Variety is the spice of life. Your fitness routine is no exception to that phenomenon.
"What type of exercise should I be doing?" Steven, Mike and I have been asked this question several thousand times over the courses of our respective careers. Our collective answer? "The one you like to do."
This blog, in its entirety, is steered more towards those who may not exactly know what they want to do in fitness, or if they even want anything to do in fitness. It is also for those who wish to learn more about health-related and clinically relevant exercise science. We hope it also helps improve communications between trainers and clients beyond the superficial. After all, you ARE paying for an hour dedicated towards your health!
With that being said, if you are picking up what we have been putting down thus far, your outlook towards fitness may start to appear as follows:
1. Planning ahead is cool!
2. Mobility work is essential!
3. Strength training is for everyone!
Now, we have arrived at the place that sometimes people put first, even before all of the above
steps. That is totally cool, by the way. We are talking here of course about conditioning work.Cardio. HIIT. Intervals. Aerobics. Fitness class. Running. Cycling. Swimming.Rowing. You get the point.
You may have tried one, none, some or all of the above modes of exercise to "burn calories."
Calories in versus calories out, right? Not quite. But we do want to harness that impulse that drives you to want to be more active. We would be well-served to channel that energy into a longer-term plan. Realistically, with focus and a bit of consistency, you can adopt this plan in three to six months. Then the positive benefits start to really show, the process more automated. For life.
*Check out The Phyt Chick's recent post - http://thephytchick.com/2017/02/24/441/ - on how to incorporate strength training into your already-existent class-based fitness regimen for more info on reverse-engineering this process.
So, back to calories in, calories out. Life would be much simpler in black-and-white, but as modern cinema tells us, there are at least 50 shades of grey.
These grey areas make up 99% of life. Did you know there are over 300 chemical reactions involved in the conversions for use and storage of sugar? Did you also know that over 90% of facts are made up? I'll let you figure out if that one is real or fake.
The point is, our bodies are even more (beautifully) complex than the cars we drive. How many of us can describe exactly what goes on in our cars when we turn on the engine and when we drive, the process from gas pedal to engine to exhaust?
A "simple" picture of "calories in, calories out," or rather, how our bodies use our food:
Black-and-white clarity is on the bookends of life, but very rarely ever met. In the world of physiology, that type of clarity might be reserved for the single most trained and least trained athletes, respectively, on the planet, for any given activity.
That brings us to this week's point (besides Tapas, of course), a question for you to ask yourself: "What type of athlete am I?"
Not a question you likely ask yourself. If you are already an athlete, you know this answer. If you are not an athlete, then you are not an athlete. But you CAN be!!
Since mobility work and strength training can be for everyone, it is our chosen type(s) of cardiovascular training that can often determine the road on which we travel towards maximal fitness.
Top power athletes and anaerobic athletes (think American Football, Power Lifters, Olympic Throwers) may prefer shorter, more intense conditioning bouts that are also often time-efficient.
On the other hand, some people who are more aligned with endurance athletes (think Running, Cycling, Cross Country Skiing, fitness classes longer than 20 minutes) like the longer, more moderate-intensity stuff. [If you have questions here because your "high-intensity" fitness class doesn't fit into this model, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Then there are those of us who fall in the middle, and maybe dabble in both (think Tennis, Soccer, Basketball, Boxing).
*Utilizing both anaerobic and aerobic cardio is like tapas for exercise!
Variety IS the spice of life, after all. And for balance of health, it may be the best answer for most of us. How to apply it, is still specific to your scenario.
Next week, we will take this concept a step further.