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Beyond Weight Loss! PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Allen Mollenhauer   
Saturday, 20 December 2003 05:06

Beyond Weight Loss!Beyond Weight Loss!

In a previous article for Health Science, I stated “you can be fit and not be healthy, but you can’t fully experience higher levels of health unless you’re fit.” In this article, I’ll expand on what fitness means and how to get the benefits.

Of course, no conversation about the subject of fitness would be complete or effective unless explained in the context of a health promoting lifestyle.

Therefore, I’m going to answer the following questions in this context:

Why be fit?
What’s the point?
What gets in the way of developing fitness?
How do you get the benefits?

This perspective is intended to inspire you to revisit the fitness promoting routines in your lifestyle, or lack thereof.

Why be fit?

Is it a) to lose weight, or b) to experience higher levels of health so that you can meet and exceed the demands of what you’re up to in life, and look great in the process? I assert the answer is (b), because losing weight is an important objective for most people, but it misses the point.

What’s the point?

Weight loss and the realization of your ideal weight is just one of the benefits of achieving higher levels of health. This is the point … achieving higher levels of health!

Beyond Weight Loss!When you focus on the broader goal of health, you focus on doing more than what will simply prompt losing a few pounds. You realize more benefits like naturally occurring energy without the need for stimulants, fitness like I just described above, and freedom from lifestyle-induced diseases from being overweight — hypertension to heart disease.

There are three core essentials of a health promoting life-style and all three are important if you are going to get the benefits of high-level health, which includes fitness.

The strategic incorporation of rest, sleep, recovery, and rejuvenation (each of which is distinct from the other) balanced with…

Activity, including formal exercise, such as core strength and resistance training, and cardio muscular endurance training, which you can engage in simply, effectively, and inexpensively, and

Eating a plant-based diet that is convenient, tasty, and nutritionally sound.

The point of developing fitness is to be more successful in what you’re doing, no matter what that is — from gardening to your career, to athletics. All of these depend in varying capacities on your ability to function.

The quality of your fitness will improve the quality of your life experience and the outcomes you achieve in everything you do.

So with this understanding…

What gets in the way of developing fitness?

The three core essentials of a health promoting lifestyle are the fundamentals of living.

How can you achieve fitness sustainably and successfully if you’re exercising, but not getting enough recuperation and/or not eating well? You can’t! If you are missing any one of the three core essentials, your level of fitness, and your foundation of health, will be compromised.

If you are going to achieve fitness, you need to incorporate and balance all three core essentials into your lifestyle so that you’re successful. This may seem like a challenge at first, because you’ll be faced with changing and adding new routines. But that’s what success is all about — changing and setting up new routines to get the results you want.

What’s the point of trying to lose weight through exercise if your underlying lifestyles continue to produce the overweight condition as a predictable result? Exercise alone cannot solve overweight issues.

But what have we been trained to do? Eat less and exercise more — philosophies at face value which will keep you stuck and ensure you never achieve fitness in a sustainable and enjoyable way.

How can you build core strength, or engage in resistance training, or attempt to develop cardio muscular endurance if you’re not at the same time recuperating your vital reserves and fueling your body with whole natural foods?

The answer is it won’t happen effectively.

The top 3 reasons why people are overweight and unfit are as follows:

  • Not enough recuperation
  • A diet that is nutrient poor and unnatural
  • Being too tired to condition your body

You can easily ascertain that one causes the next, which causes the next! You’re too tired, you start eating and drinking for stimulation, which usually means junk food, you get more tired, and this doesn’t exactly leave you in the mood to engage in the activities that build fitness.

Even if you’re a genetic wonder, when you’re tired, you’re tired, and fitness building activities of any kind will not be very high on the priority list when your capacities are low.

When you incorporate all three core essentials of a health promoting lifestyle, not just exercise alone, into the way you actually live, this cycle can be broken. You can turn the whole trend around and get yourself going in a direction that will yield all the benefits.

Beyond Weight Loss!But let’s not overlook the possibility that you may know this; then why is it so hard to incorporate three core essentials? The answer is you can learn everything there is to know about how to maximize your health, energy, and fitness, but unless you understand your current lifestyle and both streamline and incorporate new health promoting routines that become normal, natural, and enjoyable to you, it can be very difficult to make behavioral changes.

We are not living in our natural environment. We have more responsibilities and more to sort through than at any other time in history! In particular, we are processing more information than ever before and it is exhausting.

This is why recuperation is the first core essential. I believe that exhaustion is at the root of most ill health today. Once our vital energy gets low, everything else, from eating to exercising, becomes difficult. When the opposite is true, things get easier.

