Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Habituate to Better Fitness

Have you ever noticed that when you get in your car in the morning, the radio seems to be blasting? I have. It seems that as the day goes on, I slowly increase the volume. Which makes sense right? Traffic, driving with the window door, and my engine revving all cause me to increase(at least momentarily) the volume. But I usually lower it again, so why is it high the next morning? 

Because of creep. Every time I lower the volume down, I do so a little less so incrementally it still gets higher as the day goes on. And I adapt(or habituate) to the noise and create a new norm(or baseline) for the rest of the day. It's the same thing with gaining weight. You gain weight to the point you notice it then you attempt to lose it. And you may lose most of it, but very rarely do you get it all off. So now you're new base weight may be a few pounds more. Do that again and again over the years and it's easy to see why it's so hard to keep the weight off.

Finances can be no different. You get a salary bump which makes you feel flush with cash so you go out living more extravagantly. Then you back it off but not to your previous leaving but to a new norm that's a bit above that so it's like you didn't get a raise at all.  

Obviously none of these scenarios are ideal. We'd love to save our hearing, lose all of the weight, and pocket the pay differential. But for most people we habituate to noise, income and body weight and slowly creep to an inevitable demise.

It's also a pitfall of P90X. P90X is great at revving up your engine but what happens when it's over? Lots of people just fall off the bandwagon or have to repeat it. But it doesn't have to be that way! For example with exercise, I suggest we can use this principle to our advantage.  There should be a P60 and then a P30X as well that slowly weans you down to a more manageable and sustainable routine that is just challenging enough to continue to make fitness gains. And that's the benefit of having a coach who can tweak your workouts individually to match your exact fitness needs.

But if you don't have or want a coach, try a train-cation. 

Let's say you're currently working out 3 days a week and just CANNOT do more than that. Take a week or two where you really ramp up the workouts* whether you do more days, harder intensities or throw in some cross-training. Really anything that makes you work a lot harder than you had. You can definitely do it for only a week or two right? Well, the nice thing is once you're done, you may have just created a new norm. A tolerance to add another day to your routine, or to run that loop a little faster. That's one of the main benefits of training camps. 

The key is to make the added increase enough to change your norm. A slight increase of body weight is easy to drop, but a big increase makes it difficult to lose it all. Likewise, really ramp up that workout routine so when you taper off, you still are slightly better off than you were before. 

Good luck!

Until next time,


*To ensure you don't injure yourself try not to do too much at once. I.e. increase mileage or speed but not both. 

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