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"Thats the Point!"

I overheard a conversation between a trainer and a client at a local gym.  The two were doing a strength circuit, with several stations that challenge you to the max.  These guys were working hard.  Very hard.  In my opinion too hard.  What brought me to this conclusion was this exchange-

Client, “Boy am I gonna feel this tomorrow!”
Trainer, “That’s the point!”

Really?  That’s the point?  Kill yourself at the gym so that everyone in your world gets to hear about your “killer” workout and listen to you groan all day and limp around?  (not to mention the chores at your house that go undone because of your “recovery”)

Where did this heroic notion come from and why do we continue to use such unsound advice?

More is better, workout till you puke, no pain-no gain.  You have heard these a thousand times and in the back of your mind, you are thinking.. Really?

No wonder gyms are full of frustrated people.  Could it be we are trying to hard?

My answer is yes.

Exercising to fatigue is one thing, but exercising to failure is going too far.   Humans are made to move and to move often.  If we exercise so hard that we cannot move, we are working against our bodies.  Does that breed frustration and non-compliance?  Yes and yes. Exercising is a means to a better life with more energy, better focus, and engagement etc. If it becomes an end in itself, like “that’s the point,” we have missed the point altogether.

Let me propose a better belief/behavior around exercise.

The belief is that exercise should be LIFE-ENHANCING, LIFE-GIVING, or ENERGY PRODUCING, however you want to phrase it. Ask yourself, do I HAVE to go to the gym or do I WANT to go the gym?  Do I get energy from movement or do I have to spend time recovering from it.  Answer these two simple questions and you will be able to tell the difference between life-giving movements, and those that deplete you.

The behavior that follows this belief is to exercise(move) long and slow , a lot,  and also short and intense, less frequently.  Your body will tell you if you are doing it right.  Are you limpy and whiny the next day?  Are you inclined to be sedentary the next day?  Could I move(exercise) at this pace for the next ten years? You get the point.(and that’s the real point).  The answer to these questions will help you decide if you are “doing it right”.

Question or comments are mostly welcomed!
Dr. Swaim

1 Join the Conversation

  1. Michele Fristad says
    Mar 10, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Thank you -- makes a whole lotta sense to me!

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