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The Rule of 25

You've heard it before, thousands of different ways to get fit. Body exercises are best, free weight is best, out door exercise is best. There are too many different ways to be in shape to be concerned with the "how". Unless you are training for something specific like olympic strongman or specific sports training doing anything physical that gets your heart rate up with suffice. But, what happens when you have been doing this for so long that you aren't seeing results and are actually going backward?

I had a client who came to me after a year of returning to the gym and swimming. He was an athlete in his youth and had initially seen good results upon his return to the athletic arena. He lost some weight, his energy increased, his physical appearance was more svelt and defined. This was great for him and he was loving it. However, after about 6 months time he had become tired with working out. He still continued to go but it was no longer fun. His body had also turned against him and was now looking more like its old self. He was considering giving up altogether and returning to reruns of two and half men.

This is not uncommon. Many people become addicted to exercise because you not only feel better but because you can make physical changes you can literally see and you can build on them. When both of these things seem to turn against you even though you continue to exercise the feeling can be crushing. Luckily, this individual found me.

I explained to him a few simply rules of how the body operates. The body prefers to be comfortable and will strive to be in as comfortable position as possible. Exericse to achieve goals can be tough depending on the goals of the individual. If it were easy then everyone would be a fitness god, cut like Ryan Reynolds and ready for their shot at Hollywood. I explained that the body needs to be challenged constantly. Not only does this alleviate boredom but it triggers a response from the body to continue growth and development in your muscles. This in turn increases hormone activity, metabolism, and on and on.

With this understanding he was again excited. We went back to the time tested functional training working multiple muscle groups. I explained one great way to get out of a slump, which is where he was now, was the rule of 25. Increase the amount of weight you use and you will stimulate the muscles out of their "comfort zone" and be back on your way. This does not mean that those who wish to be lean and mean will grow into the hulk. This is a simple way to maintain that lean muscle mass but not get stuck in a rut both with your ongoing development and willingness to continue training. After 4-6 weeks you will have crossed your plateua and returning to a routine with less weight will not only allow you to increase the numbers of reps you did but do so at a slightly higher weight. This is true from biking to weight lifting, from swimming to yoga. It applies just for muscles and the body in general.

You can mix it up her as well. Either shoot for 5 set of weights you can handle for 5 reps or build up with 1 set of 8 then 1 set of 6 then 1 set of 5 etc. The point is that with these heavier weights you will trigger muscle growth and stimulate the muscle and body. Shoot for 25 as the golden rule. The weight should be so you can not do one more rep on the last rep, you are shooting for fatigue. rest for 1-3 minutes in between depending on your fitness level. If you attempt this with a weight only 10% above your current highest level you will not see the results because you will still be working in the higher rep range. Get low and mean on the weight to get over the wall you have hit with training.

This can be accomplished with cycling as well. Interval training on the bike is great. Drop into a higher gear and push out 25 hard reps for each side of the leg. No matter how you get there or if you go beyond 25; 25 has been found to be the number that has to be reached to get you over the hump. Shoot for this and take your work out All The Way.

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