Over the past few months, we've kept our ears open for feedback on what we could add to our "Gym Rules" and "Gym Etiquette" instructions. Just last week we surveyed our team on what we could add to each list and one suggestion struck a chord. It was the idea that sometimes an athlete doesn't feel like a workout is challenging enough, but in reality, that athlete could be worker harder (or smarter) during the prescribed workout.
I've been that person. I've selected a weight based on what I know is comfortable. I've paced myself to a point where my breathing it steady and not a struggle. I've eased into new movements, not doing too much in case of injury. This is all well and good...until you've been doing it for a year or more.
One reason why Insanity Workouts, P90x, Bootcamp or Crossfit all popularized so quickly is because most workouts are inherently challenging, kind of like maple syrup is naturally sweet. Other disciplines (spinning, barre, yoga, pilates, running, etc.) are like oatmeal. They are satisfying and sometimes sweet and it takes a little effort to absorb all the nutritents. #analogies. An Insanity workout, for example is structured to test, fatigue and push your physical limits. The option to totally slack would be bigger challenge. Often times, a group fitness at the average studio will offer you more scalable options and alternatives to cater to a diverse group. Hopefully a good coach will know how and when to push you and will give you incentive to what to try harder when its appropriate.
A little more effort goes a long way. Maybe you'll try a new weight and maybe it ends on being too heavy. Maybe you'll try a box jump (instead of a step up) and maybe, God forbit, you slip and hit your shins. Your progress to success in fitness is not linear. We expect failure. We expect mistakes and errors. We don't want to give you an experience that is a 3 step process to reaching your goals. That's not a reflection of life and what a lifelong active lifestyle is. If your life feels dreary or unfair, its not necessarily that you were handed a crappy life (exceptions do apply, I know). Most often, you will have to work hard to make it better...and such is the same philosophy of your workout.
Now, this does not mean going forward we're going to plan lame workouts and hand them to you to figure out and fix but this means that if you are feeling like you could have got more out of class, ask yourself, could I have worked harder? The answer might surprise you.