Labels allow instant, easy identification but we hate labels. When we were first inducted into our Ottawa business group (http://www.bniwestboro.com) a specific category had to be declared. The chapter makes sure business partners do not overlap each others business. We were given the title ‘Strength Trainers’ and it sounds fine but we didn’t like it. We are Fitness Clinicians but because this covers a wide base it had to be honed down to create a clear delineation of our category but it begs the question:
Who would exercise and workout for fitness yet allow themselves to stay weak?
In our experience though people just don’t naturally equate strength training with overall fitness they think more of cardio. The fact is cardio at heart is just light strength training exercise. Even most fitness pro’s mistakenly separate aerobic/cardio exercise (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aerobic) from anaerobic so called strength training exercise ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anaerobic). Real fitness comes down to building stamina as in the ability to keeping moving because your muscles are not tired. The natural inclination is to keep it light so you don’t run out of strength, instead just your breathing and heart feel taxed. There are some who prefer to rest a lot between heavy exercises and hide from any sustained cardiac stress. In both cases this is a shame and defeats the true purpose behind exercise.
The point here is we don’t believe in training just your strength or just your cardio let alone separating them in different workouts. We believe the best approach to fitness is training ones stamina and strength together. Why? This brings us to the main take home point for you:
Lack of fitness should not be measured by what you can or can’t do relative to someone else. The true measure is how in or out of balance you are amongst all your abilities. Do you have some strengths and some weaknesses? You shouldn’t – you should not have traits which significantly overwhelm others. Even a dominant side will cause all sorts of health problems in time. The old adage ‘ya but I can…sure but she is great at…’ is bad for health and fitness.
Think of using one leg a little more than the other over years and hundreds of thousands of steps. Believe it or not you would be better off with both legs being weaker but the same. Your spine would be far less twisted and distorted with age. As well, you wouldn’t constantly do things that only one leg could handle and you would have better overall balance and agility. Strength is a great thing to have but only if it is balanced. Sad that almost everyone can say they have one stronger arm…
A poorly considered problem is having a gross disparage between stamina and strength. People with great stamina often injure their joints over time because their stamina can keep them going long after their muscles are done. Furthermore they don’t have the strength to ever put a serious draw on their system and thus never have anything beyond one dimensional and superficial stamina. Reciprocally some are much stronger than they are enduring. In this case they regularly over stress their cardiopulmonary system moving weight they can lift but without reasonable heart rate variability (the ability to properly normalize HR, blood pressure etc during stress http://youtu.be/lMDQ_uEuIek). They have solid force production but no way to transfer it to all types of activity especially activity that last for minutes rather than seconds.
In the end it is ironic to say labeling real exercise properly should read ‘weakness training’. This is what makes a difference not just playing to your handful of strengths and creating a false sense of physical fitness. It takes some humility and calm self-assessment but once you concentrate your exercise efforts on your weaknesses and producing a balanced body THEN you will make life-changing alterations.
True strength is the elimination of weakness – WeFit
And true weakness…
Until next time be well,
Andrew and Tierney