Welcome back to day 3 of 5 talking about the “5 Factors of Health”, today we are talking about training. Many of you reading this are going to be familiar with a lot of this information already. Or at least you know that regular exercise is important. If you have happened to land here from a Google Search and are wondering if strength training is right for you…it is, keep reading.
Long gone are the days when strength training was viewed as something only for jocks and meatheads. We now know that resistance training has far more benefits than just looking better at the beach. In fact, looking better at the beach is really just a side benefit of what is actually going on inside of you. Resistance training protects bone health and keeps or builds muscle mass, it is far more effective at shedding body fat than mere “cardio” alone, and maybe most importantly can prevent chronic disease…things like heart problems, cancer, diabetes…it can even reverse some of these illnesses. There really is no debate anymore, strength training is for EVERYONE.
But what can be a little more confusing is how to train. Just like nutrition one of the problems with the internet is that there is too much information out there, and most of it is just someone trying to sell you something (says the guy writing a blog about training on his gym’s website, i know). But the science is in, what was once thought to be speculation is now irrefutable fact. Functional movements done at relatively high intensity are radically more effective at eliciting nearly any desired result when compared to the old standard of isolation movements combined with excessive bouts of “cardio”. Isolation movements (think bicep curl) have been replaced by compound movements (think pull up), and extended aerobic sessions (think 45 mins on the elliptical) have been replaced with interval training (think sprints). And the fitness world is better for it.
So we know that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective way to train, but there’s another part not to be overlooked, and that is variance. Humans are amazingly adaptable machines, what we do often we get better at. But that can be a detriment as well in the sense that we can become really good at something at the expense of everything else. If all you ever do is run really far, then that is all you will be good at. Similarly, if all you do is deadlift heavy weight, then that is all you will be good at. Since life is completely unpredictable we argue that it would be best to do a little bit of everything. A human being should be able to run, jump, swim, get down to the ground and back up safely, lift heavy things, push things, pull things, climb things, etc…and to do all of those things, we need to practice all of those things. Training with intentional variance prepares us for life better than anything else.
Now that we know how to train let’s talk about a few things to keep in mind while you train.
1. Knowing your “Why” goes a long way:
One of the most important aspects of training is knowing why you train. Once you know why you are training a lot of your decisions at the gym are made for you. If you’re training to be an Olympic athlete your trajectory, intensity, and commitment need to be much higher than if you’re training for lifelong fitness. If you’re training to reverse or manage a chronic disease your goals are going to be much different than the 20 year old Marine in class with you. Your “why” can and should be a powerful motivator, but it should also be a compass to orient you in the right direction.
2. It’s not only about what you do at the gym:
Many well meaning people fall short of their goals because they overlook this piece of the equation. Training is a massive part of reaching your goals but other stuff goes with it. You can work out as hard as you want but if your nightly dinner consists of pizza and beer you’re not going to get the results you want. To become who you want to be you’re going to have to start focusing on things like nutrition, sleep, recovery, mindset, etc…(if only there were a series of blogs to help you with that…).
3. It should be fun:
Fun is a huge part of exercise for one simple reason, if you are not having fun you’re not going to stick with it for very long. This is why we love small group training. It allows us to get personalized coaching while still maintaining team like camaraderie, competition, and fun between members.
There is way too much about training to cover in one blog post but I hope I’ve cleared some things up. For a more in-depth look at training check out the podcast below. As always please feel free to reach out with any questions.
Chasing Excellence Podcast – “Ten Principles of training”
Stay strong my friends