Ever wonder why you are doing a certain amount of reps and sets of a certain exercise? Ever wonder how certain exercise programs are chosen for different goals? Ever wonder why you have to rest so many days before you do the same exercise again? Or how much protein, carbohydrates and fats you should be eating? These things are all based on research studies. There have been countless research studies dedicated towards how the human body works and how it responds to different stimuli. In those research studies, participants would do a certain training program or nutrition program for a certain amount of time and the researchers would record any changes to the participants using various measuring techniques. Through those research studies the science of human performance and physical development was derived. But, within this science are wide ranges and overlaps of how certain stimuli affects an individual. We are individuals after all and we all do not respond the same way to the same thing. This is where the art comes into play. Science has given us the foundation and direction, but the art, the application, is what gives us the result. The art is where we take the science and make it fit the individual to give them the result that they desire. Here is where the science and art meet to form undeniable truths of human performance and physical development. If you take these truths to heart and apply them to your workouts, then you will be sure to maximize your results!
- Consistency- doing something over and over again to get a progressive response and feedback from that response. In order for a result to occur the body must experience a stimulus. When it experiences that stimulus (if applied properly), the body will change accordingly. Once that stimulus is taken away, then the body will revert back to the status quo. For example, to become stronger we must strength train and strength train on a regular basis. If we strength train once every other week we are not giving the body enough stimulus on a regular basis to perpetuate results.
- Proficiency- doing something accurately or the correct way. Doing something with perfect form and technique is crucial to safe and effective workouts. Our body, our movements, and our muscles are built to work a certain way. Our body is a kinetic chain where all muscles/joints have a role in performing even the simplest of movements. If we start to perform exercises incorrectly and with bad form we do not activate the correct muscles in the correct order. This makes our movement/exercise inefficient (meaning you are not getting the most out of it!) and can potentially lead to injury. These are two things that need to be avoided when it comes to working out.
- Specificity- To get better at something, you have to do that something. If you want to get better at running, you need to run. If you want to get better at Bench press, then you have to do the bench press. The more similar a movement/exercise is to what you want to accomplish, the better your specific result.
- Intensity- Doing something at a level that will elicit a training response. Your body is an amazing machine. It will always try to rise to the occasion. If we apply a stimulus greater than it is used to, it will attempt to step up, so that the next time it will be able to handle that stimulus. It also works in reverse. The body will match the stimulus, so if it is not enough, the body will get weaker.
- Recovery- Allowing the repair process to take place. Keep in mind that exercise is the stimulus. It does not alone make us better. In fact, it makes us weaker in the beginning because we are breaking systems down (more or less). It is the time that we rest and recover that we become better. If we do not allow that time rebuild the systems and allow them to come back stronger we will continue to break them down until they are completely broken (overtraining). Having rest and recovery days as well as the proper amount of sleep is crucial to a fitness program.
- Dietary- Eating the correct amounts of macro and micro nutrients. Just as rest is so crucial to the repair process, so is eating correctly. Food is our fuel. If we put garbage in, we get garbage out. The cleaner a person eats, the more likely a person will accomplish their goals. Clean eating really just means eating less processed and fried foods and eating more natural foods.