As a personal trainer, one of the most frustrating things is to see the same people doing exactly the same workout day after day and being disappointed when nothing changes. They remain exactly the same weight and, after initial gains,have exactly the same level of fitness. They don’t get faster or stronger, nor do they gain any more endurance. They begin to question whether it’s worth coming to the gym day after day for poor results. I would estimate that at least 75% of gym members, probably more, fall into this category. They get into a routine that feels comfortable to them. I have spoken to some who have been performing exactly the same routine for 10 or even 15 years! The majority of members will do some cardio, always at exactly the same pace, they may try a few weights machines that they are comfortable with, then typically a few floor exercises for the core. They have repeated this ad infinitum. Nothing has changed.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, these people are still lapping those sitting on a couch with a remote control in their hands and they are gaining quite a lot of benefit just from getting regular exercise. However, after the initial honeymoon period, where they lost some weight perhaps and felt better for moving more, there has been no visible improvement and they get stuck on a plateau. Also, a word of caution. If your physician has told you to do what you’re doing and no more then follow that advice.
However, if you want to get faster or stronger or lose weight or improve in any way, you will achieve very little. Mind and body have locked into a comfort zone and are no longer being challenged. Any organism that’s not challenged will remain the same. It’s only by applying controlled stress to the body (or mind) that we actually force adaptation and change. This is the whole principle of training in a nutshell. When we train hard we actually cause microscopic damage to the muscle cells. This is not harmful, this is good, because the feedback the brain gets is ‘there was a crisis in that area today, we must make sure it doesn’t happen again, so let’s rebuild that area a little stronger in case a similar or worse crisis happens again, so we’ll be ready for it.’ Examples of this type of training might be high intensity interval training (HIIT) or increasing the weight on a machine. And note that our bodies can handle a great deal more physical work than we can ever imagine, if our minds are in the right place. We are incredibly adaptable.
Of course, this process needs to be managed carefully, otherwise the exerciser will become injured or ill due to too much stress being applied too soon and the body being unable to adapt sufficiently. Training volume and intensity must be increased gradually with proper rest and active recovery. The latter is another reason why adaptation doesn’t take place. Regular exercisers often fail to allow the body time to rebuild between sessions, therefore it is constantly in a state of being broken down and never given time to recover.
This, of course, is where a good personal trainer or coach come in for those who have little knowledge of this area. He or she will design a progressive, individualised programme based around achieving your personal goals, whatever they are, applying stress where required, alongside proper recovery periods to get the results you want.
If you would like a free, no-obligation, consultation to talk about your goals and how to achieve them, give me a call on 07504439555 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.