Here at Absolute Fitness, we like to train hard and train smart. We focus a lot of our time on our weaknesses and fine tuning motor skills and movement patterns.
Why do we do this?
To answer this question, let's first take a look at our background. Will and I come from a competitive Martial Arts/Muay Thai background where our fitness was not so much about our looks but rather, our performance.
We were putting in hours of work to get stronger, stay at a certain weight, and stay mobile enough to move through a variety of different methods of punching, kicking and technical movements. Obtaining and maintaining a high level of fitness was a constant challenge we needed to meet to be competitive in our sport of Muay Thai.
Finding the right training program to meet those needs was challenging. As martial artists, we needed a balance in all aspects of fitness and still have enough energy to train in our sport.
Most training programs available now focus on one or two aspects of fitness. It’s rare to see a training program that is just as attentive to flexibility training as it is in strength training and vise versa.
Our search for a balanced program that would build up our strength, mobility and our endurance, while still allowing us to train in our sport, led us to train with some of Canada's best strength, conditioning, and movement coaches.
We were taught that what we were looking for was, what they called, 'General Fitness'. With General Fitness, we would be able to gain all the attributes of a strong, capable body, and still have the energy we needed to train harder in our sport and shine that much brighter during competition.
With their help, we developed our own unique style of training which provides a balance of mobility/flexibility, strength, endurance and still allows us to train hard in our martial arts.
This is how the concept of Absolute Fitness started. We train to build on every aspect of fitness.
What we found
While training with our new program, we found that general fitness was also well-suited for most other athletes such as: swimmers, runners, hockey players, or anyone who needs to move while competing in their sport.
Of course athletes who specialize in a particular sport will have to focus on one aspect more than the other but they can’t simply dismiss the other aspects.
Take a powerlifter for example: They may not have to focus so much on hamstring flexibility, such as a martial artist does, but they will need to stretch their hamstring out, just enough, so that it doesn’t snap while performing a deadlift.
Why focus on general fitness?
What general fitness does for you is build your body a solid foundation of fitness so that you can go out and specialize in whatever it is that you want to specialize in.
For us, it meant that we would have stronger and more
capable bodies, and so we could train harder and become better martial artists. For you, it might mean that you're a better
swimmer, runner or hockey player, or maybe you just want the
ability to actually play with your kids on the park and not just watch them from the bench.
So what exactly is this program?
Our program is built on the following components that we teach our clients.
Component 1 - Rest and recovery
Not something that can be taught to you directly, you must have the discipline to do it, rest and recovery are often overlooked, but are an essential part of your fitness life.
It is crucial to plan rest and recovery time into your training program or you'll risk 'burning out'. Neglecting rest and recovery could lead to plateaus or worse- it could lead to injuries that can have negative effects on your training for weeks or even months.
When we rest and recover, we allow our bodies to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues to keep us progressively getting stronger.
Component 2 - Nutrition:
It is vital to your health, wellbeing and your fitness to eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
What you eat is what will fuel your mind and body during the day, especially during your training. If you eat foods that are designed to taste good but do little to help repair and grow your body you will not perform well in your training and therefore will end up with poor results.
Help your body out by giving it what it needs to properly fuel and repair itself.
Component 3 - Mobility & flexibility:
When training you tighten up, muscles in your body, if left
unchecked, it could lead to some serious issues. Having a good mobility and flexibility program that balances all this tightening, of our muscles, is a must.
Often, mobility is confused with simply being flexible but mobility is a more in-depth practice that looks into multiple factors that affect your athletic performance, or in other words, how well you are able to move as whole.
Flexibility on the other hand is the range of motion in a joint. It's a
measure of how well that specific joint is able to move.
Mobility is a great way to warm the body up for a strenuous workout, or if you're not feeling up to doing a strenuous workout, it’s a great way to keep the body moving and/or working on some weaker areas of the body that would otherwise be neglected.
Flexibility, or stretching, is often best done post workout to make sure everything is moving freely, help reduce soreness, and begin the healing process.
Training your mobility and flexibility is a sure fire way to resolve pain, prevent injury and develop and increase athletic performance.
Component 4 - Strength:
Everyone who is looking to change their body composition, trying to lose fat, or those who are trying to improve athletic performance should be doing some form of strength training.
The benefits to strength training are huge and range from improving heart health, enhancing neuromuscular strength, and raising your metabolism. Strength training even helps regulate hormones and improves reproductive health. While training strength, it is important to remember to train smart. This means to plan ahead and have some sort of periodization in your program. You can’t expect to go to the gym and give 100% every day and keep seeing progress. There needs to be balance in your training. For example, there will be times when you hold back and times when you push forward.
A balanced strength program will have you looking leaner, feeling stronger and performing better than ever in all aspects of life.
Component 5 - Conditioning/Endurance:
Conditioning is often mistaken for weight loss, but what it’s really about is helping you gain the ability to push through fatigue and increase stamina.
We make sure there is constant variety, not just running, that will get the heart rate up and have you breathing heavy in no time. Conditioning is great for runners, swimmers or any type of endurance athlete, who need a change to their workouts, so they don’t end up with common repetitive stress injuries such as runners knee. Does that mean that conditioning won’t help you lose weight? Not necessarily, but you would be better off building a sound foundation of nutrition, mobility and strength first and then stepping up to conditioning your body.
If you’ve ever wanted to run a little further, hike up an incline a little faster or just play a little longer, working on your muscular conditioning/endurance will help you in these types of situations.
Component 6 - Specialization:
Specializing is where we get to shine in our fitness life. For us it’s the martial arts and competing in the ring, that’s what we specialize in, but specializing can be anything from, performing in a specific sport or event or just playing at the park with your kids.
Whatever you choose to specialize in it will demand specific skills and abilities from your body. Too often people assume that by participating in a sport or activity that they’ll get good at all the
aspects their sport or activity requires of them.
What ends up happening is, people get rudely awakened, by fatigue, aches and pains, and a sudden realization that they’re not fit to be in their sport or activity. People stop participating, sit on the sidelines, and miss out on all the fun.
In order to be specialists, whatever that is for you, we must have all of the preceding five components in place and be consistently training in them to insure a healthy and capable body.
Whatever your version of specialization is making time for general fitness and ensuring you have proper rest and recovery, a firm nutrition plan, balanced mobility, a progressive strength program, and sound conditioning is what's going to give you the ability to shine through everything your fitness life has to throw at you.
If you need a hand figuring out how to include one or more of these components into your fitness programming or your tired of staying on the side lines and want to start training with us, give us a call (403) 347-9669 or fill out the following form and send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we’d be more than happy to help.