It is important to set goals for yourself. Training without a plan or purpose will result in failure. I see this time and time again. People will start out with good expectations only to end up quitting after a month or so. At the beginning they had a goal to go to the gym and to start a program. However, once that goal was achieved they didn’t establish any other goal. So they end up quitting. The purpose of exercise is to boost the metabolism. The result of this increased heat is to burn off excess fat and improve the physiological and hormonal processes of the body. What people fail to realize is that exercise is a stress to the body. By developing a habit allows the nervous system to learn new strategies to adapt to the onset of stress. When you first begin an exercise program the only thing you are working is the central nervous system synchronization. You won’t see drastic changes in your body composition because the body perceives the stress as a threat. During a threatening event the body holds onto fat and will use sugar as a temporary energy source. When nerves and tissue are over stimulated stress chemicals are released to help prevent further damage to the body. It takes about 4-6 weeks to establish the neuromuscular system to begin to recognize that the newly acquired exercise program is not threatening, this then allows adaptation begins to occur. Once neuromuscular adaptation is established the body is able to enter into a more hypertrophy morphological state. This is when muscle tissue really begins to activate and grow. By activating more muscle tissue means that you can metabolize off more fat.
Most people who exercise do so intermittently. They start for a couple of weeks then stop for weeks. This type of pattern is counterproductive. It is important to establish strong neural communication from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system. Even though you might not see immediate change in your body composition during the first few weeks, you are doing a lot to change the nervous system threshold levels. This is the key to exercise. Once you gain control over your stimuli you will be able to push yourself further. That is when the real fun begins.
The other day a parent was telling about their kid starting football practice. She said “my son was at practice and the coach pushed then so hard that most of the kids vomited and were sick for the rest of the practice. I guess that is good for them right?” My answer was: That is a terrible approach to getting kids in condition for football. The “balls to the wall” approach is fine if the kid’s neuromuscular system is trained for that type of intensity. The reason why the kids threw up was because they were producing too much norepinephrine and adrenalin and cortisol into there bloodstream causing a build up these chemicals in the stomach. This forces the gastic juices to dump into the stomach resulting in vomiting. What this means is that the kids nervous systems were not developed in a gradual manner. They probably didn’t do any activity during the off season and their tissue had atrophied and the neural circuitry to the muscle was desynthesized. Their body was out of condition. Instead of busting the kids and making them pay for being out of condition, the coach should have started them off in a less aggressive manner. By spending a few workouts to build up the neuromuscular is much better than killing them right out the gate. Hurting the kids to the point where they vomit actually sets them back in their training. Because they go beyond what their body can handle and increase further breakdown of tissue that needs more time to rest.
Overall, it is important to establish appropriate goals for exercise program. If you don’t have a plan you will fail. It is important to know what you are trying to accomplish. Just going to a gym and spinning your wheels and performing worthless exercise and methodics will result in nothing but frustration.
Daryl Conant, M.Ed
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