It is often hard to find a training program that is specific enough to accomplish health and physical improvement in a broad sense. Programs typically are oriented either toward skill improvement, bodybuilding, fat loss, or health, with very few taking a holistic approach. Such an approach could be accomplished by tying in all of the elements necessary to create complete health and fitness – one that encompasses all the training variables needed to ensure a fully functioning, healthy and aesthetically pleasing physique.
The program that follows will essentially provide – for most – an opportunity to expand themselves mentally, physically and aesthetically. A balance of specific resistance and aerobic work, skill training, and a focus on core stability and correct breathing will create an effective balance between the competitive aspirations of one who desires the “perfect physique” and one who aims for health and well-being as a primary goal. The program outlined here will provide this balance and many other benefits, all of which will be discussed shortly.
Potential problems with specific programs
When the overarching goal is health, well-being and physical improvement, specific bodybuilding and sport-specific programs, extreme weight loss regimens and exclusively ultra low impact work pose several problems, both specific to their individual methodologies and in a general sense. Of course, if one has a specific sporting goal, or seeks to improve one aspect of their health or physique a narrower training framework will be needed. However, for the general population (and the majority of personal training clients), who for the most part want overall improvements in health, well being, looks and functional ability, a broader approach should be taken.
A specific bodybuilding program will demand ultra-intense work on a continuous basis, to allow for extreme muscle growth. This approach does have merit for muscle building, but for overall health, other training variables are needed. The training program for health and physical improvement (THPI), adopts many bodybuilding techniques and approaches, but balances these with various assisting factors. Bodybuilding programs at the extreme end, although effective for pure muscle building, and by virtue of this, positive flow on effects like stronger bones and fat loss also often neglect functional ability, skill development and overall health. The THPI method will ensure many key areas of human performance and internal health are catered for – a great physique will come as a natural consequence of the combined methods used.
General weight loss programs that demand moderate aerobic work and low calorie diets are notoriously inefficient in terms of weight loss and the development of total health, as they more often than not lack a resistance training component and therefore do not support continued gains in this area. Resistance training with weights (and through other methods) will result in added muscle, which raises the metabolic rate and contributes to greater losses in fat. People on general weight loss programs – which by their very nature encourage boredom and stagnation – typically encounter a plateau (their results stall) as the workload becomes too easy and their metabolic rate comes to a stand-still as a result. The low calorie diets typically associated with weight loss regimens may also contribute to two definite undesirable effects: binging and a lowered metabolic rate (low calories will initially result in water loss along with a small amount of fat, but over time the body will begin to shut down its fat burning processes to conserve energy in the presence of the lower caloric intake).
Sport specific programs, as mentioned, are good in the sense they will help one to achieve a specific sporting objective. Strictly speaking, given individual sports require separate sets of skills and differing energy systems, the sports specific approach may ultimately lead to imbalances in one or more health components (mental, physical or emotional). Power lifters, for example, could become aerobically unfit, or overweight if the majority of their training revolves around the big three lifts. However, their sport, as do many others dictate an extreme, specific approach to training.