Don’t Train to Failure II

For about a year, I trained at a boxing gym where we trained until we were ready to drop. A workout consisted of 30 minutes of warm-up exercises and calisthenic/body weight exercises, then 30 minutes of boxing drills. After the first 30 minutes, we were all standing in a puddle of our own sweat. Every so often someone would stagger to the side of the room, lean against the wall and slide to the floor.

We all understood that this was a real boxing gym and that this was no “box fit” class. At the end of the workout, we said things like “killer!” and “brutal!” and “insane!” We loved it.

After a year, I simply stopped going. It wasn’t that it was too hard or too dangerous.

It’s that it was unsustainable. When every workout pushes you to the limit, where do you go? A debate over the best overall fitness program is nothing more than hairsplitting–free weights vs. machines, Pilates vs. yoga, heavy vs. light, and so on. But a deciding factor is sustainability–can you see yourself doing this for the next 20 years? Will you reach a certain level and then stop?

Maybe this is one of the things that drives the fitness industry. People try something for a while, get restless or burnt out, then move on to something else. It’s not that it isn’t challenging; it’s that they plateau and have nowhere else to go.