Making Sense of all These Workout Styles
One thing that has always drive me a bit nuts is the concept of workout styles. If not familiar with the conept, a style of training usually fits into the category of those who traditionally train in that manner; so, for example, anyone who does multiple sets of an exercise and focuses on body parts would be considered to be training in a “bodybuilding” style. We do this all the time when we call someone an avid “runner,” which of course could be labeled running or given the more modern term of endurance athlete.
The problem here is that these styles are usually launched into the mainstream through some form of entertainment. Take for instance the movie 300; the physiques of the actors in the movies had every guy in the world buying kettlebells, ropes, monster truck tires and prescribing to “functional” training in hopes of getting lean and strong. However, it was only 15 years ago that everyone was clogging the streets with running because Dr. Kenneth Cooper told everyone they should run for optimal fitness. So which one is it: running or functional training? What about those popular step aerobic classes? You can’t forget all those Nike and Under Armour commercials that show athletes jumping around on boxes and doing sprints. Talk about confusing.
The basic notion here is that there really an actual ‘style’ because everything works, just not forever (hence the confusion and all the new training fads). The problem comes into play with people and their mindsets. Take someone whose never trained a day in their life and has some serious health issues (like a diabetic with knee issues….and let’s throw in some high blood pressure). Clearly this person needs some low intensity aerobic work; it’s a safe way to start and will give them a foundation for fitness. If it works, people can become stuck and resistant to trying something new. It’s almost a double edged sword because if they get results from doing this, then they start to think this is the ONLY way to get in shape. This is the attitude with martial art classes; I see it all the time. People join, lose weight because they are active, and then hit a plateau because the body is now use to what they are doing. However, because they had that original success, they’re pretty much hooked for life. Runners will always defend running as the best form of exercise, and many bodybuilders will fight to the death to train chest on Monday.
Lastly, a lot of people tend to gravitate towards their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. That one guy who always seems to be strong likes to lift heavy things; he also tends to avoid any forms of conditioning so a walk up a flight of stairs is going to knock him out. The same can be said for “enduro guy” – you know, that one guy who runs on the same treadmill at the same speed for every workout. Well, he’s always up for a light jog but he’s roasted after 5 minutes of helping you move that brand new couch into your living room.
So what do you do? Don’t adopt to any system of training, or at least tailor your training to your goals. If a guy wants to add on muscle, he doesn’t need to train like a bodybuilder, but he better do variations of deadlifts and squats in his program. For someone that wants to lose fat, they better avoid long distance running and start circuit training.
However, the biggest thing you need to do is to address your weaknesses! If you’re not strong right now, you better start getting strong; otherwise, you’ll just continue to get weaker. As uncomfortable as it makes us, training your weaknesses will only help accentuate your strengths.