Training, fitness, exercise and workouts are all terms that have been beat to death and totally misunderstood throughout history.
The confusion has led countless people astray in their search for an understanding and application of effective training practices.
This is where you see glamorous fitness fads pop up left and right, with false claims about the efficacy of their methods and a deeper more sinister goal of selfishly fattening up one's wallet. They draw your sweat, time and money promising you with totally unrealistic achievements like "the perfect physique YOU deserve in only 10 minutes a day!"
What is the common denominator here? Why does this pattern keep repeating itself over and over again?
Well, it's quite simple. The people behind these fads have businesses, and unfortunately many businesses feed on your ignorance and lack of direction for their own good.
You can protect yourself from falling for those fruitless training methods by having a clear goal, a clear "why". Your "why" must also have clear action steps which you can follow to get to where you want to be.
Now you may want to achieve a lifetime squat PR, or develop a bodybuilder's 4% body fat look for the summer season. There are plenty of credible and effective programs for each and every one of these goals. But the majority of the people want to feel strong, athletic and capable of handling daily challenges with minimal physical restriction and pain.
People want to be able to take a flight of stairs without feeling half dead. People want the ability to move furniture around with strength. They want to toss the ball or play catch with their children, and people most definitely prefer to sit down and relax without their backs tightening up on them or their necks cramping up.
I agree. These goals seem vastly different, but they all share a similar process and the unified goal of becoming the human that nature intended for you to be.
I would boil the steps to achieving this goal down to:
1) Move at low intensities frequently. I find bodyweight training to be very effective for doing this. Even walking is effective.
2) Lift heavy objects a couple times a week. Good ol' squats, deads and overhead presses are great.
3) Sprint every once in a while. Any tabata or HIIT style training is suitable.
4) Focus on joint mobility, midsection stability and posture improvement. Yoga and other YouTube famous mobility drills are perfect.
5) Practice athletic skills and explosive power production with movements like hill sprints, kettlebell swings, box jumps, cleans, etc.
6) Finally, sleep and eat as necessary to match your level of activity. Quality rest and fuel.
In the end, your body wants you to be strong, healthy and happy. It also knows how to get you there. You just need to provide it with the proper ingredients in the form of quality rest and fuel, and varied physical stressors like the ones listed above.
There is no cookie cutter program, and the list above is only a guideline. Your body is your body. Through experimentation, active learning and experience, you will find what works best for you.
You will want to stray off your plan. The endless exercises available might overwhelm you. Other flashy and more appealing training fads might also distract you. This is why it is important to remember your "why", adhere to your goal, and be disciplined.
Best of luck to you! Please share your thoughts, concerns and questions.