Tracking Progress, Dispelling Fads
Mar 21, 2013
This week marks the beginning of the Great Jeans Challenge, so I wanted to write about the importance of tracking your workouts (auditing your workout) so you can track your progress. Then I realized I also wanted to dispel some misinformation that you might have read, heard about or seen along your fitness travels. So this blog is sort of a hodge-podge without all the confusion of not having a self identity…I will talk about two things quite clearly. One being why you, yourself, should track the effort you are putting into your PACK workouts and two the growing trend (re-emergence) of the light weight brigade in the fitness world, in other words lift super light weights hundreds of times in a workout to see progress. They will tie together quite succinctly in the end, I promise.
One of the most important things to making progress in one’s health and fitness goals is to continually challenge your body. Whether you do it by increasing your intensity, the time you take to move a load (lift a weight), increasing the amount of weight you lift or one of the many other ways to vary your workout, during the next 8 weeks of the “GJC” it will be important to vary some or all of these things to see continued positive changes. As your trainers, we have the responsibility of creating fun, challenging and rewarding exercises that help you attain your fitness goals. However, you have a responsibility as well, you have a responsibility to yourself to be aware of the effort you are putting into your sessions. What exactly does that mean? Well, in order for one to see results tracking of food intake is often prescribed as a tool to keep oneself honest about what they are eating. Interestingly enough, the same is necessary in order to stay honest about the level of effort and intensity one performs during workouts. For sake of clarity I found this article talking about what is known as Progressive Overload, and this is the concept I am talking about; in order to see continual results one needs to have continual progression in your workout. Read up about what progressive overload is, how to incorporate it into workouts and how it will help you to achieve your goals. Then read this article for an example of how it would come together over several workouts. If you want to do more in-depth reading then this article will explain it in greater depth with multiple parts.
Ultra light-weight, super high volume workout principles
Recently, the idea of lifting really light weights hundreds of times, performing aerobic-like dance moves for upwards of two hours, and other archaic means of “transforming one’s body” have begun to re-emerge in methodology and popularity. One could attribute this resurgence of ineffective workout routines on one super-small, super spray tanned, botoxy, blond vixen who shall remain unnamed so as to not give her name a boost in Google search engine hits (we all know who I am talking about.) One could argue that her methods work and almost faster than traditional, well researched and developed training regimens. However, if one were to follow this plan of eating as little as 1000 calories a day and working at a frenetic (low weight) aerobic exercise routine six times a day the body will always respond, and it will respond in a way that a person could say works. A 1000-calorie a day diet paired with 6 day, high-cardio workout routines will result in a few things for normal people like you and me who have real jobs and responsibilities. Initial results (weight loss) within the first few weeks that will feel great at first, then the negative effects will make their presence felt. Weight loss plateaus rear their ugly heads, low energy levels are experienced and one of two things will happen as a result of denying your body the proper nutrients it needs. You might attain the walking skeleton, super skinny, emaciated look (I know we are all secretly jealous of tinsel town) or (more likely than not) your body will react and go into starvation mode, which means you will lose weight even slower or not at all for a plethora of reasons which are outlined in the link I provided. Remember, gimmicks, fads and trends come and go. Tried, tested and true methods stand the test of time and they stick around pretty long providing us with results that are steady, dependable and most importantly, more healthy for us.
So what exactly am I suggesting with all this jibber jabber? Really only two things:
One, in order for us to see progress we need to continually make progress. So put down the ten pound weight you may have started using in workouts five weeks ago and grab an fifteen or even a twenty pounder, the work will be harder and you may not be able to go for as many repetitions or the full minute in the pack work out but that’s okay. Your body will respond and rise to the occasion, even better, you will (with time) start to see some nice definition to your muscles and fat loss provided your nutrition game is up to snuff…
Two, do not buy into hype trainers and their nonsensical training and eating recommendations. You will find that there is very little to no backing behind what they are suggesting besides what they have tried on themselves and their Hollywood clients who, as we all know, don’t live the everyday lives you and I do with all kinds of professionals to take care of their every need. Food is fuel, fuel drives our body’s systems and that is important. Keep working, keep eating smart and keep progressing. Move heavier weight, take up the intensity and keep things moving in order to see that scale move in the direction you want it to.
I’ll see you in the PACK.