The 5 Most Effective Disciplines To Tone Your Arms And Glutes…

I’ve been chewing on something for quite a while now, and it’s not a protein bar.  Or maybe it is…  

 In a never ending plot to solicit more readers, to sell more subscriptions, and to sell more products boasted by these medium, fitness magazines and fitness websites work diabolically to hook people by bombarding readers each week with hypnotic eye-candy; these lists from the “experts” of the 5 most effective exercises to tone_____, or to shape______.  These, according to them, are the guaranteed best exercises for glute training, ab flattening, arm toning, etc.     

Always in lists of 5, always supported by pictures of smokin’ hot fitness models in immaculate condition, and always guaranteed to produce the “best results”, these lists of the 5 best grab people by the hope, and month after month swing them around until they’re dizzy, before they finally let go only to land not far from where they started.      

These lists of top 5 exercises do produce results.  That is, they do sell a great deal of promise along with all those subscriptions and all those products which are sold.  Rarely though, do they deliver much in the way of tangible results.  You see, these top 5 lists neglect some very important componants of exercise success; that the most critical and important elements of any shaping, toning, or strengthening exercises, are all the peripheral disciplines which need be applied in order to make those top 5 exercises effective. That is, the deeper consideration of the movement, the supreme effort required to make those movements work, and the food that be included to support the effort.      

 Yes, there are some exercises that are more effective than others for toning this, or for shaping that.  However, no one exercise is the exclusive remedy for toning bat-wing arms, making the pecs look tighter, or the ass harder.  Even the most effective exercises have limited utility unless practiced regularly, performed properly, done with some degree of intensity – all supported with above average eating.      

 So rather than bore you with a list of Roy’s top exercises, guaranteed to provide results (push-ups, pull-ups, free-squats, low-back extensions, and walking) here is my list of the 4 most effective disciplines that, applied to any exercise, can create the kind of change you are looking for in how your body looks and functions:      

    Saying “No”      

 Saying “no” is the most effective way I know to make progress in exercise. Since it is good eating, above all else, that promotes results from exercise, simply saying “no” to excess fats and sugars, too much alcohol, extra helpings, and extra calories in general, will go a long way in supporting whichever top 5 exercises you key in on.  Saying “no” to excuses helps too.         

Say "no" to temptation, and say "hello" to success...

   Taking That First Step     

   There’s a discipline for you, taking action. Take steps in a left-right-left-right kind of way, and actually do something rather than just placating your inner desire and dreaming about action.  Taking the first step is a discipline destined to help you help yourself. The ability to initiate the first step of the walk, the first weight lifted, the first stretch had, the very act of just getting out of bed or off the sofa and making exercise happen is a great discipline indeed – and without it, dreams of improvement will remain as such.        

Foot prints on the road to improvement offer and brilliant aestethic...

  Reflect On The Negative  

Take time daily to reflect on what you don’t want to look like and how you don’t want to feel.  This discipline can add serious enthusiasm to your exercise habits. Too often we look only at our lofty goals with glazed eyes and a numb head.  Sometimes it’s much more motivating to work yourself away from a lesser moment, than to work towards a greater goal.  Being aware of, and working away from, who you don’t want to be is where the true fire of fitness can come from – where mine comes from anyway.         


Spend time thinking about what you DON'T want to be...


  Nothing reinforces both the good and the bad of a given day better than journaling.  Writing down, and regularly reviewing your eating habits and your exercise patterns, can be a great way – perhaps the best way to stay connected to the discipline of change.  Change can be elusive when progress is not monitored.  Journal your way to success by documenting your fitness day – daily.     


Journal the fitness days, and create a written legacy from which to learn...

As it relates to these ever present lists of top 5 exercises published in magazines and on the web each month, I suggest that which top 5 exercises matters a lot less than which disciplines be applied to them in the periphery.  Wrap your arms around exercise, yes, but wrap your mind around it too.  These top 4 disciplines, among many others, will set you up for more change in how your body functions, feels, and appears, than any 5 exercises I could list; push-ups, pull-ups, squats, low-back extensions, and walking.  Discipline is the Swiss Army Knife of  change; it  is a very portable asset, and can be used as a tool to accomplish anything.  Be well. rc

12 responses

  1. I really like your idea to consider what we don’t want to look like. I generally try to see what I’m going to look like or what improvements I’m going to see. I don’t really consider what I would look like if I didn’t discipline myself to have good habits. Great post!

  2. Roy, I so love your posts! You are so right on here! I always cringe at the it is this that works & nothing else OR my way or the highway attitude. Yes, you brought up some great exercises too! 🙂

    But along the way, as I am sure you know Roy and as this post says, people tell you that this or that is the best exercise or exercises for a certain body part. What I have found is that it is NOT always best for me. I always work to find what is best for me.

    And on that food, so true. In fact just yesterday, I made a comment on the Shape FB page where commenters were saying they wanted a particular person’s arms. I noted that I get lots on comments on my arms BUT I eat healthy & work hard & without eating healthy, you ain’t gonna see all that hard work!

    We are on the same wavelength again!

    Thx for a really great post!

  3. Katie: Thank you for stopping in. Discipline is a virtue indeed.

    Jody: I totally agree with the individuality of exercises. I get nothing out of some movements which my friends swear by. This has much to do with genetic predisposition. That is, my levers and pulleys (muscles and bones) have different connection points and lengths than those of others. It is our levers and pulleys which make an exercise fit us, or not.

    Also, isn’t it funny how people always ask us, “Hey, what do you do to get those arms?” And nobody EVER says, “Hey, what do you eat to get those arms?” If only they knew….

    Josie: Thank you for dropping in! I won’t ask you any cake questions, and you won’t ask me any pizza questions, deal….?

    Dr. J: I wish the same. Actually I would like to tattoo this column, in reverse, on the forehead of every mother and father in the nation. That way, they could see it in the mirror each morning while brushing the sugar off their teeth 🙂

  4. Oooh, lots of wholesome goodness here. I know it’s true that what you eat is anywhere from 80-90% of the equation. I’ve heard that from my trainer and my dental hygienist (who’s also a trainer) and now I’m hearing it from you.

    It all makes sense, really. Discipline is really underrated. If you think about anything that you have ever done well, I mean REALLY WELL, you’ve had discipline. Getting fit is no different. Gotta have it.

  5. Carla: Thanks very much. If I can provoke even one thought, in one person per day, it’s worth it.

    Diane: You know these values as much as anyone I am familiar with. People just don’t understand that the hard work is not in the gym, or even at the dinner table. The hard work is in th head because that is where workout and eating choices start.

    Bobbie: “Wholesome goodness”? Hmmmmm. It really is about honing discipline skills. Statistically I’m not sure where this falls, but I will suggest that people who succeed in weight-loss have exhibited strong discipline in other areas of their life.

  6. I hate the word NO….I practice it daily in sooooo many aspects of my life.
    I have always said…When I turn 80…..STANDY-BY…I am eating, drinking, doing whatever I want whenever I want!!!
    Until then…31 more years of NO? OMG! Help me Roy!

  7. Claudia: Your wish for help, is my command. Oh, it’s also what you pay me for. 31 more years of saying “no” will give you 31 more years. For every “no” you don’t say, you might want to scratch off a day or two :-O

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