The Secret In Ditching Your Boxing Class Friends And Improving Your Return On Exercise (RoE)
If you are looking for more than just social interaction at the gym read this
How’s your ROE going? No, I am not talking about the Return On Equity of your pension fund, I’m talking about Return On Exercise.
Return On Exercise is one of my favourite topics because it makes me happy to help people understand how to meet their fitness goals better. I’m especially talking about men and women over 50.
I’m aiming at you who are already doing regular exercise, especially those going to a gym. If you are doing that, then you are making quite a commitment.
Given that you are making this commitment, how would you like to get the best return?
I know that this can depend on your priorities. If your preference is simply the social interaction that’s fantastic and you don’t need my advice.
However, in my 20 years of going to a big brand gym, I see that most people are seeking more than just social interaction. Most are wanting to look better, have better posture, feel more physically attractive, and to be stronger and have more energy.
I also see, in my 20 years of first-hand experience, that most people don’t achieve those goals. They stagnate. They look better after the first 6 to 12 months, and then they look the same for the next 5 to 6 years.
This creates a problem because it is demotivating. It results in many people fading out of their exercise routine. Others keep muddling along with little show for their commitment and effort.
Knowing how to get the best Return on Exercise will keep you motivated. You will feel yourself improving not stagnating, and that will build a virtuous circle.
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What’s the secret in knowing what to do — which classes to do, what exercises?
I’ve already let my secret out of the bag.
Here’s what I suggest that you do. Observe the people who are doing various activities at the gym and ask yourself:
- How long have they been doing this thing?
- Considering their initial gains over the first year, have they changed much since then?
- Do they look as fit and active as I aspire to be?
- How do they match up doing other things around the gym, e.g. in other classes, or doing bodyweight exercises? (Meaning — are they surprisingly “weaker” than you thought at things that they don’t do regularly.)
That’s enough. What I’ve suggested is not a scientific process; it is about just making some observations which inform your path to living longer better.
Here are some examples of what I believe that you will observe:
- People who favour the cardio room for years — walking machines and stationary cycles — look pretty much the same as after their first 12 months.
- People who favour the machines look stronger than #1 above, but don’t look fit and active even after many years. And if you observe them doing bodyweight exercises, they look surprisingly weak and unstable. That’s because their fake muscles from the machines are not useful for real life.
- People who favour big brand gym boxing classes look the same as they did after the first six months, which is pretty much as they walked in off the street. They are not aerobically better off nor stronger, nor is their posture any better. The best you could observe is that they haven’t lost their balance as the people who favour the machines have.
You’ll also observe that the people in the back rows of the classes, e.g. Bodypump, Spin etc. have also changed little despite their years of investment in exercising. Their Return on Exercise is poor.
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How can you use this information?
There’s a truism about exercise which is almost universally ignored by all gym-goers. It is this: “If you keep doing the same thing, you will get the same results”.
The “same results” for most people are a poor Return on Exercise.
To change what you are doing, firstly make your observations, as above. Then make informed choices to improve your Return on Exercise.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Avoid doing those things where you have observed little benefit over time for the participants. Typically that would be the boxing classes and using the gym machines.
- Reduce the time you spend in other activities, e.g. the cardio room, and mix things up with different exercises, e.g. strength training, circuit training, functional training.
- Go to the front of other classes and apply a bit more intensity. Ask for help from the instructors, sharing your goals. (There is another secret about intensity which will share in a forthcoming post.)
In summary, congratulations on your choice to go to the gym and exercise regularly.
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I’d love you to be able to get more out of what you are doing; to increase your Return on Exercise.
Make your observations and drop the classes which you can see deliver the least Return on Exercise.
Channel your energy into new combinations of exercises and classes where you see people getting the results you desire. Move to the front and learn how to increase your intensity.
By the power of your own observations and the decisions you take, you will increase your Return on Exercise and live longer better.
It’s up to you.
If you liked this post you may also find this one interesting: How to keep your weight off with daily walks — 5 fun level-ups that everyone can do and Building a stronger body in 5 minutes
I’m Walter. I write articles on fitness, health, and motivation for men and women over 50. However, curiosity is my main distinction. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced a bolt of lightning hitting me in Korea, crash landing in a 747 (LAX), being sucked into a thundercloud at 4,000m in a sailplane (Australia), jumping freefall from 3,000m on my 1st ever parachute jump (Florida), and two different lethal cancers. Blog: walteradamson.com