The images below are of a text message chat I had last year with one of our dear members, Dmtry The Russian. It was following a workout that involved three barbell movements and the
prescribedguideline load was your body weight. I trained in the class after Dmtry and when I got there he was still in the trenches, trying to complete the workout right at the time cap. I told him I’d kick his ass in the workout. I apologise for the poor quality of the image and my colourful language!
Dmtry did the maths. Although it’s not the most accurate calculation of power output, it shows that I had a far greater power output than him. I did kick his ass. He chose the guideline load of his body weight and that resulted in a time of 28 minutes. I went with 10kg under my bodyweight and finished in 17:50. Did he work hard? Absolutely. Was his workout effective? Not in the least. He didn’t get stronger (because it wasn’t designed to be a strength workout), nor did he increase his capacity (which was the primary goal of that workout).
He felt like he worked hard. But intensity isn’t a feeling. It’s based on how much work you do relative to the time you do it in. And the only way you’ll ever achieve the intended benefits of a workout is by modifying it to your abilities.
What you see on the whiteboard is a guideline, and along with the coach’s directions on the intended benefits of the workout, that gives you a template for that day’s session. You will almost always need to modify the session in some way. How do you do that? We use a simple guide:
- First reduce the technical demand of the movement/s. This is especially so for barbell and gymnastics movements.
- Reduce the load–put less kilograms on the bar. We can also reduce load on gymnastics movements.
- Reduce volume (reps/distance/sets/calories/etc.). This is probably done the least yet is so effective.
That order changes depending on the workout, but you should be doing some form of modification most of the time, regardless of your experience. Remember, the programming isn’t based on what you all used to be able to do. It’s based on where you could be.
Setting goals give you long-term vision while keeping you constantly motivated. Goals provide focus for the effort you’re applying, and the sense of accomplishment upon attaining those goals establishes a healthy feedback loop that further drives motivation. But the goals you set must be smart, and the actions you implement to achieve them must be relevant.
I’ll delve into setting smart goals in another post. Today, I’d like to talk about actions that are relevant to the goals you set. While this information is directed to health and fitness, I think applies to other areas in life too.
In fitness, especially, the actions people implement in lieu of the goals they have set are often misdirected. It probably has a bit to do with all of the confounding information out there along with a perception of what seems to be working for others. So, a reality check: Unless you have the relevant experience and education in health and fitness, you’re probably working towards your goals ineffectively.
There are a couple of classic examples.
“I want to tone up (lean out).”
Spends lots more time doing slow, long distance efforts (“cardio” / sweat fests / endurance-based). Tries to burn more calories than consumed based on some sort of calorie counting method, and cuts dietary fat consumption to reduce caloric intake. Also wants to avoid putting on any muscle.
“I want to get stronger.”
Adds in more “strength training,” typically in the form of a squat program. Uses the prescribed loads (or more) in metcons to “go heavier” at the sacrifice of intensity. Doesn’t want to sacrifice other aspects of fitness so is sure to throw in conditioning work after the “strength training.”
There’s another strong trend that is evident in people with misdirected actions for their goals – they typically have short-term views and are therefore looking for quick fixes. They throw all eggs into a basket to chase a short-term goal, go bust for a while thereafter (and not having really accomplished the goal), before booming again on another target, and then bust again. Boom-bust, all-or-nothing – they’re the same traits!
Ineffective, and often counter-intuitive. But if you’re going it alone, then that is expected. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone!
All new members now start with goal setting, at their very first meeting with us. Goal achievements, goal resetting and consistency in working towards goals is then tracked by our Client Services Managers, coach Zuleikha at HQ and Carl at EAST. And if you’ve been a member since before these systems were introduced, you just need to get in touch to get that support. But seek out the guidance and support of a coach, because unless you have the relevant experience and education in health and fitness, you’re probably working towards your goals ineffectively.
Goal setting under guidance tends to be more realistic, but it’s good to understand the goal setting process so I’ll cover that in the next post.
Posts tagged with ‘effective’