How to enact a robust exercise routine?

Do not blow through the newbie-gains period, milk it

You know situations like when you deadlifted 115 kg last time, and today you come into the gym feeling particularly good, thinking you can shoot for 120 kg to 'leap ahead'?

Even if you're sure you can do 120, shoot for 117.5 kg anyway according to plan.

The problem with leaping ahead is you rob yourself. You need to make sure you enjoy every gym-visit, and a part is 'seeing the numbers go up'. One 5-kg leap creates about as big a burst of satisfaction as two 2.5-kg leaps, and you miss out on the second burst.

Not to mention that it often goes like this: 115, 120, … 115 again and suddenly you're not having as much fun. If instead you have patience and go 115, 117.5, 120, … then you've also done two separate days above 115 so your body is better prepared for the attempt at 122.5, and in any case you'll backslide less often.

In the "newbie-gains" period, the numbers easily go up, and that's actually a luxury—why rush it? Milk it for the positive feedback loop as long as it lasts.

Plus, hypothetically, if 120 kg is going to be the end of your newbie-gains, then if you spend 2 months on the path from 90 kg to 120 kg, you're much more able to continue beyond, than if you'd only spent 1 month on an accelerated path.

On the accelerated path, you ride a strong upward curve and suddenly hit a plateau – no fun! Avoid facing this contrast. By calming down with the upward curve, you also won't plateau later.

When gains are easy, slow down. Slow down and enjoy.

Don't "start" to do exercise "again"

"Starting" seems an overwhelming commitment. Of couse you'll put it off.

What if you never officially start? You're just working out today, for fun, not to advance a planned progression.

Don't use reminders

You set yourself up to feel guilty at some point once an app reminds you "hey it's been two weeks since your last workout"… bad idea.

Instead of being on the wagon so you can fall off it, consider yourself to always be off the wagon. There is no wagon.

On any given day, you can go or not go, as you prefer.

The question of gym memberships

I suspect it can be a good strategy to just pay for once-off visits. For the same money that a membership costs, you can do around 4 once-off visits per month, depending on the gym.

Without membership, you're free of all the mental crap associated with "gotta make use of this membership", which may not be a good mindset, compared to going every time because you want to. And observing yourself pay for the session will crank up your subconscious valuation of the session.

What links here

  • Portal: On my mind
Created (13 months ago)