Every now and then the question comes up as to why I train so unconventionally. For those of you who have never trained with me, what this means is that we not only do your typical gym work with barbells, dumbbells, and body weight fun (push ups, pull ups, lunges, step ups, etc.), but we use ropes, tires, hammers, logs, rocks and pretty much anything else that could be used as resistance. Well, there's a pretty basic, straight forward answer to why I train this way, and a little more detailed one. So, let's go over them.
The number one reason I like to incorporate all this stuff is because it's fun. Imagine if your exercise program consisted of only running, or going to a gym with your earphones in and a magazine, hitting the elliptical and the circuit machines. Well, if you've never done anything else, I'm sure you might think that is fun, and that's cool. I would just challenge pretty much anyone to come out with a good group of peers and run around outside throwing, catching, climbing, jumping, crawling and everything else the body can do and NOT tell me it was fun. And if you think it's the worst thing in the world and want to opt for the air-conditioned machine circuit, ok, cool. But 9 out of 10 people end up having a pretty eye-opening and positive experience doing this stuff. It's my belief that it is human nature to be intensely active, using every movement and object the body and mind can find. My proof of this (aside from the many studies showing the health benefits of being in the sun, trying new things, and being active in general) lies mostly in watching children. Have you ever really known kids in general to NOT run around and find pretty much anything to play with? They are constantly finding fun, innovative ways to use objects for play and you can just see the natural athleticism the human body possesses when watching kids just do their thing. Unfortunately, however, as we all get older, we become "too grown up" do be so imaginative and to PLAY. So, instead of continuing the trend in what people think they are SUPPOSED to do to stay fit, I like to introduce FUN into their training. When training is fun, it becomes more of a lifestyle than a chore. It becomes something you look forward to and yearn for in your life rather than something that weighs you down and stresses you out.
That's one reason we use innovative methods to workout. And honestly, that would be good enough reason for me! But, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are so caught up in NOT wanting to take on a little extra challenge for whatever reason who would like to hear more. No problem.
Continued adaptation. Physical and mental growth through the adaptation of new stresses on the body and mind. And then, translating new-found abilities to life's challenges. Think of it from an educational stand-point. The best education is one that forces your mind to struggle with topics, issues, memorization, confusion, problems and so on. Without all of that, how else would you learn? Growth comes in the form of intense challenge and this can be seen in any aspect of life. School, work, relationships, and of course, health and fitness. Say you go out for a run 4 days a week. you run the same course, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes at 6 am, other times at 6:30am. Yes, this is still better than sitting around doing nothing, but ultimately your body adapts to the demand and stops growing/changing/gaining because there is no longer any actual stress to it. But if you one day decide to climb 4 trees during your run, and another day add squats, push ups and sit ups to your run; and another day make it interval running where you function at 100% for short bursts between recovery jogs, you will see dramatically different and positive gains. This is because you are constantly challenging your body in new ways. Demanding it to adapt to an ever-changing selection of stresses. This is how a healthy life is lead, am I wrong? There will always be stresses in your life, both physically and mentally. Just like anything in life, if you prepare properly, the stresses that are presented become less daunting because you have allowed your body and mind overcome even greater stresses on a regular basis. All of a sudden you are not helpless no matter what the situation calls for; whether it be a survival situation, a life-saving situation, or simply moving a heavy box or playing with your child.
As a fitness professional who has coached a pretty diverse collection of people, and who has traveled around a good bit and met all sorts of people, I have found that most injuries later on in life are because of an inability to handle an extreme stress. Examples: the back giving out trying to lift/move something, twisting/breaking an ankle, overuse of an imbalanced joint and on and on. What might surprise all of you that have had any of these issues, the excuse of "just getting older" doesn't necessarily have to apply. Exercise INTELLIGENTLY, eat well, get your sleep, and HAVE FUN, and it wouldn't surprise me if most of your "growing too old" issues start to go away. I mean, I've seen this "miracle" occur in just about every single person I have met who lives the lifestyle just described.
So, if you think its pointless to do unconventional things, or you find it intimidating, or stupid, why not take a few moments out of you "so much better life" and just give it a try. Maybe you'll find yourself smiling, laughing, sweating, feeling proud and wanting to do more. Maybe you'll remember how important it is to PLAY, no matter how old and serious you are.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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