For the past three years I have been visiting Seattle, my old home, not only to visit my family but to attend classes, seminars, and camps from all different trainers and professors in the ever changing health and fitness field. Every year there is a new fad program and diet that you have to try. Some last, most don’t. High intensity has been the theme for the last couple years with different equipment making an appearance. This year the ugi ball is the newest addition. It is pretty much a more cushioned and pancaked version of a rage ball. A genius reinvention I must admit, with new and old movements of the classic medicine ball. The kicker: It’s $140 price tag. That’s two to three times more than a conventional medicine ball. Is it a good buy? Not if it’s for home gym decor. The workouts are multi-level and fun, so if you can follow the program and create healthy habits than it’s a huge YES. The the thing you have to remember is that there is no miracle equipment or quick fix tool. It can be any of a thousand options that are fun and safe. The issue is typically having a solid direction or program in place for yourself. One tool may be great for a month, but any exerciser can become repetitive, unchallenging and unmotivating.

balance

balance training

It is important to mix it up, not only for your body but for your head as well. You don’t have to throw away your old program, just give it some variety and throw in some contrast so you can recycle those old moves into something new and exciting for your mind and your body as well.
If you are a seasoned fitness nerd like myself, you know the ideal fitness program is the one that keeps your diet manageable and sustainable. I am a crossfitter but now that I am no longer a competition athlete a full time cross fit program is just not for me. I personally feel my appetite is hard to satisfy and my body feels tight and fatigued when I am surfing. Does that mean crossfit is bad? Not at all, I do it once or twice a week opposed to previously 5 times a week. And usually when I do alternate workouts I use crossfit compound movements.
The evolution of my program has been years in the making; now I look at my personal program and consider where I want to be in 80 years, not eight. I want to be able to pick up and launch my great grandkids in the air for fun. Is running a marathon every other month going to help me? I don’t think so. Too much stress, not enough reward. Four hours surfing? Sure! I’ll do that every day if I can. Longevity comes down most simply to cellular damage. More simply, STRESS. The caps lock really proved a point. I’m sure the word alone created some cortisol is your brain. Choose your oxidation (cell damage, stress, free radicals) wisely. If you live for running marathons. Do it! Enjoy every 41,280 steps of it. Just find time in your training to maybe meditate to bring down emotional stress. Eat plenty of antioxidants rich foods. And be wisely selfish in your pursuit of happiness.
“We can also approach the importance of compassion through intelligent reasoning. If I help another person, and show concerns for him or her, then I myself will benefit from that. However, if I harm others, eventually I will be in trouble. I often joke, half sincerely and half seriously, saying that if we wish to be truly selfish, we should be wisely selfish rather than foolishly selfish. Our intelligence can help to adjust our attitude in this respect. If we use it well, we can gain insight as to how we can fulfill our own self-interest by leading a compassionate way of life.”
-Dalai Lama

So what about high intensity training? No one REALLY likes it. Especially during the class or workout. Maybe, or maybe not, but you enjoy the results and you should look beyond the physical and into the mental strength you develop in usually less than 30 minutes of exercise plus the amazing bond you develop in a class or group setting. Once again it’s balance.
It’s similar to the reason I retired from rugby. I LOVE playing rugby. I will most likely play a 7s game here and there but not a career. It’s just too risky. I enjoyed every second playing but the injuries were adding up. Separated shoulder here, broken ankle there. I knew re-injuring my body, even mildly, would catch up to me in the end. The wobbling retired players on the sidelines were perfect reminders.
Appetite plays a big roll in my programming and health choices. The harder you tax your body physically, the more you need to eat, re-fuel, and repair it. Extensive new research proves that less calories equals a longer life. I am not talking about obesity. This has to do with carcinogens, chemicals, and impurities that lace most all non organic foods. Even in organic foods, the vegetable you buy (for sometimes twice the price) has half the nutrients of its heirloom brethren. The point I’m trying to get at is: choose a low quantity, high quality diet that a fun, active life can revolve around. Food is king, balance is queen. Quality of life (happiness) is the Tyrion Lannister never to be ignored (yup, that’s a Game of Thrones reference right there).

Eat, play, love, repeat.