More precisely, why your muscles need to! I wish I could say that people’s results are proportional to the amount of time they spend working out, but it’s not. You see it happening over and over again: they come to the gym multiple times a week, work out for an hour if not more and still – you can’t really say that they are getting anywhere compared to the day they first started. Although many factors are often at play, one of the biggest mistakes made when trying to achieve better health and fitness is this: lack of intensity! You might be working out regularly but if during that time you do not succeed in bringing your muscles to a point of failure, you are missing out on the party!
Muscles are important – they are your fountain of youth. Muscles have the potential for processing waste materials, oxygenating blood, controlling insulin levels, optimizing bone-mineral density, increasing metabolic rate, reducing bodyfat levels, optimizing aerobic capacity, enhancing flexibility, and appreciably reducing the chances of injury, while at the same time allowing you to perform day-to-day tasks with far less wear and tear and stress on your body. All of these health benefits flow from the building and strengthening of your muscles. Now you see why you want more of these, especially as you age and start to slowly lose them year after year. It’s the reason your doctor is telling you (I hope he/she is) to hit the weight room.
Put simply, the principle is that you exhaust your muscle completely to get it to rebuild even stronger than before so that the next time you put it through the same exercise, more work will be needed to achieve the same level of muscular failure. You are now stronger. But this is where so many make this common mistake: they don’t quite get to the point of muscular failure. Can you blame them? It’s uncomfortable, it hurts, and talking to the ladies now, we certainly wouldn’t want to look like a male bodybuilder by taking a heavier dumbbell. Big mistake!
Do me a favor: next time you’re lifting, pay attention, are you stopping because there is no way you can do an extra rep, or because you’ve reached the set number or reps you set out to do? Maybe it’s time to sit down with your trainer and work on upgrading your program another notch to make sure you reap all the benefits from that time spent working out.
D. McGuff, J. Little. Body by science. Doug McGuff and Northen River Productions Inc., 2009. eBook, p.97