Building a Body

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Muscle Confusion? April 2, 2009

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to working out and eating for weight loss.  (Maybe the oreos spawned that, who knows.)  One topic that kept coming up was muscle confusion.  Hmmmm, I thought.  This sounds interesting.

The idea behind muscle confusion is that if you keep doing the same exercise, day in and day out, the muscles get used to it and stop working at their peak (read–no more weight loss).  I kind of figured that out on my own after weeks of the bodybuilding diet and weight pumping.  Unless I was willing to do competition type eating and lifting, I was gonna go nowhere.  I know some girls who do competitions, and as it draws nearer, they literally have a diet of egg white for breakfast (notice I said egg white not egg whites), lettuce and fish for lunch (also notice I mentioned no salad dressing….plain), a small handful of almonds in the afternoon before their workout (the little bit of fat in them is what they fuel the lifting off of), followed by more lettuce and fish for dinner.  WELL. No way, Hosea.

So, I decided to explore the idea of muscle confusion, and started looking for a dvd that incorporated it.  I already knew that I needed to change up the workouts weekly.  Right now I run a couple of days a week, do at least one day of power yoga, two days where I lift serious weights,  and one day where I do something else like kickboxing or circuit training.  Sometimes it’s hard to plan the circuit training workouts on my own, though, even though I used to have a personal trainer license.  The ideal way to do it is to allow little rest between the cardio and weight exercises, moving quickly from one to another.  Well damn my 44 year old brain it’s hard to concentrate and remember the series I’m working on sometimes, so I thought a dvd would be a great idea–let someone else do the planning, and I’d do the work.

A friend recommended that I try the Biggest Loser’s female trainer, Jillian Michaels.  She has done lots of books and dvds, and I like her philosophy and training methods she utilizes on the show.  She’s a no-nonsense, take no prisoners kind of gal.  So this weekend while at Barnes and Noble for my book club, I picked up the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. 

The dvd has three workouts on it…Levels 1, 2, and 3.  I generally work out at least 4-5 days a week and had run three miles the day before, so I was tempted to go straight to level 2 or 3.  I watched the preview, and Jillian said to start with level 1, and as that got easy to move up.  I thought, what the heck, I can do level 1 and then also do level 2 if it’s too easy.  After all, the workouts are just over 20 minutes each….how hard could it be?

Oh….my……the next day it hurt to sit on the toilet.  I’m not kidding.  I am so glad I started at level 1, because that woman kicked my $#% big time.   That’s the last time I start feeling smug that I am getting in better shape.  This workout was a great big heads up that I still have a lot of work to do.  When I watch the Biggest Loser, I forget that these out of shape people are in the gym, daily, with Jillian, busting their chops for 6-7 hours.  I will not WHINE about a 20 something minute workout….I will not….I will not!

So, the muscle confusion issue did answer my question…..what to do to mix it up a little bit.  No matter if you think you’re a great runner, kickboxer, weight lifter, swimmer, etc., there’s always room for improvement.  I found out the hard way!  Kudos to Jillian……

Jillian the Badass

Jillian the Badass


12 Responses to “Muscle Confusion?”

  1. Jillian’s DVD should be entitled, “The Devil Wears Sweatpants”!!

    Pass the oreos…..

  2. Noe Noe Girl Says:

    You go girl! Right now I am on the Biggest Gainers list. I may have to hire you as my personal trainer!

  3. SusieQ Says:

    You are brave. Jillian is scary…

  4. MizFit Says:

    jillian is scary. but sadly smarty mc smartsmart too.
    muscle confusion is the way to go….

  5. Tania Says:

    Hi, Everything dynamic and very positively! 🙂

  6. Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  7. SonyaSunny Says:

    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.

  8. Michael Hoo Says:

    Great post, keep it up!

  9. Robin Says:

    Have you tried Crossfit yet? It’s ALL about muscle confusion. I just started 5 months ago and have noticed amazing results (prior to that I’ve mostly done endurance training, so it’s all new to me).

    • dwyatt64 Says:

      NO, I haven’t! Is it a dvd, a gym class, or what? I need to constantly change it up. Right now, I’m doing my own version of muscle confusion, with weights, cardio bursts (running up and down stairs between sets), etc.

  10. Robin Says:

    It’s a class you can take at a Crossfit gym (they’re everywhere), but you can also do it at home if you have some basic equipment. Check out

  11. Lucero Swank Says:

    I don’t use bar bells when I lift, but I still was able to implement what you wrote and use it for my own use. I workout on the weight machines. One thing tht I had a long time ago is that concentration is so important. I am not sure why not many people replied to this post. I just wanted to tell you that I agree with you. I appreciate the information, thanks.

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