skill to be continuously developed over time. Even people such as myself who have been working out for 21 years need to continue developing this skill.


That last sentence might seem odd, but as a person’s ability grows, and he or she can handle workouts that are more difficult, they have to be able to gauge this new level of difficulty and how to manage it.


A common method popular today is using rate of perceived effort, also known as RPE. RPE typically uses a scale of 1-10 to measure difficulty. Being at 1 is the easiest while being at 10 is the hardest. A level of 1 could be considered as something you could have done relatively indefinitely, while 10 would have been something you could have done no more of.


  • Coming back to the bench press, doing the set of 45 might be considered a 1, while completing the set of 185 might be considered a 10. 


RPE can be used to measure individual sets, such as the set of 45 and 185, all sets in an exercise, such as all four sets of bench, or a workout overall, such as a season that included all four basic movements patterns.


  • For the bench press, you would asses a RPE value for each set.
  • Then you would assess an RPE value for all sets combined.
  • If other exercise were included, you would do the same as with the bench.
  • For entire workout, you would assess all value for all movements combined


This is just an example, and may not be necessary or even ideal. For some people this is a good approach, for others not so much. The point is, assessing difficulty is something that can and should be done in some way.


Beginning with the Basics of Nutrition


At the very base of nutrition is mindfulness. Mindfulness could also be referred to as awareness. The terms are interchangeable. Whether using awareness of mindfulness, you need to have knowledge of what your current eating habits are like, and that starts by paying attention to your nutrition habits.


This can be a hard process to keep in mind all week long. When working with my online personal training and nutrition clients, I try to keep it as simple as possible. A super simple approach is to keep a written account day by day that includes vary basic information.


For example, think about the first meal you had today, which may have been breakfast. Let us say you had a breakfast burrito, orange juice, and a donut. Possibly the easiest way to log that is to note:


  • One large breakfast burrito
  • One large glass OJ
  • One donut


That is super simple. It does not tel us a lot, but it is a start. Let us say you track breakfast for week, and find you eat 1-2 donuts each day. Let us consider that you want to lose weight. More over, let us say that more often than not, you eat two donuts.


Now we have information. From that information we can say that reducing to 1 donut each day is a simple and actionable step you can take to reduce food consumed and ideally begin losing weight.


This is a super simple example, but again, it is a start. From here can dig deeper over time. For example, you might consider if the burrito is large and if you could cut it down, but still be satisfied with breakfast.


Now, this is a good place for most people to start. While you could measure out the includes ingredients for the burritto, list the calories, list that macros, or other details, this may not be needed in the beginning, or even years down the road. When properly applied, food mindfulness can lead someone to reach their goals without being mental about food. That is a good thing.




These are the basics workouts and nutrition. You should focus on them now and into the future. There is never a scenario where this stuff does not matter in reach physical goals. Even today, 21 years into my fitness life, I still consider these things. So does every single client of mine, and any person who has been successful in reaching their goals


And that is it. Have questions? Let me know on social media. You can click the links here, or just look up Nathan DeMetz Personal Training on Facebook and Instagram.

Demetz Personal Training About Nathan Demetz Personal Trainer

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.

Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!