By: Bob McEnaney
The foundation to personal health and fitness is similar to that of a stool. Each of the 4 legs must be solid and in balance with the others. Too much attention to one leg and the stool is unbalanced. Likewise, too little attention to the others causes the same problem.
The 4 legs to the fitness stool are:
2. Strength (resistance) training
3. Cardiovascular training
Nutrition: Without question THE most important factor to a healthy and fit body is proper nutrition. Heck, diet is really 90% of the equation. One hour (or more) of exercise can’t overcome the other 23 hours if we abuse our systems.
YOU CAN’T OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET!
You could run a marathon every day, ride your bike 100 miles, or lift weights until you can’t lift any more, and you could still get fat. Even though you intuitively understand this fact, you still eat and drink anything you want and think you can exercise it off. And then when you don’t lose weight, you look for the next “magic pill.”
Strength Training: Lean and toned muscles are critical for increased metabolism, so anyone concerned about bodyweight should perform strength training on a consistent basis. And this includes all of us, right?
Strength training is nothing more than forcing your muscles to push against resistance, and this can take on many forms. For example, bodyweight training is a type of strength training, as is more traditional “weight lifting” using machines, free weights, bands or a variety of other equipment.
Cardiovascular Training: The most important muscle in your body is your heart, so training your hearts through strenuous cardiovascular training is a requirement. The activities in your daily lives rarely challenge and strengthen your hearts, so you must take the initiative yourselves.
“Cardio training” does NOT mean spending long periods of time mindlessly droning on at a very low intensity. Instead, it means challenging your hearts and muscles with interval training – short periods of very high intensity effort, followed by periods of recovery.
I’ll spend a great deal of time discussing this area in future posts, so stay tuned!
Recovery is a commonly overlooked component of training, but in reality is every bit as important as the others. To train properly, you must challenge yourselves with high intensity work, whether this is strength training or cardio training. If you follow this model, your body will fatigue. Without proper recovery, the quality of your workouts will suffer, and rather than getting stronger, faster, or better, you’ll simply get more fatigued and more rundown.
Building recovery into your schedules will help keep us fresh and interested in your training, and will help you avoid plateaus. You’ll continue to make progress toward your goals, and your motivation level will remain high.
A recovery day can be as simple as one day completely off each week; it could be yoga, a massage, or even a walk.
The key message here is to:
• Train consistently
• Train hard
• Then -- RECOVER
I’ll go into more detail on each of these foundational “legs” as you move forward. In the meantime, ask yourself whether you’re balancing each of these elements. And if you’re not, begin formulating a plan for how you’ll move in that direction.
I look forward to helping you find ways to challenge yourself, to enjoy your workouts more, and to help you achieve your fitness goals. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or to add your comments below. Good luck!
Bob McEnaney trains triathletes, cyclists, runners and other endurance athletes. These athletes encompass all ages, genders, ability and experience levels. Learn more about Bob at his website and blog: totalcyclingperformance.com You may contact him directly at: Bob@totalcyclingperformance.com
5/14/2010 at 2:55 PM