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Athletic Physique: A Commitment To Strength, Conditioning and Fitness Optimization

Jan 6, 2008
The "out of shape" want to "get in shape", so they look for workout programs to maximize muscular size and aerobic capacity. Just look at most popular workout programs and you'll see variations of the same thing. Resistance training to build muscle and aerobic training to burn fat and improve aerobic endurance.

But they are wrong! (Sorry to be so blunt, but it must be said.)

The strong, lean, athletic body most people strive for is NOT the product of maximizing muscular growth and aerobic capacity. Big bulky muscles and the ability to exercise at a low intensity for long periods of time is not the key to the athletically attractive body most men and women desire. It never has been, and never will be.

If you want the strong, lean, muscular body that looks, feels and performs great, you must commit yourself to strength, conditioning and fitness "Optimization".

The simple fact is, to achieve your strength, conditioning and fitness optimization goals you must commit to pursuit of performance improvement, not muscular size and aerobic capacity maximization.

Committing yourself to strength, conditioning and fitness optimization develops performance improvements which forces the body to make physical changes to increase performance. These physical changes include building muscle, burning fat and improving heart and lung power. Ultimately, training for performance improvement leads to the physical changes most people want.

So, what's the difference between maximization and optimization?

There are a lot of physical abilities involved in being fit. For example: strength, power, speed, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, accuracy, endurance and toughness. When you seek to optimize your fitness, you take all these physical abilities into account. When you try to maximize only one physical ability, the other physical abilities are neglected. This often means you maximize one ability at the expense of all the others.

It actually gets worse when you try to maximize a result of training, like muscular size or leanness. Imagine only focusing on muscle size, without any regard for how much fat you have on your body. Or, imagine only being concerned with fat loss, at the expense of athletic muscle. In either case, the desired body is not the result of seeking to maximize only one physical result.

On the other hand, an athletic physical is the RESULT of training all the physical abilities needed for a high level of fitness. Your training is a compromise, and your athletic physique is the result of this compromise. Because the fact is, the strong, lean, athletic body is capable of doing many things well under a wide variety of circumstances, and not the result of only being able to do one thing well.

Don't get sidetracked from optimizing your fitness, performance and physique!

The truth is, the vast majority of the fitness industry is dedicated to muscle size and aerobic "maximization". The programs found in most commercial gyms or "fitness" publications are designed to make your muscles larger and increase aerobic endurance (as if those two traits alone were the keys to fitness excellence). Unfortunately for the practitioners of these types of programs, big muscles have very little to do with performance and aerobic endurance is only one of many elements needed for fitness excellence.

So, if you share my goal of a strong, lean, athletic physique train like an athlete for strength, conditioning and fitness optimization. Forget about maximum muscle growth and aerobic endurance, and train to optimize your athletic performance. The result is a body that looks great, performs well under a wide variety of circumstances and is better suited to get the most out of life.

This is what you want from your training, right?
About the Author
Coach Eddie Lomax, founder of the Optimum Fitness Network, believes we are all athletes and should train like athletes. His Athletic Body Workout targets general fitness, fat loss and strength and muscle building for an athletic physique you can be proud of.
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