Thursday, January 11, 2007

What The Experts Say

I am always amazed when I am in a book store and see the amount of books written on “how to improve ones fitness.” Whether the book is written with the intent of making the reader a better athlete, as in the case of many strength training for sports books, or simply looking better as with the “look great in 8 weeks” books. In any case all of these books have two things is common. First off they all start with a standard release of liability; you know the line, “be sure you see a doctor before starting any exercise program.” In addition they all offer the hope that this book is the missing link in your quest for improved physical fitness. In Fact many guarantee success.

The first statement I won’t comment on since I also think everyone should receive a doctor’s clearance before starting an exercise program. The second comment however, I take issue with. Mainly because there are no guarantees in life and an exercise program is no different. In addition, there is no way the author, regardless of his/her credentials, can prescribe a detailed fitness plan for an individual they never met. Offer general guidelines, yes, but offer a detailed week by week workout plan is not possible. In fact many of these “guides” often leave the reader frustrated with exercise all together after the plan does not live up to claims.

The truth of the matter is many people turn to these books for guidance on how to better their lives through exercise. I think that’s great so many people what to become more physically fit. However, the answer is not in any book. Finding out what is best for you, in terms of exercise, can only be learned by doing. If you want to improve you fitness, than stop reading about a new routine and start moving with the routine you currently are on. If you want to read a book pick up a Gray’s Anatomy text and learn how the body functions and choose exercises accordingly. If your goal is become a stronger person than experiment with different exercises, set and rep combinations and notate which ones you like better, than strive to improve on each exercise. Improving your physical fitness is very simple, and you don’t need to read 300 page book to get the answer.

*Get doctor’s clearance
*Identify what you need to work on (muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility etc.)
*Pick exercises you enjoy doing to address these needs
*Stay consistent with your plan for 3-5 days a week
*Be patient and stay the course.

- Doug Scott, Strength Coach