Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
Well….it’s a new year, time to get that gym membership so you can improve your health.
Although, the notion of joining a fitness facility is generally a good idea, here are some common mistakes I frequently see even experienced club members make.
Cardio exercise is important and fun and can even become quite addictive, however it is not a replacement for weight-training. Each activity does a completely different thing and results in a different type of adaptation. Cardio improves your ability to carry and supply oxygen to your body by improving heart, vascular and lung functionality. From a metabolic perspective, there are some overlapping benefits with resistance training but cardio should not be considered the only important activity worthy of your time.
Cardio is not a warm-up for resistance training so if you choose to perform cardio, perform it properly in the context of improvements in resting heart rate or recovery heart rate. Although cardio can help you burn body fat….it does not build new muscle or significantly improve bone mineral density. Cardio also cannot provide the type of functional adaptations needed to improve your body composition during the aging process.
Technique is important in cardio exercise especially in activities which involve running or rowing. However, this issue is much more concerning relative to resistance exercise. With cardio exercise, technique really involves understanding the proper mechanics of the activity, in weight-training it’s more about feel.
I spend most of my time teaching clients technique during their training sessions….I am much less-concerned regarding exercise selection, order, speed, amount of resistance and training volume. Although these parameters are important, they are meaningless if your technique is poor. Yes and even experienced club members have poor technique.
Poor weight-training technique is the most common mistake is see in any fitness facility I have frequented. This problem frequently occurs because correct training technique is not properly taught and or it’s importance down-played over exercise selection, program design or resistance/load selection.
If have not progressed in the gym with your weight training and your body is not responding appropriately….your technique needs to be seriously questioned. Poor or improper resistance training technique will not allow you to stimulate the muscles and joint structures to the point that adequate adaptation occurs.
Remember….it’s how and to what extent that you can recruit your muscles with a resistance and how your body subsequently adapts to this stimulus that determines the magnitude of your success in the gym.
Nothing else really matters!
Poor Training Intensity
If you want tangible results in the gym (improved fitness, body composition, strength, flexibility)….you have to work reasonably hard.
Most people use the excuse that they don’t want to get “too big” or are worried about injuring themselves. I have found these to be just that…excuses.
If you want to get fitter, stronger and make your body change for the better…it takes hard work. This is the other important reason why people do not achieve their goals in the gym…they just don’t push themselves enough.
Your body is very good at adapting to a stressor like weight-training…it will do so rapidly. After this point, unless you change the training variables…your body will no longer progress.
I have seen many people perform the same exercises in the same order with the same weight for months at a time. No wonder why their bodies look the same after 6 months…this is why most people stop going to the fitness club. They get discouraged.
Most of the people that regularly work-out exercise at around 25% of their maximum effort. This is why they can talk, look at their phones and generally breeze-through their work-outs without sweating a drop! Even the folks who hire personal trainers commonly do this.
If you do not progressively increase your training intensity, your body will plateau very quickly and you will look the same without any change in body composition.
Much like training technique, exercise intensity must be taught. Rarely can it be acquired de-novo.
Here are three things you should be doing every time you go into the gym.
1) Ditch The Phone
When you have your phone with you…you are going to use it. It’s a very big distraction and will detract from your training sessions.
2) Lack Of Concentration
If you are breezing through a work-out on auto-pilot, your training intensity will also be on auto-pilot. Weight training takes a great deal of focus and concentration because the performance of proper technique is a skill. This requires mental concentration at all times during a set. If you are not focused on your technique, you will not be able to recruit the targeted muscles to your fullest extent.
3) Long Rest Periods
This issue directly relates to training intensity and/or distractions during a work-out. Most people take far too much rest between sets or between each new exercise they perform. My advice is to drop the amount of weight you are using, focus much more upon improvements in muscle activation by utilizing better technique and take much less rest between each set. Taking long rest periods is a waste of your time as your body will not adapt to this training formula after a very brief period of time. The rest to work ratio should be approximately 3:1, meaning that you if it took you 10 seconds to complete a set, you should rest at least 30 seconds before your next set. Even if you have to reduce the weight to attain this formula…you will get much better results if you follow it.
Rarely does anybody follow this formula!
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project