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Less intense exercise can be better – two observations.

Some trainees want to go all out every time. Some trainees think they are going all out. They really haven’t revved up their engines as high as they think they have, but that is another matter. For those who like to go all out it is a good thing for awhile. After a time the most hardened trainee will suffer from burnout or become over-trained.

A good trainer will anticipate the burnout or the over-training and make pro-active adjustments for the trainee. Sometimes as trainers we miss the cues and have to make adjustments after the fact. I had one client who absolutely loved the workouts and trained very hard. He then became sporadic in his attendance. I asked him about it. He told me no longer looked forward to the sessions and would look for a reason to stay late at work so that he could avoid an appointment. Lesson learned; we made adjustments. We did not go hard every time after that. When we did he was really up for it.

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Less frequent exercise can be better - a personal experience

When I first began lifting weights I worked out every other day - Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday - repeat - and I never missed for five straight months.  The sessions were with a personal trainer, and accurate records were kept.

Soon my progress stopped. I was particularly stuck with bicep curls just barely achieving eight reps each time for five months. Twice during that time I got nine reps on that one exercise; I likened it to a religious experience – achieving beyond the realm of normal.  The workouts during this time were grueling, as I was hell bent on breaking through a plateau.

I went home for Christmas.  It had been more than a week since my last workout when I found a health club with the very same line of equipment I had been using. I thought surely I would be weaker. I was shocked to find that I was stronger. On the bicep curls I got eleven reps, not the usual eight. I had no explanation for it.