Weekly column by fitness expert Adam Wright for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
Sweat, Suffering, Soreness?
USING sweat as the measure of the effectiveness of a workout is about as useful as using how much gunk is in your eyes when you wake up as a measure of how well you slept. If I put you in a sauna you’ll sweat, doesn’t mean you worked out. Sweating is a cooling mechanism.
Who wants to “suffer”? Obviously there are some people that are into extremes but for the majority “suffering” isn’t a great measure. Most people are going to get tired of the feeling of being beaten up by their workouts pretty fast. And it doesn’t matter how “effective” a workout is if you keep skipping it because it’s too hard.
World champion athletes can’t afford to be so sore they can’t walk straight the day after training and guess what… they’re still the best in the world at what they do! You don’t need to have trouble sitting on the toilet the day after leg day for it to have been effective. Soreness comes from what’s new/what you don’t do very often. If you’re doing it consistently and sensibly, workouts shouldn’t mean you need crutches.
‘It’s important that you enjoy what you do for your health and fitness because you can never stop’
So what makes an effective workout?
An effective workout is one that, when combined with the other workouts and lifestyle habits around it, results in progress.
If I have to knock down a wall then when I’m done the wall should be different. It might take effort over a series of weeks or months but if the wall isn’t a little bit different after each day’s work then what I’m doing isn’t effective. With our bodies we won’t see progress every day in how we look but we can see it in what we’re able to do. Even if it’s just one extra rep.
It doesn’t matter how sweaty you get. How much you suffer. How sore you are the next day. If you aren’t making progress then the workouts you’re doing aren’t effective.
What is progressive overload?
It’s a training principle. And it states that: “In order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.”
What does that mean for you? Get out of your comfort zone. It only has to be by a tiny little bit each training session. One extra rep. One extra kilo. One extra set. A little bit more range of motion. Something!
If your training isn’t progressing to be more challenging don’t expect your body to progress either. If you’re doing something your body has already experienced and can handle within its comfort zone then it has no reason to change.
So check your notes and make sure that the next time you squat you do more reps or more weight than last time. The next time you run you go further or run the same distance but faster. The next time you do anything try to make just a little bit of progress! It might not happen every time but as long as you’re actively trying to make progress and getting out of your comfort zone it’ll happen eventually.
Learn to love the grind
I know this is cliche. We’ve all seen this so many times. But let me explain why this is important…
It’s important that you enjoy what you do for your health and fitness because you can never stop (you can change it to other things but stopping means losing what you’ve gained). Whatever the goal is that you have in mind, once you achieve it you can never stop… unless that goal changes and/or you don’t want it anymore.
So if you want to lose weight, or get massive muscles, or obtain a certain level of performance, it doesn’t matter… the things you do to achieve it are the things you have to keep doing to keep it.
So they better be things you enjoy. Have a great week! Adam.