By Katherine Moore
Sometimes "random" is good—a random act of kindness or the chance meeting of a new friend. Sometimes randomness, while disguised as good, is actually bad. When it comes to exercise, we have many options. We see a new studio, boutique or gym with classes and workouts. We assume it’s all part of a grand plan, designed just for “me,” or, at least, good enough to give some kind of benefit—after all, I'm sweating!
What if I told you that many exercise routines, classes, and workouts actually don’t have a purpose? They have no science-based design—they are random, completely random. The exercise variables, including exercise choice, order, load, volume, and biomechanics are randomly assembled, like slips of paper picked out of a hat. If you do this workout fast enough, you’ll sweat. But the sweating alone will likely not properly signal the body. The average well-intended trainer has little idea how to properly design a workout that has a designated purpose and is related to your goal. Both the trainer and the fitness enthusiast are often content with just sweat. Results will come later…right?
Is random so bad? Well in this case, yes. The top exercise scientists all agree that specific exercises send specific signals to the brain, spinal cord, hormones, and cells to bring about change. The workout is a mini-exercise prescription with specific signals to build bone and muscle, lose fat weight, get stronger and leaner, move more athletically. If the signal is poor--as in random--the body simply does not interpret it and nothing happens. Random means confusion to the human body, and therefore, no real signal is delivered. The signal can be lost with the wrong exercise, faulty biomechanics (form), weight that is too light, heart rates that don’t fluctuate properly, and so on. This is why we typically see little change in body composition, strength, endurance, and movement proficiency after the initial adaptation to exercise. Your body will adapt to any and all movement for the first 6-8 weeks, and after that, begin to be much more discerning about the signal it is getting. Then, just like that, exercise stops working.
Imagine this: You have a medical condition and you think medication might be the answer. So you wander into your bathroom and grab any medication you can find. “I need pills for my medical problem…a pill is a pill, right?” Instead of taking a specific medication for your exact illness, you just took your dog’s heart worm medication. Poor Max, now he has worms and you’re no closer to solving your medical issue.
Exercise is medicine—so take the right medicine. Modern exercise science shows us that there are specific protocols, techniques, methods, and programs to address your body, your needs, and your goals. Exercise science can bridge the gap between dreaming of the body you want and having the body you want…and there is nothing random about that.