I think one mistake that a lot of us make is pigeon holing ourselves into one specific style of training. I’ve seen so many people get stuck doing bodybuilding style training day after day, year after year, never getting any different results. I see the same thing with cardio queens, who do tons of cardio every day, and their progress has stalled out, but they just push harder. When we learn a training style, and see results (which you inevitably will at the beginning of any program) we convince ourselves that this specific training style is best. We never even think about trying anything else
One major problem with this is that it is likely that whatever style training you began with is no longer optimal for your goals. This could be because your goals have changed, or your body has adapted and is ready to progress. For example, if you start out training each body part one day per week, you will very likely see gains at the beginning. This is because you have gone from zero to one. As you get bigger and stronger, though, gains become much harder to come by. For this reason, you should progress your training as you progress. When one day per week becomes easy, add a second day. Also, if your goals have changed from wanting to get big to wanting to get strong your training must change accordingly. Different goals require different training methodologies to obtain.
Another problem is staleness, both physically and mentally. I don’t know about you, but I get really bored going into the gym and doing the same thing every week. If you are bored with your training you are unlikely to push yourself, and will tend to just go through the motions. If you are not putting effort into your training you will not see improvements. Our bodies also develop adaptive resistance. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the first time you do a new exercise you get extremely soar, and a little less sore each time after, eventually not getting sore at all. This is because our bodies get used to a certain stimulus, and will see little to no progress with that same movement. It is important to switch things up to avoid this issue.
Something else that I have found in trying out numerous different training styles along my fitness journey, is that they all tend to be lacking somewhere. If you want to be the best overall athlete that you can be, I don’t think any one type of training will get you there. Specifically, bodybuilders tend to look good, but not be extremely strong. Powerlifters are incredibly strong, but are usually pretty out of shape in cardiovascular fitness. Crossfitters are very fit, but have imbalances due to a lack of accessory work. If you get stuck in one training style you are likely missing out on the benefits of others. I think that even if you are competing in a sport it is beneficial to draw from other sports to enhance your performance, especially in the off-season or further from a competition.
So what’s my advice?
- Make sure your training is appropriate for your current goals
- Make sure your training progresses as you progress
- Make sure you at least switch up exercises or rep ranges when your body (or mind) adapts
- Make sure your training program isn’t missing an important link
Ultimately I think that the best training program is a combination of many other programs. This is how I program for myself as well as my clients. I think that every training style has benefits that can all be utilized to create one well-rounded program. You can be strong, fit, and look good all at the same time. So try everything! This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your current training style completely, but try switching it up every once in a while. You might find something you love, while getting better results along the way.
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