I love pizza. I also love ice cream.
However, if I dipped my pizza in ice cream, it would probably be pretty gross and ruin both.
What does this have to do with health and fitness???
One of my good clients came in last week and was telling me about a new Spin class he just tried out that he really liked. Done well, I think indoor cycling classes are an awesome option for conditioning so I was fully supportive of his endeavors. Until…
He proceeded to tell me about the “strength training” and “sculpting” portion of the class. This basically consisted of doing roughly a thousand or so curls and crazy shoulder raises with 2lb dumbbells. Why, why, why???
You had a great thing going. Then you went and screwed it up because you wanted to create a workout that covered “everything”. Well, the saying goes about being a “jack of all trades, but master of none”. Instead of getting in some more valuable peak heart rate work, recovery training, etc., you decided to waste valuable class time trying to “feel the burn” and appease the immediate gratification of the novice client mindset that if I feel a muscle getting exhausted, it must be growing and getting more tone. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way and that flies in the face of all good and sound exercise science.
Let’s give a quick refresher course on how exercise works:
-The human organism is designed to do 2 things – Adapt and survive
-In accordance with this, we shiver when we are cold, sweat when we are hot, etc., etc.
-If you want to grow muscle or add strength, you need to challenge the body at a relatively high intensity to force a “super compensation” that will result in gains in either
If I make someone do a million reps of a single joint exercise at an extremely low intensity, it will not create enough stimulus to create any significant strength or muscle. When is the last time you saw a really “jacked” distance runner?
Now mind you that this client is a pretty strong individual who can deadlift in the 300lb range and bench press in the high 200s. How intense are those 2lb dumbbells for him? The only thing it accomplished is draining energy, creating wear and tear and possibly some soreness that took away from the next day’s workout where the goal and plan actually was to gain strength and muscle.
The point of all of this is that some things are best left alone. Yoga is a tremendous and incredibly valuable discipline. It’s held true for thousands of years. It doesn’t need to be blended with conditioning, kettle bells, pilates, weights, stability balls or whatever other crazy “do-it-all” hybrid you dream up. I could create one workout that incorporates strength, endurance, flexibility, power, recovery, agility and burned calories, it just wouldn’t be real good at any of them.
Don’t run holding dumbbells and don’t believe the hype. Enjoy your pizza and then go for ice cream later.