As coaches we know that progressive overload matters if you want to get stronger or fitter. We build this into your programming at The Wild Movement so that in the long term you get the results you are after.
However – There is a time when the variables that largely make up progressive overload really don’t matter!
When you find yourself thinking that conditions aren’t ideal for training and you should ‘probably just skip it’ is when intensity and volume don’t matter.
Let’s say you have been sick and you know you won’t be able to train as you would be able to when you were rested well and healthy.In this instance it’s easy to think there is no point because the intensity (amount of weight on the bar as a % to your heaviest for 1 rep) will be too heavy or the volume (sets and reps) will be too taxing.That may just be the correct thinking – its not always wise to try and push yourself so hard when the recovery metrics aren’t there.
When it’s ‘go hard or miss a session’ there is a sweet spot in between that produces long term success
What we do suggest though is to simply disregard the numbers, put on your training clothes and tick a box for the day.
So many of our positive habits and behaviours are anchored by our training and these don’t know the difference how ‘hard’ we push – they just need it to happen for us to keep the momentum going.
So next time you want to skip the workout or go the extreme other end of the habit that you want to do because conditions aren’t perfect ask yourself can you simply turn up, complete your work with perfect form and tick a box you can be a little better overall come tomorrow?
Being in the fitness industry now for over a decade I can confidently say that the large majority of people that I talk to would like to be at least a little leaner.
This is the result of so many different things including (but not limited to): how we are educated around health and wellness, the medical system (not health) we have, the conflicting interests of ‘health’ and supplement companies, the time pressures we face in the 21st century and mainstream media to name a few.
This epidemic of our populations being overweight may be contributed to by the above but then on an individual level it seems to always come back to the notion that what we are eating is the problem and is making us overweight and unhappy.
Although I am not here to say that what we eat does not in fact have a physical and psychological effect on our bodies – I am here more to say that there’s a deeper rooted problem than just eating too much.
Our problem isn’t food..
What we need to understand is that our beliefs affect our thoughts, which affect our emotions, which affect our actions.
You can think of eating as the end of the chain – our actions. This means our eating is affected by our emotions, which are affected by our thoughts, which are affected by our beliefs.
So if we go back one level to our emotions it becomes clear that what we eat (the actions we take) is affected by how we feel. I’m sure you can connect to this notion. Perhaps when you are feeling down you reach for something that makes you feel happy (quick serotonin hit). On this level we should be looking at all the parts of who we are.
We all spend a large amount of time working so it makes sense that if we are not happy with our work our emotions will lead us to eating not aligned with how we would like.
This is the same with our relationships – intimate and not. If these aren’t in order and making your life better than it is likely you won’t be eating well.
It’s not just about food..
This also brings me to the point that although everything that affects our emotions are going to affect our actions, I believe that this lack – be it connection, fulfilment, alignment or any other disconnect with your life is actually going to play just as big a role in your overall health as the food itself anyway.
If we want to go right back to the root problem (always a good idea) instead of just dealing with the superficial band aid of ‘eating better’ we come up against our beliefs. Who am I? What am I worthy of? What is my place in the world?
These existential questions that place us in the world are largely answered by our child selves. The problem is they are often not updated to help us as adults.
A good place to start is to bring awareness to how you are feeling when you reach for the food. Is it a void that you are trying to fill? Is it boredom? Sadness? Even happiness we celebrate with food and drink in our culture.
Once you start getting some awareness then look for some patterns and look at the areas of your life that you could be more satisfied with and start taking some small steps to head towards a more positive place in these areas.
We all know that the salad is probably better for us than the burger and chips so let’s work towards understanding ourselves on a deeper level.
If this article resonates with you please share it to anyone that you think it may help. We want to help more people feel their best in a sustainable manner.
Written by Luke Sharp, Owner of The Wild Movement.
Most gyms will advertise how their sessions are ‘always different’ or have ‘variety every day’. The rationalisation is to ‘keep the body guessing’. This concept can work in the short term, especially if your training level is very low, but what will work better for everyone in the long term is following a system. The system in strength training is called periodization. This really just means organising and planning your training ahead of time.
This system will allow us to be systematic in nature to ensure we are forcing the body to adapt to more work over time. The only way to do this is to keep many of the variables the same (such as exercise selection) and increase one prescription variable such as load, volume, range of movement or density. If we change everything to call it ‘keeping the body guessing’ we lose the approach of building one layer upon the next. The biggest key element to you being in the best shape of your life is being the strongest you have been relative to your body weight. If you increase your 5 rep max squat or your 5 rep max dip to the highest it’s been at a consistent body weight you can almost guarantee you are in the best shape of your life. There is no chance to do this without some level of progressive overload.
If you are training by yourself – a training journal should be a staple
Following some planning to get ongoing results doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing for months on end. Psychological factors are also important to take into account. We use 4 week blocks which we find is a happy medium for those that are less comfortable with change and those that tend to get bored. Four weeks allows us to learn the movement and feel it out in week 1 and then build upon it for three more weeks. The next block will then change all the assistant exercises and often change the main exercise slightly – say from a back squat to a front squat. Each 2 blocks (8 weeks) we retest all our main movements to get objective feedback on what we are doing. 90% of the time our members see themselves get stronger. The outcome? More empowerment and more buy in. This just breeds long term success.
If you want to know more about our system of training (not just exercising) then please send us a message or email. You may think ‘I’m not ready for this training’ but I guarantee we can scale it to you so you can progress safely over time.
One of the hardest things is coming back to training after a long lay off. It is great you are coming back but the majority of people make this one Killer Mistake. If you make this mistake you are really setting yourself up for failure as you will be bound to fall off the bandwagon again. If you take this advice on however it can really set you up for long term success with your health.
