Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Methodical Madness

Have you ever noticed that the solution to a problem, especially lost car keys, is always in the last place you look?

Is this because you're cursed by the gods to search frivolously for hours on end for the answer, or because you stop looking once you've found it?

Another question might you look in 14 places at once via omnipresence or do you methodically check the most logical solutions off in a somewhat organized fashion?

Well...hopefully you've answered these leading questions appropriately and my introduction didn't just confuse you further.

To get to my point, there is a lot of problem solving involved in fitness. Sometime we are looking for the answer to breaking a weight loss plateau. Sometimes we are trying to break a strength barrier. Sometimes working around an injury or simply trying to become more efficient and comfortable with a particular movement. All of these problems have one pretty important thing in common: variables. There are so many variables involved in training that it can be tough to know what works and what doesn't.

So how DO we know what works and what doesn't? We control variables. Let's say for example you're at a sticking point with weight loss. In order to break that plateau you might be tempted to drop your carbs, add cardio, and start popping every supplement GNC will throw at you. But at the end, even if you've lost weight, you don't know what helped and what didn't so when it happens again (and it WILL happen again), what do you do now? 

By changing only one variable at a time we can make informed decisions on what to try next without throwing the whole kitchen sink at a problem. Dropping carbs might not be the answer. Maybe it's ADDING calories? Maybe it's adding or reducing training time? The only way to know is to try ONE thing at a time and reevaluate after you've given enough time to determine efficacy,

This same concept applies to lifting weights. Is a particular movement uncomfortable? Or is strength stalled? We shouldn't just throw everything away and start from scratch. Trial and error is the way to go. 

Let's say you're stuck on your squat for example. Do you change grip, widen stance, switch shoes, squat to a box and add chains all at one time? NO! By manipulating one variable at a time and locking down form using that single new tactic we can assess if it has helped, hindered, or done nothing at all. Gathering data and using it moving forward will yield the best results!

Moral of the story, be patient, and use a method to your fitness madness!

Steve Decker

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