It’s been a couple of months since I have truly had a good workout post my knee debacle. My biggest concern was what would happen to all that hard work and results I had achieved with my hard core fitness routine?
My schedule went from 5-6 days/week of working out to 2-3 days of PT only. Although both intense, not the same.
I have, once again, become my own science experiment.
So what changed? I slowed down and focused on my form and strengthening specific muscles through contraction and concentrated movements. And my body is just as strong, if not stronger, than pre-surgery. I actually believe my physique has improved. I’m not saying my cardio has not completed suffered – that is one area I will need to rebuild and is a priority for me going forward; but, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t lose muscle tone and I didn’t stop eating.
This only confirms what I have learned:
Form Is Everything.
In PT, most of your efforts are based on slow, methodical movements – contracting and building muscle, strengthening and focus. Something I was never a big fan of…moving slow.
Evidence continues to support that form is the utmost important. Without proper form, you will overcompensate with the wrong muscles and support systems. I knew this already – as I am sure most of you have experienced first-hand – without proper form, you are not getting the maximum benefit of the movement (not seeing results) and you are more prone to injury.
One of my major pet peeves throughout the years attending fitness classes was watching most of the class trying so hard to keep up and complete the routine by sacrificing form. Without proper form and movement (“just getting through it”) they were only getting a fraction of the benefit of the workout. Proper form is always more important than speed and is the key to training successfully. Maximum muscle contraction is critical in seeing effects.
I even find myself on the days I don’t have PT, standing a little taller, contracting my body a little tighter and overall, being aware of my movement.
We have written previous posts about the importance of resting your body: (http://126.96.36.199/~heelstolaces/give-rest/).
The body needs time to repair and strengthen. Continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athlete. During recovery, the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place – meaning, this is where you build muscle. In addition, rest helps maintain a better balance between home, work & fitness goals (and healing ACL’s ;-).
Changin’ It Up
Your body can very easily get used to the same routine every week and become very efficient. This adaptation (we’ve used this term in previous blogs!) causes you to burn fewer calories, even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise. The solution is to challenge your body in new ways. Your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity, which means that you’ll burn more calories when you work out.
So, there you have it. The combination of focused form, rest and change in my workout has truly had a beneficial effect on my body. And surprisingly, had the reverse reaction than what I expected.