5 Secrets to Everlasting Fitness
Updated: Oct 31
5 Secrets to Everlasting Fitness
First of all, I want to preface this very important secret by mentioning that the ideas I present below are idealistic and may not be possible to adhere to 100% because of different personalities and movement preferences. However, if you are someone who just cares about RESULTS and are not fixed on any given program or sport such as being a runner, triathlete or Crossfitter, etc. then this information might be extremely valuable. What I'm presenting in this blog is my opinion of the risk/benefit ratio of certain repetitive exercises that cause unnecessary wear and tear. In this blog I speak mainly of problems with excessive high impact movements but these ideas also relate to excessively heavy weight-training that is not necessary for optimal and everlasting fitness. That said, some impact and heavy resistance training is beneficial for an overall program. The main point I wish to convey is the importance of correct dosing of the proportion of these activities.
I know I'm going to get flack for what I'm about to say but the low impact approach that I recommend comes from nearly a quarter century of professional training experience and having seen people drop like flies from various fitness scenes because of their impact injuries. These ideas I present are not going to be for everyone because I know that people become obsessed with their approach (I used to be a marathon runner!) - especially long distance runners and people who do programs like Crossfit. For those people all I can say is 'may the fitness-force be with you' and may you skirt the likelihood of my experience-based statistics.
OVERVIEW: In order to maintain the ability to have everlasting, powerful and functional motion; exercise programming should consist of at least 80% low/non-impact movements and no more than 20% high-impact movements (80/20). By maintaining the integrity of joints and tendons we extend our years of youthfully active movements. This sounds easy on the surface but many training programs use plyometrics and other high impact techniques to enhance cardio, VO2 max (ability to absorb oxygen) and build muscle. What I've discovered is that we can achieve the same conditioning with low-impact movements while still getting the strength, stamina and VO2 enhancing benefits of explosive, plyometric activity or extreme power-lifting. Thus, in the long run we can keep building our fitness instead of modifying ranges of motion and intensity to adjust for wear and tear injuries. Wear and tear is NOT a natural process of aging healthfully. It is a combination of inflammation and a compounded lifestyle of inappropriate movements.
To read more of this blog please DM me for a copy or go to www.workoutwizard.net/blog
Why should we suffer from wear and tear injuries at all? With the right programming and lifestyle considerations we can keep building our fitness year after year. This is part of how we can remain physically vital in our 70's, 80's, 90's and so on. Those of you who are still relatively young in your 20's, 30's and 40's might be thinking: "That's not going to happen to me." Or perhaps you're not even thinking about your fitness longevity at all! All I can suggest is think long and hard about your approach because your current exercise strategies will affect your future body and ultimately, your health.
So what does 80/20 look like? You can approach the 80/20 principle in a weekly or daily fashion.
WEEKLY: For example, if you are someone who likes to run, you would run 1 day per week as a full workout and the other 5 days would be divided between strength, low-impact cardio and S.H.I.I.T (safe high intensity interval training.)
DAILY: You can approach it by dividing your workout into quadrants and 20% can be high-impact, such as running. So, if you workout for 90 minutes, 18 minutes can be dedicated running and the rest can be your cross-training (strength/low impact cardio etc.)
WHAT I RECOMMEND: I know it's hard to change preferences unless we're educated properly to potential risks. So, for those of you that understand my assessment of the risk/benefit ratio with high impact training I recommend trying some workoutwizard.net classes. Physically trying something is the best way to come to a conclusion.
We are now at the forefront of shaping a new humanity with the potential of greater longevity but more importantly.... I believe we need to take our workout strategies more seriously with consideration for everlasting fitness.
Stay tuned for the next 4 secrets to put into action for a long life of physical power!!
