July 23, 2019

Don't Just Exercise, TRAIN!

We all know that exercise is one of those things we need to do to be healthy. However, there's a lot of debate and skepticism about all the different ways in which we can "get in shape". Sidenote: round is a fine shape. Besides the fact that "being fit" and "in shape" are nebulous terms, it's oddly popular that these terms are tied to being sweaty and having to run around in order to be healthy. There are better ways to achieve health and physical performance.  There's also better ways to be able to get sweaty and run around. The big secret that helps us ALL is to strength train.

Of course strength training will make you stronger and physical activity is obviously healthy for our bodies.  Given the obvious, I'll use this post to highlight some of the other benefits that make the pursuit of strength and important and vital part of each of our lives.

Loaded Human Movement >>> Long Slow Distance

Barbell training can simply be thought of as loaded movement patterns. If you've sat down and stood up today, you've performed a Squat. If you've had to push something in front of you or above your head, you've done a Press. If you've ever picked anything or anyone off of the floor, you've done a Deadlift. The prevalence of these movements in day to day life should give a clue as to why their respective barbell exercises are the building blocks of any good full body regiment.

Strength is the most basic adaptation that our body has. It's something that can be gained with the proper training.  This is another reason that lifting weights isn't just an activity for big muscle-bound individuals.  We don't have to be weak and have ill-function, when all we have to do is to .  Doing full-body movements works your muscles, bones, and joints through the range of motion they're naturally meant to function in and increases your mobility. A lack of strength can be attributed to loss of the ability to stand, sit, walk, or pick up things like they probably should.

To gain strength, you should start with a load that you're able to handle and progress from there. Progression is at the core nature of training.  Training helps instill purpose beyond just moving around each day. We should want to build ourselves to where we can do things we weren't previously able to do and be as healthy as we can be.

Body Composition and Performance

"I just want to tone"

"I want to be able to play with my kids"

You don't make meaningful progress in life by only making half-hearted steps that aren't aimed at your goal. Work has to be done to achieve a specific outcome.  Building muscle and being strong enough, flexible enough, and energetic enough to keep up with your new fresh humans are both achievable tasks that are optimally achieved with a focused strength program.

This means that you can't stick with the small weights forever under the fear that anything heavier than 10 lbs will make you "bulky". Muscle growth is stimulated from lifting weights that are heavy to you and we all know that the small weights stop being heavy shortly after you begin using them. The requirement for heavy weights also means we're not doing a large number of reps. Five repetitions is a nice sweet spot for gauging if you're using enough weight on the right exercises.

These are but a few of the things that are improved from the regular activity of training with a barbell. Sufficient stress on the system is a good thing. It means you're alive and gives your body something do and respond to. Something to function for. A purpose.

The Healthy Lifestyle

How to live "a purpose driven life" and have "a healthy lifestyle" are hot topics in self-help circles. But due to the prevalence of issues in our modern lives, and the continued growth of this corner of the market, more people than ever seem to not know how to do those things.  Now, barbell training won't magically fix your life's problems {SPOILERS: It's up to you}, but it will lead you down a path of making yourself more competent and able to manifest the purpose of your life. Having a goal to focus on makes way for you to clear out what's superfluous and to focus on what matters.  That's the essence of what we're here to do.

Enough of the platitudes. The barbell helps to give you some purpose, because if you care enough about yourself and your physical existence to dedicate some time to improving yourself, you'll discover how deeply your progress in the gym is tied to your life outside of it as well.

Recovery is a vital part to having a good training session and to make the progress you want.  Recovery includes getting enough rest and eating enough of the right things.  

Having a goal and being committed to it will make this fitness journey a real success.  Keep in mind that the commitment isn't to "exercise". It's to achieve whatever your BIG DREAM is. It could be to be the strongest whatever-you-are in the world or it could just be to be stay healthy and able-bodied as you age.  Making that dream real is how you become KING.

Your goal will also help you really understand what it means to work hard towards a goal.  If you're fired up enough that you go all in on your goal, others would say that "you're so discipled".  After a while, you'll know for sure that it's passion and your pursuit of living the life you're supposed to. You're on your way to throne and nothing will get in your way.  


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