There are so many ways to work out these days; it can be hard to choose. Some regimens focus on calorie burning, some focus on endurance, some gyms just let you go at it alone with no guidance and on the other spectrum others supervise you’re every move. With so many ways to work out, what should we do? As always that depends on what our goals are. My fitness journey began with Arnold, looks and “big guns” as my motivation, but after much pain, injury and little result, I started asking “how should I exercise to get healthier and feel better.” Much to my surprise the answer to the second question made the biggest change in my physique and has done so for thousands of others. You see healthier people are more fit and more functional (useful) because they can lift, run, squat, endure, hold as well as feel great. So the answer of how you should workout to feel your best also equals how you should work out to LOOK your best!
This is one thing you need to know before we continue: the healthiest humans that have ever lived are/were hunter gatherers who moved (functionally), ate unprocessed foods from the earth and lived in tribes where community and contribution is/was an essential part of life.
Knowing that a hunter gatherer lifestyle produces the healthiest human beings is incredible because that information gives us a reference standard and guides our education curriculum at SBFC and IF, ensuring that there are reasons for everything we do and recommend. This is also why we recommend FUNCTIONAL FITNESS as the best form of exercise for health.
Functional fitness is defined as movements using natural, universal motor recruitment patterns, in which there is a wavelike contraction from a person’s core out to the extremities, eliciting a powerful neuroendocrine (nervous system and hormonal) response and enabling people to move their body or objects quickly and safely. Basically functional fitness trains movements NOT muscles.
It is core centered, excellent at burning fat, building strength, is super safe and can be applied to everyday life, making YOUR LIFE EASIER. For example, one of the hallmark moves of functional fitness is the SQUAT. Done properly this move strengthens knees, hips, low backs and is a tremendous abdominal workout. This move is so practical in everyday life that it is nearly impossible to go a day without doing one, but most people do it improperly wreaking havoc on all the parts listed above. By training movements, functional fitness programs MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER because you learn to use your body efficiently while teaching you what you can and cannot do, which is super helpful when life throws something heavy to lift your way.
Another thing you need to know is that intensity not time is most important for getting your body to respond to what you are doing. Once you have your form down, working hard = results! Plain and simple to get the most bang for your buck (beauty for your body) interval training is a necessity. This is the type of exercise that IF excels at especially in a safe environment because when you push, there is a tendency to let your form go, which = injury, slow progress, pain and poor results. (goodbye abs).
Thirdly, the broadest spectrum of movement is very important if you want that well defined formed body with the V or hourglass figure. The more varied your program, the better adapted your body will be for life and for looks.
Lastly, lifting heavy stuff is also important for its hormone release and strength gains. Humans were created/evolved for life and life requires lifting things. Sure we have engineered out much of our required lifting, but that doesn’t mean our body has benefited from that. Not lifting is a sure fire way to ensure you can’t lift. The strength gained from lifting heavy things will carry over to make your life easier and the act of lifting sends powerful messages to your system telling it to add muscle and burn fat. This is exactly what gives the figures that most of us want. You should be lifting to improve your STRENGTH to WEIGHT ratio, that will ensure you look and feel strong but will not get bulky like an strongman.
Look for programs like we have at Innate Fitness or at a Crossfit near you. Make sure they take form seriously and get after it. The results will keep you at it for a lifetime!
Train Functionally 4 Health,
Dr. Nicholas Araza CCWP