I stole this idea from something my girlfriend was talking about. She had just finished describing an argument she had gotten into with her co-workers about the best ways to workout after being scolded by people in the restaurant industry for lifting “heavy” weights as a girl (oh my!)
Then she starting telling Brendan (my partner at CP) about how she used to workout. It involved lots and lots of long slow cardio and a good amount of time doing abs. She said she was in “fitness bliss.” All that stuff was easy to her, she liked doing it for that reason. She doesn’t like doing heavy sets of exercises that are difficult. But she does them anyway because she has been enlightened to the the benefits of resistance training and the pointlessness of long slow cardio seeing as how she is not registered to compete in any endurance events at the moment. (or probably ever)
So she was telling us that’s why she doesn’t workout very often (something she’s vowed to improve on!), she doesn’t like what’s best for her, it’s not easy. As only Brendan could respond, “well at least you’re not wasting your time.” This moment of fitness bliss made me think back on my life in the gym.
It was great. I did tons of chest exercises. I did all the machines as my assistance work. I had an arm day. When I wanted to lose weight I got up early to do my cardio. It hurt to get into the deadlift position, so instead of correcting my mobility issues, I just didn’t deadlift. I took crazy supplements designed to give me rapid muscle pumps and stimulate muscle growth activation. I didn’t stretch because that supposedly would make me lose power for my lifts. I’d never heard of a foam roller. I had a shoulder day. I ate a “healthy diet” heavy in whole grains and low in fat. Sound like anybody you know?
This was the best information available to me at the time, so I went with what I “knew.” It was published in Muscle and Fitness after all, it had to work. Look at the guy on the cover, he’s huge. Even my exercise physiology texts weren’t telling me I was completely backwards.
This was my fitness bliss, and it all made so much sense at the time. But I found a better way to go after my fitness goals. It was jump started by a trip to a great PT up in Delaware named Rudy Rudowski (to get my shoulders and hips fixed from one too many shoulder days and a complete and utter lack of glute activation during any form of exercise). Rudy basically sat me down and told me I was a disaster. My posture sucked, my core strength sucked, my mobility sucked, my flexibility sucked, and it was a miracle I wasn’t more seriously injured. (Rudy was nicer than that, but the take home point was still the same) Maybe I didn’t have it all figured out.
So I started reading. I read and read and finally stumbled across some of the work done by the trainers I still read to this day. And I found a better way to train and more importantly a better way to approach training clients. But that was my fitness bliss time period and it was great. Everything was so simple… It also didn’t work, got me hurt, and wasted huge amounts of my time. So I’m glad that’s all behind me.
I plan on continuing my fitness enlightenment indefinitely. If I’m still preaching the exact same fitness concepts now as I am in 2021 shame on me. Things change and I always plan on keeping up with the best practices out there for myself and my clients and athletes.
Please, fire me if you are a client and I have not decided to change anything in the next ten years for a better way of doing things.
And when taking fitness advise from your local restaurant staff, (as most often will) be very weary, they MAY not have been keeping up on their education. Better safe to ask what they have changed their mind on in the past 10 years and what books they have read dated after 1996. If they can’t list a thing, you may want to at least try the bakery next door for more sound advice. Be careful who you listen to when it comes to fitness advice.