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We’ve all experienced periods in our fitness programs where everything goes right for an extended period of time. Such periods are the exception, rather than the rule. But, man, are they amazing to experience when we’re blessed by them. Personally, and I’m guessing the same goes for you, I wish I could hang on to such gifts indefinitely. Not a realistic expectation, though.
That’s a tall order that’s impossible to achieve as no one has a week that doesn’t have schedule changes that don’t affect their training schedule. Changes in schedules that interrupt training aren’t good for the brain. The brain loves to see a progression on paper that shows systematic improvement over time. When it sees that it’s happy. But, when it sees holes in training schedules it concludes that fitness gains will disappear and improvements won’t be possible. The consequence of that on our psyche is often despondency, impatience, and the insatiable impulse to double up on training to catch up or proactively store up fitness gains to make up for the calendar holes. That math makes sense to the mind as the equation does pan out as far as training loads go on paper. And, sure, most can tolerate high volume/intensity for a week or two. But, the reality of compressed time lines while maintaining set training loads ultimately ends in two things – illness or injury.
The irony of this is that not only are the illness and injury preventable but when they occur put a person back much further in their training more than had they just appropriately adjusted their training schedule. The ideal solution when schedules change and open holes in training programs is to train exactly as the training program was originally set when training times are available without trying to catch up. When this approach is adhered to fitness gains will occur, perhaps a bit slower than hoped for a short period of time, but eventually that gains will be made as if no schedule change had occurred. A slower pace also offers the body the chance restore hormone levels that are decimated by attempts to catch up.
If there is anything society has come to realize over the last century, it is that women are just as powerful, smart, ambitious, and capable as men. And while society as a whole is still catching up as far as true equality, the facts are evident when you look at some of the most incredible and influential people today.
When it comes to fitness, however, men and women are not the same. The natural, physiological differences necessitate unique approaches to achieve optimal results. While the fundamental science behind attaining a shredded, lean physique is basically the same for both sexes, the exact steps and application require careful consideration.
One thing I've learned is that injuries can be great teachers. There are so many lessons to be learned from the injuries we experience. They force us to slow down and evaluate our bodies on a deeper level. Like many, I'm guilty of sometimes taking my healthy days for granted. When we pick up an injury, we're suddenly motivated to learn everything we can about that specific injury. We're also dedicated to the necessary rehab it will take to overcome the injury and strengthen our weak areas.
As with many injuries, I've learned there are no "quick fixes" for my stubborn Achilles. Over the years, I've also learned there are no "get fit quickly" schemes.