So if your lifestyle is overwhelming and you’re exhausted, making improvements and developing fitness is hard.

So how do you get the benefits of fitness?

It depends! It depends on your circumstances, your current capacities, and what you require for fitness routines to be sustainable in your lifestyle.

First, start where you are. You may need to simplify your life somewhat, recuperate and build your vital reserves, and/or get some personal training. Do whatever you need to do to be sustainable. Directly or indirectly, any action you take that enables you to build fitness routines into your lifestyle is a step in the right direction.

Forget about going on the latest exercise program; build a healthy lifestyle that incorporates progressive fitness routines. Sure, an exercise program will help you jump start a fitness routine in your life, but just remember to be flexible because you will often be “off” that program more at the start than you are “on” it, as we so commonly hear. It takes time to incorporate a new routine, so just chip away at it a little each day and eventually it will become part of your everyday way of life.

Let’s recap and give you a jump start!

I started off this article by saying, “You can be fit and not be healthy, but you can’t fully experience higher levels of health unless you’re fit.” The benefits of which are strength, flexibility, and agility, all of which increase function, provide en-durance, and enable you to meet and exceed the demands of what you’re up to in life.

On a foundation of health, reinforced primarily by recuperation and a sound diet, you’ll be much more successful engaging in activities that build fitness.

So what are these activities?

First of all, you don’t have to go to a gym to build fitness. You can walk, jog, run, and do all sorts of exercises in any room in your house, from a sit up to a push up to a squat, using just your body weight.

Your workout is everywhere these days, from walking to climbing stairs to the type of work you engage in and more, so it’s wise to factor this into your training approach.

When your everyday activities are combined with formal exercise, you get the edge. And today, getting the edge is more important than ever because most of us are knowledgeable workers and our physical movement is limited.

Here is how to build your body, fitness, and experience your ideal weight...

1. Core Strength

Using a swiss ball, and for what amounts to about 10-15 minutes per day, you can train your entire midsection, where all movement stems. Core strength is incredibly important; the lack thereof causes countless back injuries.

You can perform fully supported sets of 10-20 abdominal crunch repetitions and do the same for all the muscles in your midsection — front, side, and back, with unlimited variation, customized perfectly to your range of motion.

The opposite of an abdominal crunch is a hyperextension, which strengthens the lower back.

Any swiss ball you purchase will have examples of several core strength exercises. You only need to do approximately 3-6 different exercises over 10 minutes or so to get the cumulative effect of a strong midsection in less than 30 days! This alone will make you feel amazing. This is exactly what I do!

2. Resistance training

Once you have trained your midsection, it’s time to move on to your broader torso and your extremities, like your chest, back, shoulders, legs, and arms.

You don’t have to work out with free weights, barbells, dumbbells, and plate-loaded machines for muscular development. Although free weights are a very good form of exercise, I recommend the most convenient, least expensive, and one of the most effective forms of resistance training there is — the use of elastic resistance bands.

While any elastic resistance system will work, I recommend the Lifeline Gym. You can get details at With bands, resistance is variable from light to very heavy depending on the thickness of the band. They are also safe because there is no “jerking” and rehabilitating because the levels of resistance and the range of motion and movement are 100% variable to fit your body and your goals in the exercise.

You can also work out with a high degree of intensity. I know; I do this too, and this is powerful!

Elastic resistance systems today come with all kinds of handles and accessories providing more options from a simple door hookup than you can get at a gym, and you are assured of a few things:

That the logistics of getting to the gym are no longer an obstacle.

You can do an effective full body workout in under 30 minutes.

You’ll stress yourself enough to inspire growth and development.

3. Cardio muscular endurance training

When you have a foundation of health, improved by core strength and solid muscular development, putting your well-developed machine into use — swimming, cycling, or running — is all the more satisfying. Not only are these examples, both social and sporting events, but you‘ll achieve incredible levels of fitness when you work the cardiovascular system and your muscular system simultaneously.

You bring blood flow to otherwise stagnant muscles, improve your muscular acuity or sharpness by incorporating more body use, and you increase the stroke volume — the amount of blood flow from your heart with each beat — causing your heart to have to work less and accomplish more. This can add years to your life.

When you complement your training with cardio muscular endurance activities, you utilize your stored resources and eliminate excess weight at an accelerated pace, and this goes far towards building your best look, too!

Setting yourself up with a routine that incorporates all three training strategies is pretty simple when you know where you are, what your current level of fitness is, and what your goals are.

Don’t try to build all three strategies into your life at the same time; give yourself some time.

I would be more than happy to coach your success!

©Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Health Science is the publication of the National Health Association. This article reprinted from the Fall/Winter 2003 issue.


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