Time for our Sunday Sweat Talk date! I’m psyched to talk about training for life today.

Sunday Sweat Talk

Last Friday night I went out to dinner with my friends Shannon and Baka from home. We were catching up on life, which included talking about our blogs. Somehow we started talking about my obsession with strength training, and at one point in the conversation, Baka asked me, “why are you doing it?”

I probably responded with something like to feel good, socialize, blow off steam, stay healthy, blah blah blah. Baka (very quickly) interrupted me and said, “no, why are you doing so much weightlifting lately? What are you training for?”

OH. I thought about it for a second and simply replied, “I’m training for life.”

I know this statement was received with eye rolls because, well, that’s what friends from home are good for, amiright? But I was serious. I’m not training for any specific event. I’m not trying out for anything or performing in any upcoming weightlifting competitions. So what does training for life mean?

I’m training because I want to be around for a long time. I want to be able to perform my daily life activities both now and when I’m older without any pain. I want my body to know how to work collectively as an integrated whole to prevent injury. What I don’t want to do is waste my time by isolating one muscle at a time in the gym. Tell me, when’s the last time you had to move like this IN LIFE?

leg extension[Source]

I’ll tell you that the only time I have to move like this in my life is when I take off my shoes underneath my desk and then can’t find them. Then I have to extend ONLY my legs while in a seated position to try and get my shoes back on my feet before scurrying to a meeting. Helpful.

See what I mean? While machines are certainly better than nothing, they actually do very little to prepare you for the movements of life. When’s the last time you pushed something forward from a regular seated position? When’s the last time you just shrugged your shoulders up and down repeatedly? When’s the last time you sat in a chair and just opened and closed your legs 15 times? Don’t answer that, but seriously ladies, STOP USING THAT MACHINE.

So when you ask yourself why you should train, think about preparing your body for what life throws at it. Embrace functional fitness. Bend, twist, change direction, and lift at various speeds in multiple settings.

The concept is very simple: do exercises in the gym that will help you move outside of the gym.

Functional Fitness

Squat and deadlift so you can sit down, stand up, and pick up heavy boxes and bags of groceries.

Do pushups so you can pick yourself up off the ground or catch yourself in a fall.

Do step ups so you can take the stairs.

Do cable chops so you can lift your son out of his crib and give him to another family member to hold.

Move in all positions: front to back, side to side, and rotational. Humans never move only in a straight line.

Challenge your stability. Think about how often you only have one foot planted on the ground at a time. Hint: it’s a lot. Every time you walk, no?

Anyways, luckily for my friends last Friday, I didn’t get into all of this during dinner. I’m pretty sure we immediately moved on to discuss other important things like the best Mexican hot spots in Boston. But I’m happy to be on the blog talking about this topic today. It’s so important. Training for life is part of the reason I feel so awesome like I talked about last week, and I encourage you all to train for life too.

AHA 5k Heart Challenge 2014

^^ Me at my first obstacle race last weekend! Can’t wait to recap this for you guys.

–Let’s chat–
You guys tell me. What are you training for?
How do you train for life? Do you think you need to make any changes to your workouts to make them more effective and focused on whole body movements?

For more Sunday Sweat Talk topics: