There are many folks out there who do not feel that aerobic exercise is important to perform if certain parameters are met during an individuals strength program, and to some degree, this may be true but not everyone trains the same way and some folks feel better when they are more active. There are many physical as well as intrinsic values from being active but that’s a story for another time so I digress and now on to my point.
More and more research is showing that a person can benefit greatly from applying a very simple approach to improving their overall fitness: Intermittent Fitness Training (IFT).
Allow me to explain. The Department of Health & Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week along with 2-3 strength training sessions to round out their health and fitness. If one were to simply approach their aerobic effort each and every day using a moderate approach, that would require an individual to perform some kind of activity for roughly 20 minutes. If one were to bump it up a notch, that would yield about 10 minutes a day of something a bit more intense. Of course, you can alternate activities and effort levels during the week to accommodate goals, energy levels, recovery, time, life, etc., etc. But now here’s the even better news: These periods of effort can be performed throughout the day and don’t need to be done all at one time. What that means is you can accumulate the benefits of exercise throughout the day, minimizing the block of time you once thought you needed to have so find time to go for a short, purposeful walk, take the bike out for a short spin, jump rope in the morning and a stroll later that night. You get the picture.
Remember, “A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing”
I pride myself on the fact that after nearly 40 years of being in the field of health and fitness, I still look forward to learning. Every day I read, observe, evaluate and innovate to improve what I can offer those entrusted to me. Over the many decades I have encountered countless trends (an issue I take great offense to as health is not a trend) and I have become disenchanted with the concepts of modern fitness. I continually see people taking the simplest of concepts and repeatedly convolute the “tried and true” merely for the sake of coming up with something new. The problem, folks, is that in developing these new fangled exercises and training approaches, these self-anointed gurus take little care or maybe better stated, have very little knowledge that most of what they are espousing aren’t the safest, most efficient and effective way of getting to where you want to go. Sure, variety is good, in fact, it’s necessary, but only to a certain degree. The “basics” are what have been around forever, have built strong bodies and minds and have been the backbone of health and fitness so please don’t be swayed by fancy and pretty because in the end you will always find that you are better off with what has been proven time and time again.
Tom: One thing that stands out about your programming is tailoring training parameters to the goals of the individual. I know that sounds obvious, but you’re ultra-inquisitive about the right fit. For example, you have stated “just being active” is good for some. Could you provide more insight into that seemingly simple recommendation?
: Many people have argued for years over what is termed “exercise” versus “working out” versus “recreational activity” and a bunch of other technicalities. When it gets right down to it, people need to be active, period! The body does not know where a stimuli comes from, so if you are in the gym lifting weights or busting your ass moving rocks in your yard or running on a soccer field with your kids or riding your bike fast to get up a hill
, your body is working. When people get caught up in a one-dimensional plane of exercise they lose sight of what’s going on and how the body and mind benefit. Those people tend to sit around and wait for their next scheduled workout and spend their time on discussion boards arguing over the superiority of their program and how everyone else is wrong for doing something different. That’s wasted time and narrow-minded thinking.
I have a saying that I share with all my clients when it comes to exercise: “A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.” Essentially, don’t get caught up in the minutia of training. A workout consisting of push ups, sit ups, and a two mile run can be the perfect prescription for someone on a given day, but let’s take some of these gimmicky infomercial workouts that require you to commit an hour a day, five days a week. I have spoken to people who made good progress on these programs. No surprise since previously they were using their bodies as a speed bump and never moved around, but now they have activity in their lives and have improved their health and fitness. But I pose this question to them, “If you don’t have an hour to do your program to day, what do you do?” The answer every single time is, “Nothing.” So it’s either an hour or nothing – that’s ridiculous
in my opinion. We think we need to do a “workout” based on a specific time parameter, a certain amount of sets, or some other criteria, but that is following what others tell you is required versus you figuring it out for yourself.
Tom: We have corresponded often over the past twelve years, and to be honest, Fred, often I go away from those encounters impressed, but scratching my head. Either I am an idiot or you are thinking beyond my capacity.
: I will admit I do think on a different plain quite often. I do try to have an open mind about everything. Coming from a philosophical and analytical thought process
, I try to evaluate things and people from many angles. When I encounter something, whether I’m familiar with it or not, I try to look at it objectively. I look for its value and how I might implement it in my practice if it warrants it. I have strong feelings about my training philosophy, but I don’t shut down because someone is doing something I may not agree with or don’t understand. They could be doing something 180 degrees of what I do or recommend, but there still is something there I can learn from or appreciate. If anything, I can find camaraderie in someone who embraces what they believe in. My goal is to pick things apart for greater understanding, to shed some light on a situation to find a deeper reasoning, if there is one, and then share that with others.