Monday, July 12, 2010

Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want, Part 5

Let's say that your nutrition is good, your exercise program includes strength training and was properly designed. Could there be another reason why your results aren't great?


Reason #5: You're not challenging yourself.

Your body adapts to the physical stress you place on it. It's a survival mechanism. If any of you ever had a physical job- roofing, farming, old school factory work- the first few days you probably got pretty sore. After that you quickly got used to the demands of the job - your body adapted.

It's the same with exercise.

I once worked at a gym where I'd see the same group of ladies during the day. Most of them had been members for many years and coming to the gym was a habit, which was great. Unfortunately, the instruction and service at that gym were terrible.

These ladies would perform rep after rep of exercises at the same weight they'd been using since they started. I'd see lots of bicep curls with 3 or 5 pound dumbbells. They'd stand around holding conversations while mindlessly pumping out 25 or 30 reps (at least) of whatever exercise they were doing.

This women is older than most, if not all, of those women. Check her out. She's using a weighted bar AND added band resistance. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself, regardless of your age. That's how you get results.

I'm glad the gym ladies weren't sitting on their butts watching game shows or playing Bingo. And yes, any activity is better than none but that kind of "workout" did little to strengthen their bones and muscles and keep them independent as they aged.

You need to challenge your body to get optimum results. To drop fat, to get stronger and more fit, to burn more calories - you need to push yourself.

Here's a simple guideline to follow regarding strength training. When you can do 12 repetitions of an exercise with good form, raise the weight slightly. If you're using 3 pound dumbbells go to 5s; if you're currently using 8s, try 10s. On a machine (and you're only using one or two of those, if any, right?), increase by 5 pounds.

You should be able to complete at least 8 reps at the new, heavier weight. Now your goal is to increase your reps back up to 12. Try to do a little more each workout. When you reach 12 reps, increase the weight again.

You should always be trying to increase the resistance or do more reps...but only with good form. Nine perfect reps is better than 12 sloppy ones.

Be honest. Have you just been going through the motions at the gym? Start challenging yourself and you'll get better and faster results.

You can find all the previous articles here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


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