A NEW YEAR’S HEALTH & WELLNESS RESOLUTION THAT ACTUALLY WORKS.
By Bill Nurge
Humans have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. The idea of a new year swarms the mind with salubrious thoughts of sweet change and new beginnings. And if you’re like most Americans, there’s at least some part of your resolution that has to do with losing weight and getting fit. This is good news because at least most people are willing to acknowledge that they WANT to get leaner and more fit. But wanting and doing are two totally different things. The key is converting the want, the desire, the resolution for change into meaningful, intelligent and consistent action. Make a reservation and make it happen!!!
Most people are very astute about making reservations for things that are important. When you want to go on a trip you make flight and hotel reservations. When you want to dine at your favorite restaurant you call ahead and make a reservation. When something goes awry with your body you are quick to reserve a time-slot with an orthopedist, dentist, physical therapist, surgeon, chiropractor, masseuse, or acupuncturist. When you want to get a haircut you don’t pontificate about the pros and cons of getting a haircut, how inconvenient it is for your schedule, or how much it costs- you simply pick up the phone, make a reservation and get your hair cut.
So if you are serious about bringing in the New Year in a newer, lighter, stronger, more fit & happier version of yourself, make a reservation so you can make it happen.
In late May, Justin and Kerri Williams approached me and my wife, Naty about helping them with their floundering 2015 New Year’s Resolution to lose body fat and get fit. Like most forty-somethings (Justin recently turned 50) they were skinny-fat (looked thin but actually above ideal body fat %), Sun Valley-fit (hike,bike, & ski-fit but no strength, stability & core fitness), and unable to make changes despite their desire to get to the gym and clean up their diets. So this is what we did to address their objectives:
Assessment/The First Training Session
Justin made a reservation with me for a private HardCore Basic Training session. In his first session (while he was performing a warm-up on the cardio machines) we discussed his goals of recovering from a recent hamstring injury, strengthening his back and core which have been his Achilles heel his entire life, losing unnecessary body fat and increasing his strength, stamina and dexterity.
I explained that a typical Basic Training session would consist of a 10-minute cardiovascular warm-up on the treadmill, SkiErg, Concept 2 rowing machine, and stationary bike. Immediately following would be a light circuit consisting of some variation of leg assisted dips, rope-ladder, leg assisted pull-ups, sled push/pull work, climbing on the bouldering wall, and core work on the ceiling attached rope. Then there would be a higher intensityround or two of metabolic work on the machines followed by higher intensity circuit training. Total= 30 minutes.
From there, we would work on hand/eye/foot coordination on the speed bag, balance on the slack line, cardio on the BOSU ball and battle ropes, ball slams on the bongo board, and probably some more SkiErg intervals. The final third of the 55-minute session would focus on improving asymmetrical multi-dimensional strength, power, and core-stability with the TRX straps, bench, and medicine balls.
However, a “typical” Basic Training session is not what happened with Justin. While he was performing the warm-up exercises I was able to quickly ascertain why he was having so many problems with his lower back and hamstrings. Not only was he tight, weak, and systemically unfit but also his reliance on faulty movement patterns placed undue stress on his lumbar spine and musculature (we see this a lot).
In his next session, with pain as his guide, we worked together to do a modified low-intensity warm up, and some easy circuit, strength and core-conditioning work. He did all symmetrical exercises with limited range of motion and minimal loading. The intensity level was just enough to elicit an adaptation stimulus but not so great that it would exacerbate his pre-existing limitations. Slowly, one workout at a time, over the course of several weeks, Justin increased his range of motion, power production and core-stability to the point where we could start to “push” a little bit.
The Training Program
After four weeks of one-on-one basic training sessions and a modest sense of mastery over the fundamentals, Justin segued into twice weekly HardCore Delta-Force Training sessions with two to four other partners. While these Semi-Private sessions are structured similarly to the Basic Training sessions, the exercises are considerably more advanced, varied, and the intensity is higher.
Assessment/The First Training Session
Kerri followed a similar progression with my wife Natalia (Naty). Like her husband, Kerri didn’t necessarily look overweight and out of shape but she felt overweight and out of shape. She wanted to get back to feeling trim, strong and fit like she did in her 20s and realized that hiking, biking and skiing wasn't cutting it. Turning back the physiological clock is much more complicated than it seems. The body has a lot of moving parts and everyone's capacity for physical stress is different on any given day. Knowing when to push and when to back off, which exercises to use and which ones to avoid, which exercise sequences will make you fit and which will make you hurt, is not intuitive. Most people who exercise on their own fall into two categories- those who push themselves too hard, too often and get sick, injured and over trained and those who don’t work hard enough to make meaningful changes in their fitness, function and form.
