Elliptical machine. Treadmill. Maybe the reclined bicycle. Then possibly a few of the exercise machines to get a little burn after spending 45 minutes in the cardio section.
While I will ALWAYS give credit to any individual who takes the time out of their day to get work in at the gym, I will also point out that in order to really maximize your fitness potential, it will take a little more than just floating from station to station yearning for a little burning (Yea said it).
Once you understand the biological mechanisms and what your body is truly capable of doing, you can begin to unlock what you never knew you were keeping in.
You will be able to increase your energy levels to all time highs, FEEL the best you have in a long while, become the strongest you have ever been for a while, and be pain free.
It is all about understanding the different training zones, how your body responds physically to them, and knowing how to implement them periodically into your training program.
Breaking Down Training Methods
If you ask most people who go to the gym in their late 30s or 40s do what they do in the gym, it will most likely look something like the opening few lines of this post.
They wouldn’t be able to tell you anything too much about how to train for strength versus size, or fat loss verses muscle building, power endurance verses simple cardio.
Well, maybe after looking at a few social media influencer pages where ALL credible information comes from…
Each of the aforementioned methods require varying intensities, volumes, and work rest ratios to cause a desired effect.
Training for maximal strength involves using a higher resistance with and increased rest time.
Training for optimal power (explosive endurance) require using a lighter load moving at a higher velocity with a reduced rest time to be able to STAY explosive despite fatigue. Important to know if training for fat loss.
Slowing down the tempo of a lift is great for building muscle size, sometimes referred to as Negative training.
While no one of these is the absolute BEST method of training, each has a time and a place in a training routine to bring out the specific results that you want in I your fitness program.
And if you want to break through training plateaus and fitness barriers, cycling between each of these different modalities is a great way to reach new limits.
A truly, well rounded training program whether for elite athletes, or general fitness will periodize training segments, cycling between general strength, maximal strength (improving nervous system and force production), power training with extended rest ratios, power endurance, cardio development, and maybe dab in some hypertrophy to improve muscle definition.
Cycling between these phases will not just improve your “look” per se, but also the way you feel, the way you move, how much energy you have throughout the day, reduce pain because your muscles are firing and contracting more efficiently, not to mention more stable joint and joint fluidity.
While going to the gym and hitting 3 sets of 10 here on the curl machine, and 3 set of 10 there on the leg press is better the nothing, and maybe a few minutes on the exercise bike while scrolling your timeline, being more intentional about what specifically you want to train for will open the door for different results.
Keep in mind, that not every workout has to pound you into the ground. You do not have to burpee and box jump in to better shape. You do not need to sprint on a treadmill and a row machine every single workout to reach your fitness peak.
There is a time and a place for everything. Just cycle between them.
Even I our Adult Group Fitness program, we cycle between strength phases, toning phases (power endurance, hypertrophy) and cardio for weeks at a times and shift back and forth. It works tremendously.
Implementing this training knowledge can unlock an even more fitter you when done right.