I am sooooooo excited to share this week’s guest post with you! It’s written by the man responsible for my inexhaustible love for fitness, and for strength training in particular. Since I was sixteen and first stepped foot into 360 Fitness in my hometown of Tyler, Texas, Michael Prince has been a fitness and nutrition mentor to me. He has taught me – and continues to teach me – everything I know about training safely and effectively, with very specific goals in mind, and applying tried and true dietary principles that build a strong, lean, energetic body, as well as a clear, focused, and disciplined mind.
I asked Michael to write anything he wanted. Knowing that his mind is a virtual library teeming with vast amounts of information pertaining to exercise science, kinesiology, biomechanics, you name it, I knew that whatever he chose to write on would be insightful. I hope you enjoy what he has to say about what he and I believe to be the foundation of all types of fitness: strength!
And now, without further ado, here’s Michael!
First off, let me take a moment to introduce myself. United States Air Force Paramedic, B.S. Registered Nurse, Certified Personal Trainer of 19 years, and Co-Owner of 360 Fitness Personal Training Center in Tyler, Texas for 12 years. I’m the father to three wonderful children and husband to a very patient and loving mother, wife, and business partner. Dollars to doughnuts, my wife Melinda would acclaim to raising four children. However, this read is most definitely not about my life as much as what I’ve learned from the various hats having worn over the last 24 years.
Fitness is my life. From working with children, the elderly, bodybuilders, and rehabbing injuries, I’ve had the pleasure of learning from so many different and physically demanding modalities. Which is what brings us to the meat of this article: answering several questions.
What is the best workout?
How do I improve my ability within a given activity or sport?
Whether strength, endurance, cross-training, running, swimming, cycling, or yoga is your thing, you need to have a physically strong body for all of it. Which brings us to our next question!:
What are your goals?
I’ve learned that if you want to get better at cycling, you cycle. If you want to be an excellent swimmer, you must swim. Same goes for running, whether it is long distance or sprinting. The list goes on into including bowling, golf, football, CrossFit, baseball, etc.!
Each activity above is a form of exercise, excellent forms that are great for heart health and attaining or maintaining a leaner healthy body. Now for the twist… How do each of us not only perfect these forms we love, but excel within our chosen activity? There is a difference! Each one is a form, an art! The answer to each of these questions is strength training.
With strength training, we can focus on the factors that limit us.
Our bodies are our support, so we must support our bodies with nutrition and exercise. (We definitely do not have enough room in this article to cover nutrition, as straightforward and simple as it can be.) So what would this strength training program look like for each individual among the various activities? (Keyword, individual.)
There is no perfect workout plan. Each of us has a vastly different genetic makeup. Also, when it comes to strength training, it is much more beneficial when your program changes from workout to workout, or from week to week. Our bodies have an adaptive mechanism that will kick in and essentially keep us from moving forward with our goals. We have to be smarter than our bodies and keep them guessing.
So does this make coming up with an individualized program more difficult? Absolutely not! That makes it more fun and interesting! Within this article, it is not my goal to attempt to condense 20+ years of experience into a few hundred words and bring light to the fact that we all need to strengthen our bodies for the activities that drive each one of us.
Now, I have been involved with weightlifting/strength training for many years. What I’ve found is that through the hundreds of people having worked with over the years, I have partaken in some activities that may not be on my personal menu of favorites. However, due to the fact that strength training is my life, it doesn’t ail me to attempt something new. As a matter of fact, I usually do quite well, minus the perfected technique of whatever it is I have agreed to participate in. But what about the activities that are on my menu of favorites? Well, as long as I stay active in these favorites, I can maintain a comfortable and sometimes impressive level of competitiveness.
My suggestion: scout out your local fitness centers. Some may even specialize in personal training. A good fitness facility will interview you to find out our goals and needs at the same time you are interviewing them to make up your mind if they are right for you.
Now, if you have spent time in the weight room, have the knowledge/experience and are comfortable with designing your own comprehensive roadmap to get from point A to point B, what are you waiting for? But like so many people that walk into a fitness center and are intimidated or confused with the sea of exercise equipment, I would take advantage of sitting down with one of their professional fitness trainers and let them cross-examine your desires and match them up with a dynamic strength training program that will get you on the path to creating a more competitive platform so that you can enjoy your favorite activities even more.
Strength training coupled with athleticism really is the iron that sharpens the iron!