No Pain, No Gain - Rambo? I don't know

written by: Karl Gellert, CESP
Personal Trainer and Coach at Infinite Fitness

When I originally wrote this post I was pretty much ranting and raving all over the place. Not really sure why I was so upset, but I've since calmed down so today you get a calmer, more logical Karl. However, there is something I'd like to get off my chest.

I'm sure you've heard the expression "work smarter, not harder"? Well that's exactly what I want to talk about.

We can break exercise into two basic components - stress and recovery. As we all know, building muscle, losing fat, increasing endurance etc. is an adaptation to a stressor placed on the body.

To sum it up in simple terms, when we break down a part of our body, within reason, it adapts and rebuilds stronger - the law of adaptation.

Now, I'm a fan of hard work. It's really the only way to make progress in your workout life, regardless of how you personally define that - be it cycling, strongman, running, or fighting grizzly bears with your bare hands. So before I start I'm going to make sure you understand this:

Consistent, hard work is the only way to make a lasting and sustainable change in your body

There's just no way around it.

Now that we have that out of the way, the whole "no pain, no gain" mentality should be left in the smouldering dumpster fire that was the 80's (Not Rambo though - he was badass).

Rambo

How sore you are the next day has almost no correlation to how good of a workout you had the day before. You did something your body wasn't used to, but that's about it - if you consistently feel like a husk of yourself the next day, something is definitely wrong.

It may not always look like it, but there should be be a point to every exercise you're doing - you should be moving towards a goal or checkpoint. I see so many fitness "workouts" that literally have no rhyme or reason, no attention to movement quality and quite frankly, are just poorly put together. They're just a bunch of stuff. It's certainly better than doing nothing at all, but that's not really a great benchmark, now is it?

And before you say it, no, I'm not talking about Crossfit, I'm actually wearing Crossfit shoes right now as I write this. This can apply to any kind of training - bodybuilding, powerlifting, Crossfit and yes, just general fitness and group exercise classes.

If someone has tight ankles, poor thoracic mobility, hip flexors of steel, and doesn't have a great idea of how to brace properly in their core (which is actually the case for a large number of people) it isn't a fantastic idea to get them to do burpees, pushups, jumping lunges, or even, gasp, planks, with little rest for time. At that point in their fitness "career" they just don't have the work capacity. Give it a few months of consistent practice, get their general conditioning (cardio) and strength up and then we can really get the ball rolling with some more exciting workouts.

I've been training people for seven years now, so I can tell you that when most people start it's not pretty. It doesn't take long to get competent but almost everyone starts out with poor movement skills and kinaesthetic awareness. But it doesn't matter whether you're starting out, or if you're experienced, you need to know proper movement patterns and what kind of range of motion you currently have. Not the people in your exercise class, not your friend, not what you saw on YouTube - you.

For example, I have terrible mobility in my right ankle. I've seen several people to try and get it fixed but I've never been able to get it to completely normal. This does affect my workouts. Running hills, pushing a sled, walking lunges and high bar squats are all awesome exercises, but I have to be careful not to overdo it because there will be consequences.

Don't think you have to devote all your time to this - it is very possible to work on increasing mobility and mechanics in a safe and progressive manner, and do it so in a way where you actually get a good workout. I completely understand because when I go to the gym I want to do cool stuff (relatively speaking), not a million mobility drills.

Quick point - don't get me started on people who yammer on and on about having to go "ass to grass" when squatting. Ideally, yes, everyone should be able to squat deep below parallel but unfortunately, we live in the real world where people are exactly how I described above.

Your average joe doesn't have the ankle or hip mobility, so when they try to get as low as possible, their feet turn out, the low back rounds, the pelvis tucks under and the whole thing just turns into hot garbage. Never mind adding a load and the "git r done" mentality to this - you're begging the universe to put you out of commission. And don't worry, it will oblige sooner or later.

Yelling 

While time has mellowed me...still not a fan

I'll be honest with you - 8 good reps of an exercise will be far more effective than 8 good reps, 6 shaky ones, and 6 horrendous ones.

