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The art of fitness

The art of fitness

Last week I wrote a short post on instagram about how fitness has an art to it. I feel like this statement deserves a longer explanation.

Let's get something clear right away, I 100% believe that fitness is backed by science. There are people out there who's job it is to conduct scientific studies on how the body functions, how it interacts with food, how it burns calories, how it responds to training stimulus and much more.

Fitness professionals review these studies and find the best way for people to implement the findings in their lives. This is where the art comes into play.

The science gives us something concrete to go on. Do lower reps at a higher intensity to increase strength. Eat in a calorie deficit to loose weight. These have been scientifically proven.

How you choose to achieve this varies between individuals. You see, one thing that science cannot take into consideration is the unique lifestyles that we all have.

Take two brothers for example. Greg is a single doctor at a general hospital and Bill is a software developer, father of two children. They both have the same genes. They were both raised with the same habits and traditions. Up until their last year of university, their lifestyles were probably very similar. Ate the same food at home, had the same amount of time to exercise, and the same amount of time to do leisure activities.

Now, Greg does shift work, he works for 4 days and is off for 4 days and is also on call 4 days each month. Bill on the other hand, works 9-5 five days a week and has weekends off. He does take care of his little ones after work and spends a lot of time with them on weekends.

I hope you can imagine how different each of their lives are. But if they both want to get stronger and leaner, they will have to do the same fundamental fitness regimen: heavy weights and a calorie deficit.

Let's take a look at how each of them could implement this.

Bill can have a more traditional approach because he has more of a routine lifestyle than Greg. Bill can workout any day of the week before bringing the kids to school or every day of the week right after work if his partner can take care of the kids. He could also workout during the weekends. His workout can be full body, he can train as hard as he wants any day of the week. He could easily fit in 3-4 workouts each week which is plenty for his goals.

His twin brother Greg, with a more sporadic shift schedule, has it a little more complicated.

Lifting heavy weights properly and safely requires a good amount of recovery between workouts. For this reason, he may not be able to lift heavy weights as often as Bill. He might only be able to train super hard twice a week. He could do a heavy upper body day on his second day off and a heavy lower body day on his third day off. The third workout would be during his 4 days on and would have to be lower intensity to minimize stress on the body and insure he gets quality sleep.

During his working days, Greg may not have the energy to maintain the same intensity during his workouts. He can still go to the gym but his focus will have to be different. He could focus more on technique work, focus on a weaker muscle group, cardio, or other training aspects that will help him reach his goal.