Most people that embark on an exercise programme tend to be advised on basic, run of the mill exercise like running on a treadmill and using machine weights. This is often in a quest to either look better or function better or a combination of the two. The problem is that most machines and fitness equipment are designed simply because people are more likely to use something with almost no learning curve. If people were advised to deadlift and take up sports they probably wouldn't, especially if they have never done so before.

Engaging in sports and functional patterns of movement is essentially the only way to really benefit long-term from exercise. The reason being that static fitness programmes are far too rigid and will inevitably result in a plateau. Without going into too much scientific detail, fitness works in a sawtooth pattern. You begin to get results before your body stops responding due to increased efficiency. When results stall most people just train harder to no avail. What you have not been told is that you need to periodise your training so that you don't hit the wall and to keep your body continuously responding.

So what can you do? Engage in new activities. Learn to play touch footy, throw a shot put, jump hurdles, sprint etc. This gives you something to aim for other than just boring weight loss or gain. In addition to this you should seek professional advice from a reputable trainer on how to periodise your training so that you can keep progressing. Doing the same programme for months will not suffice. Research shows that the body adapts to a programme after only six times of performing it. After that you will experience diminishing returns and even reversal of fitness.

I hope this helps explain why some of your fitness efforts have ended in disappointment. Most people have experienced this at some point without understanding why.

Any questions on this topic are welcome and will be answered.

Chris Lyons.

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