I have written (and never published) a post titled: “The Blacksmith Never Heard of Muscle Confusion and Could Kick Your P90x Ass!”
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Bear with me.
The secret behind the P90X workout system is an advanced training technique called Muscle Confusion™, which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored!
First of all, if someone wants to start exercising, I’m all for it. They’ll be the better person for it. However, of the five people I know who have done P90x, three have gotten injured. Your exercise program should not injure you.
I think that many people enjoy programs like this because they work out their aggressions and get the big endorphin rush. Bear in mind that you can get an endorphin rush without pushing yourself close to the point of injury.
With that in mind, there are a few things in the quote above that I got off of the P90x home page that I want to focus on.
The only thing that switching exercises does is it takes you back to neurological improvement. Your nervous system learns a new move and figures out how to coordinate your muscles to perform the move. This can occur in the same workout–the nervous system adapts very quickly. You can learn a new exercise, improve, and then find that when you go back to an old exercise, you haven’t gotten any better.
Of course, you’ll still be burning extra calories and hopefully creating a calorie deficit if you’re trying to lose some weight.
Boredom is Something to Be Avoided
Boredom is something that you allow yourself to experience. You are in full control whether you allow yourself to feel bored or not. Learning to deal with and accept and overcome feelings of boredom is a useful skill. Learning to enjoy the tedium of life is something that we should all be capable of. I think one of the reasons we have this ADHD thing is because we have this desire to be constantly stimulated, and with that desire, you have to keep on increasing the level of stimulation.
Constantly Introducing New Routines
By keeping your routine stable for a period of time, you can learn more about your body and how you recover. This gives you valuable information about how what you eat, drink, think, and who you hang around with impacts your training. In Yoga asana practice, you constantly return to the basic asanas because they are the fundamentals. In exercise, you would do well if you focused on things like pull ups, squats, push ups, rows, swings, and walking or jogging and included them in your routine, while working to improve your skill.
You’ll Plateau if You Don’t Shake It Up
Really advanced lifters might struggle for months to make small gains. It doesn’t mean they’ve plateaued and they need to shake it up. It means that they are working close to their genetic potential. Unless you’re highly attuned to your body, tracking your workouts, and being patient, you’ll think you’re not making progress. But you are. It’s just slowed down and it’s more subtle. The only thing introducing new exercises does is to trick you into thinking you’re making rapid progress again.
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P90x is transformative, no doubt. I’ve seen the pictures and they are impressive. But, as Bruce Lee said, “It is not difficult to trim and hack off the non-essentials in outward physical structure; however, to shun away, to minimize inwardly is another matter.” By learning how to embrace boredom, stick with a routine until you gain insight into your body and mind and how you recover, and exhibit the patience to edge close to your genetic potential you begin to trim away both the outward AND the inward.