Over the last few years, I've been very critical about what I've been seeing in the fitness industry. How could I not be? It seems like every week another new exercise fad is launched, or some new diet comes out and everyone jumps on board. Recently, the medical community shifted their recommended amount of required exercise from one hundred and twenty minutes weekly to one hundred and fifty minutes weekly. Oh boy. You can see where this is going right? In the wrong direction. Now just to clarify, I definitely believe exercise is necessary for health and longevity. However, it's not the only piece in the puzzle. We often overlook the importance of nutrition, supplementation and recovery as integral parts of the holistic approach to health and wellness. Armed with this new recommendation, people are even more passionate and determined to exercise themselves right into adrenal failure.
For the last few days, I've been staying at a well known hotel in a prominent area of Atlanta. I admit that living in Boulder, Colorado has me somewhat isolated from the rest of society. I always enjoy the opportunity to use hotel fitness centers because it really gives me insight into what the rest of the world is doing as part of their normal fitness routine. Needless to say this last experience has been quite informative. And comical. While I was working out yesterday, and again this morning, I saw the typical "Road Warriors" just murdering themselves on the cardio equipment. I spoke with a man who said he spends nearly two hundred and fifty days a year on the road. He said that what sucks most about that schedule is that it leaves him very little time for exercise. He said he absolutely hates being "out of his routine." I talked with another woman this morning who said that she loves hammering away on the machines when she's on the road because she doesn't have the same distractions as she does at home (kids, work, household duties,etc.) These are all valid points to some degree, but there is a larger message in there.
We live in a society now where we take very little time for ourselves. We are caught up with trying to pack as much as possible in the little time allotted daily. I believe that's where the problem lies. We have adopted the consciousness that to achieve optimal health and vitality, we must punish ourselves with exercise. Hence the Crossfit craze and all of the other dysfunctional exercise modalities out there. They all seem to operate on the premiss that if you go super hard, you'll get super results. I believe this couldn't be more false. What I saw in the gentleman yesterday morning was dark rings under his eyes which is a tell tale sign of food allergies and adrenal stress. The worst thing that man could be doing is crippling himself with exercise. It's clear his body isn't accepting his exercise routine as something nourishing and fortifying, but rather another, different form of stress. In the woman I spoke with this morning, I saw a lack of quality lean mass, paper thin skin and hair that looked weak and brittle. These symptoms speak clearly to her inability to absorb nutrients. She believes that if she keeps crushing it on the cardio, she'll burn off the excessive belly fat and "tone up." I wonder if she's aware that her exercise routine may be raising her cortisol levels even more than her stressful work/travel schedule?
I believe that what these folks need is ample time for recovery. The high paced, hectic nature of our modern day living leaves us less than adequate time to rest, rebuild and recover. This seems to me to be the one thing that keeps us from achieving our desired results. My routine when I'm on the road is significantly scaled down from what I do regularly. The main reason for this is I know I tend to eat food that I don't cook, sleep in different beds and operate on a different time schedule than what my body is typically used to. What I need most when I'm out of my normal routine is more recovery. Not more punishment. Honestly it's hard enough to try and maintain some type of consistency when I'm out of my daily regimen. The last thing I'm going to do is go and destroy myself just because I have less distractions, or because I have the time to do so. None of that seems logical or sensical to me. These "Road Warriors" should relish the opportunity to recover and rest as best they can when they're on the road rather than amplify their stress with high intensity exercise.
If we continue to overlook the main components of health and wellness and focus only on high intensity exercise, we will lose our ability to operate daily with a reasonable amount of energy and vigor. Isn't that what Starbucks and all the coffee companies want? The more I go on the road and see what the masses are doing to themselves in the name of fitness, the more thankful I am that I have been educated in a fitness system that teaches truly healthy lifelong habits as it pertains to exercise. At Sam Iannetta's Functional Fitness and Wellness Center, we teach our clients to exercise intelligently and not to ignore the requirements for recovery. Our clients understand that their daily nutritional needs vary based on the amount of stress caused by exercise, life, etc. The holistic approach to health and longevity serve as the basis for our system and I can't think of a time in the last ten years when it's been more necessary than now.
As we continue to spin out of control and seek out the next big thing to help us get over the hump, remember that there is a system out there that is specifically tailored to each individuals needs. Check out www.functionalfitnessusa.com for more information on how you can benefit from an exercise and wellness program that will never focus on breaking you down, but rather on helping your body maintain energy and strength for a lifetime. Ask yourself if you're really getting what you know you need from your exercise program. If the conclusion you come to is, "I'm working my tail off and absolutely crushing it and not getting where I want to be," then perhaps it's time to reconsider how "Functional" your routine is. Follow @Rich1ill for more information on Functional Fitness. Thank you.