A major trend we have seen in the last 25 years and with the rise of the boutique gym has been the development of three types of exercisers (if that is a word ).
1. The “better than nothing” gym goer – this individual “does his/her time”, meaning that they go to the gym and utilize the same machines at the same intensity day in day out, read their book and listen to their show while “exercising”. This has been coddled by the big box commercial gyms who have taken the qualified fitness professional out of circulation in order to grow the bottom line.
2. The “ I am going to do as many classes as I can “ boutique goer. Typically, they have way too much time for whatever reason and fill that time with H.I.I.T training, spinning, yoga, pilates and anything else they can fit in. This has been fostered by the rise of the boutique studio, where most of these are programmed with largely ineffective programs designed by unqualified “coaches” who sell the facility as opposed to trying to give the client the training they need.
3. The “ training for something “ gym/boutique goer. This individual gets it. The understand quality over quantity, have learned what exercises/classes are safe and intelligent and approach each training day with the appropriate focus and intensity. Few and far between, these places have highly motivated fitness professionals providing training protocols that are effective in the realm of their expertise.
Now, lets break them down to see which one you are and which one you should strive to be.
1. Unfortunately, “better than nothing” goers always self limit and never effect any change. The body requires appropriate levels of good stress (intensity) to adapt and change. If you want to get more fit, lose those inches and harden yourself against the ravages of aging, you have to put in some effort and demand your metabolism to adapt. Progressive overload is the key here, push to reach new heights and levels, one more pushup, 10 more feet, etc. do this and inches will go away and strength will rise and energy will increase.
2. The “I am going to do as many classes as I can” person is on the path to destruction. I cannot sugar coat this, chronically injured with some type of nagging injury, they are hollow looking from adrenal fatigue, fall asleep at the drop of a hat, always put in the same effort or less and never really get anywhere. They have pushed their bodies beyond any ability to adapt and are always looking for something new to add thinking that more will solve their dilemma.
3. The “training for something” goer is where we all need to be! When you train for something (this could merely be training for life, not just an event) you learn about it! You become a student, pay close attention to detail, seek out the best to learn from, and get involved in a community of like-minded individuals. You are realistic with your goals, you do not chase fads and ideals not conducive to attaining a lifestyle of health and fitness. You show up to train hard and let the effort speak for itself, not public perception or a scale.
Everyone can get to number 3, but it will take some soul searching and introspection for some of you that will be difficult. Take the challenge, come out on the other side and reap the benefits!