The word everlasting can mean 'for a very long time.' So what is fitness and why should anybody want everlasting fitness? The definition can be quite varied so I'm going to define my idea of fitness and then it's up to you whether you agree or not.
a. The capacity to live life with energy, vitality and feelings of wellness typically seen in very young children.
b. Feeling strong and having stamina that exceeds your lifestyle choices so you are able to physically accomplish tasks and have energy remaining.
c. Not losing muscle mass as we age and gaining it when necessary.
d. Body composition in the fitness to average range (different for men and women).
e. Normal blood pressure. Heart rate of 30-60 bpm. Healthy blood lipid profile.
f. The practice that prevents the loss of strength, endurance and flexibility and can even improve on those variables with the passage of time along with improvements in VO2 max. Slowing and reversing the aging process.
Set Yourself Up for Success!
Before we get into this segment please read my definition of fitness that is at the end of Secret #1 in the blog on my website www.workoutwizard.net/blog. The information I present is developed to meet these objectives.
In the health studies that I coordinated for Gary Null & Associates I got to review the data that was collected from approximately 12,000 people. A common denominator, between those who were successful at achieving health marker improvements and those that were not, was how the participant approached his/her fitness practice. The people who had no improvements, pretty much as a rule, had very irregular fitness practices. For example, an individual would begin a walking program and then as soon as winter hit they didn't pivot into another practice. Instead, they just didn't exercise!
This experience was key in my motivation to develop fitness programs that required no equipment and virtually no space. I wanted to make sure that I never fell into this category of person who lived on excuses only to never get fit or at least not sustain it: "Ah, the gym isn't open now - Oh, my eliptical is broken - It's too hot to walk outside - It's too cold to walk outside - I prefer golf....it's a good workout! - They cancelled my fitness class - Darn, I would do that fitness class but it's just not at a good time - I don't like doing cardio - I'm not into weight lifting" - and the list goes on.
The first step in becoming succesful at everlasting fitness is to acknowledge that consistency is king and queen! The next step is to have the foresight to realize that LIFE CHANGES! So whatever program is chosen should be as bulletproof as possible to the inevitable changes in life (income, location, temperature, injuries etc.)
So it's really very simple....get back to basics! Think functional total body training. Think like an athlete! Do movements and/or combinations of movements that fire more than one muscle group and are muti-planar and multi-joint in activation. These should be movements that you can practice indoors, outdoors, all weather conditions, in groups for fun and mainly with NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED. As I'll mention in a future secret, the aim is to maintain a weekly caloric expenditure, from all activities, between 2000-3000 kcal. This is crucial to keep that metabolism firing. Below is a short-list of some basic moves and categories of movements that affect the entire musculature, building strength, endurance and keeping the body in a state that I call EVERLASTING FITNESS. Note: Anything combined with the squat will burn calories galore.
-Squats (all variations including plyometrics)
-Push ups (all angles, there are even push ups that work biceps)
-Core training on the mat
-Burpees / Reversed Burpee
-Mixed Plank Training
-Reversed Plank Training
-Speed Skaters (low-impact lateral jumping lunges)
-Suspension training - if you have access to a wall or door (TRX or rope)
-For more information on the programs I instruct please go to www.workoutwizard.net
A few years ago I did some research on centenarians (people who live to 100 and beyond) and discovered that in general we don't truly know what separates people who live very long lives from people who don't. However, there were some commonalities. To keep this blog fairly brief I will focus on the two points that could easily be applied to most people's lives.
The first point is level of activity. Healthy centenarians seemed to be more active than the average person. Examples are sheep herders in Sardinia or pearl divers (in their 90's) in Okinawa, Japan.
I was able to calculate an energy output estimation from the literature that I studied. It seemed that very active older people were expending between 2000 and 3000 calories per week from activity. Maybe not so coincidentally, this number correlated with the range of calories that I had observed as the metabolic stimulation point. People in my weight loss groups who were able to exercise and have activity levels between 2000 and 3000 calories were burning more fat than those who weren't. As a matter of fact, participants that burned more calories per week actually seemed to have a reversal - storing fat. So the ideal range that seems to not put the body into fat-storage mode, which would indicate a type of stress, is more than what some people like to expend and less than many athletes require for their training. It's pretty interesting. There seems to be a sweet spot, on average, for healthy human movement that leads to longevity.
