Escape the Hamster Wheel
In the fitness industry, you see it all the time: scores of well intentioned lifters heading in to do “leg day”, “chest & tris”, etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with this; I for one, am not a fan of disparaging any form of physical activity, as I am a firm believer than anything that is done safely and with effort is better than nothing. However, with that said, if you are reading this thinking to yourself: “you know what, I have been doing the same thing for quite some time, and I look, well, pretty much the same” then listen up, here are 3 tips that can get you out of the Hamster Wheel that you are in, and finally stepping forward towards your goals.
Time Under Tension
When you train for TUT, and marry a rep count to a period of time, your mindset immediately changes from one of “let’s just get this over with!” when you have to do 10 reps of something, to “how do I keep this muscle under tension and really feel it during the 10 reps, that I know have to make last for 30 seconds?” Honestly, for all of the scientific studies and anecdotal evidence on the benefit of training with an emphasis on TUT, the MAJOR benefit to me, is this simple mind shift of working against the muscle in some type of self proclaimed competition, to working with the muscle to elicit fatigue, and encourage adaptation.
If someone gave you $1 Million to grow your quads one inch over the next month, would you still do “leg day” once a week? Seriously, think about this. If you say yes, then you are flat out being dishonest with yourself, as the odds are you sprinted to your car to head to the gym to do some squats. So why not take this urgency and apply it to your training now? I think you will find that by training a movement or muscle more frequently, you will do so with greater intensity, and those two things almost always lead to gains.
Less is More
This is especially true for the things you need to improve upon the most. If your legs need work, what you don’t need is sets piled upon sets, all done with a sub par effort. What you need is less to do in front of you, so you can focus with a level of intensity that you have never experienced. If you are used to doing 15 sets in a leg session, and now you are going to do 3-4, what do you think your mindset is going to be like? You are going to attack the 3-4 sets with intent, because those are the only opportunities you have to get better that day, This effort can be repeated much more frequently because you aren’t causing so much muscular damage and neural fatigue that you can no longer recover, and, voila, we have results. If you find yourself doing the same weight, for the same reps, week after week, try dropping your volume, recovering faster, and hitting the muscle group much more frequently. Less in one session, is much more in the long run!
Now, I will preface this one by saying that I am a major proponent of mastering the basics, and repeating the same movements in order to step towards mastery and proficiency. However, with that said, I totally get that mental engagement is a major part of the game of adherence. A nice middle ground is to select an “indicator” lift that you perform on the same day each week, trying to increase load, add reps, and hopefully, improve both over a period of time. Once your indicator lift is done, you can play around with the fun stuff, as long as you are applying the same principles of progressive overload, and don’t get in the habit of implementing “fluff” just to have fun. Variety doesn’t have to be earth shattering either, playing with hand width on pushups, stance on squats, or adding a band to a standard movement can add plenty of variety, while also ensuring that you are progressing towards your goals.
Now, it should come as no shock to you that all 3 of these concepts are essential components of the Metabolic Training philosophy, and for good reason, they all work damn well! If you are stuck, bored, in a rut, or just feel like you need something NEW, then enter the world of Metabolic Training. I never promise much to anyone, but I do promise you that, with consistency and effort, you will be blown away at what you can achieve with your strength, physique, and mind through this life changing training philosophy. I had the same feeling of “boredom” as I was in my own hamster wheel 6 years ago. I tried Metabolic Training, with the intention of going back to my usual gym routine, and 6 years later, I have never looked back.