After 6 weeks of Basic Training, Naty, and I were confident that Justin and Kerri had acquired enough strength, stability, and movement skills to take on the Fitness Decathlon- A battery of 10 different tests that assess the most critical components of overall health, athleticism, fitness & sports performance. We like to think of these ten elements as spokes on the wheel of fitness. To keep your fitness wheel rolling and moving forward you need all 10 spokes to be strong and stable. Below is a summary of their results from the initial test in July and their follow-up test results after 5 months of mostly twice-weekly HardCore Delta Force Training sessions.
It’s important to note that Justin and Kerri did not train specifically for the purpose of improving their test results. We train to perform well, be well, and feel well. Every HardCore Training session challenges every system of the body to get better and perform at a higher level. We believe in building better athletes not just better body parts. To this end, we utilize a vast array of unique tools, movements and methods to functionally develop the 10 attributes and physiological capabilities that comprise athleticism, fitness and optimal health.
STABILITY- Powerful arms and legs won’t do you any good if your core is a marshmallow and doesn’t know how to provide stability. A strong, stable and intelligent core is absolutely essential for postural integrity and power production.
SPEED- Improving hand speed, leg speed and total-body speed is important because some aspects of life and sport require the human body to move very quickly.
STAMINA- Most people don’t mind doing some cardio on their own which is great, but it’s not the same as HardCore High-Intensity Interval Training. High-Intensity Intervals on the SkiErg, Treadmill, Rowing Machine & Bike coupled with High-Intensity Circuit Training elevate the body’s natural anabolic hormone levels as well as maximizing metabolic efficiency and endurance.
STRENGTH- Most strength training programs are based on what bodybuilders and power lifters do which is build bilateral symmetrical strength in one plane of motion. But life and sport take place in 3 planes of motion with unilateral asymmetrical loading as the norm, which is why we work on building total-body multi-dimensional strength that you can use in your sports as the foundation for power production.
POWER- The ability to produce force quickly (strength-speed) is a prerequisite for success in most sports. We work on functional power production at varying tension levels, speeds and degrees of instability because life and sport requires us to exert varying amounts of force for varying amounts of time under variable conditions.
BALANCE- There are many times in life and sports when injury is imminent if you are not able to maintain your balance. We train dynamic balance by performing exercises on one leg, two legs, moving, stationary, and on stable and unstable surfaces.
COORDINATION- All of the strength, stamina and power in the world won’t do you any good if you cannot move effectively and coordinate your efforts. A big part of what we do is teach people how to move efficiently so they can optimally express their power and stamina. When someone moves well it should look effortless, powerful and inspiring. Because virtually every movement we do is through a full range of motion there is dynamic flexibility work that takes place every repetition. So you get stronger and more flexible at the same time. Not only is this time-efficient, it’s the best way to improve meaningful mobility.
AGILITY- The ability to accelerate and decelerate your body quickly and deftly in multiple directions is important for most sports and life.
BODY COMPOSITION- In the absence of an effective training regime the average adult increases adipose tissue (fat) and loses critical muscle mass every year. We do specific muscle-tension exercises to increase lean muscle mass because losing muscle is all-bad for an aging body. We also work on reducing body fat to optimal levels because carrying excess fat is an unnecessary burden to your body and a serious deficit to athletic performance.
It’s interesting to note that Kerri’s body weight did not change at all. This is not unusual. Her hard work over the course of 5 months aggrandized her muscle mass by 5 lbs. and reduced her body fat by 5 lbs. While most women are concerned about gaining muscle for fear of getting “bulky”, in Kerri’s case she actually got smaller and less “bulky” because she got rid of the high volume bulky fat and substituted it with low volume muscle fibers that contribute to increased strength, power and a higher metabolic rate.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE- Eating well, getting enough quality rest, and managing stress are vital to the success of any training regime. We know this because we’ve been athletes our entire lives and have to live by the same rules as everyone else. It’s actually not that hard to lead a healthy lifestyle if you know what you’re doing and stay with it long enough so that you’re no longer a prisoner to your old cravings and habits.
There’s no doubt that Justin and Kerri’s improvements are impressive and kudos to them for working so hard for their results. But interestingly enough, it's not test results that keep people coming back and maintaining their commitment to HardCore Training. In our experience, the greatest determinant of adherence is the fun factor followed up closely by feeling better, performing better in your sports and looking better. The tangible results you can see and feel from HardCore Training remind you why you spend the time, energy and resources... But it’s the fun you have training hard with your friends that you look forward to and makes it such a valued part of your day, your week, your year, your life !
So instead of making a resolution to get lean and fit this year, make a reservation to train 2x/week and make it happen- there’s nothing we love more than making people healthier, lighter and more fit so they can have more fun in life and sports.
HardCore Training Center
200 First Ave N | Ketchum