Sometimes you just need a swift kick in the ass. You need a change; a shift in your approach to training to break the monotony. I’m not talking about the “muscle confusion” nonsense of the P90X and Insanity variety, I’m talking about tweaks to a more rational approach to exercise prescription. Besides, you can’t “confuse” a muscle. A muscle either contracts or relaxes; it recruits fast twitch muscle fibers when working at a high intensity and slow twitch fibers when working a low intensity. There is nothing confusing about it, it’s rooted in our physiology, so stop with the bullshit about how you need to mix yoga, with your piss poor weight training style, and sprinkle in plyometrics to maximize results. More on this in a moment.
I recently came to the conclusion that my training was getting stale so I did something I had not done in over ten years; I turned the design of my training over to another personal trainer. But not just any trainer. It had to be someone that shared a similar philosophy as myself and is just as cerebral about designing training programs as I am. It’s like a Christian going to a Jew with a question about faith, or vice versa. Although they differ in their practice of religion they share the same fundamental values so it validates the counsel they get from each other.
My friend Mark Houghton, BNBF/DFAC Masters Pro Bodybuilder was the lucky guy who got the job. I knew he would come with a different perspective and shift my approach while sticking with the fundamental principles we know to be true. In a few short months my training has been reinvigorated and I’m seeing some development and strength gains that had been lacking. And guess what!? My muscles are not confused!
I am still training using mostly high intensity training principles but the major shift has been in my overall training demands. This is where the muscle confusion crowd has confused everyone…and themselves.
Our bodies develop in accordance with the demands placed on them. The reason why you built muscle so quickly and easily when you first began training is because your muscles had a new and unusual set of demands placed upon them. In order to combat these new demands (stress) it had to adapt. However over time as your training became—or has become—a more regular occurrence you’ve become more accustomed to the demands. The more accustomed you get to training the less your body needs to develop more muscle or get stronger.
That’s what happened to me as I fell into the routine of “being routine” with my training. I spend so much time being creative and subjective for the clients I serve that when it came to me, I put myself on autopilot. By assigning a new Captain to read the instrument panel and steer this plane my progress has been reignited. And it’s all been through a simple shift in approach.