We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Phizzicle phitness consists of strength, endurance, and athleticism (plus body composition). A balanced fitness program will address all aspects.
Ordinary guys often tend to emphasize the strength component because it seems more rewarding, but if you have bulging biceps to impress the girls at the beach but can not sprint a mile or a half-mile, what good are you? Fact is, biceps are not very important in functional fitness. Triceps? More useful.
Ordinary gals tend to emphasize the cardio aspect but that is just as unbalanced. That's why we always say Weights + Cardio + Calisthenics (with sports counting as calisthenics unless it is TV football).
Today, more fun info re strength-building (for men and women).
- You can gain strength without dramatic growth in visible muscle size.
- An adult body can not grow new skeletal muscle cells. However, muscle cells can develop new and larger muscle fibers within the cells you were born with.
-Usable strength can only be increased by pushing, pulling, and carrying progressively heavy resistances (eg weights). Cardio and calisthenics do not generally build strength. Running one mile vs. 10 miles is not strength - it's endurance. Distance runners are often not very strong or powerful.
- Steroids work remarkably well to increase strength and size. Do not use them - go natural.
- After an initial phase of neuromuscular adaptation, strength improvement is discouragingly slow. Few good things come easily.
- Strength, endurance, and athleticism are rapidly lost without use. The older you are, the faster they disappear. Fitness is like money: Hard to get, easy to lose.
- Serious strength-building programs require a diet high in protein and fats, plus adequate carbs unless overweight. A good dose of protein immediately after a painful work-out is recommended.
- Strength building is a mind-body challenge. Very difficult and unpleasant unless you love pain and extreme effort. Most people prefer comfort - just look around at people. It's more fun with a trainer or a group so there is a relational aspect to it.
For strength-building for men and women, we recommend working one's way up over months or years to being able to condense a program down to multi-muscle exercises like bench press, deadlift, barbell squat, pull-up, rows, military press/inclined bench press. Together, those will stress pretty much every functional muscle group. That is my goal - a simple, basic, efficient strength regimen.
"Strength, endurance, and athleticism are rapidly lost without use." True, but strength goes away a lot slower than endurance, which goes along with the fact that it takes longer to develop.
I cannot remember the last time I had to sprint a half mile. I pick up heavy things all the time, though; suitcases, garbage cans, lawn debris, etc. Strength is far more useful than endurance for most people. In any case, building strength will automatically develop a useful amount of endurance. My deadlift is currently at 415 pounds at age 55 and I also referee my 14-year-old son's soccer games without getting winded or left behind. I don't do any 'cardio' other than my twice weekly weightlifting routine of squats, bench presses, deadlifts, overhead presses and chin-ups (I don't do all lifts during a single workout, of course).
Never could understand why cardio only involved the legs. Since cardio involves the heart, my c-routines always involve weight+movement+pumping heart. For many years, I have set up a group of weight machines will just enough weight to provide resistance and then work the heck out of them. I can get -- and keep -- my heart beating with my biceps or shoulders just as much as I can with my legs.
When it comes to legs, a good routine is 3 miles on an elliptical with quick squats (10 reps ... lower weight) at each quarter mile. Downside is the squat rack has to be close to the elliptical machine. The last 1/2 mile is no squats. Don't challenge yourself with more weight, challenge yourself with more resistance on the elliptical machine. It is a work out I developed some time ago to great benefit.
"Cardio" - better described as metabolic conditioning - has less to do with the heart (despite the label) than it has to do with the muscles involved (the muscles involved is the KEY phrase).
If cardio was primarily about the heart, cross training would be effective - it's not. The primary changes in metabolic conditioning occur in the mitochondria of THE MUSCLES INVOLVED in the training.
The elliptical machine is a piece of crap for conditioning! Who walks/runs with that movement pattern? May be ok for burning calories, but why not do some useful conditioning as well?
Doing "cardio" with or before strength training diminishes the effectiveness/results of your strength training. If you are looking for training "economy" to allow more recovery days, do your "cardio"either immediately or 5-6 hours after strength training on same day. I still think people should include some type of mobility work EVERY day.
After decades of working out with machines and free weights I gave it all up at the start of this year for calisthenics. In only a few weeks I was noticeably stronger and had put on muscle. Don't confuse calisthenics with jumping jacks and twirling your arms. Check out front and back levers, dragon flags, windshield wipers and gymnastic rings. People at the gym have suddenly started calling me awesome, amazing, my workout insane. By the way I turned 66 years old today.