If you ever find yourself in a rut or if you’re go-to workout routines are not giving you the results you’re expecting, it may be time to rethink what you’re doing or not doing.
I have been lifting weights ever since I was a freshman in high school as part of the football team. Back in the day there wasn’t much instruction on how to lift weights. A coach would demonstrate and you would try to copy what you saw when it was your turn. So that’s what I did. I wasn’t sure if I did it properly. All I knew was I “successfully” completed a few reps and that was good enough for me. Over that first year I must have been doing something right as I felt stronger. And since I did feel like I was improving, I never changed my form or technique.
Time to change…
Three years ago when I was talking to a trainer and they suggested that I would benefit from personal training. The company I was working for had hired an excellent external fitness company but I was still unsure. I never felt I needed a personal trainer but I did notice that my tried and true routine wasn’t really showing any noticeable changes. I was also getting injured trying new exercises to get stronger which would keep me from lifting. It was a vicious cycle.
My wife had also started training with the same fitness trainers and was getting some great results. I thought about it and while you can learn a lot from online videos, if I really wanted to change my routine, I would need personal coaching. I had nothing to lose and signed up.
My goal when during my initial meeting was to prevent any further injuries. The 1st thing my trainer did was evaluate my form for every exercise. The verdict: I was not lifting properly. At all. From there it was 3 days a week of “lifting rehab” and training my body to use my core vs. “muscling up the weights”. The running joke was my trainer had to reprogram 30+ years of lifting weights improperly.
It took about 3 months for my body to get used to the new techniques and gradually lift properly and engage and strengthen my core. The muscles I had never used before were fighting back but I was eventually able to adapt. I could do deadlifts and squats without getting hurt. I learned new exercises, cadence between sets, new exercise equipment, and the importance of recovery. I also gained 5 lbs of muscle!
Those 18 months of training changed how I train. And I have found a newfound appreciation for my love of lifting weights as it’s always been my sacred space. But it’s evolved as it’s also where I can practice mindfulness. I have to be present in that moment for each rep to lift the weight properly, which has translated over to my daily life. It’s also helped me be more open to asking for help, trying new things, going for it and in my meditation practice. In fact, the non-strength related “gainz” have been the biggest improvement in my life. Lifting and getting stronger is great, of course. But being able to be in the moment, not worrying about what may or may not happen, being grateful for everything I have, and learning to not be afraid to ask for help are the best things that came out of this whole process.
When I signed up for personal training I really didn’t think it would make a big difference. I knew I had nothing to lose but I didn’t realize how much I had to gain. So go ahead and change your routine and jump-start a new you.
If you’ve had an experience where changing your routine has made a positive difference in your life. I’d love to hear about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.