Workouts create both immediate and long-term benefits.
However, if your goal is to establishing a new and sustainable change long-term benefits take priority over the short term for a simple reason – Adaptation.
Improving cardiovascular health, improving flexibility, losing weight and restoring function after an injury or surgery are all the long-term benefits and adaptation is the key.
Results in workouts are adaptations including mental, emotional and physical adaptations. When adaptations take hold, retaining results are much easier because you no longer have to strive to reach a new an unfamiliar state of experience, you live within it.
Let me give you three examples.
Weight Loss Workouts
A primary part of workout plans for weight loss is to safely create oxygen deficit during a workout session. One of the physical adaption within the body in response to oxygen deficit is a more efficient heart and lung function that is a cardiopulmonary adaptation. You recognize oxygen deficit when you begin to gasp for breath. Reaching this level of stress without your physicians input, prior training that includes ligament strengthening and eccentric exercise preparation is dangerous and creates maladaptation.
The other benefit in a well designed weight loss plan is change in mitochondrial density within your muscle cells. Increased mitochondrial density improves your basal metabolic rate (BMR) that allows your body to burn more calories even when you are not working out. Without this kind of adaption the weight loss benefit of your workout ends when your session ends.
Bodybuilding workouts break down the existing skeletal muscle fibers and allow them to rebuild. Part of that rebuilding structure is increased in thickness that is an adaption response to heavier workout resistance intensity. Without the increase in resistance intensity and the necessary rest, the restructuring does not happen.
Many times before an injury like in an Achilles tendon rupture, we experience reduced pain-free range of motion in the ankle. Examination of the fascia around the gastrocnemius muscle (calf muscle) and the Achilles’ tendon could be very painful.
To reduce chances of a rupture, ankle flexibility that include myofascial release technique create an adaptation response. This adaptation response shows up in a higher range of pain-free motion and elimination of trigger points.
What is the benefit of weight loss workout without increased mitochondrial density? Or a bodybuilding workout without an increase in skeletal muscle size? Or a flexibility workout without an increase in the pain-free range of motion?
One element that connects all workouts together to provide adaptation response is a sustained effort over time along a particular path without change.
Your goal, and a measurable starting baseline are necessary to determine if the workouts are effective in helping you reach your goals.
Following two questions help you get started.
- Do you have a specific adaption goal?
- Have you established a measurable starting baseline that could serve to measure your progress?