For the past 3 weeks I’ve been watching the show Sweat Inc. on SpikeTV featuring Jillian Michaels. Go ahead and giggle. I have a hard time just writing these sentences without smiling to myself. Let me first premise this semi-rant with the fact that I understand it’s just tv. Ratings and money are far more important than content that is truly valuable. I get it. However, watching the show is still hilarious to me as the goal of the show is to identify the next new fitness phenomenon. Three new people come in each week to present their product or training system that can hopefully shock the fitness industry and get millions of people off their feet and excited. Some of them aren’t terrible while others make me want to drop a dumbbell on my foot. But for the few that aren’t terrible, I haven’t seen ANYTHING that is a standalone winner. My point is the vast majority of us, those that I work with on a daily basis, my friends, family, whatever, they want to feel better and look sexier. That’s it. Based on the this somewhat broad and subjective goal I do not believe that any single system or product such as kettlebells, bodyweight training, Zumba, TRX, Soul Cycle or strictly a barbell is the only answer. Might they work great for some people? Absolutely. Goals met and athletic prowess accomplished with very little if done right. However, to seek out one single thing and purposely ignore the rest is very short sighted. The most complete training for those of us who want to feel better and look sexier will incorporate pieces of all the best “stuff”. This means learning to move and control your own body in many directions through full ranges of motion, sometimes fast and some sometimes slow, lift heavy things of multiple shapes and sizes in different directions including overhead, off of the ground, as well as carrying. If you like to ride, row, dance, climb, crawl, throw, jump or lift they are all great choices but none should considered a superior tool or phenomenon to be used exclusively over another.
Well, that’s about it. Absorb what is useful and discard what isn’t. That’s going to mean a little bit of many things. Sure structure is still important. You don’t want to end up with just a mishmash of what I like to call “shit soup”. I will address that in part 2 next week but beyond a television show and a couple of paychecks, searching for the next fitness phenomenon will leave you with an empty Zumba class, some expensive Nautilus machines, or dusty old NordicTrack.
– Mike Baltren