The reason why I ask this question is because if you don’t know why, then why are you doing it. If you know why you are doing something then there is value in the thing you are doing. As you can guess, since this is a blog devoted to fitness, I am going to relate all this to your fitness life, or at lest give it the old college try.
I was thinking a little while back to why I workout and why do I care about my health (other then the reason that it’s what I make my living doing). If you have been reading this blog for some time then you can guess that I love food, and I am not talking steaks and chicken, I am talking Ben & Jerry’s and Twix. The more filled with simple sugars the better, I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I got sweet teeth.
This love of sweet things has led me down a path of laziness and obesity in the past. Don’t believe me? Here are the pictures to prove it. When I was in 5th grade I weighed a nice 175 and strutted one horrid hair cut, don’t know which one was worse for my self esteem, being over weight or the hair cut. With my pre dinner snack consisting of a two pound bag of Swedish Fish and crushing bags of Saltine crackers I was able to get to 260 by my freshmen year of high school.
During my school years I was never comfortable with the way I looked. I tried different things to make myself feel less fat. I remember wearing Hawaiian shirts because they were loose fitting and made me feel less big. When Under Armor first came out I would always wear one of their dry fits under my shirts since they made me feel thinner.
I started hitting the weight room four days a week as a freshman in high school. Slowly the weight started coming off. By the time I was a senior I was down to 215. After my freshman year in college I decided to change up my diet and started eating healthier and dropped down to a solid 195 and 10% body fat with a good diet and hard work, to put this in perspective the last time I weighed 195 I was in 7th grade. With all this weight loss I gained confidence in myself and have become comfortable with who I am.
So my answer to the question “why I do what I do”: I did what I did back then to feel better about who I was and gain confidence. I do what I do now because I don’t want to go back to being the old me, each day I want to be a little better then the me of yesterday.
So why do you do what you do?
Is it to be able to play with your kid, to wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say, “who’s that sexy beast, O that’s right, its me”, or it could be you just want to be the best you, you can be.
Whatever your reasoning is for living a healthy life style, don’t forget why you do it.
The past two weekends I have been away at conferences. There was the Elite Training Workshop at Cressey Performance and the NSCA Maine State Conference at the University of New England. Oh, and I was also an invited speaker for the UNE research symposium.
Let me just dust my shoulders off before proceeding.
What this all means is me spending a total combined time of roughly 24 hours sitting in cheap plastic unsupportive chairs, which has done wonders for my back. Luckily it paid off with me cramming my mind full of new ideas and knowledge, and a couple of cool drawstring swag bagz, spelled with a “Z”. Score!
Since all this new knowledge has been bestowed upon me, I will also let you drink from the cup of knowledge. Sorry, I can’t give all of you cool free drawstring swag bagz as well, but if it makes you feel better I would if I could.
Assessments, They’re Important
You have probably heard the saying “if you’re not assessing your guessing”, well it rhymes so it’s right.
When you are working with a new client, how are you supposed to know their past history and how they move, if you don’t do an assessment? The assessment should consist of some kind of questionnaire that delves into the past history of activities and injuries, along with some kind of movement screen.
From this information you can pull areas of weakness and exercises that they should and should not be doing.
If you are part of a gym that does not have coaches that can perform a full assessment, I would recommend you look into the self movement screen. This will at least give you some idea of some imbalances that you may have that you are unaware of.
So don’t guess, assess.
Look at the Demands of A Sport
Every sport requires a different skill set. There may be some overlapping between sports, but there is some facet of the game that makes it unique and that is why baseball and soccer have different names.
Baseball pitchers don’t have to run a lot so why go for 5 mile runs? Same with hockey players and football players, they are all quick explosive sports. Running long distance is the antithesis of this.
Side Note: I just used a big word in my writing and did not even have to find it in a thesaurus – little win.
Looking at overall energy demands of a sport is important, but it is also important to look at the movements that are used in the sport. Look at the work to rest ratio, the explosive vs. non explosive movement, and linear and lateral movements. A program should take all this into consideration.
Train for Effect
Well this sounds like a no brainer. Everyone who works out is training for some kind of effect, whether that is strength, fat loss, or sexiness. Everyone is training for an effect. So what does this mean?
When you write your exercise program you should not just think of exercises as movements that strengthen muscle groups – anyone can do that. I could pick any meathead in the gym to write me a program to get me stronger and there is a good chance some of my weights would go up, this doesn’t mean it was a good program.
There should be a purpose for each exercise. You have depressed shoulders so you program exercises X, Y, and Z to help fix that; your core is weak so you program this exercise over that exercise. The point is you want your exercises to cause an effect, its not just sets and reps with bench, squat, and deadlifts. Writing a good exercise program is so much more than that.
Think about the effect you want to cause.
Base of Aerobic Fitness
This is an idea that I guess I have always known but never actually put much thought into it. Your base of aerobic fitness is what allows you to progress to more strenuous activities, like sprinting. Without a base the individual will have nothing to build off of.
For example if you have a client, or you yourself have not had any form of training in over a year, you can not expect them to know how to pace themselves. By developing an aerobic base first, this will lead to better endurance, allowing them to do more work. Once you, or your clients, have an idea of how to pace yourselves then you can move on to harder activities.
What I mean by pacing is that a sprint should not be the same speed as a jog and visa versa. Without an aerobic base you and your clients may not know the difference or be at a fitness level to perform at a higher level. So get that base and then build off of it.
Ice Cream, Hot Dogs, and Omega 3’s
What do all three of these things have in common? Well, nothing really, except ice cream and hot dogs are not the healthiest food choices. So what is omega 3’s doing linked with these two outlaws of food health.
With our ability to inject almost anything into any food, we now have the ability to put omega 3’s into any food we want to. This includes foods like ice cream and hot dogs. So now my junk food will have some resemblance of being good for me.
So instead of taking fish oil pills I can now just eat some ice cream to get my daily recommended value of omega 3’s. And people can now say, “It’s ok that I eat ice cream every day because it’s good for me.” Let me just say, and this is my last point, a part does not make a whole. Just because something has some healthy part to it does not make it inherently good for you.
PRI Is A Lot of Smart
After hearing about PRI (Postural Restoration Institute) I now fully understand what the phrase “drinking from a fire hose” means. What is PRI? Well it was developed by some smart PT by the name of Ron Hruska.
Their principles are: “To explore and explain the science of postural adaptations, asymmetrical patterns and influence of polyarticular chains of muscles on the human body. To develop an innovative treatment approach that addresses the primary contributions of postural kinematic movement dysfunction.”
Intriguing right? Sounds like a whole lot of smart to me, something that I will have to look into.
These are some of the big things that I learned over the past two weeks. So assess, don’t guess, look at what the sport demands, train for an effect, get that aerobic base, ice cream is awesome but still not good for you no matter how you dress it up, and PRI, that is just smart.