One of my favorite things to tell my clients is simply, the body is in charge. We cannot force it to do something it isn’t capable of. We can encourage it to go in the direction we want by understanding how it responds and by learning to work with it. We can make it stronger, faster, leaner, bigger, smaller, quicker, healthier, prettier, younger, etc. Some of these things we can even do at the same time. Others we cannot. The point is that our bodies and physical attributes change in response to what we do. We can have a great degree to control over which changes take place. Exercise choices, rep ranges, rest periods, training techniques, workout locations, bodypart combinations, nutritional approach, etc. are all variables, tools at our disposal to direct our progress.
What we constantly need to ask ourselves is what changes do we want to take place? What is our primary goal in fitness? What are the most important things we want to accomplish? Then, everything we do can be selected and planned to help us attain that.
The natural tendency is to model ourself after someone who has already achieved something of note. Maybe they succeed in losing a significant amount of weight. Maybe they have an incredible number of fans and followers. Perhaps they are walking around in your dream body.
Often you will see people who have achieved fitness success doing their own unique program. Through time they have learned what has worked for them. But if they have been in the game for awhile, they may have completely different goals now versus when they were beginning. They have learned to evolve their fitness program to match these new and expanded goals. It may be tempting to emulate them in hopes of archiving the same results. But what they do may or may not be what’s best for you.
It’s easy to be swayed by how someone looks, how famous or popular they are, or how much you wish to emulate their accomplishments. But even the people who have attained similar levels of success may have reached them through traveling different paths. As their goals changed and evolved so did their programs. Although it may not work for you to follow them blindly, learning what they do and why can certainly give you guidance if you’re at a similar point.
Within the pursuit of your goals, in most cases, there are multiple training approaches, options, and techniques that you can employ that will not only help you achieve those goals but also give you greater variety to keep your workouts fun and your body from adapting too completely. By changing things up periodically you can keep yourself both physically and mentally fresh. Training programs and techniques that originally worked great but later became less effective can be rotated out for a time and replaced by something that’s fresh, yet still fits in the box of helping you work towards your goals. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for the mental recharge you can get from switching things up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with doing something just because you enjoy it. You are allowed to have fun and keeping your program enjoyable and entertaining can and should be one of your goals. Then, when it’s time to buckle down, bite the bullet, and get back to focus on maximizing progress, you’ll be that much more determined.
In upcoming articles I will be introducing you to some of the best and most effective training principles, approaches, and techniques available, along with the information on when and how to best utilize them in your training program based on what you’re trying to accomplish. Switching things up can be great if you understand the proper way to incorporate changes, and how to use those changes to take your body in the direction you wish it to go.
Photo: Terry Goodlad