People like to cut corners. Everyone is looking for a shortcut to wealth, happiness and hotness. And so it's not surprising that people look to take shortcuts at the gym. Everyone wants to be hotter, stronger, leaner, and faster yesterday. And I get it. Doing things is hard, especially things that are hard to do in the first place. Not doing things is way easier. But what I can't jive is that the reason most people say they don't exercise is that they "don't have the time" for 2-3 resistance training sessions and 2-3 cardio training sessions a week. Now, if you do the math, that's only 5 hours a week in the gym. And as I've said before, any more time that you have to dedicate to training should be dedicated to sleeping. But let's say for the sake of argument that you don't have 5 hours a week to go to the gym (how much time do you spend on Facebook again?). So you ask me, "Coach Stevo, what's the single best exercise I can do?" Oh, I'll tell you, but I guarantee you that you are not gonna like the answer.
"The Best Exercise in the World" is the one that you suck at the most. You wanna get hotter, stronger, leaner, doing only one exercise? Then go to the gym and do the one exercise you suck at the most.
Everybody Got Their Goat
Let's look at an MMA fighter. George St.-Pierre is a gifted athlete and a brilliant tactician, but his greatest strength lies in honest personal assessment. At the beginning of camp, he sizes himself up and asks, "what's my weakness? How can this guy beat me?" Then he spends the next 8-12 weeks training with people better than him at that weak spot (boxing, jiujitsu, whatever). No matter how good he gets, he will always be great at some things and weaker in others and in the cage, those weaknesses can become liabilities. The same is true with you. The entire spectrum of human movement comes down to some simple moves. We push, pull, squat, hinge, carry, and we do things faster than we metabolize oxygen or slower (anaerobic or aerobic cardio). That's about it. And if you look at what you do most in the gym, I bet there is at least a 90% correlation to doing the stuff you're already pretty good at. The joke in the industry is that for men, Monday is International Bench Press Day. Well, when I look around so is Wednesday, Friday, and every other day ending in "Y." And for women, every day is "aerobic cardio" day. Oh, I'm sorry, and "core strength" day. But humans aren't made that way. Our bodies are a single piece; a tool that either works well or doesn't. And every body has a weak link, usually highlighted by a exercise that we hate doing. In the biz, that's called your "Goat." Now you just gotta find it and train it.
Finding Your Goat
Take the list of movements above and write them in order of your favorite to your least favorite. That movement you wrote down last? That's your Goat. And for you, it's The Best Exercise in the World.
Training your Goat
Tomorrow, I want you to go to the gym and do a thorough warm up with all the movements on that list. Then, do your goat exercise (aka, The Best Exercise in the World). Now do whatever the hell you want. 2 days later, repeat. Continue for 6 weeks, then re-write your list. Got a new goat? Repeat! Make sure you are training everything a little but hitting your goat first, hardest, and every single time. For extra credit on your days off, do your goat with just your bodyweight for a light sweat. Now you're training the Coach Stevo way: Every. Damn. Day.