Train first, think later

The internet has shaped many fields, but the fitness industry is one in which it has created a great paradox. The source of many of our health and physical problems are caused by the very device that we turn to to find our solutions. How many of us spend our workdays slumped over a desk typing away for eight hours before getting in the car to drive home only to spend our nights surfing the net, sifting through blogs, ebooks, and emails in pursuit of the ultimate way to train?

Your training is an ever-evolving experiment

I’ve written previously on treating your training like an experiment, methodically changing single variables while shaping your training, and allowing adequate time to see an effect (or lack thereof). One thing that I failed to address with that post was a call to action. The most important part of this process is actually doing, starting, making and taking the time to train. The internet allows trainers, scientists, and everyone to reach an ever-growing audience moreso than ever before. While individuals can access all the information they need on training and more, there is often so much information we suffer from analysis paralysis. Many coaches have written on this before, it’s nothing new, and it seems hypocritical for these guys (myself included) to use the internet to write about training while complaining about people using it too much. What is often lost in the message is that you need to start first, get to the gym and do anything, then tweak and refine as you go.

Do something, anything, please!

The less trained you are, the more important starting, doing anything, becomes. In my studies I’ve trained the young and old and we’ve been able to create changes in muscle using only a leg press and a leg extension. Less than ideal program design? Absolutely! Did it get the job done? You bet! We see the early signals of muscle growth and exercise adaptation following only four sets of leg press and leg extensions (at 75% 1RM). Eight total sets was enough for beginners to start progressing!

What does this mean? If you are sedentary and new to training, don’t waste precious time waiting to create or find the perfect program. Get to the gym and crush some weight. Don’t get bogged down on internet forums debating machines vs free-weights, one set versus three, simply start training and use an experimental approach to constantly refine your training.

So the problem may seem large but fortunately the solution is simple: train first, think later.

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Dan Ogborn