The Health & Fitness Trump Card
This is not the time to explain or debate the finer points of why something works for me and the clients under my care, or what may work best for you. But here I make the claim that physical health and fitness can be reduced to this: building and maintaining muscle and strength. This is indeed THE critical component of staying healthy and functioning well as you grow and age.
When you regularly perform total body resistance training primarily with free-weights with good form and appropriate progression, you remain fit and "balanced." You don't have to diet or do a lot of "cardio." Everywhere you go, 24-hours per day you carry around functional, good-looking muscle that burns energy and allows you to eat a reasonable amount of relatively normal food. More likely than not, you will have good blood profiles, low body fat, and far more strength and endurance than you need on a daily basis.
Or you can believe the prevailing notions about the pathways and barriers to health and fitness. You can spend hours per week on the elliptical, "tone up" with high reps on the Nautilus machines, wave around the 2-pound pink dumbbells, take the lemon balm extract and whatever other supplements Oprah and Dr. Oz are hawking, buy the low sugar ice cream, the organic smoothies, and the whole grain cookies, rub on the pain relieving creams and gels, and throw out your nutrient depleting microwave oven. I could go on...
Don't get me wrong. To be healthy and achieve aesthetic or performance related goals, you do have to exercise and be mindful of what you eat. But it's truly not complex and time-demanding. We're not talking about knock-down-drag-out blood-sweat-tears marathons.
Today I was tired. Completed a few quick errands after work, disassembled a treadmill, installed a new belt, and put it back together. With little time and energy for training, I trained. The lack of music and training partner increased the demand by 27%. After a "clean the basement floor" warm-up, the days work included only 3 sets of intense single leg squats, one set of 20-rep squats, a few bicep curls, and a "core" finisher which including wailing on a tree stump with a heavy ax.
So to summarize. If you want better health, less pain, and to look good with minimal time investment, do resistance exercise. Compliment the Zumba, golf, yoga, skiing or whatever activity that you enjoy with time under the weights.
Consistent (2 to 4 days per week)
total body (controlling multiple body segments against gravity - in good form)
resistance exercise (strength training and conditioning activities safe for you)
is what I'm selling.
And there's the trump card. - bam -
Rest enough, minimize processed food, try to manage stress and have some fun.
See where that gets you!