With the exception of extremely high level who are given access to a personal trainer or a fitness coach most of us are simply working out. We’re lifting weights to stay in shape during the off-season, we’re running to keep try and keep our gut at bay. And while anybody who is at least exercising is doing more then the majority of the population, they’re also wasting a huge amount of time.
We need to rid ourselves of the mindset that we’re going to work out. What does that mean to you? When someone says I’m going to work out. It means they’re leaving behind their sedentary self behind for an hour to go work out. Okay, so what comes after that? They’ll mindlessly throw around a few dumbbells, maybe they’ll jump on the bike for 20 minutes and then finish it all up with a nice sauna (who doesn’t love a sauna?).
Most of you are probably nodding, uh huh, yep. That sounds about right, that person is staying in shape *high five*. Not so fast. What is it that they’re trying to achieve? What’re their goals? Sadly most of the folks in the gym can’t answer this question without resorting to an exceptionally generic “to stay fit” response. That’s not good enough and it’s not going to get you the results you need or want.
We need to practice training like we practice any other fundamental skill. The minute we stop tracking and critiquing ourselves is the minute we’ve lost and begin to decline. If you’re not growing (and I don’t just mean your muscles) you’re inevitably atrophying. If you’re going to spend 5 or 6 hours of your week in a gym you damn well better know why you’re there.
A point guard doesn’t work out, he trains. It’s easy for them to set goals, they have coaches and trainers who are constantly measuring and monitoring them. They identify parts of their game which need work, not explosive enough? Do X, Y, Z and track it using A, B, C. Each week you should be improving by this much or that much.
The next time you’re thinking about going to the gym skip it all together. Sit down and figure out what is it that you want out of the gym. Be specific – do you want to cut down on body fat or do you want to be able to run 10 miles in a certain amount of time? Once you establish your wants you can begin to build a training schedule that caters to them.