Here’s where most of the confusion is. We will define exercise as repetitive movements performed at an elevated heart rate with the intention of changing physiology and fitness. Oh, crap. Now we need to define fitness.
Fitness? That’s the ability to run 26.2 miles, right? Wait, no. It’s the ability to squat 700 pounds. Touch my toes? No, wait, it’s the ability to do 100 pull-ups!
Nope. We’re going more broad than that.
FITNESS IS THE INCREASED ABILITY TO PERFORM WORK ACROSS BROAD TIME DOMAINS.
So, both lots of work in a short time (sprints) AND low intensity work over long times (hikes) are both expressions of our fitness!
Let’s break down that principle real quick. Keep in mind that this blog is pointed at those who are working towards the goal of increased health, not for people who are training for a specific athletic event. Your training should look different if you have the goal of competing in the NFL combine. That’s beyond the scope of this post.
How many times have you walked into a gym with nothing really planned and just ended up reading a magazine on the elliptical? Or how many of us have fallen into the old “Monday is chest day” routine? Yeah, I have too. When we have a set routine or small bundle of individual exercises we perform, our progress quickly plateaus and stops. It is better to switch things up every time you walk into the gym. So, maybe one day you focus on squatting movements. The next, pulling. The next, monostructural (what we think of as traditional “cardio”). Better yet, let’s blend all those together! Let’s do some squatting movement, and then do a pulling movement, and then row or run - all in the same session! Try to find new things you haven’t been working on or need improving on. Handstand walks? Sweet, practice those. Can’t touch your toes? No problem, let’s work on that today. Maybe some workouts take 5 minutes while others are closer to an hour (after a proper warm up, of course). You get the idea.