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Why Are You Physically Training?

Nov 26, 2007
Sometimes I think that there is an underlying confusion in the fitness community that ultimately leads to a great deal of people failing to meet their goals.

This confusion stems from not having a clear understanding of your fitness goals to start with... and then not using the right methods to achieve your fitness goals as a result.

Let's look at a common scenario...

A person joins a Health Club or Fitness Center.

Now one would assume that they are joining a Health Club or Fitness Center because they want to physically train to improve health and fitness.

After all... doesn't the name of these institutions suggest that that is what is going on inside.

But as soon as they get inside they enter a world that is specifically targeted to improving appearance... not health and fitness.

I don't want to rain on your parade... but there is a big difference between appearing to be healthy and fit and actually being health and fit.

Let me illustrate...

Most Health Clubs and Fitness Centers will put you on a workout program of what they call "strength and conditioning" three times a week.

It is their contention that this three time a week "routine" is the key to health and fitness.

But when you analyze the physical training methods they prescribe for "strength and conditioning" what you discover is that they are really targeted to muscle growth and fat loss.

Isolated muscle movement exercises on machines are specifically targeting muscle growth with a secondary effect of strength increase.

Extended aerobic exercise in your "fat burning zone" is specifically targeting fat loss with a secondary effect of cardiorespiratory endurance increase.

Why aren't these institutions called Muscle Growth Clubs and Fat Loss Centers instead of Health Clubs and Fitness Centers?

Now, I have nothing against muscle growth and fat loss... I actually believe they are important secondary effects of participating in a health and fitness program.

But notice... I said secondary effects.

If your true goal in participating in a health and fitness program is to improve health and fitness... than this must be the focus of your training.

Yes, increasing muscle size and losing unwanted fat will contribute to a healthier and fitter body... but it will only take you so far.

Fitness is the degree of competence and skill to perform in ALL the physical abilities of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and toughness.

If your current physical training program is not designed to improve each and every one of these physical abilities and teaching your body to fluidly flow for one ability to another... you are most likely participating in an program designed for appearance enhancement.

My advice...

First decide on the true goals of your physical training... and then make sure that the methods you employ are specifically targeted to accomplishing those goals.

Here is a little hint to help you...

Training for health and fitness improvement is the fasted and most productive way to increase functional muscle and lose unwanted fat... Training for muscle growth and fat loss is the slowest and most unproductive way to increase health and fitness.

Think about it.
About the Author
Coach Lomax is a strength, conditioning and fitness coach dedicated to building better humans for sport, work and life. Learn more at Optimum Physical Training or take his FREE Tabata Calisthenics Workout Mini Course.
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