Fitness Trail: Don’t jump the gun with trends
The Fitness Trail
Lately, there have been dozens of blogs, infomercials, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, articles and other publications encouraging exercisers to avoid performing any long, steady, distance cardiovascular training. Their claims state that this type of cardiovascular training leads to increased fat storage, and if one is concentrating on long-term weight loss and management, they should avoid it at all costs. Of course years ago, it was the long steady distance (or LSD) cardiovascular training that was touted as the most effective method of expending calories, reducing fat storage and managing long-term weight loss. What tends to happen is everyone rushes to the “newest and greatest” (even if it was not all that new or great), gives it a whirl at the expense of a balanced exercise program, finds themselves without claimed results.
I have been teaching/training/coaching in the fitness industry for longer than 28 years, always maintaining and experiencing with my clientele that a balanced exercise program, performed consistently over time, yields excellent long-term results.
Should too much of a “good thing” be avoided? Absolutely! No one fitness aspect alone creates a fit body. Spending countless hours performing the same program, whether it is walking/running on a treadmill, only performing high intensity interval training or Tabata training, only yoga/Pilates or just performing muscular strength training, does not provide the body with balance.
We need some LSD training. We also require some high-intensity interval training to develop power which improves countless physical functions, such as reaction time. Additionally, we must perform traditional functional training to improve muscular strength, stability, mobility and balance to enable us to perform activities of daily living and the recreational activities we enjoy.
There are dozens of training modalities available. However, it is important to understand that not one of us responds the same way to any program. We are all unique. Consequently, if we follow a standard of balance first, addressing all of the physical fitness components as well as our physical limitations, we stand a much greater chance of achieving and maintaining our long-term fitness goals.
Well-designed programs address all five physical fitness components, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength/endurance, flexibility and body composition. Seek out programs providing you with this balance and a variety of programming. And, while variety is important to ensure that you will continue to improve, you do need some repetition so that you may track your progress, comparing apples to apples. For example, within the muscular strength training component of your program, all major muscle groups of the body should be included.
To provide variety, you could perform a different body position for the same exercise or muscle group or a different type of resistance/load.
Bottom Line: Unless there is an underlying reason such as an injury, physical limitation or seasonal sport-specific training protocol requiring your avoidance of a specific aspect to any component, beware of “fitness experts” advising you to avoid a specific aspect of any component of physical fitness. Don’t jump the gun.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC opening in late spring 2014 in Granby and Never Summer Fitness, LLC in Grand Lake. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com.
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