Exercise, for me, has always been a necessity. Although most people think of me as a “strength guy”, I do choose to exercise in different ways. Most people associate cardiovascular training with running and seem to think that it’s the only way to get their conditioning in. However, my fellow movement specialists at P4L have seen time and time again, running isn't for everyone.
During my time in competitive powerlifting, my coach didn't allow us to run because endurance training (long, steady runs) can actually reduce overall strength and power. Because of this, I found other ways to condition myself: taking fewer breaks during training, playing basketball or football with my siblings, or just tiring out my dogs. All of these involved running to a degree, but they also involved quick and athletic movements, which helped me in my training to develop more power during lifts. Most importantly, though, they were fun.
Running first became something I thought of as fun when I was in boot camp - honestly, it was our only way of having fun. After boot camp, when I joined the Naval Fleet, we had to run in order to meet the requirements of our physical assessments. I found, once again, that doing endless push-ups and miles of running weren't fun for me.
Exercise can be tough at times, especially when you don't want to do it! So why not make it into something that is fun?
As a movement specialist at Perform for Life, I try to ensure that the exercises I prescribe are fun and enjoyable! I think I can speak for my fellow movement specialists when I say that they aim to do the same. When people are having fun, they work harder. All of us try to make the hour with our clients an hour that they can look forward to, and an hour in which they genuinely enjoy exercising. Having this outlook encourages people to come back, and most importantly, it makes them happy.
Because I love powerlifting, I always encourage others to try it. Most people think of powerlifting as only the “big 3” - squat, bench, and deadlift - and lifting as much weight as possible. But in order to get the most out of your training (for powerlifting or anything else) it’s important to mix it up. Training can be done using dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, cables, and many other modalities. Mixing up your routines can make exercise more enjoyable. Not only this, but it can yield better results. Exercise, simply put, is a stimulus that your body must respond to. Without variety in exercises or weights, your body will adapt to the exercise you do and plateau when it has responded appropriately (by losing a corresponding amount of fat or gaining a corresponding amount of muscle, etc). By adding variety to your routine, your body will have to adapt to this new stimulus and respond to it by producing new and appropriate results.
Exercise should NOT be a burden, and my P4L family and I realize exactly that - we aim to make it a lifestyle. Do what works best with your body, and most importantly, do types of exercise that you enjoy. Whether you decide to take a walk in Golden Gate Park or jog down Ocean Beach during an incredible sunset, just get out there and have some fun!
And if you don't know where to start, scroll down the "Small Group" page on our website to see when you can drop into a class with me. I can give you tips on how to rethink the way you see exercise through functional strength and athletic conditioning.