The other point is 'community.' Healthy centenarians seem to have close friend and family connections. They are not loners. They listen to each other and laugh with one another. What is it about enjoying community? The theory is that the support system and camaraderie that comes with human closeness helps relieve stress. And as well all know, stress is a killer.
Apply these two ideas and I think you'll be taking a powerful step in the direction of everlasting fitness.
Don't starve yourself!
The main takeaway from this blog is going to be that we should be able to build and at the very least maintain our muscle mass as we age. This is so important. Our muscles tend to break down, especially with more intense exercise. The breakdown process is crucial to stimulate growth hormone secretion. When the body has something to heal it kicks into hormonal overdrive with growth hormone and testosterone. And this is how we gain strength and rebuild muscle. However, if we don't have adequate calories in excess of our minimal daily requirement then what happens is we lose muscle and stimulate fat storage. This is obviously not what we want.
The first step is to determine our 'net' calorie point. This is the amount of calories we end up with once you we subtract how many calories were burned from movement. It is a bit of an artform to learn how to track the net calorie point but once we get it, it's an amazing tool for maintaining muscle and even burning fat, if needed.
The Fitness Lifestyle Masterplan at workoutwizard.net can help if you are interested in finding your net calorie. However, here is a sweet and easy tip:
In general, men should never go below 1400 - 1700 net calories. Women should not go below 1100 - 1300 net calories. The more athletic and muscular a person becomes, the higher the net calorie must be. As an example, I am around 2100-2200 net calories. I actually train some fairly athletic women who are ONLY 900 net calories. So you can see how variable it can be! Genetics play a huge role.
Invest in a body fat scale and begin to track your lean muscle mass. Keep a record of this and review it on a regular basis. If you are exercising, doing resistance training, and you start to see a pattern of lean muscle loss then increasing your net calorie point is most likely your best bet at correcting this. Many women are concerned about gaining weight by eating more. However, as we increase muscle, we will raise the metabolism, burning more fat. Please DM me if you are confused about this process. The Fitness Lifestyle Masterplan covers 15 lifestyle points to insure fat-loss and muscle enhancement. Net calories is only one of these points.
Be Forward Thinking!
Never give up on your dreams! If you don't have a dream....go out and get one; find your purpose, because that will put you in a state of forward thinking. Yes, we know about being in the present moment and the benefit that has on wellness and stress. However, having a dream, a purpose, can begin to challenge the mind and body; it's that get up and go mentality that strengthens your resilience.
Now that you have the foundations of Everlasting Fitness: Safe and effective movements that you can keep consistent, stimulating powerful hormones. And now that your body is satiated with adequate calories to maintain lean muscle; you are ready to live a long, healthy and productive life.
Centenarian studies indicate that some of the cultures, where people live beyond 100 years, are not impervious to stressors in life. However, these older people tend to be problem solvers and forward thinkers. Resilience is the term used in the scientific literature. Below is an excerpt from Behavioral Sciences, February 2018:
"The term ‘resilience’ has a variety of meanings in the literature, but, in broad terms, refers to positive adaptation in the face of adversity. In this sense, there is considerable correspondence between resilience and successful aging concepts."
So if your life is good - and I hope it is - and there is no adversity, one way to practice resilience is to be forward thinking, setting goals that are slightly out of your comfort zone. Maybe it's public speaking? Maybe it's learning a new skill? Maybe it's picturing yourself in the greatest shape of your life and engaging with others in a physical training program? Whatever.....just get excited about something and make it happen by solving one problem at a time. Stretch yourself. Don't become a reminiscer. Make the memories now instead and live with Everlasting Fitness!