Someone asked me why I always look like I’m struggling when I workout? Why do I look out of breath, and as if I’m having a hard time, when I train so damn often?
Shouldn’t your body be used to it by now? You must be really out of shape.
Well, yes, my body should be used to it by now, and no, I’m not out of shape at all. Let me paint the picture of how I train.
Let’s say that I started running, and I could run 2 miles in 20 minutes. Okay? I’m using even numbers for simplicity’s sake. Perhaps the first week or two, I’ll continue to run at that pace, then eventually my body will become used to it, and it will feel easy to me.
Does that mean I’m done? I can now easily run 2 miles in 20 minutes, and it doesn’t drain me anymore. Have I accomplished my end result? Will I simply continue to run 2 miles for 20 minutes? For me, the answer is a resounding hell no!
Shortly thereafter, I’ll try to improve on that time. Instead of running 2 miles in 20 minutes, as my endurance gets better, I try to run 2 miles in 18 minutes. I’ll do that for sometime, and then I ‘ll keep pushing for a better time.
Eventually, two miles will not be enough, then I’ll jack the distance up to 3 miles. Meanwhile, I’ll try to keep the same pace. However, because now the distance is longer, while maintaining the same pace, the endurance which I have built thus far will not be enough, and then I’ll start sucking wind and struggling. It’s almost like starting over.
3 miles, in 30 minutes. Then I’ll repeat the cycle. I’ll try to get my speed faster, and eventually add distance. This is a never ending process of improvement for me, and because of this, I may appear tired, winded, or beat at the end and even during my workouts.
Make no mistake, this has no bearing on my level of fitness, it’s simply that I DO NOT let my body adapt. Once things become even remotely easy, I bump things up significantly. Be it longer distance, a faster pace, hills, intervals, etc. I’m always looking for ways to make and keep the workouts challenging. In fact, simply reducing your calories can have a significant impact on your endurance, etc. Trust me, that’s how I’ve broken past many plateaus, and when I cut the food, I feel it!
There was a time I could only train 2 days a week, for about 30 minutes to an hour. Today, I train 6-7 days a week, anywhere from 1-4 hours a day. And I don’t play around in the gym. Whatever it is that I am doing, is being done with intent and intensity. Anyone who sees me train knows that I push very hard, and that’s why I always look like I’m about to drop dead at the gym.
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.