Building a Fitness Pyramid Part 2

Nutrition is the base of our base. Now, what do we place at the next level of priority?

Our ability to live life is directly related to our ability to move. We need to move to work, play, interact with people, and perform tasks necessary for living. One way to impede this list of activities is to not have the energy to do so.

"I felt out of breath." Most of us have said this at some point. Sometimes, everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs, a brisk walk, or playing with children, catch us off guard and tax our bodies. We realize we are not as apt as we once were. What has occurred is the loss of the body's ability to create energy via metabolism.

Metabolic conditioning is the training of the body to use energy. We must introduce a taxing effort to challenge the body's ability to utilize calories for energy in order for the body to become more efficient. The more efficient our body is at metabolizing, or burning calories, the better we can use energy.

Running may come to mind the most when discussing metabolic conditioning. Running gets us out of breath and challenges us to work to continue to move. 

Running, however, is not the only, or may not be the best, way to train metabolic conditioning. Running is aerobic exercise, during which the body uses oxygen for energy. Aerobic exercise is great for stamina, endurance, and fat loss, but has been shown to decrease muscle mass, power, speed, and strength.

Muscle mass, power, speed, and strength are vital to long-term health and wellness. Without leg strength, we will cease to be able to walk, stand, and get up as we age. Without leg strength, we will lose our mobility and independence.

We should consider anaerobic training. Anaerobic means "without oxygen," and anaerobic training occurs when the intensity is high enough to require more energy than oxygen can produce. Anaerobic training requires shorter, more intense efforts, and uses glycogen and phosphogen for energy.

The bonus of anaerobic training is the building of stamina, endurance, and fat loss, as well as development of muscle mass, strength, speed, and power. We can use intervals of certain loaded movements, monostructural cardio-respiratory movements, and gymnastic movements, to create powerful stimuli with the ability to build strength and metabolic conditioning.

In order to age well, we need leg strength and cardio-respiratory endurance. We can use different movements with varying loads or neurological requirements to create excellent general physical preparedness for everyday life.

Making Metabolic Conditioning the second tier of our pyramid means we are prioritizing our ability to age long-term. Proper nutrition gives the body the fuel to thrive and metabolic conditioning trains the body to be more efficient. The more efficient we metabolize, the less body fat we carry and the more apt to live life we are.

If you are interested in experiencing anaerobic-style training, try this simple workout:

5 Rounds for Time

15 Squats

5 Burpees

Start a timer and begin by completing 15 squats, and then transition to do 5 burpees as quickly as possible. Do this 5 times with minimal rest with your greatest effort. Record the time when you finish the 5th burpee in the 5th round. You will experience a high heart rate. This is intensity, and can be used to train anaerobically. 

This is a simple and effective means to get fit and be better prepared to live life. Next week, we will discuss why gymnastics should be the next area of priority in our Fitness Pyramid.

Thank you for reading this far and letting us help you Become Better!