Science has been the savior of humanity, and we can employ the same principles in exercise to achieve maximum benefits. Exercising requires commitment, which can be broken easily when one is not getting the desired results. While the physical manifestation of the benefits of exercise will not be realized in few days, going to the gym every day coupled with observing a strict diet may be discouraging if after several months one cannot point to changes in his or her body.
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Unfortunately, this scenario occurs in many cases, and people give up their quest for toned bodies or healthy living. Coming up with the right training culture is both a science and an art. You can call it an artistic science. While there are numerous time-tested training programs based on scientific proof, what works for one individual may not necessarily work for another. As such, picking the right program to fit into one’s preferences and training responses is an art that is learned with time. Remember, exercising should be fun, and nothing accomplishes that other than a self-developed program that yields the desired results.
So, how can we use a scientific approach to develop working training programs for ourselves? The answer is simple. We need to follow the laid down scientific procedures to tailor personal programs. The conventional scientific method will have the development of the hypothesis, testing of the same, data collection and analysis, test/retest phase, and conclusions indicating areas that can be improved (Foster et al., 2016).
Under hypothesis development, you need to state the goals that you are trying to achieve together with the methods that will be used. Try as much as you can to remain objective while stating your hypothesis and avoid non-specific questions, and statements like 100 pushups every morning will make me stronger.
In hypothesis testing, you should adopt methods that you are familiar with, and they must be repeatable. Any scientific approach should be systematic, and so are your methods (Tamminen & Poucher, 2018). The repeatability aspect allows the body to adapt to the program under study. As such, the chosen method should be repeated for enough time to show some results. Otherwise, concluding that a certain muscle-building technique is not working after three weeks is amateurish and unscientific. The goal here is to ensure that the results gained are purely based on the adopted method and nothing else.
The third step, which entails data collection, is the easiest of all. You simply need to keep a journal and indicate everything associated with the training program under development. Things to note include sleep patterns, diet, sets, reps, and workouts, among other variables. You can even indicate other subjective measures like mood or motivations. In the fourth step, you have to test and retest the different exercises involved in the program. As such, you should create baseline testing. For instance, if you are seeking to improve on numbers, you need to test the task, measure, complete the program, and then retest under the same conditions.
Finally, under the conclusion, you need to reflect on the program and evaluate what you did by putting the results in context. Did you achieve your goals? If not, can the reason be explained using the collected data? Identify some of the issues that you have learned throughout the process and see where you can improve. Make sure you acknowledge what the data you have collected is showing as opposed to forcing it to appear in a certain way that confirms your cognitive bias.
Foster, C., Anholm, J., Best, T., Boullosa, D., Cress, M., Koning, J., … Seiler, S. (2016). Scientific discovery and its role in sports science. Kinesiology, 48(2), 274-284.
Tamminen, K., & Poucher, Z. (2017). Open science in sport and exercise psychology: Review of current approaches and considerations for qualitative inquiry. Psychology of Sports and Exercise, 36(1), 17-28.