040620 Are you exercising, training, or just ‘getting a work out’?
Over the course of a week there are a lot of people going into a gym. Some hit it really hard exercising or training and then there others just ‘getting a work out’. Believe me, there are differences.
Those coming in to exercise generally lean toward the cardio end of the continuum. They are pretty dedicated to the machines. Some ride the bikes, rowers or elliptical’s for up to an hour before going over to a machine or two and doing a few slow moving, light, sitting down movements. Then it’s off to the locker room for a quick change of clothing and they are of out the door.
A few more come in and start out on the cardio equipment and after a lengthy fatiguing warm up move on to the stack loaded machines for a circuit or two or the bench press, in the case of the males. After doing a set or two of their favorite exercises they move on to another machine. In the case of the males they inevitably end up doing some sort of biceps curls.
Full range of motion is an unheard of concept for these ill informed people. In the case of doing machine squats, they weren’t even going down low enough to sit at the kitchen table. A range of movement that is limited to between three and six inches is not a squat by any stretch of the imagination.
Most of the people who are ‘just getting a workout’ do the same stuff day after day and in most cases are doing even that wrong. This is not training; it’s just going through the motions and pretending to workout.
The human body is miraculous in its ability to adapt to a stress. Once adapted to the stress it will settle into one of three points. These three points are positive improvement, neutral or negative regression. Positive Improvement is the only one that will continue adding benefits to the overall training status. In order to show positive training adaptations the organism has to be stressed via an unaccustomed overload.
Training means following a well scripted path towards excellence. It is not about riding a bike for an hour or more while sweating at or around your target heart rate, nor is it about lying on a bench for a few light sets and then over to the dumbbell rack for some cheat curls.
Training, by its very nature, involves working hard to decrease your weak points while maintaining and increasing all of the strong points of your physical. These goals are not mutually exclusive. In each case intensity of effort reaps tremendous benefits for the trainee. And this intensity has to be great enough to force the body to adapt to the load in preparation for the next training session. Otherwise it will fail to handle the imposed load.
Don’t ‘just get a workout’ when you go to the gym; have a plan and stick with it and see the positive results.