Last week, my client Graham got talking about the previous trainers he’d had, and how different I am to them.
Graham has had multiple trainers, who have had a very different training approach to me. With these previous trainers, he would turn up to a session not know what was coming. One session he could be squatting, the next week he would be doing a full body circuit and then he’d be shown through a chest and bicep’s session. He mentioned that it kept the sessions ‘interesting’ but he never actually saw any decent, measurable results.
Now, Graham has been training with me for 4 months, in which time he has build strength in his injured leg, evened out his unbalanced stance and considerably increased his cardio and muscular endurance. This has resulted in catapulting him up the rankings of his squash league, something he could have only dreamt of, after having to take a year off the game due to his injury.
Last week, Graham said, ‘don’t take this the wrong way, but the exercises we do are pretty boring. It’s repetitive, it’s difficult and it’s hard work’. How rude! Well, most people would take that as an insult, but surprisingly, I agreed.
What gym goers don’t understand is, you have to keep your training simple and build on it every session, to improve. Otherwise, you are wasting time doing different things just to keep your mind occupied and never actually getting anywhere.
Progressive overload, in my opinion, is the ONLY way to achieve results in the gym. Consistently working through the same (or at least similar) movements, increasing reps or lifting more, in every session, will result in an improvement. Take the saying ‘practise makes perfect’, for example. Cristiano Ronaldo is brilliant at taking free kicks, because he is the last person on the pitch at training, practising his free kicks. Graham is good at walking lunges, because I increase the intensity slightly and correct his form, every week. It’s a no brainer. I understand that it may seem boring to do the same thing over and over, but it’s all practise. Four months ago, I gave Graham an 8kg dumbbell and he struggled. Today I gave him 20kg’s and he said it felt fine.
It may seem boring to repeat the same movements, but it is so much more rewarding to see how far you’ve come, to set training goals and to achieve the aesthetic results along the way. For the first time ever, Graham is enjoying the gym (so much for ‘boring’ sessions Graham 😉 ).
My advice to anyone reading this is, keep it simple. Pick 3-5 exercises that are relevant to your goals and keep working at them. Don’t be side tracked into doing something that’s interesting, over something that you need to do, to get to your goals. In most cases, the things you don’t like to do, are the things you need to do.
If your goal is to keep fit and generally healthy, then work on perfecting a squat, lunge and overhead press movement and increase the reps or weight every time. Take a note book, or write everything on your phone, so you know what you did last session. Be accountable, and you WILL see results.