Truths About Fitness
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 10:39 AM

Success in the gym, as with most things in life, comes down to mastering the basics.  Take these ideas to heart and you’ll reap major benefits.  All you really have to do is focus on these simple concepts and you’ll see results.

1. You should commit for the long-term.  Like their health care, most tend to approach fitness with only a short-term goal in mind.  However, benefits will be longer lasting and greater if you shift your focus to the long term.  For example, shift your focus from losing X number of pounds over a period of time, to a focus on regaining and retaining your health (wholeness) for the rest of your life; from lifting a certain weight, to "never missing a workout."   Like true health care, shift your focus away from short-term symptom relief and on to long-term improved function.   Ignore the short-term results. If you commit to the long-term process, the results will come anyway.  The irony is that when you commit to being consistent over the long-term, you end up seeing remarkable results in the short-term. 

2. You need a schedule for your training.  Most people train when they feel motivated or inspired.  As in health care they only think about "treatment" where they "feel" symptoms or a problem to address.  Here’s a better idea: stop treating health as something to do when it’s convenient and start setting a schedule for yourself to follow. Health and fitness needs to become a way of life, not an occassional appointment.  Setting a schedule for your training becomes even more important when life gets crazy. There will always be occasional emergencies that prevent you from working out. It’s part of life, but when you have a schedule for your training, you have a way of pulling yourself back on track as quickly as possible.  Let your schedule govern your actions, not your level of motivation.

3. You should focus on the best results.  Great results come from great focus, not great variety.  Too many waste time bouncing around health and fitness without any real goal, doing a little here and a little there. Thankfully, there is a simple rule that will always guide you toward the best when it comes to fitness – the more an exercise makes you move, the bigger the benefits it will deliver.

4. Train for volume before intensity.  Most want the extreme – the quickest, fastest, most dramatic – when it comes to fitness.  The most common mistake that most people make is not building a foundation of strength. Everyone wants to jump in and max out with a weight that is “hard.” But routinely training to failure is a good way to wear yourself down, not build yourself up.  The phrase that I like to keep in mind is “train for volume before intensity.” In other words, I want to build the capacity to do the work before I start testing my limits.  I like to think of volume over a period of weeks and months. Focusing on volume now allows you to handle the intensity later on.

5. SLOW progress each week is best.  What got you here won’t get you there. If you want to see different results, you have to do something different. If you want to see progress each week, then you have to progress each week.  Most people do the same exercises with the same amount of weight, and wonder why they aren’t getting stronger.  You’ll see people step onto the same treadmill, run two miles like they always do, and wonder why they aren’t losing weight.  

Here’s a little story that explains the problem and the solution: Imagine that you are in a quiet room and someone turns on a noisy fan. At first, it’s obvious and irritating. But if you are forced to stay in the room long enough, the fan starts to become part of the background noise. In other words, your body registers the sound at first, but eventually it realizes “Oh, this is the new normal for this environment.”  When you start to train, it’s like turning on the fan. Something new is happening in the environment, and your body registers the change by getting stronger and leaner. But after a few workouts, your body realizes “this is the new normal.” Your body finds a way to adapt to this new environment, just like it did with the noisy fan. As a result, you stop getting stronger and stop losing weight.

6. You'll benefit from recording your progress.   What gets measured, gets managed.  Recording your training brings the above points together.  You can look back and check long-term progress (point #1). You can see how often you were on schedule (point #2). You can verify that you focused on the best results (point #3). You can see how you are slowly building up volume and developing a foundation of strength (point #4). And you can prove that you’re making slow, methodical progress each week (point #5).