I write a lot of letters and make a lot of phone calls inviting people to take a look at Forte Fitness and consider if our services would be a benefit to them. Often in these conversations I meet people who are very dedicated, consistent, disciplined exercisers, but they are not making their commitment truly count. It is uncomfortable to pry, but I attempt to tactfully ask them what their typical routine encompasses. There are many, for sure, that are truly exercising in smart and effective ways, but not everyone.
At Forte we define training smart as exercising in a manner that develops overall health, quality of life, and physical independence that lasts a lifetime by building a functional body and developing cardiovascular health. Generally speaking the issues I find happen to fall into gender specific camps.
General concerns for men:
- Doing the same exercises over and over again leads to overuse injuries
- There is little understanding of periodization in developing a strength program
- The focus is on upper body exercises, bench, shoulder presses, and bicep curls, that lead to shoulder protraction, impingement, and rotator cuff injuries and eventual shoulder surgery
- There is a lack of scapular retraction relative to the protraction work
- The belief that cardio (elliptical, treadmill, biking, jogging) is enough for the legs – it is not. We live on our legs. These exercises are excellent cardiovascular developers, but they do not move the ankles, knees, hips and low back through full ranges of motion. Exercises like lunges, deadlifts, and squats, and their variations, build a truly functional lower body
- The belief that crunches and sit ups are excellent core exercises, when in fact men do not need anymore flexion, but need to develop extensor strength through the plank and plank variations
General concerns for females:
- Many females gravitate to yoga, which is excellent, but in general, females don’t lack for flexibility or range of movement. Keep doing your yoga, but understand you may be focusing on your strength simply because it is what you enjoy – keep doing your yoga!!! But add some more focused strength training
- A misunderstanding of weight training fearing it will cause one to gain too much mass – this is a myth because gaining mass requires the testosterone levels of a male and a commitment to weight training not 2-3 days per week but 4-6 days per week with multiple exercises per muscle group
- Weight training for a female is necessary 2 days per week to build a functional body, to build bone density, and prevent osteoporosis
- A belief that cardio exercise is the best way to achieve a healthy body composition – it is a part of the program but weight lifting is a better and more efficient method to building a fast metabolism
- Doing the same exercises the same way with the same weight over and over expecting to see change will not work – doing things the same way over and over expecting change is the definition of insanity - the principles of periodization must be followed to create change
I encourage you to consider these general concerns and determine if any of them apply to you. Do some research, make the necessary changes, or hire a personal trainer for a short period of time to learn how to train smart and safe. And don’t forget you can never out train an unhealthy diet.