A while ago I came across an avid gym-goer who was bragging about how good his workout was some days ago. According to him he smashed it, even died halfway through it, and came back to life to post an Instagram update about it that got X number of likes to feed his ego and need for external validation, some form of photographic evidence that he was prepping for a zombie apocalypse, including hashtags #beastmode #nopainnogain #lookatmelookatme.
He then proceeds to complain about frequent back aches and wonders why isn’t as fit as he wants to be. How could this be? He smashes workouts until he can’t feel his legs, every other session, about 7 days a week – no pain, no gain, right? Wrong!
Let’s be real guys, “smashing”, isn’t the best way to approach training. It doesn’t take much technical attention to “work up a sweat”. So what did it actually do for you?
Sometimes we get caught up looking at “fitspos” or professional athletes who have been training specific programmes for years, and we try to mimic their programs or conditioning work – to be more like them. But at the same time, we tend to forget that we’re completely different human beings with different lifestyles.
Andy from GMB Fitness mentioned in this article, “You can ascribe to any arbitrary measurement you want, but numbers don’t mean too much if they don’t truly match what you are doing in your daily life.”
“What? Numbers don’t matter? But I thought I had to train to be like the fittest person on earth!”
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re prepping for a competition, you most probably will need to stick to a solid program that includes a good amount of conditioning specific to the objective. Carry on. BUT if you’re looking into improving your current fitness level, a more well-rounded approach should be considered in order to make training purposeful and fulfilling.
Not everyone needs to go running long distances for conditioning or endurance work. Running for hours and hours won’t really get you better in much else other than being able to run for hours and hours. Not saying that regular aerobic activity won’t bring you results (please don’t come charging at me with flaming torches!), but there are plenty other approaches to conditioning that are more effective and appropriate based on your own unique goals relevant to your daily life.
I’ve been there – at one point I had set myself up with some goals that didn’t quite match up to my lifestyle. I found myself training to “get better at everything” from lifting to cardiovascular endurance, and only found myself closer to have achieved nothing much of substance at all. I managed to improve in my lethargy, burn out rate, got an injury and an inflated ego because it ~seemed~ like I was killin’ it like a champ. In reality, I was getting tired instead of getting better.
And I get it, sometimes it’s difficult to navigate through all platitudes to find what works best for you. The fitness industry has been broken for a long time, heaps of cookie cutter routines and get-fit-quick products that seem promising but in the end never really help you the way that you truly want. Where do you even begin, and how? There are endless possibilities and ways to be conditioned for the things you want to do. All you have to do is actually put in the work to find out what you truly need.
Firstly, check in with your body. What is hindering you from doing the things that you want to do in your daily life with ease? When we get caught up in the numbers we tend to lose sight of what we really need to actually improve our physical selves. Can you touch your toes? Do you get back aches or headaches due to bad posture? Can you run around with your kids, or lift boxes onto a shelf overhead at work? Your conditioning work should be structured to make you feel good for you, not break you.
Secondly, if it’s hard to figure that out on your own, reach out to someone who will take the time to understand where you come from and what you need, including dealing with challenges that you may face along your own little fitness journey. There are many “coaches” or “trainers” who can give you a bunch of things to do, without actually paying attention to the important little details in order to help you improve – but there are also coaches who genuinely want to see you grow and become the best version of yourself.
That’s where I come in. Being a GMB Trainer at Strength Avenue, we promote “play” as it more realistically matches the conditions where you were designed to use your endurance according to your lifestyle. Recognising this, conditioning would involve more than spending hours on the treadmill or doing 1000 burpees (Cough, boring, cough). Nonetheless, it includes constantly checking in with you through assessments, addressing, and applying, which in turn will help you stay on track with your fitness goals as well as produce results that are of value for you and the people around you. Next time your kid kicks the ball a lil too close to the driveway, you can sprint to and fro in lightning speed like The Flash!
If you need a little help figuring out what conditioning means for you in relation to your daily lives, because none of the cookie cutter guides have really worked out for you, come and have a chat with us! Or better yet, join my Bodyweight Basics semi-private on Fridays at 7pm, where we’ll go through essential fundamental movements to develop foundational strength, flexibility, and motor control, to move better and most importantly, feel good about it too.
Sometimes all you need is a little bit of mindful practice 🙂
Interested to get started? I am running a workshop this Sunday! 3 slots left.
Lots of love,