Two steps forward, one step back

Taking a Step Back to Take Two Forward.

Written by Bear on March 27th 2014


I recently started working with Keith when his previous trainer moved gyms. A smart guy with a demanding job in the medical industry. During our first meet, we got chatting. He’d been seeing great results. Friends and family were noticing a difference in his shape and the feedback had been positive.

Keith was motivated, the problem was though that with work and family commitments he was only able to train once or twice per week.

He laid out what he had been doing previously, and while it wasn’t the worst plan I’d seen on paper, I had other ideas. I changed up his program to suit his one to two session per week schedule.

Straight away I sensed he wasn’t happy. It was a lot different to what he was doing.

To make matters worse, I made him train legs.

Keith’s body language told me that he wasn’t really keen on this new way. He had been getting results, so why change? But I would rather lose a client than provide a service that I didn’t believe was right for them. I stuck to my guns.

It has been two weeks since that first session. He has added both weight and reps to all lifts, and today asked if we could add an extra session per week. It turns out that the training he was doing before was getting him good results, but it was also leaving him exhausted. By backing off the pedal a touch during his sessions, he found he was much more motivated and ready to go again much sooner.

Time was no longer an issue.

Many people (myself included) fall into the trap at one time or another of believing that unless you are killing yourself in the gym you won’t get results. We are in a rush to reach the finish line- we want all the glory yesterday.

Here are three ways to get the results you are after, without killing yourself in the gym.

1. Have a plan-
It’s been said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. I agree. Without knowing what you’re aiming to get out of your training, it becomes tempting to smash yourself just for the sake of it. Knowing what you are working towards puts things in perspective.

2. Leave a rep in the tank on the big movements-
The majority of your training should be centred around the big compound movements- presses, rows, squats etc. These exercises provide the most bang for your buck, but they also tax your recovery quite a bit. The goal should be to get better at them, by adding more weight to the bar over time. So for most people, going to to failure is not only risky- but it’s not necessary.

If the goal is progress, how is striving to reach failure productive?

Only attempt that final rep if you are confident you will nail it. If not, rack the weight and try again next time.

3. Learn to listen to your body-
Some days you will be charged! Pumped and full of energy! Take advantage and go nuts! However, some days will just suck. We will be tired, weaker, and not so motivated. Accept this and don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s usually a sign that we need to back off a little. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Working hard and pushing towards your goals is great. But we aren’t robots. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. The key is to become aware of when we are just being lazy, or is it really a sign that we need to take it easy that day.

The weights will still be there tomorrow.

Bear in mind:
Nine times out of ten, it’s the long term approach that brings about the fastest results.

Are you struggling to back off? What are some of the challenges you’re facing in the gym? Or have you found ways to take two steps forward, by taking one back? Comment below, all feedback is greatly appreciated!

Until next time- keep moving forward!

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Written by Bear on April 30th 2014

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