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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Want It To Be... What?

"Train hard or go home," "Just do it," "Pain is weakness, leaving the body," "There is no Off-Season," these are just a few of the encouraging T-shirts and slogans meant to inspire the average gym-goer to give it their all-to do their best. Most would likely nod in agreement with these statements yet in recent years, many in the fitness industry have extolled the "benefits" of workouts marketed to experts and novices alike that promise "short" and "easy" routines resulting in nearly miraculous transformations. While punishing and torturous exercise is counter-productive at best and harmful at worst, something about the words "easy" and "exercise" just don't go together. 

Clearly, a need has arisen for shorter, more realistic exercise programs in terms of time invested compared with results achieved. Today's time and economic constraints have created a world where a significant part of the population works two jobs (we're also parents, taking care of parents, and have other serious demands on our time) so becoming more efficient with our exercise time developed into a necessity. But there is little to no benefit, (other than making money pushing unrealistic marketing schemes), to doing an "easy" workout. Obviously, any exercise program should be appropriately progressive but, if it isn't challenging, it isn't a work-out! In the age of entitlement, people are beginning to think this sort of miracle is our right. They expect a hard-body will be the result of their "easy" efforts and are disappointed when it doesn't happen.

Back here on earth...with obesity statistics and sedentary lifestyles being what they are, many fitness experts feel the need to say or do anything necessary to get bodies in the door, so to speak. That's certainly understandable, even admirable, but lowering standards is not the answer. We are becoming physically weaker and weaker with much of the population now sitting for hours on end in front of computers every day. Can we really afford "easy?"  Sadly, the majority of the population probably isn't physically ready for a difficult, intense workout-but there are degrees...

From Curves to The Military Wives Workout, The Navy Seals Workout, Crossfit, and of course, The Jinifit Virtual Training System-relative to your fitness level, these and other programs all have their place in the realm of "hard;" as they should be. There are many safe, progressive, effective programs out there and unless you're intent on wasting your time, you need a program that will really challenge you.

Isn't doing something better than doing nothing? Yes, but consider this: In an excerpt from a blog post by strength coach Mike Boyle, Boyle said:

"We should be exercising as hard as we are physically able. In fact, the medical professionals themselves said that in 2002 but the information got little coverage. The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 346:852-854 March 14, 2002) published a study and an editorial titled "Survival of the Fittest" that said "...the peak estimated exercise capacity achieved during the test (graded treadmill test) was the strongest predictor of the risk of death among patients with cardiovascular disease and among patients without cardiovascular disease. "Greater fitness results in longer survival." The study said nothing about duration or frequency, it only mentioned performance. The people that lived the longest were not the ones that exercised the most frequently. They were the ones who lasted the longest on the treadmill test.  

The key variable that related to life expectancy was fitness, not total time or number of days per week. Those that were able to exercise the hardest lived the longest.

Think about that the next time you do your  "cardio." "

It may be human nature to take the path of least resistance-the easy way out. But that belief has never created a single champion. Longevity and quality of life are just two reasons to give a workout your all. Being prepared for the unknown and unknowable is perhaps the greatest reward for being fit.

Didn't mom always say "anything worth doing is worth doing well?" Ultimately, it comes down to this: If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

© 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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Fitness expert and Athletic Development Specialist Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at

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