So you are about to get back into training. At this point you are probably super motivated! You want to be fit and strong again YESTERDAY! So what do you do? Charge full steam ahead and make this BIG mistake! The mistake I’m talking about here is going from Zero to Hero! I liken this to signing up and trying to run a marathon with no running training at all. You wouldn’t do it. You would call someone stupid for doing it. So why are you trying to train hard so often when your base you’re working from is working, stressing, running around after kids and being sedentary?
The reason this approach of zero to hero is a mistake is for the following reasons:
Your body is adapted to being sedentary so you actually don’t need a big stimulis to start changing your body positively. Do the minimum effective dosage and focus on recovery and overall health habits.
Training hard 5-6 x per week is very taxing on the body and you set yourself up for the chance of injuries. Training 5-6x per week is great if your body is adapted to it but we recommend you build up and keep yourself in the game.
Mentally you are setting yourself up to fail. If you had the goal of training 3 x per week and accomplished it you will feel great and be encouraged to keep going. If on the other hand, you are aiming for 6 x and you ‘only’ accomplish 3 x you will most likely beat yourself up and feel like you failed. This will make it much more likely that you will fall off the bandwagon of training and be stuck again.
A couple of solutions that we suggest our members start with to ensure consistency and longevity (the key to health).
Start training 2-3 x per week strength
Walk or do incidental exercise on the other days that are just part of your life (walk to the bus)
Focus on sleep hygiene and one habit with your eating to improve it towards your ideal
Once these all become habits and you are successful at them (normally one month or more) look at the next step to keep working towards your ideal self.
The goal of this post is to give you some inspiration by sharing a story about a client who made some important changes in her life to get her health back on track.
Imagine the best version of you, without filters or limits. This vision can become your reality.
This is about Michelle, one of our incredible clients, who started with us 13 months ago.
At the top of Mount Warning on our 2018 Wild Retreat
Michelle had been very active throughout high school and university; however, after graduating as a pharmacist, she worked long and intense hours managing a pharmacy. During these years, she had minimal time to dedicate to herself, let alone to exercise or to prepare wholesome meals. So she took action and followed her gut feeling to become a teacher. Although this is still a demanding role, this career change allowed Michelle more flexibility with her time, and she is now able to spend weekends and school holidays with her husband and young family.
When Michelle came to The Wild Movement, she hadn’t been training and felt like she was not in her best shape, but she was keen to make some changes to be a role model for her family.
We started with our individual consult to get a clear understanding of Michelle’s starting point. We ran through a mobility screening and then went through the fundamentals of squat, dead lift, bench press and chin up.
Michelle back squatted 37.5kg for three reps, dead lifted 72.5kg on the trap bar, bench pressed 32.5kg for two reps, completed one underhand chin up and rowed 1km in 4:06. Fast forward 13 months and her strength numbers are now 75kg for squat, 115kg for dead lift, 45kg for bench press, 12 chin ups and a 3:50 1km row!
Look at those back muscles!
Like many of our members, Michelle started by training twice a week to ease herself into a new routine. Her level of enjoyment remained high, as did her personal gains, so she gradually increased her sessions until she was training up to five times per week with us.
These performance results also led to changes in Michelle’s body composition. On her first scan, she was 22% BF and now sits around 12% BF (as per InBody scan). In her opinion, one of the most powerful changes behind these results is the change she made with her family’s eating habits. She attended one of our regular workshops hosted by our resident chef, Jasmine (The Wholefood Goddess), who taught Michelle and other members about Eating The Wild Way. Michelle was so inspired by this workshop; in fact, she went home and made some fundamental dietary changes to better support her active lifestyle with greater nutritional benefits. The good news is that her kids and husband are on board too… mostly!
Of course, it wasn’t an easy and straightforward progression to this point. Michelle writes below about some of her challenges and how she dealt with them.
“One of the most challenging tasks that I’ve faced at The Wild Movement is setting goals for myself. This is on a more personal level because I thought that if I didn’t have any goals then there was no risk of failure or disappointment. It’s taken me a good 12 months to gradually change my thought patterns, I still struggle at times, however I’ve come a long way. A big realisation was that if I don’t have any goals then I can never really have any ‘wins’ or sense of achievement and personal growth. So this is how I made some changes… I took a risk and set myself some goals, I got out of my comfort zone by writing them down for everyone to see, and I started saying ‘yes’ more often to things I didn’t think I could do. Most importantly, I keep setting myself measureable goals with a date claimer to help me to stay motivated and to keep having fun whilst trying to chase down my goals.
Achieving a balanced life by learning to listen to my own body was another hurdle I had to overcome. Just through increased movement and mindfulness, I developed a greater awareness about when I can push myself harder to make some lasting changes and when I need to back-off and let my body rest and recover. I must admit, it’s still hard knowing the difference between good pain and bad pain, but I know I can get trusted advice and recommendations from Luke and the other coaches.
My greatest challenge over the last year has been learning to invest more time and energy in myself. My time so far at The Wild Movement has been the longest and most committed I have ever been to my strength training. The difference this time is I’ve realised that in order to look after my family, I need to look after myself, by feeling energised and making exercise a priority rather than an ‘add-on’ if there’s time. The coaches, together with the community at The Wild Movement, have greatly contributed to the longevity and success of my training, which is now an embedded part of my life and my family’s lives.”
Everyone’s measures of success are dynamic in nature and unique to that individual. As you’ve just read, success is rarely an easy and straightforward process; however, with the right support and environment, you too can start taking small steps in the direction that is right for you.
If you would like to have a chat with us to see if we can help you like we have with Michelle and so many other members just click HERE and send us a message.