I have heard that no one likes change except a baby. I can tell you from experience that even babies don’t like to be changed sometimes. Babies are sometimes happy just doing what it is that they were already doing, and don’t want to go through the interruption that getting changed will cause. Exactly like us as fully grown people. We humans are creatures of habit. We like to just keep doing what we were already doing, often hoping that things will just miraculously change. This method never works and it has been said by some that doing things the same way and hoping for a different result is the definition of insanity. I think there’s a little more to being clinically insane than living life on a metaphorical treadmill and indulging in wishful thinking, but I’m not a doctor. Yet.
I’ll be honest with you, the impetus to this article is the fact that there are going to be some changes to what I’m posting at this site. Nothing earth shattering, but the vast array of subjects that have been covered have definitely illustrated to me what it is that you are most interested in, and with that information I aim to do my best to bring to you what it is that you enjoy the most. It’s not going to be a huge stretch for me as I already write about these topics anyway, but this way there will be a little bit more consistency to the site and you’ll know what to expect on a day to day basis. This is kind of in direct contrast to what this article is about, so I’ll get back to the what it was I was talking about before, but I thought I would let you in on my plans.
Are you one of those people that is guilty of living in a bit of a comfort rut? I don’t mean to put a negative spin on this, as a set life system is pretty much the way we all live. We all have our formula to ensure we have a smooth and trouble free day, but I’m not really attempting to look at that. Most if us have our daily routines and our weekly ones too. We tend to thrive on that continuity it seems. Taking some of the surprises out of our lives makes things more palatable and easier for us to digest. What I want to know is how does this set routine of comfort apply to your training, or to your diet? Do you always do the same exercises, with the same amount of weight, and adhere to pretty much the same eating plan?
I’ll begin with training as I see this approach of complacency with probably 90 percent of people at the gyms I’ve attended over the years. There are the guys who head straight for the bench every Monday. There are those that are always on the treadmill or step machine. There are those doing their never ending crunches. There are the machine faithful that never touch a free weight, and vice versa. On and on the examples could go. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this method of spending your time at the gym. It is just that however, spending your time there. At the point that the above examples are on the curve of progress, it’s really just a habit and the maintenance of the status quo. Like I have said, there is nothing wrong with this, but it’s not going to make you any bigger, or stronger or leaner. At most the progress will be minor.
My typical gym routine is just that, routine, as in it’s regular. The routine part of my visit however, only lasts for the first 15 minutes or so. I arrive, do some light stretching, roll around on the foam roller for a while, then it’s on to some dynamic stretching. After that though, there really is no routine, except if you want to call circuits and sprints that are both in ever changing combinations, a routine. There’s a plan as always, but the action portion rarely resembles anything that came before it.
There is a focal point, like whether it’s push/pull day, or leg day, or full body day, or recovery cardio day, but there is not a set system in place to accomplish those workouts. The focus within the workouts themselves changes as well. A leg workout may be emphasizing strength, with power and agility as the lesser portion of the days training. An upper body day may be heavy on explosiveness and strength may be of secondary importance. When it comes to training like this, intuition plays a large role. For instance, just this morning I was feeling fatigued and for an extremely rare training session, didn’t even touch a weight. The order of the day was three different sprint combinations involving everything from stair climbers, rowing machines, treadmills, bikes and jump ropes, finishing with a 10 minute plank combo. I knew I didn’t have it today, but as you can see it was still a very effective session none the less.
This is a very effective method of training if you are seeking an overall physique that is both functional and athletic. It also makes falling into a rut with this type of training next to impossible. This is how I like to train, but maybe your goals are of a different variety. For instance, if building mass is of precedence for you, then chances are you train in a manner that fits better with the bodybuilding paradigm. This system is much more set in stone as to what works as it is a proven method, much like an Olympic lifters training method. There is much less room for variation, but that still doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to avoid slipping into a comfort zone.
If this is your preferred training style, then instead of heading straight for the bench as your first exercise on chest day, you may want to hit the incline bench first. Maybe try some dumbbell work, or even some isolation exercises to begin your session. Pre exhaustion, drop sets, and supersets are all great ways to inject some variation as well. When it comes to training stimulus, unless the weights used are constantly increasing, then other methods must be employed for progress to continue. I think you’ll find that simply mixing things up will allow for those weights to increase as another benefit to varying your training.
This is necessary for both your body and mind. Once you get into a nice comfortable method that you continually recycle, your muscles and body will just maintain, and your mind will become unstimulated. It’s at this point that training really can become just a grind as there is nothing to look forward to anymore except more of the same. How can anyone be looking forward to another day of the same old same old?
We as a species are always looking for a challenge. Whether it is climbing the highest mountain, or diving to the bottom of the deepest ocean on earth. The moon landing comes to mind when I think of what we will do to challenge ourselves. At the time that was considered impossible, yet an innate human need made it possible. Basically we are always looking to grasp what is just out of our reach, and that is one way to look at what is necessary for progress to continue with our training. We too must always be trying to reach what is just beyond our capabilities. In time if we are diligent, then what is currently out of our reach will be accomplished. When that point in time occurs it will be time to look even further ahead and seek the next milestone. The very nature of training is based on accomplishing what it was that you couldn’t do before, so this process must continue on indefinitely.
Touching on diet within the context of this post, those that transform their bodies because they compete, or those of us that like to remain at a high level of fitness year round know the dedication to diet that is required. For those of you that are undergoing a transformation and are on your way to your dream body, you should be commended on your commitment to change. For those of you that want to have that body you’ve always known you are capable of having, now is the time to make those changes to your diet that make those changes to your body possible. Change for the sake of change may not be a well thought out approach, but change to make change is exactly what you need to do through your diet so that your body can reflect those changes. It is up to you to get make that commitment to change that is needed for your goals to become a reality. Once you have made the decision to make the necessary changes, then it really is only a matter of time before you accomplish what you set out to do.
In the world of training and diet, once you’re comfortable it basically means the brakes have been put on as far as progress is concerned. We must always fight to make progress. This means that we must continually challenge ourselves. It is after all what drew us to this lifestyle in the first place. Of course there was the desire to change our bodies, and through that change we continued to make changes thereby ensuring a continuation of that progress and change that as far as I can see has no end.
There’s a decision that each of us is faced with each day, and it is up to us to rise to the occasion and say to ourselves that we accept the challenge that bringing change will be, and will counter with the necessary changes to fuel the changes that we seek. Progress is like a row of dominoes falling, each one knocking down the next. The only difference in that comparison is that instead of dominoes, it is changes that are both small and large that are necessary to cause the reaction that we must set in motion. I hope that all of you reading this will keep knocking down the next domino and moving forward. Join me tomorrow for #abs: The Money Muscles 2, so until then my friends,