Five months with no improvement - lesson learned eventually

When I first started strength training improvement came quickly, but soon it trickled to a halt. I figured I was a slow gainer stuck on a plateau that I just had to push through. For five straight months I worked  every other day with a trainer to make sure that I did not cheat on my form.  I never missed one training session, and pretty soon I stopped improving no matter how hard I tried.  My reps stayed the same every workout.  Twice during that period I managed to get nine reps instead of my usual eight on the bicep curls.  I likened that ninth rep to a religious experience – beyond the realm of normal.

My perfect attendance was broken when I went to visit family at the fifth month.  I managed to find a gym with the very same line of equipment, so I did the very same workout.  The only difference was that I had over a week’s rest.  Miraculously I improved on more than a couple exercises.  On the bicep curls I managed to get eleven reps.  I thought to myself if nine reps were a religious experience what is eleven reps?

I could not explain my improvement.  I came to the conclusion that the machines were better oiled and possibly it was my mother’s cooking.  It never occurred to me that the simple act of resting allowed me to get stronger.  I eventually figured it out but many don’t.  They go into a gym improve for a while and then stop improving.  At that point they often get injured or quit in frustration.

By training too often you ruin two workouts. The first workout that stimulated change is worthless if you do not give your body a chance to recover.  The second workout is worthless as well, as you cannot give your best effort if you are not 100 percent.  

How often you need to exercise will depend on a number of factors; most important are duration of exercise, level of intensity, recovery ability, and frequency of certain exercises. It took me years of trial and error to figure out the right formula. That formula will be different for different people. An experienced trainer will know how to manipulate the variables safely to produce continuous improvement for her clients.

Strength increases occur exercising as little as once or twice a week, If it's the right exercise program. The personal trainers at Austin Fitness Trainingand at New Orleans Fitness Trainers can guide you through a personal training program that will enable you to get more out of less time exercisingand keep improving.