I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
Nothing is more true than the statement above. The maximum amount of effort you put forth in everything directly correlates to the maximum amount of return in that effort. You get what you give. If you give excellence, then expect excellence in return. If you put forth a piss poor effort, whether it be in the classroom, the workplace, or in the gym, then expect piss poor results. Surprisingly, I want to talk about your performance in the gym. Most of us workout, some with trainers, some with friends, but most workout by themselves. If every times you go into the gym and you go through the motions and do the same exercises with the same weight in the same order week after week, then soon enough your body will adapt and never see any improvements. Your body is a very efficient machine, it adapts and gets strong very very quickly, so naturally it always needs to be challenged with more reps, more weight, or a different routine all together. I believe variety is key to a successful workout program.
Sometimes, I think it is tremendously beneficial to mix it up and work out hard. I mean REALLY HARD. If your workout normally takes you an hour to an hour and a half to complete, why not shorten your workout to 20-30 minutes of all out intense work. Try going through your usual workout at an accelerated pace. Fast exercises, fast reps (safely) and shorten your rest time. Crank it up, time your rest periods, no more than 30 seconds of rest in between sets or exercises and burn through your routine. Your goal is to get your heart rate up, fatigue those muscles, crank up your metabolic rate all the while doing the same amount of work in much less time. You should feel exhausted, tired sweaty and really good at the end. Short workouts are great and just as effective as the longer ones. Remember, like most other things, more is not always better.
Every week at my gym POWER Fitness, we have a different challenge of the week designed to push our clients and get the very best out of them. Some of the past challenges have been maximum push up test, shuttle run, hang test, standing broad jump and last week’s was how fast can you complete a mile on the bike. These tests are designed not only to build gym camaraderie but to get maximum effort out of our clients and push them to the next level. Most put up a great effort, however some go ALL out. I had one particular client come in, he warmed up and participated in the 1 mile bike test. He went hard, I mean really hard. He worked his ass off for an impressive 1 minute and 13 seconds. He went so hard that he laid on the ground for 5 minutes directly afterwards and then on the bench for the remainder of the hour. He was not in a good place, I call that “The Happy Place”.
The Happy Place is where you are flat on your back exhausted, breathing heavily with your heart rate coming back down from maximum, sweating profusely and you don’t know whether you want to be on your back, in the fetal position, sitting up, or are going to throw up. If you have never been there, then you have not trained hard enough. Is it good to go there? Absolutely!!! Sometimes you need to shock your body put it in a world of hurt and confuse the hell out of it. Going to the happy place will get you burning calories for the next couple of days. When your body goes to the limit like that, it is going to do a lot of work internally to repair, regenerate, and recover from the stress you put it under. Warning though, if you have a heart condition, on heart medication, or are just not in that great of physical condition, the happy place is not recommended for you to visit.
As a trainer, I would much rather have my clients go as hard as they can and barely be able to finish rather than just sand bag it and get through it. Most people either don’t know how to sell out or just do not want to because they know it hard and no one wants to work that hard. Whatever the case may be, it is my job to get them there. Like I said before, it is not ideal to go the happy place all the time, strive for maybe once a month. Push yourself and see what your body can do, who knows, you might surprise yourself. That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger, right? So let the strengthening begin.
I leave you with this quote: “Make your easy workouts longer and easier and your hard workouts shorter and harder”