Home Workouts – Training in a Sustainable Way
It’s a common occurrence. Things are going really well with your home workouts and you decide to ‘take it up a level’. Soon after you either suffer an injury that incapacitates you or you get to ’burnout’ where you simply stop exercise because the burden is too much to face.
You’ll hear us repeat many times on this website that the road to fitness should be a slow, gradual process and not a breakneck race. If you look at our Guidelines you’ll see that we advocate aiming for an intensity of ‘8’ which should feel like pleasant exertion rather than all-out devastation.
To expand on this a little, what you need to aim for is enjoying the times of exercise, looking forward to them for their restorative effects. You should just be able to immerse yourself in your home workouts for however long you have set aside, be that 5 or 50 minutes, and finish them feeling better than when you started.
In order to find this enjoyment we suggest, you have to be operating in a space that is only ‘comfortably uncomfortable’. This is what an intensity of ‘8’ feels like – a perceptible strain on your muscles and/or cardiovascular system but nothing that feels like it will wipe you out.
Only when you’ve been at a certain level long enough, so that it feels like you ‘own’ it, should you increase one of the dimensions of intensity e.g. add a rep or two to the sets, add a set, increase the duration by five minutes or increase the weight minimally. Then when you repeat the process and eventually feel equally comfortable with the new level you can think about increasing intensity again. Essentially your ‘8’ has dropped to a ‘7’ or even a ‘6’ and to increase enjoyment you are increasing intensity.
This may seem like an overly, slow and cautious approach but we can guarantee that over the months home workouts using this approach will result in more progress than going hell-for-leather. Think of it as compound interest, small increases over time compound on one another to add up to something surprising.
Remember, if training or exercise is something you look forward to then you’ll keep coming back for more and it’s in this repeated exposure that the ‘magic’ happens.