December 12 – Fitness

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Being physically fit, and practicing fitness is a huge factor in being and feeling healthy.  I try to keep fitness as a common theme in my life. It’s not if I’m going to exercise…it’s how. For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been mostly focused on weight training.  It’s a program that stems from Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell in Ohio. At its core, it’s lifting weights.  The dead-lift, squat, and bench press are frequently practiced. But along with that, it uses rubber band and chains to change resistance, weekly maximum effort lifts, specific periodization, dynamic exercises (where speed is involved), and a variety of accessory exercises that are always changing.  The training that I do is practiced in 3 week waves. Therefore, I do the same exercises for 3 weeks. Within that time, I try to add weight to the movements.

This method has really helped me gain a lot of strength.  Since the workouts I do are in particular tailored for athletes that are training for playing a sport, a couple people have asked me what I’m training for.  I’m training for life. Being strong…being fit…has led to functional strength within my everyday life. Within working around the house, which I do a lot, I feel much more prepared and capable.  Doing things like cutting and stacking wood have been much more enjoyable with the added strength and capability that I now have.

These workouts have also taken care of a lower back issue that I’ve had my entire adult life, and a weak and sore right knee issue after having 3 surgeries on it.  I was fearful of that at first, wondering if I should be trying to lift the most amount of weight possible on a knee that wasn’t in such good shape. But the controlled and focused movements have strengthened it, and improved its function in the rest of my daily life.  It was basketball, with all of it’s turns and tweaks and unpredictable movements, that was much more harsh on my knees.

But that’s not to say that basketball, or some other ‘fitness’ isn’t the one that you should be performing right now.  Everyone should be trying to be fit in the way that works for them. There are so many options out there for people to be a part of, and they all lead (in a variety of ways) to a healthier individual that is fit for life.  Here are some options:

  • crossfit
  • spinning
  • cycling
  • pilates
  • flow yoga
  • bikram yoga
  • running
  • zumba
  • olympic lifting
  • martial arts
  • swimming
  • recreational sports

There are a couple definitions of fitness.  One is the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.  That speaks to our ability to perform all of the behaviors that our life has for us.  If we are fit, we feel much more capable of that performance. We feel happier in that situation too.  

Another definition speaks biologically and evolutionarily.  It says that fitness is an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.  It’s Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’.  It’s natural selection. Here’s a thought that I wrote of yesterday: you are the culmination of everything that has ever happened with human beings before you.  All of their abilities and fitness within our environment, and our ability to evolve and reproduce a better human over time…has led up to this current moment with you right now.  What are you going to do with that?
Well, you’re going to be the fittest that you can be.  This is your responsibility. This isn’t only physical fitness.  It has to do with the entirety of human functionality. We could say that physical fitness is certainly part of that though.  But being fit in this way says that we’ll survive and thrive even, and reproduce effectively as a species…and that we’ll refine ourselves over time, setting up a healthier environment for the next generation. And that we’ll be creating genes and new organisms…new humans…that are more fit for whatever that environment may be.

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