Muscle Confusion – Myth or Fact
It seems everyone is getting a bit more savvy with fitness and working out. Muscle Confusion was a term that was foreign to me when I started working out. But, I do know it is something that deserved a little digging into. It made sense to me when I started thinking about it and knowing what my body did when I was working out in College. For the Physical Fitness Tests, we had to run 2 miles and do max pushups and situps in 2 minutes. A LOT of guys would go out to train so they would run 2 miles and do pushups and situps for 2 minutes. Sounds like the thing to do, right? Well, some of my buddies and I knew that wasn’t good. If we were going to be tested at that time and distance, we knew, instinctively, that we needed to do more. So, in the weeks leading up to the test, we would typically run 3 to 4 miles and do pushups and situps for 3 minutes. Then, when it was time for the test, 2 miles and 2 minutes each didn’t seem that bad and we had a bit of energy to spare. I’ve seen the same thing with my daughter’s karate class. If they have to do 30 balance kicks, they typically train doing 40 to 50 so when it is time to do 30, it’s not a big deal. That is a type of muscle confusion. It is tricking the muscle to perform stronger, better and faster by pushing it father than it needs to go. But, if losing weight is the goal, you can actually plateau if all you do is run. There are many studies out there, for instance, that indicate that runners benefit from brisk walking, swimming and weight lifting. The body is an incredible machine and will adapt pretty quickly if all we do is one particular exercise. I have talked before about the people who go to the gym and all they do is the treadmill or elliptical or the occasional aerobics or yoga class. Some even go and just play racquetball, which is good exercise, but not if that is all you do. If that is all you do, the body adjusts and adapts and results don’t happen as quickly or at all after a certain period of time. Most people NEVER get into any kind of muscle confusion.
Why Muscle Confusion is Important
The answer is basic and relatively simple. Muscle Confusion is important so we continue to improve and grow. If all we do is one type of exercise, we may get good at that particular exercise, but functionality in life, which is something I strive for, can get lost in the shuffle. In order to have a well rounded exercise program, you need to include resistance, flexibility and cardio training. A study was done that took runners and put them in a pool and swimmers and put them on a track and that is all they did for awhile and when they went back to their sport, their times actually got better. This was a matter of a few days, not a few months, but it still showed that the body likes to be cross trained. If all you do is bicep curls, you may get big biceps if you vary your load and intensity, but the other parts of your body will suffer. So, in the case of a normal human being who does not have access to a professional trainer and if you aren’t training for a College or Professional Level sport, the key to good health, fitness and functionality is cross training or muscle confusion. As we get older balance goes away and people fall and break hips, so balance is incredibly important. Flexibility is also key. You don’t typically think of old people being flexible, but flexibility will prevent injuries and also help prevent some forms of arthritis. Of course, we all know good cardiovascular strength is important to keep our heart working at full efficiency and to increase metabolism and burn calories and all of the good things that come with cardio training. Building muscle is also important because muscles are what make us move. They make us faster, more durable and stronger. Muscles burn calories just sitting there. And, long lean muscles are sexy. Muscle Confusion can help you develop those muscles.
How do you get Muscle Confusion?
You get it simply by varying your workouts. It really is that simple. Most people don’t workout at all, but when you get into working out, your natural inclination is going to be to find something you love and stick with that day in and day out. That will get you results for some time but eventually you will plateau. To prevent that, you need to shake it up and throw something at your body it is not used to doing so it is forced to try to adapt to a new program or a new routine. All of a sudden, you go from not being sore at all to being sore all over again. That is the beauty of the Beachbody Programs. P90X really brought muscle confusion into the vocabulary of normal people. The beauty of the programs is you not only get muscle confusion with P90X, but you can get it by getting other programs and mixing them up as some people do with the Insanity/P90X hybrid program. When you combine muscle confusion with eating right, such as incorporating Shakeology into your nutrition, it becomes something amazing because your body will begin to change faster than you ever thought it would or could. The main thing though is to do something. Have fun with it and get after it and put some muscle confusion into your routine. Do something good and fun for your body. P90X was good for me. I lost 40 lbs in my first 90 days and 40 lbs in my second 90 days. Is it right for you? Contact me and let’s talk about it.