Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Some days or weeks, you may not feel like working out. It happens to the best of us. Whether you’ve got a lot going on at home, a big project at work, or have not sleptI well, you will be dragging some days.
The most important thing to remember is that you have more than the perceived two options: working out or not working out.
I’d invite you to look at two continuums that you can use to calibrate depending on how you are feeling, your energy levels, and how much you’ve recovered from your previous day of life.
1- The Movement - Exercise Continuum
2- Training Intensity
I have found it very helpful to distinguish the things you are doing during your workout between “movements” and “exercises.”
I define Movements as things you do in a workout that incorporate the whole body. These things resemble authentic movement patterns and are things you would see people doing outside a gym or fitness class. Examples of movements are walking, dancing, hiking, movement lunging, and movement squatting.
Exercises are things that are more controlled, defined, and isolate regions or muscles of the body. They are usually learned and have rules and strict techniques you must follow. Examples of exercises are bridges, bench presses, bicep curls, and bent-over rows.
Many of your workouts may have a combination of Movements and Exercises. I recommend that for the average adult over 40, you should not have more than 40-50% of your routine be exercises. I have found that a 60:40 ratio of Movements:Exercises is best for steady progress without injury.
“Exercises” are riskier because they put the body in artificial positions to overload specific regions or muscles. This is why technique is so important, and if you are not performing exercises with proper technique, the risk of injury increases.
Your body would never choose to ask one muscle region to do all the work. It would always attempt to incorporate as many regions and muscles as possible to be efficient. A strict DB Curl is an exercise. A “cheat curl” is more of a movement.
My general rule is that if you isolate something, integrate it into a specific movement pattern.
Example integration of Movement Lunge into a Bicep loading superset:
A1. Anterior Movement Lunge with DB Curl
A2. Standing Barbell Curl
A3. Standing Barbell Cheat Curl
A4: Anterior Movement Lunge with DB Curl
When integrated into your program with movements, exercises can be beneficial and a great addition to your routine.
w/ DB Curl
w/ DB Curl
One of the best ways to gauge your training intensity is rate of perceived exertion (or RPE). You can use RPE for each rep you perform or your entire workout. For the purpose of this article, we will be applying it to your overall workout.
It's easiest to think of your RPE on a scale of 1-10. Knowing what an RPE of 7 is for you can be difficult or confusing, so the chart below is the best way to gauge where you are.
Think of the Movement-Exercise and intensity continuum as variables you can calibrate daily and weekly.
My general recommendation is the more your body needs recovery, the more Movements should be in your routine and the lower your RPE should be.
If you had a stressful day, weekend, or week and it's time to go workout, then it is a Movement Day at an intensity of 3-4.
If you are well-rested and feeling good, you can integrate more exercises into your routine and train at an intensity of 7 or 8.
SAMPLE ROUTINES (note: intensity will be relative to the individual)
Movement Day - Intensity 4
3 Mile Walk
Bow & Arrow Lunge
Movement-Exercise Day - Intensity 8
Barbell Bench Press 5x5
A1. SL Balance with Overhead Press
A2. Unilateral Cable Row in Lunge Position
A3. Anterior Lunge with Core Press
A4. SL Balance Bow & Arrow
3 Mile Walk
Movement Lunge w/ Ovhd Reach
Barbell Bench Press
Single Leg Balance w/
Unilateral Cable Row
w/ Core Press
Single Leg Balance
Bow & Arrow
With the infinite amount of movement possibilities, you will never be in a situation where you can’t workout no matter how you feel. The key is to be connected and aware of the state of your body each day and meet your body where it is. This will ensure that you have consistent strength gains, minimize the risk of injury, and truly access the physical vitality you deserve.
Yours in Vitality!
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I am a integrated holistic health professional that has empowered thousands of individuals over the last two decades to optimize their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, I am obsessed with empowering myself and others to embody the principles of vitality and no longer settle for the current traditional models of "health."
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