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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Are you just going through the motions? Here is a 1% challenge!

Functioning, existing and living in a zone of convenience, comfort and self-limiting range of motion has become the byway, highway and avenue of life travel for most of the world's population.

This applies to all aspects, approaches and perspectives - whether it be Mental, Emotional, Physical or Spiritual, Vocational, Relational..... pick one or all.

So where's the hook here?

No hook - just an observation.

And let me relate it to the physical - because I think our approach to our physical being and how we use and abuse it in the world we live in affects every other aspect of our life.  

Some people will argue this point, claiming that it is the Mental and Emotional perspective that leads the Physical....

But I disagree.... I can feel like shit, have a lousy outlook on life and feel like I just wanna Break Something and I can go do some sort of physical activity and suddenly the bad attitude and outlook is replaced by a sense of well being and good will.

Besides.... it's my blog so I'll tell it the way I see it.

And here's what I see....

Whoa! - Hang on - anytime I make observations about other people that could be interpreted as negative, I've got to put my lawyer hat on and go through the disclaimers and exclusions and the mea culpas for all the poor people in the world that can't take a little constructive criticism.... so here it is.

Anything I say or imply in this post or any other posts on this blog for the last umpteen years and for the foreseeable future is not intended to criticize or belittle any individual or their perspectives, efforts or limitations in life.

There - that oughta cover all those people with fragile egos and rigid minds.

Let's take my group exercise classes at Anytime Fitness as the laboratory for this little postulate.

Pick a class..... any class.... I'm kinda partial to the little Blonde Fireball LP, so let's take her PIYO Strength class and Core Strength and More classes as an example.

And again, let me qualify by saying I realize people may have different historical medical conditions and physical limitations that MAY IN THEIR MINDS justify a conservative and self limiting approach to exercise and motion.

Fine - I got it - then this concept is even more important and appropriate to those people.

First of all, these 2 classes are intended to be pretty rigorous classes.... Ok let me restate that in a more direct vernacular.

These classes can and will KICK YOUR ASS!

People Poo Poo Pilates - Yoga type classes but I challenge all you Weightlifting Fanatics that are focused on absolute strength as your priority and carrying an extra 20 pounds of fat on your body - yeah you know who you are.... the guy who does a set of 8 reps and walks around the gym for 5 minutes texting and socializing and then walks back to the bar for another set. 

I challenge you to come into this class and do 1-legged squats or keep all of your bodyweight on just 1 leg through a variety of exercises, motions and movements. Oh.... and no rest.... you flow from one movement to the other.  

And the Core Strength and More class is even more intense - resembling a hybrid of Boot Camp and a CrossFit WOD - done with dumbbells of a weight of your choosing with no more than 10 seconds rest between sets.

So a 45 minute workout really is a 45 minute workout.

Now that I have the workout framed, let me get back to the concept of this post.

As I am flogging myself through these workouts, going through the full range of motion of squats, lunges, presses, curls or free body movements, as demonstrated by the marvelously muscled LP, I occasionally divert my visual focus to other class members.

And what do I see?

These people look like they are walking down the street waving at the crowd enjoying the Sunshine and Cool Breeze.


I'm grunting, slobbering, spitting and cussing myself through every rep at the limit of what I can do.... digging myself out of every deep squat and knee to floor lunge....

And the rest of the population is barely deflecting their legs from locked out position.  I'm serious - these people are only slightly moving from a standing dead position.

And I see this over and over again.  These aren't newcomers.... these are the class regulars.

Why are these people even in the class?  They literally would get more exercise out of a walk down the street.

What?  Are they concerned they're gonna hurt themselves or something?  Blow a knee or pop a disc?

Fine... I'll give'em the benefit of a doubt.....

and my counsel.

Try doing 1% more than you did the last time.


You heard me - You know what your range of motion was during the last workout - if you didn't then note it  this time.  You know you used the 3# dumbbells or the 8# dumbbells or you went so deep in your squats or you came down so far with your overhead presses.

Exert yourself just 1% beyond what you did the last time - Nothing major.... Just try to do more or greater....

Weight, Depth, Range of Motion, Duration..... pick any category of effort and increase it....


Do that for 3 - 5 workouts.....

Then increase it another....


Keep doing that..... and eventually you will reach a limit.

In breathing or capacity for discomfort or joint - muscle - ligament mechanical restriction.

But you will be a lot further down the road from where you began.

Oh - and this goes for the instructor too.

Why not try this concept on for size with your class participants?

What is your job anyway?

To show up and provide a workout regimen and demonstrate the exercises and time and supervise the efforts?

Yep - all of those.

But there is one more element of a good Exercise Instructor / Trainer....

To motivate / encourage / lead the class participants to greater fitness and physical well being.

And one way of doing that is by setting expectations for class participants to do.....

1% more.

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