I ask this ponderable not because I expect that everyone has all of their exercises charted out with the exact weights they should use, or that individuals should always know exactly how much they can max with a particular lift. I ask this because I know that with strength training it is important to have a good idea about where you are with your strength training exercises so that you do more than just go through the motions when you spend your valuable time getting a workout in.
I’ve watched many individuals go through the motions because they have no idea how strong they are, or how strong they can be, or perhaps they are simply trying to get some level of a cardio workout in with their “strength training” exercises. If your only goal is to just keep moving then certainly going through the motions will help you to achieve that goal. If however you have other goals, like actually trying to get stronger, lose weight, tone muscles, or find fitness gains, then going through the motions will not get you there.
For point-of reference, I have one client who over just a short 6-week period has increased the amount of weight she is working out with by as much as 100%…with certain exercises. It doesn’t mean that she’s twice as strong as she was before we started because no one can get twice as strong in such a short period of time. What it does mean is that now she is getting stronger and developing more lean muscle mass which is improving her metabolism and giving her greater confidence in strength training routines. One of her goals before we started was to shed a few pounds and take off inches. And with the increased lean muscle that she’s developed over the last 6 weeks she is seeing significant improvement in her metabolism. Another goal was to firm up certain body parts and that is definitely happening.
The other exercising benefit is that now we can evolve her exercise routines and keep things fresh without compromising continued gains because she now knows where she’s at strength-wise. So going into new exercises she quickly discovers where she should be because she’s no longer just going through the motions with her strength training exercises. This knowledge gives her command-in-strength training and keeps her from going through the motions.
I realize we are not all destined, or striving, to be power lifters or body builders, but better developing lean muscle helps on so many fronts that I encourage everyone to better figure out how strong you are so that you are truly doing strength training and not just going through the motions. At the gym we have plenty of cardio equipment and classes designed for mostly cardio work. If you are here to do strength training then focus on strength training and if you’re not sure you are doing it right, or you don’t have a plan, then let us help you.
Nutrition tip: Keep a basket of fruit handy at the office or at home for late night snacking. You’ll be much better off having an apple rather than reaching for a bag of chips, having a late night sandwich, or snacking on whatever someone might bring into the office and share with everyone. If you really care about your nutrition then take a picture of everything you eat for a week or two before you stick it in your mouth…you may discover that you are not heating as well as you think you are.