Dec 30, 2012
What Exactly Is Muscle Confusion?
I am going to try to keep this very simple for everyone and explain to you what exactly muscle confusion is because once you get too technical you will lose interest and be even more confused. Our body is an amazing piece of equipment and it learns to adapt to any given situation whether physically or mentally. When you are someone that works out but repeats the same workout routine over and over i.e Elliptical machine everyday at the gym, your body will adapt and ultimately you will stop getting results. Its scary to think that you could be going to the gym or working out at home and think you are doing a great job when in fact your body has already adapted and you will rarely have any positive gains. Now don’t get me wrong doing something is better than nothing. But without muscle confusion you are severely limiting the potential for great results. You want to be constantly changing your routine.
Furthermore muscles adapt to a specific type or stress (aka plateau) and when that same stress is continually applied over time the exercise is basically ineffective. You want to be constantly changing your workout routine and apply the muscle confusion concept because when you do your results could be amazing.
Does Everyone Experience Muscle Confusion?
Absolutely! How many times have you went to the gym and find yourself doing the same thing on Mondays and the same thing on Tuesdays and so on? That was exactly me!! I used to workout my Chest on Mondays and do the same exercise on the same machines with the same amount of weight and never had any gains. Tuesday was always my back workout and again I would do the same routine week after week, month after month and ultimately year after year. I never knew that I actually hit a plateau and wasn’t aware of what muscle confusion was.
Muscle Confusion – An Even Better Example!
A better example of zero muscle confusion is how many people do you see at the gym on the same day doing the same thing? Then months go by and they are doing the exact same exercise and either look the same or look worse? I found this example pretty funny because it is so true!! I can count a number of people who fit this example perfectly! It exists everywhere!!! People take the same gym classes. People just run and do nothing else. People do yoga and that’s it. People go on the elliptical machine and never ever try something different. No muscle confusion means limited results.
How Do I Apply Muscle Confusion To My Workouts?
I learned some great tips on applying muscle confusion to my workouts and learned them through the creator of P90X, Tony Horton. This is a picture of him and I. He created his 11 Laws of Fitness that I would like to share with you. These tips will make the science of muscle confusion concept something easy to apply.
- Variety - Variety is the spice of life and fitness. You need to switch it up all the time. If you do cardio three days a week and normally run don’t run all the time. Use different cardio machines. Jump rope. You need to have variety. Plus by staying creative you will avoid boredom and also prevent injuries from overuse.
- Consistency - You must show up at least 4 days a week. 5 -6 days is ideal. If you are working out less days than not working out than that’s a problem. You never give your body a chance to grow. This goes back to variety. Keep it interesting and constantly change it up. I basically switch my workouts up weekly.
- Intensity – Too many people quit way too soon. The last three repetitions have to hurt and the magic happens when you are out of your comfort zone. This itself is muscle confusion. You can do anything that you put your mind too. Trust me when I say that. You are much tougher than you think. Don’t give up. Push yourself!
- Purpose – Everyone’s purpose is to have a better life. When you exercise and eat healthy you feel better and have a better life. The pain of being overweight and hiding in your clothes is not the way to live. Working out with purpose does.
- Reality – You can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future. All we have is today. Stop saying “tomorrow I will do this,” or “Tomorrow I will do that.” Focus on today. Life is about the journey. So focus on today and the reality that is in front of you.
- Sports – Don’t get caught in a rut. Have fun!! Part of muscle confusion is constantly changing it up. Go hiking, shoot some hoops, play golf. It doesn’t just have to be just going to the gym. Whatever it is that you like to do go out and do it!!! Be a kid again! Have fun!
- The Plan – The five P’s. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Make sure you schedule your workouts in advance. On Sunday sit down and write out your week. Remember to think about muscle confusion and to switch it up.
- Sleep (and stress) – You can be applying all the muscle confusion concepts but if you are lacking sleep and are stressed out than this will deplete your energy levels, strength and even affect your mood. You also can be breaking down your immune system. So get your proper amount of sleep. Rule of thumb is 6-8 hours.
- Loving It – By constantly applying the muscle confusion concept and changing your schedule it will create enthusiasm which will increase your success. Love what you do!!! Remember again variety is the spice of fitness.
- Flexibility – Tony says flexibility is the fountain of youth. One thing I focus on is doing Yoga one day a week. As we get older things get harder and our body gets less flexible. Doing everything in your power to stay flexible such as doing yoga or stretching will increase your results and also decreases the chance of hitting a plateau and forgetting the muscle confusion concept.
- Food and Supplements - In the end even if you apply the best muscle confusion principles you are what you eat! Technically food is for fuel only. Fill it with garbage then you produce garbage. I explain more about this in my blog about keeping your diet simple.
What Exactly Do I Do For Muscle Confusion?
I personally have a large library of at home fitness programs like P90X, Insanity, Les Mills Pump, Insanity The Asylum, Turbofire, P90X2 etc. They are all muscle confusion workout programs. Therefore I can constantly change my routine so I never hit a plateau and keep applying the muscle confusion routine concept. Don’t get caught in a rut. Change it up!! Think outside the box. When you keep your body confused and constantly change it up muscle confusion will work to your advantage! As you can see it did for me!