Let’s set the bar higher. It’s possible, and I believe fitness and health should be viewed this way. Instead of just trying to work on fat loss, muscle building, or pain relief as singular goals, why not shoot for more?
Ok, so I see from a marketing perspective why we might want to talk about one issue at a time, but I find this to be misleading. In reality, your body wants to achieve all goals at once, and it’s ready to create massive change. Improving health, as far as your body is concerned, is just about improving your health. It’s not about working on one goal at a time.
Granted, it’s sometimes faster to identify and work through one issue at a time, in an effort to sustain your efforts and minimize time output. However, I believe this should all be placed on a timeline for your continuum of health. You may need to get out of pain in order to enhance nerve signals to your muscles, but that’s part of your fat loss or muscle building program. Enhancing signal strength enhances both fat loss and muscle building, so it makes sense to emphasize this first.
Let’s just be careful not to lose sight of what’s most important: Your end goal.
Today, I have an interesting thought-exercise for you, and I’d like you to comment below with your answer.
Thought-Exercise: What is the most logical way for me to get in shape
and achieve my health goals?
Here’s an example case study of one of my personal situation, so that it’ll make more sense:
Age: 23 year old male
Height: 5′ 8″
Starting Weight and Body fat: 203 pounds, 26% body fat
Goal Weight and Body fat: 169 pounds, 9% body fat
Starting Pain Level: 8/10, across most joints in body
End Pain Level: 0/10, everywhere.
Desired timeframe: 6 months or less
Logically, it would be difficult for me to lose weight until I can tolerate at least 20 minutes of intense exercise 4 days per week. So, I’ll have to address pain first. Here are my options:
1. Surgery – major delay on goal attenuation, and possibility of long-standing pain related to surgical incision.
2. Intensive Rehabilitation – 3-4 days/week, 1 hour per session, which will consume all of my time as a grad student that has major work requirements for school.
3. Muscle Balancing & Fat Loss Program – integration into workouts, while doing exercises I can tolerate, and building endurance at the same time. Granted, not super effective fat loss and weight loss exercises, but worthwhile, nonetheless.
It became obvious that #3 was the only reasonable solution for this phase of my goal achievement process.
So, this is where my timeline had to begin. At first, I had to prioritize muscle balancing, in order to be able to tolerate greater loads with every weight I lifted, unless I was going to increase pain around my joints. Once you hear this, it seems logical, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees.
Next, I would need to phase into progressively more intense exercise, so it was really important that I started ‘Exercise Tolerance Training’ or training my VO2 max to be higher. My VO2 max, as a reminder, is the maximum oxygen uptake my body can have before it starts to produce boatloads of lactic acid, ultimately killing my energy for the rest of my workout.
Cardio-specific training, in the form of alternating days with Target Heart Rate Training and Interval Training, became a great choice.
Now, my program was beginning to develop, and my timeline looked something like this:
How would your timeline look?
Make sure to leave your own personal case study below in the comments section, and I’ll help you critique it for you over the next several days to weeks be replying to your comments. If you can help critique someone else’s timeline, I’ll be sure to prioritize yours.