‘No-man’s land’ origins as a war term describing idle geographical areas – no occupation by either side, no action. This is not about war or warring or defense budgets (nor meant to skew one gender). The origin of my no-man’s land was waiting…and waiting and waiting for a machine at the gym while the user completed 4 sets of 60 reps – yes, 60. I had nothing else to do but count! ‘No-man’s land’ herein is a figure of speech to describe idle gym routines – those with only cursory engagement so likely to induce (only) comparatively cursory benefit. Note to self – If the cross bar of the leg extension machine bounces off your shin at the peak of extension you are not using enough weight – this is cursory engagement…

Please don’t get me wrong – I cede machines because I can find others to use, or happily share. In this instance it was a machine I’ve found especially useful for not irritating my joints. I’m also respectful toward my fellow gym attendees and hopeful each is able to notch their ‘Footprint as best possible. But it dawned on me while I was waiting…and waiting and waiting that all too often we seem to wander into the vortex of no-man’s land because we lack a plan that outlines (optimum) benefit-producing engagement. I hesitate to say this means wasted time, buuut it does unnecessarily cap results, which over time risks your motivation.

Yep, it’s all about protecting and fostering your motivation, and here is the good news. In the scheme of things this is very correctable, in fact it is easy to correct. You have the hard part down – you are there! Now, cement your ‘there-ness’ by engaging according to principles known to yield optimum results:

1. Use sufficient weight to induce muscular growth – strength or mass. Whether doing lower (5-8) or higher (9-12) reps to achieve your goal, use enough weight so the last repetition is difficult to complete.**
2. Do cardio with sufficient intensity that you get your heart rate into your target heart rate zone.**

Beige is a fine color, I happen to like lukewarm water, treading water can be good exercise, sometimes the best vote is to abstain, and putting your car into neutral while waiting for the light to change can save gas. But avoid the gym’s no-man’s land to optimize your results and protect your ‘there-ness.’

**Consult with a qualified fitness professional if you need help or have questions about target heart rate and/or appropriate weight training.