As I have been in this field for a while now I have seen numerous things that have come and gone. I have been suckered in to things and fallen for gimmicks. I have flip flopped sometimes more than a middle of the road politician in an election year at times. Heck, the first time I saw a kettlebell I said “This could be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life!” For the most part though I have been in search of a philosophy that works and in the quest for more knowledge . In the past couple years I have ranted about things and upset people as well as gained respect of others with my views. I have been thinking a lot about the path I have taken and things I have learned and well to say the least my view has changed on a couple of things….just a little. Don’t worry I am not opening a Zumba studio any time soon.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it the best……
“I wish to say that what I think and feel today, with the proviso that tomorrow perhaps I shall conflict it all.”
I have been very critical of Yoga for a couple reasons. First, I was injured in yoga with
some bad instruction, and I have seen numerous yoga injuries in my corrective exercise practice. Where I haven’t changed? If you are taking yoga just to stretch and are doing high Intensity yoga to pull your body into a pretzel I still think it is ridiculous and not the best idea for most people. Stretching tight muscles is rarely the answer. I have however been looking into the breathing aspects of yoga and think that a good yoga instructor that truly understand the human body and how to instruct appropriate diaphragmatic breathing has a huge value in health, fitness, and performance. Yoga lately has gone hardcore with high intensity stuff that focuses the stretch and 300 degree rooms and that is about as far as you can get from the true principles of Yoga. Yoga’s true base is one of meditation, spirituality, and breathing. With the high intensity world of fitness taking over, people don’t need more high intensity yoga, they need breathing and meditation to create the balance, and I am all about promoting a yoga that does that.
Foam Rolling and Self Myofacial Release
I have been off and on the Foam Rolling Self Myofacial Release kick over the years. It has been my best friend, a deceitful liar, and we seem to be back on working terms together with some agreements. Foam Rolling if done appropriately can be a great tool to help loosen up the fascia. I have experienced and witnessed first hand it actually change people’s lives. People have come to me in such stiffness and lethargy and a session with the foam roller made some amazing changes. I have also seen self myofascial release being used completely inappropriately. If you are spending an hour or more a day making out with your foam roller and you seem to never get any long term results or if every time you are on your foam roller you are making a face of utter constipation you are not using the foam roller correctly. This also stands if you are jamming barbells, hot pokers, and screwdrivers into your muscle tissue. Stop the insanity, seriously. The mobility wods on the internet have gained major steam, but when he started using barbells for SMFR I lost interest. If you can get on a foam roller and do a nice once over on your body, workout the kinks without going to battle it is a great tool. If it never gets any better you probably have something else causing the restriction and you need someone else to take a look at you. So, foam rolling with no pain and limited time is a good tool. Being in a co-dependent, abusive and painful relationship with it isn’t.
I have been notorious for bagging on Crossfit. I wrote a blog “So What’s My Beef with Crossfit” and I got cheered and hated for it. To be honest, my views from that blog really haven’t changed that much. I still think if someone goes to Crossfit Gym that follows the Daily WOD like a religion or practices high rep Olympic Lifts and Box jumps it is asinine. So what has changed? First, I have mad respect for the Crossfit Games winners. Those guys are strong as hell.(FYI, They don’t follow the daily Wods or Crossfit Programming). 2nd.I appreciate what Crossfit has done for the fitness industry in many ways. It really did change the game. The big box gyms and smaller wannabe big box gyms are having a tough time to adjust. They are still touring people in multi-million dollar facilities and showing off $10,000 treadmills for $10 a month and keep lowering the prices because they don’t know what else to do. The big box gyms are in a race to the bottom, while Crossfit Gyms and gyms like Evolution Fitness Tucson have chalk covered rubber stall mats on the floor, kettlebells, and Barbells and charging $100′s per month and still showing signs of growth. People are leaving the big box gyms for something different. Crossfit has made gymnastics and barbells cool again and also is responsible for re-energizing the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Don’t worry I am not affiliating, but I have to give credit where credit is due. I still make my funny jabs and call things how I see it, but I am off the ranting.
I have made numerous comments about how walking isn’t exercise. I was called egotistical and insensitive. Here is where I was coming from. If someone is extremely out of shape walking IS exercise, but after a short period of time the body will adapt and it will just become physical activity and basic locomotion. I guess I started this because I see able bodied, young individuals tell me they walk for exercise and in those situations it just isn’t exercise or isn’t enough to make a huge difference for them. What has changed? Well I think walking has its purpose and place in health and wellness, it just shouldn’t be the ONLY thing someone does, just as only lifting weights isn’t the only thing someone should do for health. Walking for an hour per day does have tremendous health benefits, and for those people that want to lose weight and keep it off I promise that walking for an hour per day will increase the chances of success. Also, for people that are lifting and training really hard, walking on off days can be a great way to help the body recover by increasing circulation as well as assist in mental clarity. Don’t just sit on your ass if you aren’t doing anything start with walking then add the other stuff.
High Intensity Interval Training
I still like HIIT in many situations. The ability to help burn fat and optimize hormones in muscle gains is proven. I still practice this type of training, but it isn’t the only thing I do. I got really carried away with it and started avoiding aerobics at all cost which really isn’t a good idea. Aerobic capacity and building an aerobic base are critical for over all health, fitness, endurance, and recovery time. Also, just practicing HIIT is a great way to burn out your body as well. So my view has changed to doing HIIT a couple times per week and Aerobics a couple times per week is probably a good combo with a good base in Strength and Mobility work.
Corrective Exercise Myopia
I have been studying and practicing the FMS for over 2 years now and have really seen some great aspects of this training system. As I first learned it I got sucked in. I mean sucked in deep. I still think it is a great system and if someone learns it, practices it, and goes deep with it, it will definitely give them a great understanding of the human body. It takes 100′s of screens but like anything if you are going to do it, you got to practice. As time has gone on I have seen great results using this system, but like any system, nothing gives you 100% of the results all of the time. I started getting frustrated with FMS and making it wrong, but the problem was I was too afraid to look outside into other philosophies. Increasing one’s tool box when it comes to the human body is a must. The FMS is a great system but not the only one. Looking into philosophies such as DNS, PRI, and Z-Health have started to give me the additional tools to be a better practitioner. Having a bigger tool box and being able to critically think and use the most appropriate tool for the situation is key.
I am sure as they years go on I will continue to change and grow in this field. That truly is the only way to have longevity in this field.