By Ryan Halvorson
About 4 years ago–this was my 5th year as a certified personal trainer–I got caught up in what I call an information vortex. I’d spend quite a lot of time each browsing through various health and fitness journals absorbing “the best new” everything. Part of it was so that I could stay up-to-date for my clients. Part of it was because I couldn’t find a workout protocol that seemed to benefit me.
I tried everything. I’d CrossFit until I puked. Not long after, I ditched CF to focus on “functional exercise” circuits (still not sure what that means) lasting as long as an hour and a half. Two weeks later I got into distance running only to switch to an exercise “diet” of push-ups, pull-ups and squats.
This went on for at least a year. Despite my efforts, my body did not change. I had gangly arms and legs, with a soft area around my middle. I was even told by my boss at the time that he thought I’d get more clients if I packed on some muscle.
I came to the conclusion that nothing worked. After all, I’d tried every protocol under the sun.
Then, one day, I heard a story about former football coach Vince Lombardi who had been appointed the task of turning around a losing team.
He told the athletes: “As a team last year we were horrible at the fundamentals of the game of football. Nobody here knows how to block and nobody knows how to tackle. All I saw last year was grab, grab, grab!
“What we’re going to do now is go back to basics and we’re going to learn, drill and practice the fundamentals until we become better at them than anyone else in the game. If you do this with me, I will make you champions.”
And so he did.
And then it hit me–I was not making improvements because my tactics were all over the place. While I was consistent with exercise I was not proficient at the fundamentals.
I had workout ADD.
Over the past year or so I decided I would try something different–which was to avoid trying something different. I focused on traditional strength workouts that incorporate the fundamentals, like bench press, pull-ups, squats and deadlifts. On alternate days I did sprints outdoors or on the rowing machine. None of my workouts lasted more than 40 minutes.
I threw out all the bells and whistles and emphasized the basics because I was tired of busting my ass each day with little to show for it.
And my body changed.
I learned that if you have a purpose for your exercise, then you must exercise with purpose.
Lately I’ve seen workout ADD spread like wildfire as new workouts and programs hit the market every single day. The promise of a sparkly new fat-loss, muscle-building system has become too difficult to resist. So, everyone jumps ship and sails off toward yet another disappointment.
Does any of this resonate with you? Realizing this will sound like one of those over-the-counter medication ads, I will ask: Do you suffer from workout ADD? Do you frequently jump from workout to workout with minimal success? Do you leave the gym, park, swimming pool, and dance studio feeling listless, disappointed and ready to give up on exercise? I can help! Ok, I couldn’t resist.
But seriously, if this does sound like you, why not try something different like I did? Stick to a specific workout program for a minimum of 4 weeks and take note of your progress. No matter the workout, something is bound to change. And if not, you know that particular program isn’t right for you and you can mark it off your list.
If you’re up for the challenge, I want you to “like” this post in a declaration of consistency and focus, meaning you pledge give up bouncing from program to program for at least 4 weeks.
Are you with me?