Well, it happened. I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and decided to get myself back into shape. I’ve hooked up with an amazing personal trainer, Dave Sandel, who has opened my eyes to a completely new (and much better way) way to train. For years I worked out, completely destroying myself; lifting to failure, swimming until I puke, pitching until my arm felt like it was going to fall off. The same way everyone is taught to train — no pain, no gain, right? Wrong.
My first time working out with Dave was interesting. Eye-opening, actually. For those of us that were athletes for most of our lives, we’d been so conditioned to push ourselves past the pain and past the point of exhaustion in our training, that we never really “listened” to our bodies. We only listened to our coaches, dying to please them, truly believing that all this pain and exhaustion we were putting our bodies through would allow us to get better, somehow conditioning our bodies to work better when it was time to perform. What I just described is exactly the opposite of the training I am currently doing with Dave. Back to the first workout — When I first walked in the door of The Movement Minneapolis, I noticed a few things right off the bat; One, there were no mirrors all over the walls, as there are in most gyms. Second, there were no douche-baggy guys with huge arms and tiny legs walking around (probably because there aren’t any mirrors for them to look at themselves). The third thing I noticed was that there were hardly any “typical” weight lifting machines, like you see in most gyms. Now, I know The Movement Minneapolis isn’t considered a “typical” gym, but I was expecting to see the usual “machines” all over. So, right off the bat, my expectations of what was to come were all gone. As I sat there and waited for Dave (I was a little early), I kept noticing other things too. The people were all friendly and welcoming, there were no huge ego’s to deflate, and there sure weren’t any people who acted like I shouldn’t be there, which was great! I also noticed that not one person was wearing typical athletic shoes. Some people were in their socks, others were in these weird shoes that are shaped to your foot and even have separate toe holes, and others were in slip on shoes, like the ones you wear in jail. Oddly enough, it was during this first workout that I found out the hard way, why they wore these type of shoes (I’ll get to this in a later post). But, all in all, I can say i was surprised to see all these differences. But I wasn’t surprised in a bad way, it was all in a good way, because honestly, I knew I needed something different, and from what I’d seen so far, it was ALL different!
During this first workout, my mind was blown over and over. This new way of training, called “The Gym Movement“, was, as I said before totally opposite from everything I knew. I’ve always considered myself pretty knowledgeable when it came to working out and how the muscles work and everything, but I realized after talking for a few minutes I was totally wrong about most of it. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, or anything, it’s just the way everyone’s been taught. Anyway, we got through the workout fine and I can say the hardest thing for me was not allowing myself to keep doing reps after the first sign of strain. See, the whole idea behind this is, you should be able to make quality progress every day….yes, every day. So, if you’re lifting to failure or at least past the point of your body straining to keep going, you’re going to be sore, for a few days usually, which won’t allow you to put in more workouts in between, so you’re actually doing less work overall.
You see, the goal is to do as much “work” in as short a time frame as possible, which should give you better results. Why? Well, I’m not completely versed on the whole concept completely yet, but I’ll try to explain it — In Physics, work is the product of force and the distance over which it moves, thus W = Fd. If you do three sets of the heaviest weight you can lift, you’re not doing much work, since you’re probably lifting to failure each set, and you’re resting longer in between since you’re exhausted. So, if your whole workout is an hour and you only get three or four sets done, with only a few reps each set, you’re not doing much work, even though you’ve completely exhausted your muscles and will most likely be sore for a few days. Now, think about how much more work you could have done, if you had lowered the weight, done more reps (stopping at the first sign of strain), and did many more sets within that same hour? The amount of “work” you did has increased dramatically, but because you stopped when you felt strain each time, you rested less, and you were able to do many, many more reps within that same timeframe. Understand where this is going? By doing more work in the same amount of time, the amount of force doesn’t have to be as much, since you’re able to do more sets and reps (Distance), faster than you would with a much heavier weight. And the best part of all this is, you’ll be able to come in tomorrow and do it again, because you won’t be sore. I know, I know. I was blown away too. You need a second?
Well, I’ll give you a few days….until my next post. For now, get on your computer and check out Dave Sandel’s website, www.athletecreator.com and follow him on Twitter, if you’re a Twitter user, @AthleteCreator. I would also take a look at www.areyouthemovement.com and www.themovementminneapolis.com. I assure you, if you’ve always thought there was a “better way” to getting healthy, in shape, or pain free, THIS IS IT!