“A Change is as Good as a Rest”

16 Jul

The following post and comment are from an earlier blog, which I have replaced with this one…this post has been backdated to the date of the original post and the comment was copied and pasted unchanged:

Even personal trainers, even total fitness nuts, like myself, lose motivation sometimes. This happened recently to me, when some additional stress hit my life. Running was fine, I craved that release. But lifting, which I usually love, seemed a chore. I ran through what had to be done in my head and realized I just couldn’t go through that process.
What this meant was that, other catalysts aside, I was burned out on the routine. It was past time to mix things up and that’s just what I needed at the time anyway. I totally threw out what I had been doing and went for something completely different and didn’t stick with that either. One day it was kettlebell, then a couple days later I just played around with the slide-gym-thing we got primarily for mixing things up (it’s a cheaper version of a popular celebrity-infomercial item you’ve seen).
It’s common to get into a “program,” a routine, when training for both long time gym rats and for newbies. In fact, those who really love to exercise often find it too easy, we love the routine too much. Progressive load principle works for strength training, at the beginning. You increase the weights and sets you’re working with, your muscles keep building. And then you hit a plateau. Keep doing the same thing you not only stop progressing, you increase your chance of injury and you may end up deconditioning your muscles. The body is lazy, it wants to compensate for what you’ve been doing during this time.
For those who easily get tired of the routine, who don’t see themselves as fitness buffs and dislike exercise in general, the routine is often difficult to stick to for long at all. They seldom get to the point where they’re bodies plateau, but might give up when it feels too tedious. Often as beginners to exercise, they are led to believe that they must stick to the “program,” often having been sold, literally, a particular one and so give up exercise all together, fed up and discouraged. Often made to feel, by those who might have “sold” the plan in the first place, that by not sticking to that particular thing they’ve failed.
Change is the answer to both the physical and mental burn out. Bodybuilders have a precise Periodization that they use that works with their schedule of competitions.  Determining what they need when is a major part of the sport. Other athletes also alter their training in connection with their competitive seasons, often taking a break from their sports-specific training right when their season ends and doing something else before starting training again. For those sports doing the sport is vital to being good at the sport, that is, you must run to be good at running, but the body still needs a break; and there’s no reason conditioning should suffer.
For the rest of us, those of us “training for life” to be healthy and active, we can, really, change anytime we need/want to.  If that run seems too daunting today, go biking! Bored with weight training?  See how you can change it up or take a Pilates class for awhile.  The key is, to keep moving. You can’t fail a program if your only program is to keep moving.

 Comment

siegerat
July 16, 2011 – 6:03 pm
Three months seems to be my mental/physical plateau… Every three months I have to change up my routine and try something new, whether it be a new emphasis in martial arts training, a new lifting sequence or routine, or switching to something else. I hate being bored, and listening to music as you lift can only help out so much.
Luckily I just started a new program, so hopefully should keep me set for a couple of months. And then, who knows?

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