To many people, fatigue is a badge of honor, and if they don't feel exhausted, covered in sweat, sore, and on the verge of throwing up once their workout is finished, they don't believe it was effective or tough enough. Well I've got news for you. This myth and mindset is preventing a countless number of people from achieving top results, staying healthy, and being able to work out on a consistent basis. I continue to work with all types of clients who have been brainwashed into thinking that complete and utter fatigue is a must. As I tell them, any fool can make you tired, sweaty, and nauseous. Very few people can actually make you better, help you achieve your goals, and for the long haul. Fortunately, most of my clients eventually buy into this mentality once they discover just how much stronger, fitter, athletic, confident, empowered, and healthier they are feeling.
Television shows like the Biggest Loser continue to propagate this incredibly counterproductive myth to the masses, when they show the contestants performing exercises that are well beyond their current capabilities, with absolutely jaw-droppingly horrific form, while pushing through severe discomfort and/or injury, and while being cursed at by a certain tyrannical and shockingly incompetent trainer who has been a household name for years. As a result of this incredibly harmful show, many people believe that unless they are pushing themselves to this extent, their workouts will not help them achieve optimal results, and this could not be further from the truth. I am here to dispel this myth, as are most of the top fitness professionals, as we actually have your best interest at heart.
When it comes to strength training, your number one priority should be focusing on proper form, and making each rep count. I like to use the motto ''one rep at a time.'' If you show up and try to make yourself as tired as possible, more often than not, your form will go to complete and utter shit. This is especially true for people who are relatively new to working out and are still learning, and also people who have poor body awareness, and this afflicts many, not just beginners. Rushing through your workouts without taking the time to do each rep properly, something takes a lot of physical and mental awareness, will absolutely make you more susceptible to injury, and will prevent you from getting stronger, more powerful, more athletic, and healthier.
Once you become proficient at performing each exercise, and obviously the rate of proficiency will vary from exercise to exercise, and from person to person, if this is your preference, you can make your strength workouts more conditioning based by performing supersets, tri-sets, or circuits, or adding in some metabolic conditioning with your strength exercises. However, and this is a huge however, it is an absolute must that you do not rush through your exercises, and you perform them properly.
Now when it comes to doing conditioning, let me be clear on one thing. If you are focusing purely on conditioning, you can and should push yourself. This includes when you are performing conditioning that involves activities that are high in power and short in duration (ATP-CP energy system), activities that are moderate power and moderate in duration (glycolytic energy system), and activities that are low in power and long in duration (oxidative energy system). However, even with conditioning, you want to make sure that your form is spot on at all times, as repetitive activities that are not done properly will reinforce poor biomechanics, and will often result in dysfunction, injury, and poor performance. It's not a matter of if, but when. Chasing fatigue at the expense of proper biomechanics and form absolutely plays a role in the astronomically high rate of injuries in the running community. Work on your form first and develop the requisite levels of strength, stability and mobility, before you increase the intensity and duration. Your overall health, longevity, and results depend on it.
I might sound like a broken record, but any fool can make you tired, very few people can make you better. If you insist on chasing fatigue, rate the effectiveness of your workouts based on how thrashed you feel after, and wear fatigue as a badge of honour, the only fool is you. Train smarter, not harder, you will be thankful you did.