Andrew said it poetically: “Don’t be a fitness butterfly, flitting hither & thither on a whim.”
M said it politely: “My first reaction to this experiment is that a week seems like an awful short amount of time to try something.”
But Becky (via e-mail) got right to the point: “You’re a wimp.”
I’m a Wimp
It’s true. I called off an experiment after a measly five days. Any scientist will tell you that unless you are measuring bacteria growth (like, say, in my toilet that I am neglecting cleaning at this very moment) then five days is probably not long enough to tell much.
The way I see it, there are three variables to play around with in fitness: time, intensity & type. You can change up all three at a time – what I would describe as a fitness overhaul or major program change. Or you can change one at a time to see what is or isn’t working for you. During this last experiment, I only changed one thing: the length of time of my cardio. The intensity (high) remained the same as I kept all my interval/circuit sessions. The type of workout (4 days cardio, 3 days strength) also remained the same. Call it a program tweak, if you will. And I think that five days might just be long enough to see if a tweak is not trending in the way you were looking for.
I have to admit I was a little surprised by everyone’s reactions. Change is the one constant in fitness and I really didn’t change much this time around. I’m not saying that I’m giving up lifting entirely to embark upon a double-cardio binge. (Wish I could say that I’ve never done that before but hey, at least I know now that doesn’t work
!) Perhaps I’m a little too quick to jump to conclusions but I’ve been burned before. I wasted six months doing BodyPump 3 days a week, gaining 4% bodyfat, before I realized that endurance weight lifting doesn’t work for me. (Again, to all of you that love bodypump, I’m not slamming the program. I’m glad it works for you – it just didn’t work for me.) So now when I see something isn’t working, I don’t mess around. I just fix it.
The New Experiment
So if I know that just cutting cardio time wasn’t helpful, then what do I tweak next? My personal trainer friend suggested cutting my intensity. Andrew suggested cutting out a couple of cardio workouts entirely. I’m not sure what I want to try next except so that’s why I decided to take a no-numbers break. Which all of you applauded – thank you for the support (and Mad Props, Lucas!).
I’m open to your suggestions as to what to tweak next. But I have to ask – do you all really think it is best to just find one program and stick with it indefinitely? Has that worked for you? What is your pet program? How long have you done it? Do you ever tweak it? Let me have it (again) in the comments!