I know you will be starting to read this with big expectations. I mean the word ‘Perfect’ is going to grab your attention every time. But is it really possible to have a ‘perfect’ anything? I know I am not the first person to have ever said this but let’s be real. The idea that there is one ‘perfect’ program that applies to all people is crazy but the concept that the best that one can do is….basically what they will do and do consistently, is actually one that makes pure sense. There is absolutely no point in having an elaborate routine that is simply too hard, to get in to the habit of doing for the simple reason that it has no chance of fitting in to your busy schedule, not now or not ever.
This is something that underpins what we do here at Best Practice Personal Training. It is not about what any of us coaches have done or do or thingk you should do for that matter, it is about where the member is at when they walk in the door and what we can help them ‘buy’ in to, as something that makes them feel better when they walk out. And we need that to happen each time they workout. I don’t believe exercise has to be exhausting and painful to be of benefit. I mean who in their right mind will stick with that? Okay I can hear a few of you athlete types saying, “I will and I do!” but hey I am not talking to you 🙂 In fact I have owned that opinion about my own training more than once in my life too but I was trying to be a professional tennis player and it is fully accepted, that to excel in any way in professional sport, you have to be able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As for the average person who wants to get healthy, this doesn’t have to come in to the equation.
We are in the end simple creatures and my study in psychology tells me that we need to stoke the right areas of the brain to mould behaviour. Back to that idea of an exercise session making you feel better. I know it sounds foreign to most people because of what I call the ‘Biggest Loser Effect’. This is unfortunatley a lot of peoples expectations about exercising or having someone make you exercise. It really doesn’t look like fun when someone is waving their finger in front of your face and you are red faced and on the edge of (if not actually) throwing up. This makes great television but the damage it is doing to those who are thinking about getting started is one of the reasons why so many people never actually take the step and is a massive shame. No one wants to endure pain and humiliation like that, but I am here to tell you there is another way.
There is definitely a thing with exercise though that kicks in after years of being in ‘the habit’. There is a desire to push hard and go through the challenge it puts on the body, of what would be intepreted by someone not in to exercise, as ‘pain’. This type of experience can come years down the track or not at all, depending on what you would like to get out of your exercise routine. I always use the basic formula, that if, what you are doing is achieving what you want, then keeping doing it, if it isn’t, then change it completely or tweak it until you get the desired result. Pretty simple huh? Exercise science tells us what we need to do to achieve different results and it is simply a matter of following the principles. The key point here is, do what works for you and not what someone else tells you, you should do. There is a great article by Precision Nutrition talking about the ‘cost’ of having a 6 pack and whether it is in fact worth it. Most people would say no! The price of ‘health’ however would be seen to be well worth it when done the right way.
I really don’t want to leave this article unfinished, with out something solid down on paper about what could be considered at least a great routine, if not actually perfect – remembering that that is impossible! So who am I to say what is a great weekly workout schedule? Whilst I may be very experienced and well credentialed, the only reason I can say what I am about to say, is because of people way smarter and more dedicated to detail than myself, who have crunched lots of numbers from well put together studies of various types to do with the effects of various variables on fitness, strength, mobility and athletic performance. The authority I pay some attention to, is the ACSM or American College of Sports Medicine and this is what they say about what constitutes a good weekly routine likely to lead to very favourable health and functional capability outcomes in the average person’s life. When these guys talk I listen.
In summary, a good goal to shoot for long term, for most people is to number 1. accumulate 150 mins per week of moderate intensity cardio exercise. At Best Practice we use My Zone to automatically track this for you. You will get an email when you hit that target for the week. The little psychological buzz from the congratulatory email is always quite nice and does lead to behaviour modifying results from our experience. 2. Complete 2-3 days per week with a combined whole body strength routine including some balance, coordination and agility components as well. and number 3. Do Whole body mobility/flexibility work at least twice per week.
In the end we all want to move well, so we can move often and with a high level of capability, thus allowing us to do a wide variety of activities we would enjoy doing, to have the most fun possible and be useful in our lives. This is the philosophy that drives us and is what people come to us for.