Blog Posts, Fitness myths

Myth #14: Intensity is Irrelevant

If there is one mistake I see in the gym (besides knowing that people are trying to out train a bad diet) that is sabotaging their success, it’s this one. The most common scenario is this…and it’s really common.  Someone comes in, all fired up with a new program in hand.  Maybe even it’s a program I designed.  Seriously, kudos for that– for hiring a trainer to get you started and give you a program so you don’t waste your time. When I am setting people up with programs, I always say “This isn’t a forever workout.  This is where you start.  Come back and let’s get you started on a new program in 4-6 weeks.” But lots and lots of people keep doing the same workout day in and day out for moooooonths.  Same weight, same exercises, same order, same number of sets and rotations. Their brain has checked out on the workout, and guess what? So has their body!

Bodies are very smart, and they are really good at adapting. They become more and more efficient every time they do a workout, thus decreasing the amount of energy they are having to put into a workout to achieve the same results.  We have an expression up in our classroom at the gym, and I frequently remind my clients of it while they’re in there thinking they’re dyyyyying. The quote says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

If you have plateaued with your progress, throw away your same stale routine.  Hire a trainer to change it up for you.  Or at the very least try changing the number of reps or the weights or the order or decrease the amount of time you rest. Try adding in spurts of cardio like on a recumbent bike. By time you finish your workout, you should feel at least moderately tired– and if you’re really trying to change, you should feel spent by time you finish (but doing something that’s appropriate for your fitness level!)  See what it feels like to “leave it all in the gym” as I like to tell my clients.  I hesitated to write this post, because this is one of the places where people begin doing silly and unsafe things.  Really, hire a pro to make sure your time is both safe and effective. Buuuut… because this is where so many people are failing to see the results they want, I can’t not say it either.

This was a hard lesson for me to learn. (I kept a blog on my weight loss journey and you can read about some times when my trainer taught me that lesson Here and Here).  But once I realized that, excuse the French… because sometimes you just gotta say it, half-assing a workout wasn’t getting me anywhere fast, everything changed.
Think that as long as you don’t go over your calories, you’re golden? Check out tomorrow’s post…

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