Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sustainable Fitness

 In my last post, Health vs. Fitness, I talked about the differences between the two. The take home is you can have a health body without being fit and a fit body without being healthy, but we want and need both! Today I want to talk briefly about sustainable fitness and what it means to me. Again, let's start with a definition-

Sustainable -  the potential for long-term maintenance of well being.

Fitness - Physiological headroom. The distance between the least you can do, and the most you can do. (re-worded from Arthur DeVany)

So if we put those together here is what it looks like-

Sustainable Fitness - The potential for long-term physiological headroom OR the ability to keep the most you can do as high as possible for as long as possible and far greater than the least you can do.

The below graph represents what sustainable
fitness could and should look like. We keep our ability to move high, until one day we are gone. Unfortunately for most, it doesn't look this way.

For most the graph looks like the one below. There may be peaks and valleys and we may one day have a higher level fitness, but over time it continues to dwindle until our quality of life suffers and the green line meets the blue... death at an earlier age with years of warning.

So what does that look like in real life? What type of movements should you be doing? What kind of program is best?

I want to fist talk about what is not sustainable. If you see any of these words in your workout or hear people talk about these in their program I can almost guarantee it will not last-

-working to limits
-no pain no gain
-it's one size fits all (we all do the same things)

You get the point. But how do you create your own?

Here's a guide that has worked for me and my clients.
1) Choose your sustainable fitness goal. Maybe it's some type of movement you want to be able to do. Maybe it's a certain sport you want to play. Maybe you want to lift an arbitrary amount of weight for a certain number of reps. Whatever floats your boat. Just decide.

2) Focus on those specific movements and actions that will help propel you there. Once your goal is set, it's done. Focus on the actions that help get you there. The lost factor in reaching goals is doing things that are not specific to them. If you want to be good at hitting a baseball for example, you have to practice hitting baseballs. If you are looking for fat loss you have to move appropriatelyf for fat loss. Practice makes perfecting.

3) Do it again. Consistency is key,f which is why it's so important to continue to find activities you love. It may be baseball for 3 months, you reach your goal, and you want to try something else. That is ok, just be consistent and don't give up on the action steps needed to reach your goal.

4) Work within your limits. The only way to truly progress in a sustainable way is to know your limits and work within them. This will reduce any chance for injury in turn keeping you in the game.

5) Try new things. How do you know you don't like lifting heavy weight if you have never done it? I have a client who was anti lifting heavy until I handed her a big kettlebell. Now she's breaking PR's (personal records) every workout and LOVES it! Go try something different. It may be your next specific thing.

6) Do it again. You've seen this one before because it is important! Continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Did this help you? I would love to hear about your sustainable fitness plan.

If you have any questions about sustainable fitness or you're looking for more feedback please contact me


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