How Regular People Should Train, Part 1

I’m a regular person and I’m betting that you are, too.

I spend lot of of time pondering how “regular people” should train for a higher level of fitness and ultimately to live as long as we can.

As a parent, longevity is extremely important to me.

No, actually… it’s the primary goal - to not die young.

In today’s fitness world where “hardcore” and “high intensity” workouts are all the rage have you ever questioned if us “regular people” should really be training like this to achieve their fitness goals?

I have to admit, I can’t find many reasons why anyone should be doing this type of training for extended periods or doing it at all.

I read a quote from a colleague the other day that sums up how I feel we, “normal folk”,  should be training, especially as we start to push past 30 or like me, past 40 years old.

"I [also] think training like a Navy S.E.A.L. is stupid for the average person.  I would say [normal people should] PT like [the] infantry units, run, body weight stuff, “ruck” a little, a little weights and enjoy life if you’re not training for specifics."

I agree with this wholeheartedly.

In fact this is how I structure the training for my clients and my system continues to evolve.

Let’s examine the second line from the quote above, since it really sets the tone…

“I would say [normal people should] PT like [the] infantry units.”

This is essentially saying that unless you’re training for a specific event or sport, your training should be all-encompassing.  You should generally fit in all areas of fitness, or rather, qualities/adaptations that can be had by the body.

This may sound complicated, but really all it means is you should focus on a wide(r) variety of activities or qualities within your program or regime.

For lack of a better term, you need to be fit for life.

As an aside: Most of the “cool stuff” you see the special operators do in videos and on TV is only a small part of what they do during training - and they are NOT doing it for the physical gain.  This footage is taken typically during their indoctrination into the Special Forces units and is done to weed out those that lack the level of mental toughness needed.

They don’t train like that “in real life”.

So, let’s break this down short and sweet so you have some food for thought, I’ll expand on each of the qualities next week.

I’m not going to take each activity listed in the quote literally, but rather I’ll outline the physical quality each activity improves.

  1. Run:  Let’s call this aerobic capacity, it’s a measure of “how long you can go”.

  2. “Body weight stuff”: Localized muscular endurance, this is a measure of “how many times can you do it.”

  3. “Ruck” a little: loaded cardio, we could also call this aerobic power which is a measure of “how fast can you go for a sustained period of time”.

  4. Weights: obviously this is strength training and it measure “how much you can lift”

  5. Enjoy life - I interpret this as balance with regard to nutrition and social activities. This doesn’t measure anything but I’m against the all or nothing attitude that plagues many popular fitness programs.  If you’re program is set up properly rather than just including random exercises to make you sweaty - there’s plenty of place to add balance into our life.

Each one of these qualities should be factored into your workouts, regardless of the goal because by improving each these qualities your body will start to change.

  • Improving aerobic capacity helps burn fat, increase stamina, boosts recovery and can lower stress

  • Training for localized muscular endurance help ward of fatigue while doing your daily repetitive tasks

  • Aerobic power helps you do both of the above at a higher rate

  • Strength training builds lean toned muscles, of course it makes you stronger, it wards off osteoporosis and hardens us against injury

I think that pretty much covers everyone’s goals, at least the clients I work with.

  • Lose fat and get to a healthy weight

  • Build toned muscles

  • Not be tired all the time

  • Improve strength

Yep I think that covers it!