Make It Easier

What could be easier than this?

An old article over at painscience.com includes this gem:

A common mistake is to give up instead of just making it easier.

Yes! Although it wasn't used in reference to strength or aerobic training, it applies very well here.

It's very common for people to start a fitness routine and then give up. We see this in gyms every January when it gets crowded but thins back to the usual level by March. Why? Sometimes it's because the workout is too hard.

trap bar deadlift

If a resistance (strength) exercise is too hard, here are some ways to make it easier:

  • Reduce the load. Use a lighter dumbbell, thinner resistance band, etc.
  • Change the angle of the exercise. This doesn't apply to all exercises, but an example is to do incline pushups (or plank) instead of regular.
  • Do a different exercise, as long as it has the same movement pattern. For example, do a band pull-down instead of a bodyweight pull-up or a push-up instead of a bench press. Technically, this is reducing the load but it's doing it by switching exercises instead of just changing the resistance on the same exercise.
  • Reduce the number of sets and/or reps. But not to zero!
  • Increase rest time between sets. For pure strength workouts, three minutes of rest is not unusual. Just make sure you have enough time to complete your workout!

For aerobic exercises like cycing, running, walking, swimming, or rowing, the simple options are go slower and/or don't go as far.

In some cases, people may quit because the whole routine is too long, too challenging, or too frequent (not enough rest days). Change it! (A good trainer can help you.)

Sometimes people stop training because it's too inconvenient. Getting to the gym, for example, might be a hassle. Don't give up...make it easier! Switch to a different gym, train at home, go fewer times per week. Figure out what's impeding your routine and change it!

This reminds me of a short post I did way back in 2014. (Remember the pre-pandemic days?) It's called Something Is (Way) Better Than Nothing and says that if you don't feel like doing your workout, do something else...like a drastically scaled-down version of it. That's making things easier just for one workout but it's the same idea.

This same concept applies to things other than fitness. For example, nutrition. Having trouble sticking to a diet? Make it easier! Small changes add up.

How many trainers tell you to make things easier? (At least when conditions warrant.) You're welcome!

Be seeing you.

-gary

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2 Comments

  1. Dennis Hutchins

    I find a phrase that helps me in my workouts is :”Just show up.”
    The guy who trains the actors from the Avengers Movie’s use’s this quote.
    Actors will come at him with excuses like “I was out all night, till 5 AM.” And he says “Nice. Just show up.” They do all hung over but they end up training…sometimes they have a good workout after all. So this is my mantra “Just show up.” Like Gary says “Do something it’s better than nothing.”

  2. Good one, although it’s more applicable for gym training than home where everyone “shows up”!

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