“Too many of us drift into health clubs with only the vaguest of notions about why we’re actually there.”

Daniel Duane, of Men’s Health, examines the misconceptions of fitness and offers his own notion of achieving real health.  The real coup is how Duane dispels the myths of the modern American gym industry — everything from personal trainers, to how gyms work to why they buy and offer the equipment, etc.  It’s a good piece to read if you’re thinking about “getting in shape” or starting a fitness regiment.

The rest of the session — more barbell moves, along with push-ups, pull-ups, and dips — revealed more of the same. I was, in a word, weak. Not even middle-aged-lady weak — little-girl weak.But Shaul gave me a great gift that day, cluing me in to a little secret: True sport-specific training, for literally everybody except elite athletes, isn’t sport-specific at all. It’s about getting strong, durable, and relentless in simple, old-school ways that a man can train, test, and measure. Nobody does crunches training this way, nobody watches television from the stationary bike, and 60-year-old women dead-lift 200 pounds and more.

Shaul was the smartest man I’d met in terms of getting truly fit, but I wasn’t about to move to Jackson. And I didn’t want a coach, anyway; I wanted to become my own coach. And now I knew this wasn’t about a gym or about gym equipment; it was about an ethos, an understanding that nothing on Earth beats the fundamentals, a commitment to regular, measurable improvement in everything that a gym trainer won’t teach, for fear you’ll walk away bored: push-ups, pull-ups, bench presses, squats, dead lifts, and even such military-seeming tests as just how fast you can run a single mile.

If you read one piece on fitness today, let it be this one.  On another note, P90X seems to work well for me. I’m a week into it, have begun to get my sea legs, and crave it every day. What I like is that you can do it from home with simple equipment — some dumbbells, a chair, a mat, etc.

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