Previously in this series, we have discussed the first 2 ways to get the most from your training program, which were: 1. Show up for your appointment; and 2. Listen to your Coach. Now we will discuss the 3rd and final point: Put In A Maximum Effort.
In order for you to stimulate changes in your body through exercise, you have to force your body to attempt things it is not able to do in its current condition. This means you need to workout at or near your existing capacity in order to stimulate increases in muscular size and strength.
In other words, the intensity of your workout must be as high as possible. Intensity is defined as the percentage of possible momentary effort being exerted.
For example, if you can perform 8 repetitions with 50 pounds in a certain exercise, and you never attempt a 9th repetition, why would your body ever alter itself? It won’t, because it has no reason to.
However, attempting that 9th repetition will send a signal to your brain that your current strength levels are insufficient to handle this amount of stress. Your brain will then instruct your body to go through the chemical processes necessary to build up those muscles to a new level of strength and size, so you can handle that level of stress in the future with no threat to your survival.
This is the same type of process your brain and body go through when you expose yourself to the sun. If you haven’t been out in the sun for a while, your brain will perceive your exposure as a threat to your survival, because you could actually die from over-exposure to the sun.
To prevent this from happening, your brain instructs your body to protect itself by forming a suntan. Increased muscular strength and size are the exercise equivalent to a suntan.
Training with a low level of intensity-that is, well below your existing capacity-will do little or nothing to make your muscles grow bigger and stronger. It’s like trying to get a suntan by standing in front of a 60 watt light bulb.
Each set you perform should be a maximum effort, taken to a point where you cannot continue with proper form. This is called training to failure.
Once you reach a point of muscular failure, you have done everything humanly possible to stimulate an increase in muscular size and strength in those muscles-and you don’t have to do it again. When you train like this, one set of each exercise is all you need.
Taking an exercise to the point of muscular failure “flips the switch” and turns on the muscular growth process. And, just like turning on a light switch, once you turn it on, you don’t have to stand there for 15 minutes flicking the switch on and off. Once it’s on, you’re done.
So there you have it – you only have to do 3 things to get the most out of your training program, and your Fitness Coach will take care of everything else. That’s not to much to ask – is it?
And if you you don’t have a Fitness Coach yet, you have 2 choices:
1. Try to do everything yourself, like go get a college degree in Exercise Science, do your own program design, supervise your own form, encourage yourself, hold yourself accountable, etc.
2. Get yourself a team of qualified Fitness Coaches working for you, by clicking HERE.
It’s up to you!