For decades people have strolled in and out of the gym completing the same workout, feeling the same things, and seeing no change in their bodies. Tell me if I’m mistaken, but I think the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results. Let’s be real, it stinks going to the gym and not seeing progress! Just like every aspect of life, when time is spent on improvement we expect to see change. If results don’t come, it’s easy to get frustrated and down trodden, which is why many people have a hard time staying consistent with fitness.

The three point checklist is a tool created to take inventory of your workout. It sets consistent parameters for progress, and ensures the constant evolution of your programming.

Here’s how it works; every time you leave the gym, ask yourself 3 simple questions:

  1. Did I feel pain while exercising?
  2. Did I enjoy myself?
  3. Do I feel better now than when I arrived?

Simple; but these questions lead to all sorts of discovery.

How? Look at question one; pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong, which means it shouldn’t be part of exercise. Make sure you read that correctly; PAIN should not be experienced, discomfort can be expected, as I have never felt comfortable while performing a max effort squat. If you feel something isn’t right, chances are its not. For this reason, you can use pain as tell tale sign things needs to be adjusted.

Did I enjoy myself? Fitness needs to be fun, not drudgery.  If you don’t enjoy time in the gym; change routines. Change comes in a variety of ways; picking a new slew of exercises, adjusting how you perform current ones (tempo, number of repetitions, etc.) or something more radical, like using “gym time” to take a walk outside, ride your bike, or play active games with your kids. The best part about change is that it brings results! As Dr. Kelly Starrett says, “your body is an adaptation machine”, meaning it adjusts to any stimulus placed on it. Consequently, if the same exercises are performed for more than a couple weeks, your body will stop adapting as rapidly, leading to decreased results over time. All that’s needed are tiny changes to spark adaptation and get results rolling once again.

Do I feel better now than when I arrived? This is PARAMOUNT as it is directly correlated to previous questions, and the chief reason why we attend the gym; to feel better. Multitudes of things play into this answer, a few being pain, and enjoyment. If you experienced pain while working out, chances are you won’t feel great leaving the gym. If exercise isn’t fun, you may leave feeling as though you wasted time, which also doesn’t feel good. Lastly, if you’re consistently leaving run down, and worn out its time to look for change. We have a tendency to beat ourselves down every time we step in the gym. That’s unsustainable, and ill-advised. You can have days to push yourself, and test limits, but everyday shouldn’t be like that. As we said earlier, your body is an adaptation machine, meaning it needs time to adapt, recover and recuperate. Eventually, it will get broken down to the point where it’s unable to recover well before your next workout, and it’ll be sure to let you know by throwing an injury or two your way. Be smart with fitness, let it serve you. As we always say, “manage fatigue, don’t chase it”.

Use the 3 question checklist this week to take inventory. If you consistently answer “No, Yes, Yes” keep up the good work! If not, look for tiny changes, they’ll lead to big results.

Fitness Will Be Greater.

~Brad Jarrett