"A Fish in the sea" = Efficiency!! 不

Our young son still has a wonderful way of repeating multi syllable words in only the way a preschooler can............ Mispronounced! So the other day I was explaining the concept of efficiency he quizzically replied "a fish in the sea?"不. This may not have been helped by the presence of 'Octonauts' on television and our respectable sized fish tank that adorns the living room.

As I chuckled to myself I glanced over to the tank and observed a fish swim past the same bit of weed at least 5 times......................................." Hold on , hold on, what on earth has any of this rambling got to do with therapy Ian?" Well, I shall tell you: Absolutely nothing!.................but it has everything to do with physical training. Which is something you could be forgiven for forgetting we specialise in here at The Reinge Clinic.

The fish seemed perfectly content swimming past the same bit of weed endlessly, even though there was an awful lot more tank for him to explore. It reminded me of a common exercise issue we deal with on a regular basis: People repeating the same exercise programme day in, day out with no real change. The result of which, is that they reach a point where early progress seems to stop and they actually seem to be going backwards despite their best efforts. Well the reason for this comes down to 'A Fish In the Sea'....ooops, sorry 'efficiency 不!'

For training to be effective it actually has to be inefficient and when we constantly repeat the same thing we become efficient at it and that's not a good thing in exercise. Let me explain further.

The heart, the lungs, the nerves, muscles and actually.... just everything, when presented with a higher than normal level of work have to adapt to that higher level, it's that adaptation that we call 'fitness'. But we also neurologically adapt. At the start of a new exercise programme our neuro muscular system is unfamiliar with what precisely is required to produce the desired movement or effort level, so in a simplified sense it 'throws everything at it' .It actually overworks and that's when we get the greatest gains . As time passes the neuro muscular system starts to learn exactly which and how many fibres need to contract and how much energy will be required to produce the desired movement etc, etc, and it becomes efficient at that movement or at the delivery of oxygen through the heart and lungs. Now that's great for a race but not so good if you are still trying to improve. This is where you can hit a 'plateau' or slow down and stop seeing results. At its worst, the movement becomes so efficient that it requires almost no effort and this is where you can find yourself training regularly but mysteriously going backwards in strength, fitness and weight control.

From a strength training perspective, think of it like this. Initially you find a weight hard to lift, but as the muscle strength improves it isn't so hard to lift. The body has adapted and is now easily able to lift the weight. As this is no longer stressing the body, no more strength gains will be made, but worse, because the body now has to make little effort to lift the weight, it actually weakens over time. Now there are many ways to counteract this, work the same muscle but in a different way, yes increase the weight, but you can't continually do this, so change how you are lifting that weight. Alter the sets, reps and speed to tax the muscle again or load the muscle differently.

This is where seeing a strength and conditioning specialist pays dividends. At The Reinge Clinic we have Sports Science Degrees, so we circumvent this issue by carefully monitoring your progress with timely checks and we change your programme every six weeks to make sure you keep progressing. To make fine but significant changes requires a deep level of appreciation of how the body responds to increasing and decreasing demands.

At the Reinge Clinic we are of course......... unusual (which, by now I hope you are starting to notice!!). We are, degree level and post graduate level exercise physiologists, in addition to being trainers and therapists. Merging these specialisms together allows us to create unique and subtle but powerful fitness and training programmes whatever your goals, injury level or starting point . Get in touch if you want to find out more.....

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