Albert Einstein has long been misquoted in saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. While it may NOT have been Einstein that said this, and while this may NOT be the literal definition of insanity... It’s a concept that makes sense and that we, as rational people can understand and try and avoid in our everyday quest to be successful in life.
So why do we do it at the gym and wonder why our shape, our BMI or our weight never change? Why do we hop on the same elliptical machine or recumbent bike, newspaper in hand, at the same intensity, same incline level, for minutes upon hours upon months, barely sweating over and over every single time?
Put an end to the madness and shake things up! It’s time to give your body a little wake-up call and treat it to some boredom-busting new routines that will cut your workout time in half, YES, HALF… and make it more effective and more efficient.
You are a beautiful machine and the human body is a master of adaptation. Repeat an activity over and over and you will become very efficient and proficient in doing it over time. This is a miraculous thing, especially when training for a specific purpose such as rehab after an injury, an upcoming marathon, or a cycling race. The physiological studies support the fact that workouts that challenge your body in new ways over time are the most beneficial.
So what can you do today to “shock” your muscles so to speak, and engage your body in a way that will have you seeing results in less than 6 weeks?
Try a Tabata Cardio Workout:
The Tabata method increases the ratio of lean body mass to fat. It stresses and shocks your muscles in a way that helps recruit new muscle fibers for energy and burns a truckload of calories in a short amount of time.
Tabata interval training is a form of high-intensity work that uses a :20 on/:10 off format. Translation: for 20 seconds you perform an activity at a SUPER high level of output, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 8 rounds. Try it! You can do anything for 20 seconds, right?
Example of a Tabata Workout:
Hop on that trusty ol’ elliptical machine (you didn’t think we were going to make you give it up, did you?) but go as hard as you can at a high resistance in an isolated squat position for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds at an easy low resistance pace. Repeat this sequence 8 times at least once during your 30 minute cardio routine.
Try a “Non-Linear Strength Training” Workout:
Bored of your weight routine or cable and stabilized weight machine workouts? Want to see growth or a lengthening and leaning out of your muscles? Welcome to a new type of program called “non-linear periodization”, which has you repeat an exercise like a dumbbell curl but vary the intensity (amount of weight used) and the volume (reps and sets).
Example of a Non Linear Strength Training Workout:
Monday: Heavy weight, heavy volume - 20 lbs, 4 sets 12 reps
Wednesday: Moderate weight, moderate volume - 12 lbs, 3 sets 10 reps
Friday: Light weight, high volume - 5 lbs, 5 sets 12 reps
Try a Heart-Rate Based Workout:
Are you a stickler for numbers and like to play games while you workout? Want the most efficient and custom workout that you can get? Heart Rate Interval workouts will be right up your alley! Check out a MYZONE Group Heart Rate Tracker from the front desk and let’s get started! This type of training uses your heart rate or beats per minute (BPM) as a guideline for how hard you work. Instead of training at a specific speed, you use a monitor to train your body’s cardio output systems to work at a specific effort for a set amount of time. This method not only helps you optimize energy in a SHORT amount of time but helps increase the amount of fat that you burn as a source of energy which translates to a lower BMI and more lean muscle mass!
Let’s get started! Get out your calculator or work some of those brain “muscles” with a little simple math. Find out what your max heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220.
Let’s say I am 40 years old. This means my max HR is 180 and a typical treadmill or spin bike routine might look like this
Five heart rate zones:
- Heart rate zone 1: 50–60% of HRmax.
- Heart rate zone 2: 60–70% of HRmax.
- Heart rate zone 3: 70–80% of HRmax.
- Heart rate zone 4: 80–90% of HRmax.
- Heart rate zone 5: 90–100% of HRmax
Example of a Heart-Rate Based Workout:
Warm Up: 5 minutes in Zone 1
Interval #1: Five minutes in Zone 4
Recover to Zone 2
Interval #2: Five minutes in Zone 4
Recover to Zone 2
Interval #3: Two minutes in Zone 5
Recover to Zone 3
Interval #4: Two minutes in Zone 5
Recover to Zone 3
Interval #5: Five minutes Zone 4
Recover to Zone 2
Cool Down: 5 minutes to Zone 1
So let’s do it! Let’s fight the insanity and do something different that will produce a different result, a BETTER result! Try a few new training techniques like those listed above, try a new class or even vary the time if day that you exercise. Challenge yourself and you will quickly see those results that will reward your hard work and might just have those around you wondering who that “Einstein” is at the gym next to them!
This blog was written by Mary Catherine Heller, Personal Trainer at Body Kinetics San Rafael