Less is more

I have sister who likes to cross-stitch. She cross-stiches circles around me. She completed multiple cross-stitch projects while I have completed 1.75 projects. She is always sending me pictures of adorable patterns she wants to try next. She then points out that she already has far more patterns than even she can ever finish. But that doesn’t stop her. Eventually she always buys another pattern.

 I am the same way, just not with cross-titch. I do it with workouts. I have so many workouts designed I can’t possibly do them all. Even when I get through one training cycle I have already designed 2 or three more while I was completing it. And I like many types of workouts, so I have piles of 12min or shorter HIIT workouts, I have various types of strength training routines for at home workouts or at the gym workouts. I have workouts focused on overall strength, overall endurance, maintenance, even cardio/strength splits and any other cardo/strength splits I could possibly want or feel like doing. Sometimes I find myself trying to schedule things to I can pack in more workouts just to “get them all done” despite the fact that I know it is too much and I will therefore only end up doing half or so. My brain trys to over ride my good sense that tells me I need “x” amount of rest between each workout and “x” workout will leave me tired so HIIT after is not going to happen. I know these things, but designing the workouts are so enjoyable I get this feeling of “GO GO GO!” that results in delusions of workout grandeur.

 Why do I bring this up? Because I noticed that this “GO GO GO” feeling and desire to do more sometimes leaves me doing more than I am ready for in my workouts or just trying to do too many workouts. The result of this is I am too tired and have to modify the original over zealous schedule to something more realistic. I then feel like I wussed out or wasn’t disciplined enough because I failed to stick with the schedule. After I go through this cycle I come out of it and remind myself that it is all ridiculous. If I didn’t keep up with the tough schedule it was because it was tough and I scheduled too much in too short of a time. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me or that I am lazy or lack self discipline, I just have eyes that are bigger than my muscles when it comes to designing my workouts. Which isn’t always a bad thing. I designed a 12min HIIT workout that had me dying on the floor by minute 5 the first time I tried it. I struggled to keep going.  I then designed modified versions that I did instead. Six weeks later I went back to the original killer workout and was able to do it. It was hard of course, but I finished it and was able to push hard all the way through without taking extra rest time. In this case my overzealous workout design served as a great way to demonstrate to myself the effectiveness of the workouts I designed in terms of making me stronger and able to recover faster. Also HIIT workouts remind of the truth of the saying “less is more” as it pertains to fitness.

 When designing my strength workouts I found I had started just adding more exercises or more training days or a different body part split to make things harder. This of course made for both long and frequent workouts. The result of longer workouts with more exercises was that I would have to judge my weight choices wisely so that I could still finish the whole workout. The result is that my weight and therefore strength increases were small and long in coming. So beginning this month I have designed a whole new set of workouts (surprise!) based around the idea of  “less is more”. I am focusing on the base compound moves: squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench press, pushups, pullups (no I can’t do an unassisted pullup yet, but I am working on it), rows and over head presses. I am not spending time on little isolation exercises for the time being. I am just going back to basics and relying on the quality of a few exercises done with heavy weight rather than the quantity of various exercises to help me increase my strength.

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