EXERCISING YOUR OPTIONS

Why dedication to a single exercise discipline (yoga, cycling, weight training, or just about anything else) isn’t healthy— and how holistic fitness programs can leave you happier and healthier in less time.

For some people, “working out” means lifting weights (preferably heavy ones); for others, cycling classes (preferably to exhaustion); yet others, yoga or pilates (nothing too strenuous).

Each and every one of these disciplines has its benefits. But also, if practiced exclusively, its drawbacks—primarily involving mechanical strain, adaptational failure, and/or constitutional imbalance/instability.

On the other hand, by mixing and matching approaches, individuals can achieve superior and more sustainable results, all the while saving time and minimizing injury.

As one goes back and forth from strenuous sessions to restorative ones and back again, one gets to know one’s own body—its strengths, weaknesses, and imbalances. One also trains and develops parts of the body—genes, neurons, muscles, hormones, ligaments, and more—in a thorough manner only cross-training can provide. But where to begin—and how to progress?

At ARM Systems of Milton, Ontario, Canada, coaches, trainers, and instructors are mandated to design, develop, and deliver programmes that consider and address all aspects of physical fitness:the mechanical (size, shape, and strength); the adaptational (speed, stamina, and agility); and the constitutional (harmony, stability, and flexibility); plus (if desired/necessary) specialized techniques and/or technologies to help clients achieve specific medical, personal, athletic, and/or professional results.

To be clear, if one were to review these concepts and categories with a clinician or practitioner, they might get critiqued as inexact and/or over-simplified. (In reality, kettlebell drills train for strength as well as stamina, only to a lesser degree. Hot yoga trains for stamina as well as stability, also/only to a lesser degree. So on and so forth.)

On the other hand, when compared to the fitness industry’s big-box, mass-market offerings, these same concepts and categories might be viewed as somewhat theoretical and/ or over-complicated. (It’s rare to find exercise authorities so insistent upon training posture, breathing, and other subtle nuances.) ARM’s middle- ground approach seeks to achieve balance between these extremes—with design, language, and technology that can help anyone become (and remain) fit, well, and vital.

MECHANICAL EXERCISE FOR SIZE, SHAPE, STRENGTH

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THE MOVE: One to three times per week, in the context of an intelligently and result-oriented programme, partake in classic weight training. Noted styles include body building, power lifting, and circuit training.

THE VIBE: Often practiced solo or as half of a duo. Look for coaches, trainers, and instructors who are intense—but not militaristic. No threats. No insults. Nothing dangerous.

THE RESULT: A body that looks the way you want it to—one that’s fit, trim, solid, and ready to take on the world—so that you can manage the strains and stresses of day-to-day life.

ADAPTATIONAL EXERCISE FOR SPEED, STAMINA, AGILITY

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THE MOVE: One to three times per week, bust a move, break a sweat, and challenge your limits with experiences that keep you moving—even when you don’t know what’s next. Options include: boot camps; martial arts; body-weight circuits; and club- and kettlebell drills

THE VIBE: Often practiced in a duo or small group. You want to feel excited, exhilarated, full of confidence and self-esteem— eventually. At first, though, you may feel taxed, confused, maybe even a bit scattered. That’s OK; you’ll adapt.

THE RESULT: Energy. Vitality. A certain springiness that, once you achieve, you won’t know how to live without.

CONSTITUTIONAL EXERCISE FOR HARMONY, STABILITY, FLEXIBILITY

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THE MOVE: One to three times per week, work on those more subtle (but oh-so-important) aspects of physical fitness: breath, posture, balance, coordination, and so much more. Modalities—yoga, pilates, meditation, suspension training, et cetera—range from the restorative to the shockingly robust.

THE VIBE: Often practiced in medium- to large-sized groups. Hot yoga, whenever available, promotes digestion and detoxification especially well. Don’t diminish the value of softer, more “yin” (or restorative) sessions every once in a while. They’re essential to emotional and neurological health.

THE RESULT: Stronger core, faster recovery, deeper sleep, better range of motion, reduced anxiety/tension/nervousness and—oh, yes—total bliss.

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