Lean, Toned, or Buff: What It Really Means to Be Fit

Flying In A Blue Dream

Different people have different reasons for starting a fitness program. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, others want to reduce cholesterol, and the list goes on. If you’re a wellness-enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless fitness philosophies, and it can be hard to know what’s really important in a workout routine. Do we need to be as big and bulky as, say, a body builder? Is that the epitome of fitness? Or rather should we focus on toning and building functional strength?

To help us answer some of these questions, we interviewed Sports Club/LA fitness expert Rob Kram.

There’s so much health information going around these days, but what does “fitness” really mean to you?

To me, fitness is the physical component of the entire health and wellness continuum. It fits right in with the importance of nutritional health, mental acuity and the holistic view that includes stress management leading to overall happiness. When you consider the body’s ability to move properly and painlessly, fitness encompasses many levels from an elite athlete focused on performance enhancement, to a grandmother simply wanting to be able to bend over and pick up her grandchild.

Is it more important to be thin, toned, buff, or what?

There are plenty of people with buff bodies who cannot functionally perform well in athletic activities. There are also very toned people who are functionally weak. Fitness is relative to one’s activities. For example, an elite marathoner and a world class sumo wrestler are both probably very functionally fit for their activities. But, switch their roles and both would fail miserably. Quality of one’s movement relative to their targeted activity is the most important factor.

Is muscle-building a sure-fire route to fitness? And if not, what’s your number one rule for building muscle for fitness?

Nothing is sure-fire in the fitness industry, simply because everyone’s body is so different. Muscle-building is as important as any other factor in overall fitness. It is a forgotten component for many who focus only on cardio exercise. As for a number one rule for building muscle – “surpass the ignition point every time.” Regardless of the exercise or goal, if you don’t reach the point of discomfort during your workout, you simply do not realize the benefit of that exercise. This point of discomfort is what I call the “ignition point” and many people waste their time working out and going through the motions without ever, or rarely getting past this point.

If someone comes into the club who is struggling with weight, endurance or a specific health concern, what are some of the first fitness tools you would suggest?

Each of those struggles are very different from one another and require different tactics. One thing that they do have in common is the need for professional guidance. Without a trained professional the struggles will simply continue through trial and error. Most people get their information, and therefore fitness advice, from the mass media. Although this raised consciousness is a positive thing, the application of exercise science needs to be specific to each individual. There are simply too many factors that create the person that you are for mass marketed trends to be effectively applicable to everyone. One exercise that yielded great results for one person may be detrimental to the health of the next person. If I had to pick one fitness tool that I would suggest to everyone, it would be a Private Trainer consultation.

What daily lifestyle practices would you encourage people incorporate in order to stay fit and strong, apart from (or perhaps in addition to) a formal fitness routine?

Move daily and stay conscious of how you are moving. Do things hurt? Does life get in the way of moving at all? Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to raise these questions in your own head, do it. Sign up for a fitness blog, hire a Private Trainer or coach, buy products that remind you to move and track movement. Create the conversation with everyone in your life (who’s willing to talk about it) so that they are all involved as a support system to continue to motivate you.

Add fitness to your calendar and make it a priority. Even picking a favorite tv show and starting a habit for yourself to do an “at home” workout whenever it’s on, works well. Everyone has time to do a set of push-ups, so there is never a reason to go extended periods without some type of strength training. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself and see if you can lift, move something or engage in any manual labor. Getting and staying strong needs to be a priority. The penalty is that if you don’t make time for it now, your body will deteriorate sooner and make you spend that time later in life.

 

Rob shared some great tips, and we hope this inspires you to get out there and get active!

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SPortsClubLA2012Sports Club/LA has been recognized as an urban lifestyle brand that serves as the ultimate health and wellness destination. Visit a Sports Club/LA location in Boston, Chestnut Hill, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and New York Upper East Side as well as their sister club, Reebok Sports Club/NY. For more information visit www.SportsClubLA.com.

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