Confusing Your Muscles (And Brain)


Seeing as every other day a new fitness trend is released promising amazing results, it seems like a good idea to figure out why all of these programs are the “best” and how they actually get these results.

Before getting into any science stuff, we all know that a lot of published results are total bs or photoshopped. But since I can not 100% confirm who does what, I’m just going to stick to the facts.

Any competitive lifter who has been at it for at least 3 years consistently all have one thing in common. Their gains get slower and smaller every single year. Many of them would hands down wish to have their current strength but be a noob again.

Our bodies are amazing machines that can for the most part adapt and survive to any condition or stressor. Exercise is a major stressor to the body and when we push it, alarms go off within the body telling it to adapt or die.

New lifters/exercisers have insane responses to initial fitness stressors. When you move from the couch to a couple weeks of P90x you are guaranteed to lose weight. P90x (or any other fitness program) is actually just the catalyst. You could just stand up and do 200 jumping jacks a day and lose weight.

Muscle confusion is somewhat of a real thing. The way it is sold and packaged in P90x however is simply not true. Your body is adapting to a new regimen, you could do the same workout everyday for the initial 90 days and you’ll still lose the weight.

The way we really “confuse” our muscles is by making slight changes to our lifts every 4-6 weeks. Changes can range from adding weight, increasing/decreasing reps, switching up grips, etc.

If you are a competitive lifter you should keep these changes as minimal as possible. I would not substitute dips for bench press. A better change would be substituting close grip bench for traditional bench.

An if you an athlete, DO NOT USE P90x type programs as your main mode of fitness. Eddie Lacy learned that the hard way this year.

So when looking for new fitness programs or becoming shocked at the results person x got from the latest fad, remember that everyone adapts within the first 30-90 days. If you have never lifted before, you will have explosive gains early. If you hardly move and are overweight, you will lose weight really fast.

The key is what happens after this initial shock to the body. This is the phase where most people fall off. Crash diets stop working and muscles become “smart” and stop adapting. In the long run its always the basics that work, lift heavier weight every workout and do some medium intensity conditioning.

The road to health is a never ending journey. Fitness fads and diets only make the road more difficult than it should be. Think about how much faster we get to places on the highway (even stuck in LA traffic) compared to having to stop and go at traffic signals on the street.

So as your New Year resolutions begin to fade away, start making your way to the tried and true methods. Squat heavy weights, carry heavy weights, pick heavy stuff off the floor and push some sleds or run hills. Combining all of that with eating like an adult and you’ll start seeing long term results you want.

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