Today’s Flawed Fitness Culture in America

Because of today’s flavor of the month training programs I constantly come in contact with individuals who believe they are fit and healthy yet are unable to touch their toes or squat into a relaxed position with their heels resting on the ground. We get so caught up in the idea of just calorie burning and this more is better philosophy that we completely ignore the primary purpose of exercise which is to gain competency, efficiency and motor control of a movement. There is so much more to exercise than just burning calories and looking good on the beach.

Adding strength to a dysfunctional body in American strength and conditioning is generally what we do. We take someone who can’t move and then ask them to move more weight. He can’t squat very well but let’s make him widen his stance; turn his or her toes out; in essence we have to compensate to get them into the correct natural position. The emphasis shouldn’t be on how much weight you can lift but be more on how well you can move. We also have developed this ideology that you might have seen on infomercials that are muscles somehow need to be confused in order to make any progress. First of all “Muscle Confusion” is not even a scientifically valid word. These programs will constantly introduce yourself to a new workout every day to keep your interest but they are not applied in a repitive enough manner for the body to adapt and make change, you are essentially exercising with no purpose.  What these training programs fail to let you know is that there is a remedy to keep your interest and yourself from hitting a plateau, it is called Periodization. Periodization is scientifically tried and true and has been around forever. Periodization involves manipulation of volume, intensity, duration and rest periods in different cycle phases which would keep you from hitting a plateau and keep your body functioning at a high level all the time.

Our society knows we need to be more active, so we punish ourselves as a penance for our sloth. Please do not make the assumption that any activity will yield achievement. This goes back to our boot camp drive yourself into the ground to make up for that extra slice of pizza you had last night mentality. Do not assume difficulty as the true measure of your fitness level; it could not be farther from it.

Jordan Nichols