A couple of weeks ago, while escaping my office for a few-minute “brain break”, and enjoying a healthy lunch and the view of the mountains while at Whole Foods down the road, the tranquility was interrupted by Hans and Franz who were seated at the next table.
No, I wasn’t lucky enough to have a run-in with Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon’s legendary Saturday Night Live characters (or caricatures), poking a little fun at the culture of bodybuilding.
I was lucky enough however to be sitting within ear-shot of hearing about a “killer arm day workout” by one of the gentlemen, who at the time appeared to be killing and entire pizza and beer – for lunch on a Tuesday. (Not everything at Whole Foods is necessary healthy). We’ll tackle that another day.
As I listened further, Hans described to Franz, how he performed “6 rounds of a triple-set” of dumbbells curls, preacher curl machine, and finally cable curls to failure. Hmmm, I thought, should I hand him one of my business cards as I got up to head to my car? He may need it at some point, if he keeps up that way of training. I decided against it, and to mind my own business as hard as it was, as I left him to pump out the last few reps of pizza slice curls.
There are few things as exciting as watching the transformation of patients and clients in our business make serious lifestyle changes and make up for lost time in their quest to get fit and healthy. Their motivation and passion are contagious, and watching transformations is one of the most fulfilling aspects of our uniquely integrated Integrative Orthopedics, Functional Medicine and Medical Fitness business.
That enthusiasm sometimes can lead to a very common mistake that has the potential to quickly derail your pursuit of a healthier you.
So why is it likely than Hans could land in my office someday?
Overtraining. Especially overtraining a single muscle group or movement.
In their excitement, many new to fitness, or newly inspired to become more fit, make this common mistake. The thinking goes like this: “If 20 bicep curls are good, then 200 must be better,” or “If 35 pounds challenges my muscles, then I’ll really get ripped even quicker if I do 50!”
This misguided philosophy, certainly a carryover from the bodybuilding dogma of the Hans and Franz days is founded on:
More is better and more should lead to faster results.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case, and taken to the extreme can lead to getting hurt and MISSING workouts. Now that is great for my Integrative Orthopedics practice, but not for you reaching your fitness goals.
As with most things in life, smart planning and consistency implementing the plan will lead to success – in life and in the gym. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and there is no need to do more than the minimum needed for maximum results.
Minimal Effective Dose (MED). MED’s are the key. No, not pharmaceutical meds, but programming your workouts around the minimal effective dose to stimulate the change you want to see by challenging your body just enough to make it adapt. That could adaptation could be building more strength, better endurance, improved flexibility, stamina, or shedding excess body fat.
It is important to realize that overtraining in fitness not only doesn’t deliver faster and better results, but it can lead to injury and burnout. Pushing your body beyond what it can effectively handle will usually result in a strain or muscle tear. I’m sure Hans was working on a biceps tear.
Likewise, for those just starting, if you blast out of the gate at top speed with an intensity that you can’t possibly sustain, you will burn out, possibly get injured, and likely give up.
Remember, what you can practice consistently, in the right dose, every day is more important than what you do every once in a while.
Killing yourself in every workout is not necessary to see change. There is a compound effect of systematically dosing your workouts. Your effort will pay off. You will become stronger, more fit, and others will begin to notice.
Take care of your body and your mind by practicing the “MED” strategy.
One of our MED FIT specialists can construct a safe a MED program to get the results you desire, and safeguard you from getting hurt in the process.
Committed to your health, and always here to pump…you up,