I’ve written plenty about exercise over the years, but as with many things, the information, facts and approaches change. This is why there will never be an end to gadgets, programs and “new” ways of thinking.
Honestly, I just describe a good portion of my life in just about every venue that makes life worth living! But today’s email is about some different and maybe “new” concepts of exercise that have been around forever!
I’ll start out with something old – something I said years ago and will say again today. The “BEST” exercise is the one you do! I should add the word “consistently” to that but that kinda destroys the “one liner” sound byte effect no?!
But there are evolving popular concepts that have popped up lately. One of them is the growing popularity of exercise programs that involve a personal favorite of mine – bodyweight gymnastics!
Friend and mentor Matt Furey came out with a book quite a while ago called “Combat Conditioning”. It started a revelation and a revolution of spin off wanna be’s and serious athletes who recognized the value. In that book Matt featured 3 “simple” exercises. The usual question was, “Can that really be all you need?!” The answer was and is, “Yes if you do them correctly and consistently!”
I’ll leave you to find out more about those topics but they form the core of any body weight program.
One question I get a lot that is usually in the form of a veiled bias is “What about static holds versus dynamic movements?” I say veiled bias because most people have already formed their opinions and are asking for validation.
Again, the translation into bigger life issues is amazing no?! Anywho, the answer is as always, “It depends!” If I had nothing to do and all day and more importantly endless energy and recovery ability to do it, I would simply do all kinds of things, stretching both dynamic and static, plyometrics, resistance training with bands and yes (gasp) weights, HIIT and LSD cardio.
Even though my profession and ultimate goal in life – to live longer and better revolve around all of the above, I DO have to be selective and at least pick the ones that help me the most.
I think that static holds are extremely valuable. Things like handstand, crow, planche and horizontal pull ups cause neuro muscular activation in the extreme. Even though you are not moving your whole neuromuscular system is lit up.
That said, most of what you are going to do rep wise and development wise will be dynamic motions that you use in everyday life or that are needed to even approach some of those monster strength static holds.
So, do them all if you can but if time, energy, injury or ability limits you, focus on the dynamic stuff you can use in life!
Now comes the sales pitch, again from my personal life. To me Time is the second most valuable asset I have. Energy is the first because without it I waste my time and get nothing done (I budget for that too by the way!).
I don’t know about you but I like some “density” to my time.
Without the supplemental help of the Energy Pack there is no way I could do even half of the physical stuff I do – let alone the mental!
If your ambition and mind is willing but your body is in the driver’s seat no matter how much enthusiasm you start out with try this. It is truly one of my Secret Weapons!
I want to close today with the topic of NEAT- Non Exercise Thermogenesis.
It’s a simple concept that says again, no matter how ambitions focused and disciplined you are, you will still be spending a lot more time NOT EXERICSEING than you will doing exercise.
So, based on the 10,000 steps a day concept, physical trainers are now counting everything else other than eating and sleeping in the mix.
The good news is the current limited socialization time has led to a lot more people taking regular walks, gardening, and doing housework to pass the time.
This is a wonderful way to increase calorie burn in what would otherwise be a limiting situation.
But please understand it does not take the place of focused exercise.
And finally, I will answer the question I have been asked for almost 20 years now, what is the best exercise:
It took some thought and some serous longitudinal thinking referencing all the decades of my life but here it is: the best exercise is…Walking.
Get outside and go for a hike. Add back pack weights if you like, hit the trails for increased slope and grade and proprioception. Jog or even sprint at intervals but, as a single exercise, nothing beats the thing that we all want and expect to be able to do for the rest of our long healthy lives.