I just had to re-post this, even after tweeting it. Why? Because most of you fall in either one of two categories, myself included. You’re either an UNDER-LOADER or OVER-DOER. And if I’m wrong, then you’re the Goldilocks of fitness … you found the program that’s “just right”.
As the article says, these are the folk that don’t use “progressive overload“. Simply put, it’s the:
- female (and sometimes male) client that doesn’t want to lift heavy out of fear of bulking up.
- routine-bound student that takes the same classes and uses the same weights, performing the same exercises the way they’ve grown to know it, whether with good technique or not.
- mindless gym-goer that uses the same 8-10 machines their trainer showed them during their intro workout a few years ago
Under-doers tend to achieve so-so results, and sometimes believe that what they’re doing is “more than enough”. Many times, the under-doer is simply the type of person who is set in their ways, and it takes a lot to shift them out of their known and comfortable paradigms.
My best advice to under-doers is to allow a few expert opinions to assess their current program. Try, for one day, to be shown a different way to do what you normally do. Work with a trainer/instructor to “check your program” and see what you can change. If you loosen up your grip on your own stale routine, you may just find more effective ways of going about your workout. Just remember, in a few weeks, you’ll probably need to change things up again.
Your honor, I plead guilty for this charge. My evolving years in fitness heralded the message: ”harder, faster, stronger = better”. And I’m not alone. Many of my peers in the field have fallen into this notion that being a workout fiend is the only way to go. Today, you’ll see over-doer mentality in:
- some avid CrossFitters that crave constantly punishing workouts
- students caught up in ONLY the hard classes, taking all forms of HIIT: Tabata, MetCon3, metabolic boot camps, and interval-based classes. They “pooh-pooh” the easier classes/instructors.
- home-workout fans that need the latest and greatest (read: hardest) versions of BeachBody‘s multi-month DVD programs
For the record, I’m guilty of this myself when I get carried away in teaching my own classes.
It’s easy to overdo when the endorphins are rushing and body heat is urging you to do more. People like us love the feel of sweat, and we love to feel strong. We crave the sense of achievement that comes from these high-intensity workouts.
My best advice for people like me is to BE SMART about when to pull back. These days, I take every chance I can get to call it a rest day. And even with my class program design, there’s 1 out of every 3 or 4 weeks that’s on the easier side, so even the regulars get a breather.
The article above recommends focusing on the basics of exercise and lifting a lot of heavy weights. Personally, I do a lot of basic exercises myself, but I don’t think it’s necessary to just focus on those. Do the exercises that you like and those that you need, no matter how simple or fancy. As long as they’re aligned with what you need to do, so as not to be an under-loader or over-doer, you’ll be okay.
As far as heavy weights go, that’s a great suggestion for the under-loaders. Over-doers, however, may actually be best off trying easier movement formats that their bodies may actually benefit from. As a perfect example, I am a prime candidate for Pilates. My over-doer body uses much of its global muscles to compensate for the weakness of my deep core musculature. If you’re an over-doer, is this true for you, too?
The summer’s fast approaching … think of what changes you want to make, to have your best-feeling, best-looking summer body ever!