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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The only easy day

Image from Flickr, by Rennett Stowe
I'm a Navy man.  You may not have known that about me, but I am.  I did my enlistment as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, but there was a part of me that dreamed about becoming a Navy SEAL.  During their training, there is a sign that says "The only easy day was yesterday."  The idea is that each and every day is progressively more difficult.

What does this have to do with your training?

How about the fact that you need to embrace the same philosophy, for starters.

Spend enough time on social networking sites and you'll find these people.  They work out religiously, but they never see any gains.  When you dig a little bit, you see that they're using the exact same five pound dumbbells for the last 18 months.  They do the same DVD workout, with little variation, and can't understand why they haven't lost anything.

The problem is that they're beating their head against the wall.

When you first begin training, you're probably going to be sore.  As I've mentioned before, soreness is caused by microscopic damage to your muscles.  Your body begins the process of repairing the muscles so that they can adapt to this new strain you're experiencing.

After a time, your body is fully adapted to this strain.  That's why, without upping the weight and varying the workouts from time to time, you stagnate.  This is why those people with the five pound dumbbells don't make any headway.  They haven't pushed themselves.  Their easy day was yesterday, tomorrow, and next Thursday.

Instead, you need to push things.  Your body has to be confused just a bit, and needs to be in a constant state of adaptation.  This will stimulate muscle growth, which in turn boosts metabolism, which will cause you to burn fat.

"But Tom, I don't want to be musclebound"

So? I don't mean to be flippant here, but seriously, so? When people think "musclebound", they're thinking about bodybuilders.  Folks, bodybuilders eat tons of calories to bulk up, something like 5,000 calories a day or more.  They spend years and years building the necessary muscle to become bodybuilders in the first place.  They take tons of supplements to aid in muscle growth.  Sometimes, they use a bit more chemistry than that.  It ain't going to happen by accident.

So drop that cop out.  It doesn't fly.  While you're at it, drop the five pounders and up your weight.  Push it for once.  Remember that the only easy day was your last training session.  Keep pushing your limits with each workout.  If it gets easy, then it's time to up something.  Time, weight, reps, whatever.  It just doesn't matter.

You're an athlete.  You should expect more out of yourself than mediocrity.

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