Every exercise and diet plan, personal trainer and nutritional guru, promises to get people into better shape but just what constitutes this amorphous concept?
There’s no doubt that for the consumer and the personal trainer/fitness professional getting into shape, better shape or the best shape possible can all mean different things. Strength training, body building, aerobics classes and spinning all may contribute to getting into better shape but by themselves, or without support from a healthful eating routine, the effects of these activities are limited.
Depending on who is making the promise – personal trainer, diet guru, celebrity – this notion of improvement can mean different things as well. For as much as people would like to believe that every strength coach and personal trainer knows what they are talking about, the reality is that there are a lot of bad ideas, theories and practices floating around out there that come from fitness professionals. There are also some good ideas that can be debated; schools of thought that aren’t flat-out wrong but that there is disagreement about.
Strength training principles – a good thing – can be improperly applied, thus canceling/eliminating their positive effects. Aerobic activities are frequently over-used, which can lead to a whole host of negatives.
Here’s what I think getting into good/better/best shape means and should be.
Actually, check that. I’ll give you a few ideas of what getting fit shouldn’t be about. Getting into shape shouldn’t be about attaining a certain weight or a clothes size. The emphasis and/or motivation of a strength-training program should not be to transform one’s body. Being in good shape or improving your conditioning has nothing to do with attaining bigger arms, a slimmer waist, and/or “longer” muscles.
Getting into shape isn’t about appearance, working out like a slave 5 days a week and following a regimen as if you were a cloistered monk. Now back to how I define getting into better shape. I feel that my approach is the best approach; improve your capability, work hard, work smart, eat a balanced meal, get enough down time and rest and everything will take care of itself. You can’t change your genetics no matter how many hours a week you train.
Forget about the scale and the tape measurer and how the media promotes Hollywood’s ideal of health and fitness. Over the past 30-plus years I have seen the problems associated with worrying about appearance and how this creates a situation of form over function. This philosophy is a recipe for failure and disappointment. The bottom line is that if you want to be able to do more and fit into your clothes better, spend less time exercising but train a little harder.
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Do you want to be able to get down on the floor and play with your kids or grandkids and then be able to get back up on your own? Do you want to learn how to do real push-ups and pull-ups? As an aside, a person who can’t do multiple sets of real push-ups in sets of at least 10 repetitions is not truly in shape no matter what else they can do.
There’s no age barrier to being able to accomplish this. If you want to learn how to take care of yourself and improve with every workout than you need to be here. If you’re hung up on what the scale reads, getting six-pack abs or on killing yourself in the gym what I have to say isn’t for you. I don’t really want to spend my time trying to change people’s minds; I’m here to help the folks who realize the popular concept of fitness isn’t for them and might be wrong.
I want people who are frustrated by the message that’s been shoved down their throats that thin is in, fitness equals appearance and that living a healthy lifestyle needs to be a full-time job. Don’t be a victim of the fitness media and their diet/exercise program/health tip of the month mentality. Embark on a program of enlightenment and I’ll teach you how to take care of yourself and how to feel better about it.
You will be empowered and won’t waste time, money and effort pursuing an unattainable and unrealistic goal. You can’t do all of this overnight. Be patient and be willing to learn and you will reap the benefits. The old saying, “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, but teach someone how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime,” pertains here. I’m going to teach you how to fish.
Getting into shape means different things to different people, and now that I’ve told you where I stand, I hope you decide to join me. If you want to learn how to do exercises and workouts that you never thought that you’d be able to do, become part of what I’m doing here.
If you’re sick of hearing from so-called experts that you can’t eat this, you have to eat that, that your Body Mass Index is too high, or that you weigh too much, I’m here to tell you that you’ve found a home.