Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fitness is simple (maybe not easy)

My message going forward in 2014 is this! Fitness is simple (maybe not easy) but simple! 


As the Fitness Philosopher I could be accused of being to "ivory tower' at times, but thanks to my recent research into Aristotle for my dissertation, I have come to the conclusion that the average person needs pragmatic and practical advice and does not benefit from too much high minded theory or 'arm chair speculation.' I am inspired by philosopher Peter Singer's work, he was a great Hegelian philosopher (the most speculative of philosophies) who turned to "applied ethics" and now most people know him as the "animal protection philosopher" and I think he is a wonderful human being and helps a lot more by his 'practical work'. Check out this awesome BBC segment from a recently deceased "intellectual Britain" ;)

So I am going "Back to Basics" with my fitness advice. Because at the end of the day, most people just need a moderate amount of exercise, and need not have it take over all aspects of one's life! Fitness should be a foundation for a good life, not the goal of it! 

Humans, as animals, like gorillas, have evolved to be capable of being 'very active' and so when we are 'very passive' we get fatter and slower (excessive calorie storage) and depressed (brain feels like dirty swamp rather then fast paced river). We are not plants, we need to move around, a lot. Simple. Not just human beings though, go to a Zoo and compare those animals with their wild counterparts. Kinda makes you sad.

So, if you sleep 8 hours, sit in a car to and from work, sit in desk at work or just walk around a bit, and then drive home to lay on the couch - then you certainly are not being 'active enough' . If you feel 'too' overweight (because the goal is not to be a underweight or too skinny either but FIT! ) or if you feel "blue" maybe it is resulting from your lifestyle. Remember, it is a lifestyle problem, not your own fault necessarily, but you are part of the problem if you do not work to improve it. WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THINGS CAN BE BETTER WITH A LITTE EFFORT!

Survival of the Fattest (remember this 'punk' album?) 

SO what am I saying: 

Humans NEED to "move more" just to feel normal. If we do not we will get sick, and that takes various forms. If we want to feel 'extraordinary' we need to really work at it, but most people would benefit from just 'getting back to feeling normal.' :) 

Here are five tricks for beginners or veterans looking to get off the couch and re-claim their lives again!

  1. Go for a 20 minute walk. Do not over think this one. Go outdoors and walk for 10 minutes then turn around and walk home! (Steady state cardio + tai chi equivalent now done!)
  2. Try "couch squats". Stand in front of a couch and squat onto it, into a seated position and then back up again. This is like 'box squats" and in all my years teaching lifts, using a box or bench to squat just allows people the confidence to 'get those hips back" and sit properly. Start out with 2 sets of 12 reps and go from there. Over time try doing it with one leg! (lower body pushing exercise done!) 
  3. Push ups! Do 3 sets of 5 slow push ups- when you think about it! Right now would be good.
  4. Planks- try holding front and side planks for 30 seconds to start and move from there. 
  5. Shadow boxing. Stand in front of a mirror (not too close ) and 'punch dance' to your hearts content! If you 'punch' the air for a minute or so you will be breathing hard and getting some excellent 'upper body based cardio'! Release your inner Rocky!