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Back to Basics by Paul Hunter

05/02/2017 12:10PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Let’s get back to basics.  With all the new flashy, catchy, exciting fitness products, people become mesmerized and drawn like a moth to light.  We can be easily distracted by the shiny, new, magic elixir that will revolutionize your life and get you to your goal.


The great news is that people have been able to be in amazing shape well before the gadgets, gizmos, special drinks and pills.  I remind you of this to provide some hope.


So, let’s get back to basics and talk about how your body moves.  Ever sit in a chair and have to get out?  That is “changing elevation.”  Up and down stairs?  Lunge down to tie your shoe?  Walk, jog, run or sprint to somewhere?  Think “locomotion.” Pull yourself up from somewhere or pull something towards yourself?  How about pressing something away from you or above you, like putting the Christmas decorations away?  That’s “push/pull.”  You have done that already, right?  How about turning or twisting to pick something up or playing tennis, golf or just about any sport?  Name that movement:  that's right - “rotation.”


These are the basic ways our bodies move, in addition to a combination of any of these.  We are human and sometimes move in unpredictable ways.  Sometimes I will add the ability to hinge at the hip, i.e. no spinal or knee movement, and your ability to hold a plank which could be with your body facing any different direction. 


Where these movements get a little interesting is in how well we move.  On the spectrum below, where would you put yourself?


SICK                    HEALTHY                          FITNESS                            COMPETITIVE 


When you think of a “healthy” body, what do you expect to be able to happen?  I think of being able to get in and out of a chair, church pew, or toilet without assistance.  No help from the hand rails, armrest, chair in front, hand on your thighs or person next to you.  I think of someone who is healthy being able to go for a 30-minute or more walk, maybe even shop all day.  How about being able to move without pain or compensation?  These kind of “Activities of Daily Living” (ADLs) typically do not require “fitness.”  If there is pain, discomfort, compensation or simply lack of ability then maybe there is sickness that needs to be addressed.


So, if some basic things like going for walk or putting away the spices or Christmas decorations require the basic element of health, then how about fitness?  What kind of things can someone expect if they pursue fitness?  I have heard “physical fitness” defined as the ability to handle a physical emergency and have plenty of strength, endurance and energy for your ADLs for the rest of the day.  How about being able to run a 5k race with at least a 12-minute mile?  If you were fit would you think you would be able to perform at least 25-50 pushups in a row?  Jump up on to a 12-16” box?  In heart rate numbers, you'd be looking to train with a minimum zone of 70% of your maximum heart rate with a maximum of 95-100% of your predicated maximum heart rate and have a relatively short recovery time.


Competitive numbers are above the fitness numbers listed and there are so many additional variables to consider.


I encourage you to take an honest look at yourself and decide to move forward from wherever you think you are.  Go to a professional and get a fitness test.  A professional will consider your health-related physical fitness components such as cardio-respiratory endurance, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.  In addition, the above-mentioned body movements may be assessed as well as some skill-related components to physical fitness. 


To achieve what you want is rarely something tricky or extraordinary. Rather it is the consistent application of the basics over time that allows us to achieve our goals. Otherwise stated, doing enough of the right things over the right amount of time will get you to your goals. So be wary of the gimmicks, gadgets and gizmos that promise magical results. It’s YOU that will get you there. 


Paul Hunter, CSCS, MATjs, FMS

TRX Team Certified, Personal Trainer / Owner

Grayton Beach Fitness

club: 850.231.7075

cell: 850.240.3539


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