How do you know if you are cheating your body when you workout?
First, any movement is better than no movement at all. At One with the Water, we try to get our clients started by simply moving. Sometimes it’s from the phone to the pool, other times, it’s going a few yards farther than the last swim. There are, however, several exercises that will make you feel like you’re working out, but you’re just sweating, elevating your heart rate, gasping for air, and ultimately cheating your body.
5 Exercises that cheat your workout.
Exercise 1 – Nautilus or other brands of a pulley and weight system machine: the majority of the population that uses exercise weight machines to workout are cheating themselves from becoming as strong as they could be, and they are very likely to cheat the process by not including weight increases. They will get on the machine and just do a set with enough weight that requires a little effort and therefore that they’re working out. Isolating muscles groups only builds that muscle group, but it doesn’t make you stronger overall. It can even be dangerous to do this if your body is not properly adapted to the exercise.
Exercise 2 – Cycling/Spin Class, elliptical machines, walking, running, jogging – When you go out for a run, or go to a spin class, how do you know if you’re really benefiting from the exercise? Yes, your heart rate increases because you’re moving more than just walking through the grocery store, but is it really building your cardiovascular system and conditioning healthily? You’re probably not doing anything more than breaking a sweat. These exercises directly compete for the muscle resources to maintain size and strength.
Exercise 3 – Yoga and Pilates. I cringe every time I hear someone say that they go to yoga because it makes them stronger. Why? No matter what exercise you’re doing, whether it be running, swimming, playing tennis, yoga, basketball, etc., it’s not going to make you stronger. It’s literally going to make you weaker. Your body will adapt so quickly to these exercises that you’re only going to be as strong as it takes to swim across the pool, run around the block, or hold a pose for two breaths. The good thing about yoga, pilates, and swimming is that at least your body is actively moving while reaching farther and elongating your body.
Exercise 4 – Stretching. Tendons and ligaments do not stretch. It’s been proven that stretching is like pulling a rubber band and letting go – it comes right back to the shape it was before. This is probably the easiest way to injure yourself and cheat your workout. Stretching before a workout will not do anything to prevent soreness and stretching after a workout will not alleviate soreness. The vast majority of studies on stretching not only support this but also indicate that stretching prior to either training or performance produces a significant decrease in power production.
Exercise 5 – Any cardio for an extended period. Corporations, like Coca-Cola, or a company that sells exercise equipment such as treadmills, elliptical or Stairmaster machines, pay for studies to tell you that you’re only going to build cardio by elevating your heart rate for an extended period of time. That’s dead wrong. The heart is a muscle, and the more you stress it, the weaker it will become. This is why we teach all of our clients the “Invincible Athlete” conditioning program. It allows you to perform cardiovascular-stressing activities over an extended period while maintaining the lowest heart rate you possibly can. It’s the safest way to breath while exercising. Doing any cardio for an extended period leads to tendonitis and other repetitive motion injuries. It’s the entire reason that “Sports Medicine” exists.
Here are a few more tips as to what else might constitute as cheating in workouts and why it happens:
Cheat 1 – If the force required to complete a run or weight set isn’t increasing, you’re cheating yourself. If you’re too tired mentally or physically, listen to your body, you might need a day of recovery.
Cheat 2 – If you’re not adding barbell training into your cardio workout routine, you’re cheating yourself. Having incorrect information has led to the fact that people are afraid to get stronger. Measure your results. If what you’re doing isn’t measurable, you might be simply going to through the motions and cheating your workout.
We recommend the Coach Rippetoe Barbell Training program. Strength training builds strength. It builds your cardiovascular system because of the breathing technique required to lift. Your balance, coordination, and agility are a function of your ability to control your body weight. All increase as you become stronger. Increasing your strength increases your ability in just about everything. Your physical and mental well-being are greatly enhanced through strength training, and you will see an increase in your personal confidence and changing into a growth mindset, allowing you to achieve your goals and face all challenges.
Kenneth is a Life-time member of the American Swimming Coaches Association and holds certifications as a Level 4 Disability Coach & Level 3 USA Swimming as well as US Masters Coach. Coaching since 1985, Kenneth specializes in Swimming, Strength and Conditioning coaching.