The 8 Patterns of Fitness

In this series, I’m going to share some thoughts about the eight patterns of Integre8t Fitness. With these fundamentals in place, you can expect to see enhanced results from your mobile personal training plan. These concepts apply to all fitness and wellness programs. They are the patterns of your lifestyle. Within eight weeks, you can begin to make infinite progress.

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Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 1 of 8: Breath

The first, and therefore most essential pattern, is breath. You can survive weeks without food and days without water, but only minutes, or even seconds, without air.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 2 of 8: Hydration

There are many symptoms of dehydration, because a lack of water impacts everything in your body. Are you hungry, despite eating recently?

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 3 of 8: Nutrition

Our modern world has made eating far more complicated than it needs to, and has become a point of confusion for many people. There is no mystery: Eat healthful foods in sensible quantities.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 4 of 8: Strength

Strength is not only the ability to move against forces, it’s also an important factor in control, stabilization and power.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 5 of 8: Conditioning

For decades the assumption has been that performing monotonously at a medium pace for a long time is a great way to burn fat; however, the more current research shows that this is not necessarily true.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 6 of 8: Flexibility

Doing a minute of bouncing around and grunting at the beginning, and then skipping it outright at the end is definitely not helping you. Healthy joints that perform efficient movements require a balance of strength and flexibility.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 7 of 8: Focus

Set aside a few minutes each day to experience something sensuous, or to allow your mind to wander. It isn’t good for your focus to always be so focused. You really do need to take your lunch break.

Eight Patterns of Fitness, part 8 of 8: Rest

Sleep, fasting between meals, time between sets during exercise sessions, days between training, personal time, play: All of these (and more) are opportunities to give yourself the ability to process and recover from all the living you do.

The fifth pattern is conditioning. The most obvious trait of this type of exercise is that it significantly raises your respiration rate. It improves circulation, cardiovascular (CV) efficiency, and endurance. Conditioning maximizes your ability to process oxygen, which increases your ability to burn calories before, during, and after sessions. (Over time, once you have become more advanced and it become more difficult to make further gains, consider making your own fat burning stack from the recipe I provide in another blog article. You can find the components for it here.)

Often this type of activity is reduced to “cardio.” Yes, CV training is an important part of conditioning; however, it is also true that lifting heavy weights, calisthenics, and yoga can increase your heart rate and generate heat. All of them can make you sweat. With this in mind, you should realize that the body’s systems cannot be separated from each other. You have only one cardiopulmonary system, only one circulatory system. It is a misperception that “cardio” training is the only or best way to improve your conditioning. No matter the types of activity you do, they will make demands on all the same systems in their various degrees.

 

Least effective doses of Conditioning

The potential danger of “cardio” is that many people do far too much of it. They generally think mainly of jogging for a long time, which can do serious damage to feet, joints, and spinal alignment. Other modalities of CV training include rowing machines, stair climbers, ellipticals, jumping rope, cycling, and swimming. This pattern of repetitive activity is Low Intensity Steady State (LISS). For decades the assumption was that performing monotonously at a medium pace for a long time is a great way to burn fat; however, the more current research shows that this is not necessarily true.

 

LISS

All the activities listed above for CV conditioning are awesome; however, the way in which you perform them can cause you to store fat and waste muscle. This is the exact opposite goal for most people who train. LISS induces prolonged stress in the body. This manifests as extended periods of inflammation and/or the secretion of cortisol, adrenaline, and other fight or flight hormones. The body responds to this ongoing, moderate activity by holding onto fat stores. It rids itself of calorically expensive muscle. All your body can respond to is the fact that you are burning more calories than usual. We evolved to survive famines. Your metabolism is trying to protect you from starving to death by slowing itself down.

A perfect example of this will be many of the people you see around yourself at your gym while you are on an elliptical in a sea of people reading, talking, or watching TV on their own ellipticals. If you have gone for a while you will recognize people. You may notice that many never change what they’re doing, and they never make much progress. Most of these people look practically the same today as they did a year ago when you first noticed them. This is LISS.

HIIT

Dr. Mercola suggests that you consider High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as an alternative. The constant changes in intensity have a very different effect on the body. You will focus more intensely,  burn more fat, and build more muscle. You finish in a fraction of the time, and elevate your metabolism for up to 24 hours after you finish.

Done properly, you cannot go longer than 20 minutes. If you can go longer, you didn’t do it right. What’s also nice is that all your favorite CV activities are still on the table. You simply do them in incremental bursts, rather than at a constant plateau. Oscillating between peaks and active rest forces more adaptation in your body. It will remarkably hasten the process of improving your body composition. Switch up the activities: After a couple weeks on the elliptical, go over to rowing, then cycling, etc.

Also, you might not be able to do all the peaks when you first begin. Some you will have to keep shorter than designed. There might be a few that you have to skip outright. That is absolutely expected, and you should consider it an opportunity for progressive overload. As you train specifically for greater endurance, you will be able to maintain the peaks longer, and you will fill in the blanks. Remember that everything about fitness is a gradual process!

 

Take a walk

Oh, and one more observation: Simple walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do, and under normal circumstances it requires no special equipment, no membership fees, no supplements, and no designer clothing. You also get to breathe the free air and see the sky. Unless you’re at a clothing optional resort, all you need is comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothes. Oh, don’t forget the sunscreen (especially if you’re at a clothing optional resort).

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