I feel this is may seem obvious but I keep seeing it again and again. People need to do a workout that is appropriate for their level, not something you've seen on social media.  I like posting when I do cool things too (I think) - but I've been doing this for almost ten years. And I still screw up and hurt myself from time to time (or frequently - Editor). There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity, one that I've crossed more times than I'd like to admit, and more often than not, I've paid for it.

So to sum it up - do what you can do at that point in time. Do ten perfect squats to a high box rather than 20 horrible ones "ass 2 grass".

If you are interested in these ideas and are lucky enough to live in Edmonton area I've got some things planned so stay tuned for details and dates. If you're looking for a resource that you can use on your own, I highly recommend any of Kelly Starrett's books (especially Deskbound) or website (mobilitywod.com). His concepts and mobility work took my understanding of movement and training to the next level, so I will gladly give credit where credit is due.

Until then, have an awesome day and may the force be with you.

Tags:

Celebrating Success - Judy R

judy

Today we're featuring one of our new clients Judy, who is living proof that you can make big changes in just a couple months when you're motivated and have the support, guidance, and training needed to succeed! Our fabulous trainer, Rylee, sent us these before and after photos with this message:

"Days like today make me so proud to be a trainer. I want to highlight one of my clients, Judy!

She came in very shy and extremely nervous. It was all brand new to her. In the short 2 months that I have worked with her, she has made leaps and bounds. She has lost 9 pounds and 6.5 inches, and has made huge progress in her strength and endurance. She has become so much more confident, comfortable, and full of life--her reaction to her results was priceless!

I am so lucky to have been a part of her progress and I can't wait to see what else she will accomplish!

Great work Judy!"

We are so proud of Judy and her hard work combined with Rylee and her guidance!

Tags:

Benefits of a Workout Partner

Valentine's day is only a few short days a way and although we think that you should consider giving acts of love year round, we figured we'd focus on the top 5 reasons to workout with a partner.

  1. You are accountable to someone else. - Let's be honest, it's easy to quit on yourself some days. Maybe the alarm rings at 6am and you think, but I need 20 more minutes. Or something comes up at work and you just can't leave the office on time. But if you add in someone else to the mix, it becomes much harder to skip. Maybe they're expecting you to meet them at 6am or they are there at 5pm saving your bike. Whatever the reason, your much less likely to let someone else down!
  2. You are more likely to try new things - human nature wins this one. We are way more willing to try something new if someone else does it with us. Aka, if we look foolish, we won't be alone ;) Grab your friend and hit up the yoga studio down the street or venture out to a cycling class or aerial yoga - anything that strikes your fancy!!
  3. You get better results - and who doesn't want better results?! Working out with someone else adds an element of competition and pushing yourself just a little bit further. By yourself you may have quit at just the slightest bit of discomfort but add your buddy there and you are that much more likely to give an extra 10%!
  4. You won't have to ask anyone for a spot - want to try lifting just a few more pounds or looking to test your 10 rep max? You won't have to approach that stranger in the gym and ask them to help you out. Your partner will be more than happy to help out!!
  5. Personal Training is even more affordable - if the cost of one on one sessions seems a bit overwhelming, a partner session may help to take the strain off your wallet so that you can focus on your fitness!
IMG_5515_copy


Now that you know some of the reasons to grab a partner for your workouts, here's some qualities you should look for in a workout partner:

  • You need to like them - hahahaha, that seems obvious, eh? But if you don't like them, pretty much all of the above goes down the drain.
  • Both of you need to come with good attitudes - while some days one of you may need to lean on each other a little more than the other, it's going to get really old, really fast, if you are constantly leaning more on your friend or vice versa.
  • Similar goals and styles - if one of you wants to run a marathon and the other is looking to increase lean body mass, you're probably not a good match. Same thing if one of you needs a loving, gentle approach and the other prefers the drill sergeant, it's likely going to lead to frustration before results!



We'd love to hear from you... do you workout with a partner?

Tags:

Campsite Workout

That moment you are on vacation and you think it's time to take a break from everything... Well just wait, maybe not everything! Did you know you could keep up with your fitness with this easy to do, fast campsite workout. You need nothing more than a picnic table! Tristan and Jessica took the boys to Drumheller and wanted to show you just how easy it is to fit in a workout. Enjoy!

Tags: