Love Letter – (4) Q & A about Fitness

I hope this Q & A helps you. If you have any questions you would like to ask me, please shoot me an email or call me or text me. 

1. What workout routine is best for your core?

“Core training” is all the rage, but did you know you use your core in almost all exercises that don’t involve machines? When you’re sitting in a machine, it does a lot of the stabilizing work for you. When you’re standing and using a kettlebell, dumbbell or barbell, your core does A LOT more work. In a barbell back squat, for example, your abdominals and spinal erectors are bracing your spine and helping you support the load. That’s an incredible core workout.

At CrossFit Be Someone, we do all kinds of movements like this so your core is always working. And, of course, we also do lots of specific stuff like sit-ups, planks and so on. But know that if you do the movements we teach in classes and PT sessions, your core strength will improve dramatically!

2. Can you build mass and strength with body-weight exercises?

To a small degree, yes. But after a while, your body won’t get any stronger. Why? Because of the concept of “progressive overload.” To make changes to the body, you must work it with an appropriate amount of stress like 8 reps at 25 pounds. Over time, the body will adapt by building new muscle. Eventually, it will have enough that 8 reps at 25 pounds are easy. So it won’t adapt anymore. To cause more change, you might have to do 8 reps at 30 pounds or 5 reps at 35 pounds or even 10 reps at 25 pounds.

Because your body weight usually doesn’t change that much over time, once you get strong enough to move it efficiently, people don’t gain much muscle with body-weights exercises anymore. Except if you’re an gymnasts. These do such advanced body-weight movements that they can gain incredible strength, but most of us can’t do an inverted iron cross, so we’re better off with weight training along with bodyweight training. 

3. Why do people lose fitness so easily?

Related to #2 above, people lose fitness because the body adapts to stress AND to sedentary behaviors. If you work hard in the gym, your body will keep adapting, but you must keep working to maintain the changes or cause new ones.

When you stop working out, your body isn’t feeling any stress, so it adapts to the new situation. “No work to do? I don’t need this muscle! Better store some energy as fat for later,” is what your body says. Here’s the good news: You can regain your fitness relatively quickly, too! Of course, there are no 10-minute solutions, but in just weeks and months of training you will notice improvements in fitness. And it only takes 4-5 hours a week to improve or maintain fitness!

4. Is weight training bad for your back or knees?

No! There’s a real misconception out there: that CrossFit is somehow dangerous. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We were built to move, and with a professional coach coaching you, you’ll move properly and safely. Weight training is actually GREAT for the knees and back!

As you get stronger, the muscles around your joints will support them, which can actually ease pain. And by learning proper lifting mechanics, you’ll know how to move to avoid injury. No more pulling a muscle when helping a friend move or picking up groceries. You’ll know exactly how to lift stuff, and you’ll have the strength to do it. Even better: many people often lose weight when they start training, which means their joints are under less daily stress from excess body weight. That can reduce pain, too!

I can’t say it enough: Weight training is great for your body!

Respectfully Sent,

Josh Melendez

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