Exercise – bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health.
Exertion – 1. vigorous action or effort: physical and mental exertion.
2. an effort: a great exertion to help others.
3. exercise, as of power or faculties.
I wanted to define exercise and exertion before I even started this post. The reason being, I see so many people coming into the gym thinking they are exercising, but really they are just wasting their time.
I am sure that these examples are prevalent in gyms across the board:
- the person that always comes at the exact same time, gets on the exact same machine, and does the exact same amount of minutes each and everyday.
- the person that can read a whole book or magazine while “working out.”
- the 2 friends that come and can have a whole conversation during their workout because their intensity is sooo low.
- (spin-off from above) the person who can hold a WHOLE conversation while walking on the treadmill.
- the person who you have noticed for quite a while in the gym, but who looks the exact same, or who has had very little results.
These people are not exercising. They are taking the easy way out and avoiding sweating, discomfort, and WORK. They are no longer exerting energy, or making their muscles work. There is something called muscle memory. This is where your muscles get used to a task after repetition. This is why if you keep doing the exact same exercises all the time there will no longer be results…because you are no longer challenging your muscles. Just think about it, if folks could lose weight from walking, why are there so many overweight/obese nurses/security guards/crossing guards/cashiers…you get the point. Repetitious movements are not gonna get you where you want to be. Challenging yourself will.
Try interval training. This is basically changing the intensity of your workout in various time intervals. Example: 2 minutes walking/1 minute running or jogging. Changing up your intensity over the course of your workout will confuse your muscles and actually make them WORK harder. Interval training also helps you burn more fat over a shorter amount of time. (See link below for benefits of interval training.) So be efficient with your workouts and work harder for a shorter amount of time. (Also include weight training and a proper diet!)