Exercising For an Active Lifestyle


MidwestFit Team: Jun 27, 2015


For those who live active lifestyles outside of the gym, a regular lifting/workout routine won't cut it. In order to be functionally fit and not only able to perform the activities you love, but also excel at them, you need to be better equipped physically to avoid injury. Goal oriented exercise programming is extremely important (and effective) to reach that level physically and mentally.

If many of you out there are like me (and I know you are, I see it every day at the gym), I used to waste a lot of my time at the gym showing up and wandering around trying to conjure up some magical workout that will get me in shape.  I would occasionally follow a couple of programs I found online, but the workouts never really seemed to match the actual goal I wanted from working out…..or the workouts just flat out sucked because they were boring or ineffective.  Then, life in general got super busy, and I couldn’t waste time walking around the gym thinking of random exercises to do for the day, or more importantly wasting time doing some crap workouts from a website that claimed to have the greatest workouts on the planet (that after lots of my own research, legitimately did not make sense from a scientific standpoint with what the workouts had me doing compared to what I wanted my body to gain from the workouts).  

That’s when myself and my buddy said forget all the BS out there that almost every single fitness resource out there was trying to peddle to people looking to just flat out get fit, and we started making our own workouts based off of legit exercise physiology…..perform “x” amount of reps and sets per exercise per muscle group, then rest those muscles for the proper amount of time before hitting them again, and your body will yield a positive “y” result. Science.  Now there are lots of different variables to produce different results, like how to gain muscle mass, how to gain pure strength, how to work on muscular endurance to better tone muscles, and all the science is sitting out there, but most trainers are totally oblivious to it or disregard it! So we started putting 2 and 2 together and making our own workouts.

After we started putting together our own workouts that we know made sense scientifically, we began to ask ourselves “how can we track our progress to make sure we are consistently improving?” As opposed to just doing random workouts.  So we started planning out in advance weeks’ worth of workouts that had exercise and workout “check points” to ensure we were getting stronger, faster, improving work capacity, and able to run farther.  Now to make sure our workouts weren’t a waste of time that led to frivolous results, we started to develop a pattern in how we created them.  Baseline, set goals, start slow, progress, intensify workouts, reach goals, become dominant.  Simple concept right? And only maybe 1 or 2 other groups out there followed this process.  Thus, depending upon what we and others who came to us for advice wanted to work on, we started building specific plans.

How to get stronger, how to get faster, how to build muscle mass, how to reduce body fat and get lean, etc... It all started to make sense!  Which, most of the B.S., quick fix, take these pills, workout for 7 minutes a day, and magically get ripped sites began to become more transparent that they made NO sense….they just made money.

Then the Ah-ha moment really hit home.  After we got good at building outcome-specific workout programs, we asked ourselves “What are we really training for?”  As in, why do we want to get stronger, or why do we want to improve our stamina, or why do we want to get faster….and all the answers ultimately led to wanting to be healthy, be fit, and most importantly, to be able to perform outside the gym activities and events without getting hurt (or absurdly sore). Thus, our training programs began to reflect what foundational skills we needed to kick ass at stuff outside of the gym: hiking, running half marathons, rock climbing, playing basketball/football/soccer/frisbee, surfing, playing in mud races/GORUCKS/Spartans, etc…  Now, we weren’t creating 100%, strict sport specific programs as the term goes (don’t even get me started on some of that crap….if a person puts you on an upside down bosu to get you better at snowboarding….you are wasting your time), but we began to look at how certain program concepts matched with outside the gym activities we loved to do!  For example, I love hiking and backpacking at a decently hard level (nothing crazy). So what do I need to train, or be good at, to be able to hike well and have fun without feeling like I’m dying during it or be so sore after day one that I can’t move?  I needed strong legs, a strong core, strong back and shoulders (especially if carrying a pack), but I also needed solid stamina cardio as well as some endurance to perform repeated movements like stepping up or over obstacles/rocks to make sure my heart and lungs could keep up with my body movements.  Looking at all of that, it wonderfully “fit” (that’s a pun….just wait a sec) what we coined as our MidwestFIT style of training (see that….fit….awful, I know).  Our definition of fit hits the criteria of having a major emphasis on core strength and endurance (it’s a major factor for ANYTHING you do outside the gym), total body strength especially with the legs, muscular endurance/stamina (the ability to perform repeated actions without injury or aggressive soreness), mobility training to strengthen our joints and avoid potential of injury, and cardio to go all day.  Once again beginning to put 2 and 2 together, we realized we can start developing our programs to not only get people really healthy and really fit in the gym sense, but also to create for them the opportunity to do a super wide range of outside the gym physical activities.

It’s a no brainer! Follow the already established scientific principles of exercise physiology, find ways to create effective programs that set a solid foundation, expand upon that foundation, succeed in exercise goals, thus in turn allowing us and others to do almost anything they wanted outside of the gym (in a non-ridiculous sense….like running a marathon or doing an IRONMAN…you got to email us for tips on those bad boys), and to do them well!

Also, the fact that unless I am personally training for an event or trip of some kind (or following a legit exercise program with outcome-specific goals), my training can get a little lazy.  So not only by following goal specific programs will you workout harder and workout smarter, you can line it up to support your awesome and active lifestyle. 

MidwestFit is here to support your journey to a healthy lifestyle.  We and our community work hard and train hard, and by doing so, it allows us to play hard outside the gym with our friends and families, and allows us to tackle obstacles in our lives we once thought impossible.  It takes hard work and some discipline, but just like anything, the payoff is better than words can describe, and we will help you get there. 

(This post was written by Ben Clutter. Ben studied Health and Fitness at Purdue University and is a Co-Founder of MidwestFit.com)

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