Knowledge is power! Right? Usually, this is the case. However, sometimes in fitness it is a curse instead of a blessing. How many times have you started a fitness program or a “diet” only to get bored and quit? I’m guilty! Or you are making progress on a routine and you self-sabotage yourself because you want to do something new. Also, guilty as charged. Or you are working hard in the gym consistently and a new program comes out that you have to try (see training ADD). I have to raise my hand to that one as well.
Why are we are own worst enemy and the security guards blocking the door to our goals? Is it because we love to fail? Probably not. Is it because working out and eating healthy is hard with a world full of delicious poison and great TV shows to binge watch? Possibly, but not entirely. Is it because the longer we stay in this fitness game the slower the results come. Heating up. Or is it because we lose our motivation/discipline/reasons for doing what we do? Very possible. I bet it is because we start treating this like a job and like work it becomes less fun. Ding Ding Ding…give him a prize Johnny!
You see when we start an exercise program it is new, fun, and exciting. Just like when you start dating that hot girl or guy you had goo-goo eyes for. Everything about her/him is perfect in the beginning. They make you laugh, smile, happy and your heart skips a beat. In the beginning, you overlook their flaws…..and everyone has them. As things get more serious and you move in together you pick up on things that you did not know about him/her. Little things like their cleaning habits or lack thereof that annoy you. You start arguing over dumb things, because this dream girl or fairy tale prince is not as perfect as the day you met. As time goes on you have a choice to make. Do you end the relationship and start all over? Or do you except this person for who they are and live (mostly) happily ever after, because you realize they are still that wonderful person who makes you happy?
Well the same can be said for fitness and health. Any task is easy in the beginning, but real results take time. It has been said “the day you started lifting weights is the day you will never be big enough, strong enough, or ripped enough ever again” or something like that. I might have made that up. The point is sometimes our fitness gets in a rut just like relationships. Sometimes we have to work at it so we don’t lose everything we worked hard for.
There are times where we need a break. Maybe a vacation, maybe a night out with the boys/girls to down beer and stuff ourselves with chicken wings, maybe we need to sleep in for a week instead of waking up at 5 am to lift and do cardio. The term deload is a word in the lifting community that means backing off or taking it easy for a week. Sometimes the best deload is a week completely off. I know it is hard to believe, but we will not lose all our gains by taking a week off. Many times we come back refreshed and stronger after a week off or a few days living like a “normal” person.
And then there are ruts that are not easily broken. It could be for physical reasons such as injury or plateaus. However, it usually is for mental reasons such as not wanting it bad enough or boredom. It happens to the best of us. It is bound to happen to everyone that trains for a long time at some point.
So what do we do when we are stuck in Fitness Purgatory? We hit the “Reset Button”! We take a few steps back. We go back to basics. If our Bench Press has been stuck at 300 lbs since Clinton was President we need to make a change. Sometimes, that means relearning basic techniques or skills and GASP starting light. Maybe, we need to go back to a basic training style of 5×5 with the same weight. Once, you can complete 5 sets of 5 with a weight you increase the weight 5 or 10 lbs next week. By building this base of strength you will eventually get a higher peak. Maybe you will go from benching 300×1 to 300×5. That means you got a lot stronger. You will get better because you restarted and finally left your ego at the door where it belongs. This type of methodology can be applied to any fitness or sport activity. Even players in the NFL constantly work on the basics.
It might be hard to convince many people to start over with weights they once warmed up with. That is fine. Maybe, we use different exercises all together for a few months. Instead of the Bench Press we do the Incline Bench Press. Minor changes can go along way to lifting your spirit and rejuvenating you.
I will be the first to admit I have been in a training rut. I have been program hopping and my training ADD has been in full effect. The result has been a straight up trip to nowheresville. Yet, I recently made a choice to start over and start light. I told myself the weight on the bar is not what is most important, but I want to make progress again and feel good doing it. I want to wake up and be motivated to train again. I want this to be fun like it used to be.
So I decided on the following //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ovecomefat-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00686OYGQ&asins=B00686OYGQ&linkId=620349cfb95b753d5278640228280edc&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>5/3/1 inspired program to reignite the fire that burns within:
Monday: Overhead Press/Upper Body
- Strict Press 5/3/1 (max reps on the last set)
- Weighted Pullups 5×5
- Dips 5×5
- Barbell Shrugs 5×5
Wednesday: Deadlift Day/Lower Body Day
- Deadlift 5/3/1 (max reps on the last set)
- Safety Squat Box Squat 5×5
- Hanging Leg Raises 5×10
- Standing Calf Raises 5×10
Friday: Bench Press/Upper Body
- Bench Press 5/3/1 (max reps on the last set)
- Barbell Row 5×5
- Incline CG Bench Press 5×5
- Barbell Curl 5×5
Saturday: Squat Day/Lower Body
- Squat 5/3/1 (max reps on the last set)
- SLDL 5×5
- SSQ Stepup 5×5
- Ab Wheel 5×10
I walk or go hiking on off days. I do mobility before workouts and stretch after and at night. Each lifting session takes 45 mins to 1 hour max. They are basic, but build strength. As a drug-free lifter I must add strength to build muscle size. I plan to do this for 12 weeks than re-evaluate. Why 12 weeks? Because, that is a good time to stick with a program and will make for great results. I am starting off very light. What is very light? Let’s just say on my strict press 5’s set today I did 12 reps with 2 left in the bank.
Take Home Points:
- Start over
- Start light
- Make changes
- Leave your ego at the door
- Feel good about making progress again