Principles of Fitness

Are eggs good or bad? What’s the best cardio exercise? I hate these questions. They’re bad questions. I also hate people who say there’s no such thing as a bad question. The purpose of a question is to obtain information relevant to you. “Are eggs bad?” For who? You? What’s your family history like? When’s the last time you had blood work done? What does your lipid profile look like? Do you like the taste of eggs? All of these questions matter before the initial one can be answered.

“What’s the best cardio exercise?” Ummmmmmm let’s see here. How much do you weigh? How much time are you willing to commit each day? Do you have any orthopedic issues? How old are you? Tell me about your current exercise routine.

These questions and many more can be answered using principles. There are principles of fitness and nutrition that are established as fact. Here are those principles and how I use them to organize my training days, weeks, and months. Written in order of importance, in my opinion. That’s all that matters here.

Specificity

For some goals such as becoming more proficient in swimming, basketball, or running this principle is obvious. For other goals like weight loss, weight gain, and other aesthetic endevours this principle may become quite confusing.

To get better at something, you need to do that something, often. For example I’ve read about driving a manual transmission car, I watched YouTube videos, and I listened to my Dad tell me how. I learned and was okay. However it wasn’t until I bought my own car and drove it everyday, shifting gears, that I became proficient at it.

Regularity

In order for a fitness regimen to be effective it has to be consistent. If you noticed I couldn’t even resist mentioning this principle in one bold word above. Average recovery time for a muscle after a hard workout ranges from 24-72 hours. On steroids this could reduce to as little as 3 hours. This is the game. Can you figure out the earliest you can stress that muscle again without overtraining? The more often you can stress the muscle, the bigger the increases in size and strength. There’s a different sweet spot for different muscles on different people being asked to do different things depending on that person’s choice and preference of exercise. That’s a lot of variables. This is  why “yes or no” questions and “which is the best?” type of questions are bad questions.

Overload

Overload means the work load of your workout must exceed the normal demands placed upon the body. This is the goal of every session for some programs you’ll find on the internet. This type of training requires strict recovery protocols when not training in order to progress this quickly depending on the initial fitness of the participant. No matter the program, gradually increasing the stress upon the body through intensity or duration needs to happen regularly. This is what makes certain exercise styles, especially those found in group exercise, ineffective rather quickly. This is because the class times stay the same, for scheduling purposes, and weight lifted is usually limited. A participant doing these classes for 6 months consistently will realize limited gains in fitness beyond this time, as their body has adapted and is no longer receiving the overload it once did.

Recovery

As discussed earlier, the game we’re all playing is train and recover. How long to train? How long to recover? It is a lifelong learning process for every individual. You may have heard of the term overtraining. Forget that, and remember underrecovery.

There technically are a few more principles, but they simply subsets of the principles listed above. Apply these principles to any activity, sport, exercise, you do. They always hold true.

 

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