Don't Lose Positive Momentum
Posted June 27, 2023 by Matthew Romans
The word momentum has both negative and positive connotations when it comes to Total Results exercise. On the one hand, we want to avoid the use of momentum during the performance of the repetitions in each individual exercise. If we are moving at an improperly fast speed (anything faster than eight seconds) during the Pulldown (or any other exercise), then the movement arm starts to operate under its own momentum, thus obviating meaningful muscular loading, diminishing the effectiveness of the exercise, and greatly increasing the risk of injury. On the other hand, we can say that moving purposefully between exercises helps to build positive momentum toward a thorough exercise stimulus (inroad), which in turn will improve strength as well as cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning. As we will see, the emphasis on building and maintaining positive momentum can apply not just during a workout, but also in your everyday life.
It's important to remember that a Total Results workout is not a social event. Most of what passes for exercise instruction at commercial gyms is really nothing more than a gabfest with a few nondescript movements thrown in for optics. Our clients are interesting and well-educated people who have a wealth of life experiences, and I very much enjoy talking with and learning from them. However, I try at all costs to restrict those discussions to either before or after their workouts. During an exercise session, verbal communication should be largely one-way - the instructor gives cues and prompts at just the right time, while the client works to implement those instructions. If you talk during your workout (outside of essential communication about some aspect of the workout itself) you will lose focus on the task at hand, and it will take time and effort to regain the proper level of concentration. Please try to save any questions or comments that don't require immediate attention until after the session has been completed. I'm always happy to chat for a few minutes before I need to get ready for the next appointment.
Speaking of concentration, an effective workout requires all of your mental resources to be directed toward what lies in front of you. For the time we have blocked out for your session, we would like you to shut everything else out of your mind and give your best effort on the six or seven exercises that we have set up for you. Forget about work, home, or any of the million other things that require your attention throughout the day; don't allow your mind to stray from your exercise session. I realize that sounds very difficult to do, and it is a challenge, but it's not as tough as it sounds. We strive to achieve a "flow state", which "captures the positive mental state of being completely absorbed, focused, and involved in your activities at a certain point in time..." Remember that while the workouts are intense, they are also infrequent and brief. We block out half an hour for your sessions but they should take no longer than twenty minutes to complete, and advanced clients who work efficiently will often finish in fifteen minutes or less.
One way to keep positive momentum going during a workout is to move quickly and purposefully between exercises. That can be difficult to do at times, especially after the Leg Press when your entire lower body musculature is severely fatigued, but it is important to travel in an orderly fashion to the next exercise. Our machines are stationed in close proximity to each other, so you won't have very far to go. Think about how you are instructed to move during a fire drill; do not run, but do move briskly. Be on a mission! Over the years I have seen clients come up with all kinds of creative stall tactics when they get tired: retying shoelaces, fumbling with clothing, fiddling with hair accessories, etc. Don't do this; it will actually extend your workout and impede you from achieving an optimal exercise stimulus. You should be breathing heavily, as that is a sign of metabolic and cardiovascular demand. Yes, you could probably lift more weight for a longer time under load if you rested between exercises but that isn't the point. Your best path to a thorough systemic inroad and optimal physical improvements is to start the next exercise as soon as you are seat belted and properly positioned in the machine.
Developing good habits takes time and effort, and while sustainable progress doesn't happen overnight, it will happen if you continue to do the right things every day. How you perform during your workouts is certainly important, but that's only twenty to forty minutes out of your entire week. How are you doing as far as proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, supplementation, managing stress, and practicing mindfulness? Don't be your own worst enemy! I have seen many clients over the years start out really well, but once they achieve a certain level of success they seem to forget the strategies that helped them to achieve that success in the first place. Try to remember how you got to the point that you decided you needed to start at Total Results, but also remember how you got to that level of improvement. The key to sustainable progress is just that: it's sustainable! If you make a positive habit too difficult to practice every day, it's not going to work. One great thing about our workouts is that there is an appointment that you can put into your calendar to make you accountable. Keep coming every week, even on days when you don't feel you're at your physical peak, because there is value in doing your best. If you happen to have a minor injury you can still exercise the unaffected areas, and I have a lot of rehabilitation tools in my tool box. If you happen to miss a workout or fail to perform a part of your daily routine, make sure it is a small blip rather than a developing trend.
It's important to celebrate the small victories, but don't rest on your laurels. From one day to the next we often don't know what life has in store for us, and sometimes things don't go as we planned. There are going to be times when we don't feel we're mentally at our best or physically strong, but part of maximizing every day we are given is to push through and push forward when the easier thing to do would be to stay in bed. Don't give in to temptation! Keep positive momentum going and build upon what you have achieved. Small accomplishments add up to big victories down the road.