Dancing in the mundane

It’s now 2020 and we’re bracing ourselves for the next big fad of the fitness decade.

All things considered, we have come a long way and things are getting better and better as we gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of exercise. Here’s a little timeline of how the fitness industry has evolved since the 80s:

-       80s – Jane Fonda style light weights Aerobics and the big man Arnold.

-       90s – Les Mills baby and more extreme bodybuilding!

-       2000s- Fad diet and training challenges “shape of your life” and the birth of CrossFit.

-       2010s – CrossFit takes hold and generates a stack of HIIT spin-offs causing the next industry craze, F45 being the leading brand.

The problem that we are facing now comes with the idea of variation.

What is now being sold as a value add to varied group fitness HIIT programs is the idea of “VARIATION” & “No two workouts are the same!!”.

Now we are all for a bit of fun and mixing things up, but the truth behind building any form of strength, fitness or skill for that matter, requires a certain degree of repetitiveness – after all, practice makes perfect right?

The new guarantee that every training session has to be different and varied to be of any effect has led to a craving of ever-stimulating training sessions that result in a little bit of everything but a whole lot of nothing.

It’s time for a quick lesson in neuroscience.

Think about the first time you rode a bike? You probably had training wheels, then pushed along by a parent, you pedalled fast and couldn’t stop, you fell off, you tried again and again and one day boom – you were riding. It took a little longer than one or two efforts to get good didn’t it?

Building a skill takes time. It involves repetition both in a session and on a weekly basis. The more you do it, the better you get. It is known as neuroplasticity. You teach the brain and the body the nerve path that is required to execute the movement. You then repeat the pattern to solidify that path until it becomes as easy as… riding a bike??

Well the same goes for your training. If you want to get stronger, it is going to take some repeat-strength efforts. If you want to run better it is going to take repeat-running efforts…. You get the point.

So before you bounce around to all your different types of training sessions chasing stimulation, think about what you want to achieve, realise that it’ll probably take repetition to get good and then celebrate the repetition, the mundaneness, the slog, because that’s where the money is.