Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

Thanks Pinterest for that workout routine

Whose giving you your fitness information?
Whose giving you your fitness information?

My wife is a computer programmer and thus by default, she’s the techno-savvy one of the couple. We had often long debated about how good technology was, and I can say that she won that debate by exposing me to new technology that I had never before experienced. Before meeting her, the fanciest gizmo I had was a DVD player.

However, one thing we agree on is that technology can never replace a qualified health professional who bases their knowledge off of peer reviewed research studies and practical experience. That hasn’t stopped the explosion of apps that promise to get you to do 100 push–ups, or the social media juggernaut that allows people to share their “30 Day Squat Challenge” or the “2,000 Sit Up Confrontation.”

Why is it that our fitness information doesn’t need to have a face? Wouldn’t you want to know where this knowledge is coming from? Would you let an app check your mouth for cavities? How about letting your husband give you a haircut because he watched a how-to video on YouTube?

I hope your answer to those was a resounding “no”; and when it comes to most of these fitness apps and social media workouts, you must seek a qualified opinion. While some of this information (and the source that they came from) means well, it will do little for helping your performance on the training floor. An app for 100 push-ups will get you good at one thing: doing 100 push-ups.

Regardless of your own personal goals, there are many universal factors that need to be in place in order for your body to make changes. Let’s look at them now so you can get a better understanding of how your body changes with exercise.

1. Law of Diminishing Returns

How many times can you do the exact same thing without getting bored? It probably happens a lot. The same can happen for your body. It’s what we call the Law of Diminishing Returns, which basically means that the same things that used to work don’t anymore (1). The same guys that crowd the bench press on Monday aren’t seeing any changes because their bodies have adapted to that stressor. They need to change the reps they perform, the type of exercise, or what we call time under tension (how long the muscle is performing work). As a rule of thumb, I always instruct clients to change two factors in their routine every two weeks.

2. Metabolic Stress

If you can do 200 sit-ups, then how much of a stress do you think that puts on the body? Do you do 200 of anything in your everyday life? Chances are that you don’t, and your exercise shouldn’t be any different. Training works when we perform a stress to our body; and this stress responds with promoting hormones that help us rebuild tissue and burn fat (2). However, this stress has to be enough of a challenge where the body needs to produce these hormones. This can happen when you perform rep ranges between 6 to 12 reps with a reasonable weight. Just because something takes a while to do (100 squats) doesn’t mean that it’s intense and will bring about change. (Spoiler alert: it won’t!)

And before anyone even thinks it, no, you are not going to get big and bulky from lifting weights.

3. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Just a little while ago we discussed not doing the same thing over and over again. Well, those who do try and perform the 200 squats everyday are possibly setting themselves up for an overuse injury. It’s similar to someone who does the same manual labor everyday and gets aches and pains after only a couple of years on the job. Performing the same moves endlessly recruits the same muscle and connective tissue; so that tissue gets stronger while other, neglected tissue gets weaker. We call this a muscle imbalance, and the modern day office work suffers from plenty of them. As of today, nearly 80% of adults suffer from low back pain and 21% have some form of shoulder problems (3). So if your program is not based around structural balance, then you could suffer an injury. Even if you don’t get hurt, chances are your body is not responding from the exercise.

Don’t let these things stop you from exercising. However, it would be time well spent by making sure that the information you find is coming from a credible source. Find out who published a workout and don’t be afraid to get a little nosy with them – after all, they should be more than willing to answer your questions and provide concise information in regards to how they structured a workout and why. If they falter or can’t scientifically and logically explain it, that’s your cue to move on!

1. Heyward, Vivian H. Advanced Fitness Assessment. 5th ed. Champaign, Ill:Human Kinetics. 2006,pp 44
2. Powers, Scott K. Howley, Edward T. Exercise Physiology: Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill. 2007, pp 95-96
3. Clark, Michael A. Lucett, Scott C. “The Rationale for Corrective Exercises.” NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Baltimore; Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2010; pp 3

Report this ad