A reality check for fitness program jumpers
I used to run track. I’ve done lots of group cycling. I love swimming laps.
You’d think I’d know what I’m about to say almost instinctively: Stay in your lane.
If you’re running track you need to stay in your lane. Failing to do so gets you disqualified. If you’re cycling you need to hold your line. Failing to hold your line causes crashes. If you’re swimming laps you need to stay in your lane or collide with another swimmer.
Stay in your lane. Hold your line.
Turns out the same applies to workout routines.
Hello, my name is Joe Selby and I’m a serial program jumper. I have fitness ADD.
The first problem with jumping from program to program is there’s no progression. I just finished 8 weeks of Hammer & Chisel and while it’s a good program, it’s one that probably needs to be followed for longer than 8 weeks to really see any appreciable impact. The entire past 12 months of my life doing fitness programs has been like that.
The other problem comes with jumping from one style of program to another. I have been all over the map in the past 12 months, and while that’s good for entertainment purposes, it’s been bad for actually attaining my goals. It’s also meant that I’ve spent some time with programs that don’t suit my temperament or actually support the kinds of fitness goals I have.
A few years ago I got caught up in the idea that I wasn’t really fit unless I could execute specific barbell lifts really well. So I got into doing the Strong Lifts 5X5 program. Nothing wrong with the program, but what it did to me was make me gain body fat. I was working out at the gym and with the program’s concentration on lifting heavy combined with the difficulty of making timely transitions from station to station my workouts were taking an hour and a half on average to complete. To shave time I stopped doing the treadmill work prescribed for the end of each session. Because I was lifting so heavy and having to wait for equipment the time at each session where my heart rate was elevated was a pretty small percentage of my gym time. I was also only hitting the gym three times a week. My original intention had been to do morning runs at least two more days each week, but lack of accountability made that fall by the wayside quickly.
The end result was my workouts were building strength, but not conditioning my body, and because I didn’t adjust my diet appropriately I started to reverse the fat loss I’d achieved the previous few years. I got back from a family reunion and saw the pictures that clearly showed I’d put weight back on and decided I needed to get back in my lane. That’s when I signed up for a challenge group with my coach and did T25.
This last year has been very close to the same story, with the exception of wasting money on a crowded gym.
In the past week I’ve started a new program, 22 Minute Hard Corps, but it’s right in my wheelhouse. Or, should I say, right in the center of my lane. I’m holding my line and my plan is to hold that line for the next 12 months. No more fitness ADD. It’s time to focus.