“This is my church, this is where I go to heal my hurts.”
When life gets hectic, I seek out the environment of a place that allows me to take my mind off things, and it’s that sweat pit, where the isles are the racks of dumbbells, the benches can adjust and the chorus is a series of grunts and groans, emanating from the meathead training his traps just behind you.
For many, especially Silverbacks, the gym has become a refuge from the grey every day, where we go to dust the cobwebs off and remind ourselves that a complete life includes physical toil. Some of us have been “working out” for more years than we care to remember.
But how do you get the most out of your church? Does the magic lie in showing up and going through the motions? While I would say that there’s real value in consistency, we need to be aware that our habits are not just attended to on autopilot.
By far the most popular way of training today is the high volume approach. We Pick a body part or 2 or 3 and endeavor to perform 3,4 or 5 sets per body part. We do this for 5 or 6 days a week, and it’s all great; – a box to tick. The danger here is that you’re going into the church with the idea that you have 6 hymns to get through, so you’re gonna make sure that you have some gas in the tank for those last hymns.
From a muscle-building perspective, there is nothing wrong with this, – if it worked for Arnold, then surely it will work for me. – But what about the Silverback? At my age, I am aware that my body is not indestructible as it was when I was younger. My joints go through a snap crackle and pop symphony every time I lift a pair of dumbbells overhead. I still lift them, but the sound alone is enough to make me wince.
What if you could put fewer miles onto your body and come away with the same, even better results?
… short drum-roll…
Enter, the world of High-Intensity training or HIT.
In this model, we pick between 1 and 3 exercises per body part, and after a warm-up set, we attack that set as if the devil himself was going to drag you into hell if you did not totally kick, bite and scream yourself into total positive and even negative failure.
It’s draining, it hurts and it demands that you’re all there in the moment.
- Compared to the high volume work, this style of working out is kinder on the joints, because you’re not doing so many reps.
- Going to failure will elicit more muscular breakdown and subsequent repair.
- Cells that are stressed will become stronger, which bodes well for longevity.
- Your time in the gym becomes more focused and effective
The entire premise of gym revolves around stress, and then resultant adaption of the body, where it gets stronger so that it can cope better with the next time you’re gonna hurt.
Here’s a trick – before you walk into your church, ask yourself “What’s my outcome here?” Am I going to the gym because I want to “have been to the gym” – or do I want to blast my guns, chest, back, fill in the blank. (do you want fit biceps, or do you wish to shock them into such a pump, that your shirt tears at the sleeves?)
If the gym is really your sanctuary, the place that makes you stronger, why not go harder on each set. Your Silverback joints will thank you and you may just re-ignite your passion for going all-out. Sometimes less can be more.