What is the goal of your exercise?  Why do you choose to exercise as you do?  Are you trying to accomplish a goal in the next few weeks or few years?  What about the goal you are trying to accomplish with the very set you are doing right now?


Exercise is a process.  A process of challenging your body with a specific stimulus in an attempt to create a specific adaptation.  The adaptation is what we typically consider to be the result.

Sometimes it takes longer for your body to adapt.  Sometimes adaptation occurs rapidly.  But the process of first challenging the body with a specific stimulus always remains intact.

The more specific we can be with the stimulus, the more specific we can be with the adaptation.  While we often know specifically what we want the end to be, more times than not we lack that specificity with the stimulus.  This creates a frustrating cycle of desiring a precise output despite providing a general input.

Think of it like driving your car to the grocery store.  Depending on where you live, there may only be one way to get there.  However, many of us have multiple ways to get to the same store.  We can choose the one that requires the least amount of time.  We may take the roads that have the best scenery.  We might decide to avoid some roads because of a certain stoplight we’d have to face or toll we would have to pay.

While the ending is the same, the process of getting can be completely different based on what our goal is.  Regardless, if we know what our goal is, we can strategically choose the route that best suits our needs.

Now, imagine that you needed to go to the grocery store, but you didn’t consider any of the above variables.  In fact, you just got in your car and started driving.  You weren’t even cognizant of which direction you were going or where you were relative to the store.  Would that be a frustrating trip to get groceries, especially if you really needed them?


The latter scenario is often the one we present ourselves with when we exercise.  We may know what the end goal is, but we have no idea how to get there.  We just start moving around and hope that we will get to where we want to go.  Eventually, we get frustrated with the process of putting forth effort without seeing the results we want.

And that is completely understandable.  It is a frustrating thing to be trying, truly trying, to reach your goals but feel like you are getting nowhere.  Sometimes, though, all it takes is a little guidance to point you in the right direction so you can start cruising towards your desired finish line.

At Muscle Activation Schaumburg, we specialize in one on one personal training and Muscle Activation Techniques™.  We help our clients exercise for life and reach their goals of improved health and quality of life.  If you feel like you are driving in circles trying to reach your goal, we would love to help steer you in the right direction.

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Charlie Cates

Char­lie Cates, M.S. is a Muscle Activation Techniques® Master Specialist (MATm), an MATRx® Full Body Specialist, a mastery level Resistance Training Specialist® (RTSm), and a Cer­ti­fied Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Charlie attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 2010, where he played varsity basketball for four years. In 2016 he graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Master of Science degree in exercise science. A type-1 diabetic, he is the owner of Muscle Activation Schaumburg in Schaumburg, IL. He is an instructor for the Muscle Activation Techniques® program, introducing students of all different backgrounds to the MAT® process. Charlie specializes in managing and improving the function of his clients’ muscular system through the MAT® process and utilizing RTS® principles. He can be reached via e-mail at charlie@matschaumburg.com. Fol­low him on Instagram at @CharlieCates!