Stop doing repetitions

Android 16 Anthony Mychal Don't Do Repetitions

Develop an allergy to sameness. Repetition without growth is merely progress. Machines make progress. Humans grow.

Raam Dev

I read this quote. Naturally the word “repetition” caught my eye. I’ve thought a lot about repetitions in my life. Sets. Loading schemes. Periodization.

I’ve obsessed over repetitions.

But this quote tripped a fuse. I always saw repetitions as . . . erhm . . . repetitions. Like a person working on an assembly line in a factory. Same thing over and over and over and over.

Just like reps during training. Same thing over and over and over and over.

But what happens when repetitions turn into “growths?”

Three sets of eight growths.

Meaning that every “repetition” gives you some sort of experience you never had before. Every new rep builds upon how you grew from the last rep. And by that definition, it’s never the same thing over and over and over.

And perceptually? Every “repetition” is a growth. A physical growth. A mental growth.

Think about each repetition as an experience. Not a number.

Machines repeat.

Humans grow.

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rick December 2, 2014, 5:42 pm

    Interesting point. I was just thinking about squats and how many moving parts there are besides weight and reps and what are the other ways I try to improve from week to week. Whether it be mobility, depth, posture, form, etc. Sometimes some experimentation and feedback is necessary to progress, not just doing more of what I did last time.

    • Anthony December 8, 2014, 9:04 pm


  • Raam Dev December 5, 2014, 12:48 am

    That’s a great way of thinking about it, Anthony! The way I see it is that machines repeat actions without change, whereas humans–especially if they think of each repetition as an experience to be learned from, analyzed, studied, built upon–have the potential to change with each repetition, to grow from one repetition to the next.

    I’ve done a fair share of study in the field of body building (see my transformation a decade ago) and one thing that stuck with me is that if you lift the same amount of weight over and over and over, eventually your body adapts. Your muscles grow to handle whatever weight is challenging them and then… they stop. They stop growing. To continue making the muscles stronger, you must continuously challenge them. You must keep changing the repetitions. (This is true whether strength or endurance is the goal.)

    The same can be said for anything else in our lives where repetition is involved. By developing an allergy to sameness, we ensure that any repetition in our lives gets analyzed for areas where we can change things up.

    • Anthony December 8, 2014, 9:03 pm

      Thanks for replying, man! Good stuff, too. Antifragility, as Taleb would say. Something I’ve written about lots. But a definite expansion upon the quote in a body context.

  • Dirtyy December 5, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Love love love the opening quote. This is such a simple and eloquent article. Perfectly said.

    And is that a sketch of Andriod 16 up there? Very nice touch. Gentle yet powerful.

    • Anthony December 8, 2014, 9:02 pm

      Hah. I was hoping at least ONE person would get the 16 reference. You’re the man.

  • João December 7, 2014, 9:38 am

    Reading this makes me think about jujimufu’s article on logs and Journals. Just writing down what you did is not enough, to improve reflection is necessary. Just mindlessly repeating a movement pattern is not enough, being in the moment for every repetition turns it into a growth experience.

    • Anthony December 8, 2014, 9:01 pm

      Juji is a good man and a good friend. I agree.