We are all in search of the perfect exercise, the perfect workout, “The Perfect Pushup,” and sole solution to achieving our health and fitness goals. But does such a thing exist, or is it just a great marketing ploy feeding upon our desire to get something for nothing or at least next to nothing. There’s the “10-Minute Trainer,” “8 Minute Abs,” and ”Shapely Secrets in 7 minutes” to name just a few of the infomercials we are inundated with on a Sunday morning or on late night television. All promise to give more for less, just what we want to hear, right?
Then there are the guru wars. It started with Richard Simmons, Body by Jake, then Tony Little, next came Billy Blanks and “Tae Bo”, and now we have Tony Horton. Is one guru truly better than another, is one method of exercise superior to it’s alternative? There are so many to choose from. There’s Pilates and yoga from which we now have yogilates because someone couldn’t decide. They thought weightlifting was dangerous and took some “know how”, so they created universal and nautilus machines. Then they realized people got just as hurt on machines, so we looked towards physical therapy and came up with functional training. Then functional training wasn’t enough so they combined functional with weightlifting and “strong man” workouts, and created something called cross-fit for the real masochists. About 10 years ago we were so bored with training we went back in time and brought kettlebells to the mainstream and now they are a staple of many commercial facilities.
Is there a one size fits all prescription to achieving superior health and fitness? Is there only one method or one tool for getting the job done? If you could only have one tool what would it be? Would it be a kettlebell, a stability ball, a pull -up bar, or a Pilate’s reformer? Would it be the ab-lounge, ab-roller, ab-rocker, or “Perfect Pushup” handles? Or, would you just do cardio using your spin bike, elliptical cross trainer, or stepper? Maybe you would take to the road and become a runner, running in the rain, in the snow, in the heat, in the cold? Maybe you’re a purist and would say that the best machine ever created was the human body and that’s all you would need to get the perfect workout and perform the perfect exercise?
So what’s the answer? Yes, all of the above. I’m sure you saw this coming, but there is no one size fits all solution. The perfect workout is the one that you get up for everyday and perform on a consistent basis. If I design for you what I deem as the perfect exercise regimen, but I can’t get you to commit to performing it regularly then I guess it’s not that perfect. Just like a carpenter has a variety of tools at his disposal to choose from depending on the job, the same is true for the exerciser. There are no good and bad tools, there are only appropriate and inappropriate tools based upon your goals, fitness level, and health history. All of the gadgets are cool but that is all they are gadgets or tools. Like the carpenter you determine what job needs to get done and then you select the appropriate tools to make it happen. So for one person that may be yoga and spinning, and for another it may be taking a “cross-fit” class and running. And for others it may be hiring a fitness professional that incorporates ideas and strategies from all of these forms of exercise. I’m all for efficiency. My days of training three hours a day are long gone, but the idea that training for 10 minutes per day for the rest of one’s life is a solution that is appropriate for everyone I find a little misleading. As mentioned in previous articles variety is a key component of any program so that the body doesn’t reach a plateau and remain there indefinitely.
The American way has taught us that in order to get real results that are long lasting and retain real value, hard work is necessary; it is expected. Then why should we expect anything less from our approach to achieving superior health and fitness? We shouldn’t. The quest for achieving superior health and fitness is a never-ending journey and not simply a destination. I wish you the best of luck on that journey and don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help.