Don’t Do This When You Exercise
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. To see if you fit the criteria of “exercise insanity,” take the following three part test:
- When you workout, how often do you progress your workouts (i..e make them harder)?
- How often do you see progress from your effort?
- If you have progress, are you able to maintain that progress (lose weight and not put it back on)?
If you answered never, no, and N/A then this article is a bit of a wake-up call. Anything besides often and yes to all three calls for an intervention. But fear not: a life as a personal trainer causes me to tackle problems from a solutions focused viewpoint. By the time you get done reading this you’ll have a better idea of what to do in the gym. Fix that and you can start seeing progress.
The one thing you don’t want to do when you exercise is to accommodate. Not accommodating means that your body is constantly being challenged with sensible progress. Good workout plans have some form of progression; meaning that when you repeat the workout, there’s a measurable difference from the last time you did the workout. Great workout routines keep progress going from month to month.
Not accommodating is your body adjusting to exercise. It’s kind of like what makes you sore doesn’t make you sore anymore (but don’t use soreness as an indicator of a tough workout). After several weeks, your body kind of “get’s it” and stops making adjustments. Every read something several times and not understand the material? Your body is like that. Read the same passage a few times and a light bulb goes off above your head. Your body is a little different from your brain – you don’t want that light bulb to go off.
It could be getting stronger, faster, or losing weight. The point being is that your gears are stuck in neutral and you don’t want that. At UEFP, our clients go through a 3-5 week wave. Go through enough of those waves, and you’re coming out better than when you started. I once did a seminar about this and a guy mentioned that he runs three times, three days a week but not seeing any change in his physique. I asked how long he’d been running that distance. He responded with “two years.”
Like I said, good routines focus on a progression. Now a progression means a small and sensible increase in work. You don’t learn your multiplication tables and then jump into calculus. Here’s a couple of examples to help:
Running: Add 1/8 to ¼ of a mile to your distance each week.
Circuit Training: Cut down on your rest and the end of the circuit
Weight Training: Add a rep to each set. So 4 sets of 10 becomes 4 x 11.
Each time you do this, your workout is tougher. Surviving nastier workouts means that your body is challenged. From that challenge comes change, and you’ll never accommodate.