Hey folks. The other day, I posted about how the different seasons of life can affect our training and how we should view these periods. If you want to check that out it’s here. Today, I wanted to chat with you about how our training itself should have different seasons.
What do you mean by different seasons?
You see, most of us go to the gym or begin exercising for one reason or another. We go because we want to shed some body fat. Maybe others want to gain some muscle. Maybe you’re a high school athlete and you want your conditioning runs to feel less sucky while you’re doing them. There are all kinds of reasons why you might begin to exercise, at least on the surface. I say “on the surface” primarily because most of us think that goal that we initially have is a vehicle to something else that we want. Of course that is whole other post all together.
The gist here is that we are all driven by something to start. We typically have some kind of point B that we want to get to from our current point A. The mistake that a lot of us make in our training is staying on the path to that point B long past the time that is effective and, dare I say… fun.
Here’s the deal. You come into the gym with the goal of fat loss. That is the season, so to speak, that you begin in. You are driven. You train consistently. You eat to support that goal to the best of your ability and knowledge. As a result, you make progress. All the sudden, you are twelve weeks in and you are starting to plateau. Mentally, you don’t have the same fire that you did at the beginning. The progress that you were making in chunks before has come to a crawl. Now, to be fair, quick progress in the beginning, when all the stars are aligned, is pretty common. The farther down the road you get with any goal, the slower the progress begins to be. But at this point, what do you do?
Well, let’s review some facts here:
- you made some real progress in your initial goal
- you aren’t ultimately where you want to be yet in your goal
- you are getting bored and discouraged because of #2, despite #1
Again, what do you do? Well, you could continue to trudge along this path, trying to squeeze every last drop of “gainz” out of what you are doing.
You could switch up what you are training for and go in a completely new direction.
What? Why would I do that?
Because, you will get to experience a new sensation when you go to the gym. You get to try new stuff. You get to break out of the mold of what you’ve been doing. And it could go in a ton of new directions:
- You could start working to put on some muscle and eat more calories. Keep in mind that muscle is the engine to your metabolism. The more you have, the easier it will be to shed body fat when you go back to that goal.
- You could focus on getting stronger. Again, this will be a big benefit when you decide to go back to your original goal. If you were getting good results using those 30lb kettlebells, imagine what you could do if you were using 40lb bells or even 45’s?
- You could focus on some type of performance goal like setting a new pull up PR (personal record).
The key here is to do something else, to enter a different season of training. Maybe that season is complimentary like getting stronger. Maybe it’s something completely different and off the wall like being able to bearcrawl for ten minutes straight. You will get away from the boredom that was setting in from the previous goal. You will likely feel more motivated again. And you get to explore new stuff. That’s a fun part of training, at least for me it is.
You could also break your training up into cycles based on the seasons of the year, if you want to get literal about it. Look at it this way:
- November through the end of January- Your focus here is on adding lean muscle tissue. You’re already, more than likely, going to be taking in more calories than usual. Why not put them to good use. Pat Flynn, of Chronicles of Strength, recently used the phrase “Eat like Santa, look like Zeus.” There you go.
- April through June- Your focus here is on shedding some of the excess weight that came on during the holidays whilst trying to spare the hard earned muscle that you gained.
- The rest of the year- This is where you would either chase a goal that is in another ball park like strength or a performance goal. Of course, I think you would be wise to listen to that wise, Yoda-like sage, just without the pointy ears and green skin, Dan John and just do some punch the clock workouts. Show up regularly. Put a little more weight on the bar or pick up a heavier bell when it gets to easy. Make sure you move well and work on your sticky joint spots. Get your heart rate up.
So to recap, you can’t ride the same goal forever. More often that not, you will have to switch it up and then circle back. Think of it as a three steps forward, one step back (while you are training something else) and then rinse and repeat. Hope you guys/and girls found this helpful. Have a great day.
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