I get sickened when I go to gyms sometimes.
Week after week, I see the same people doing the same exercises and rep schemes… in the same order… with the same amount of rest periods… with the same bad form… whining the same sob-stories about how they want to get bigger, faster, stronger, more durable, and generally more in shape, while never changing a thing at all about their training program.
As I’m doing my sandbag get-ups and listening to this crap over the sound of my soul dying, I can’t help but to laugh.
Frankly, it’s tragic.
The problem with most programs, and furthermore with most training philosophies, is they so often play to a person’s strengths. Granted, this is not always a bad thing: a powerlifter’s gonna train like a powerlifter, a triathlete’s gonna train like a triathlete, ad nauseum down the line. Training for your sport is not an issue, it’s something that should be encouraged.The root of the problem is so many people generally focus on improving their strengths to superhuman levels, but fail to address their weaknesses. In order to be the most functional, adaptable, the best “tactical athlete,” if you will, that you can possibly be, you must train your weaknesses much harder than you do your strengths.
To be fair, strength athletes and gym rats aren’t the only culprits of this. Endurance athletes are often the worst. Take an average marathon runner, put 45 pounds on his back, and tell him to run 12 miles with it as fast as possible, and he’s gonna have a bad time. Take a powerlifter, put a 75 pound sandbag on his shoulder, and tell him to knock out as many sandbags getups as possible in 10 minutes, and he’ll be crying in a pool of his own tears and sweat after 2 (editor’s note: this is Baden making fun of Summers). Well rounded fitness is not your max bench or deadlift, nor your marathon time; but a culmination of your strength, explosive power, work capacity, endurance, stamina, flexibility, and mental toughness.
The focus of a comprehensive fitness program should include all of these elements, adjusted to fit the needs of your sport. A powerlifter will always have more overall strength, and a marathoner will always have more endurance. However, to be the best well-rounded “tactical athlete” possible, you must have:
- High relative strength (the core of all fitness)
- Work capacity (the ability to exert a lot of energy over a short, intense event with no rest)
- Stamina (“obstacle-course racing”, with multiple events over extended periods of time)
- Endurance (going the distance, whether it be 5, 10, 13, 26, or 50+ miles on foot, bike, or in the water)
- Mental toughness (the gas tank for all your fitness endeavors, and by far the most important)
David Baden (Barefoot Dave) is not a medical expert in the fields of nutrition or fitness. The opinions expressed here, while researched and vetted against some professionals, are still just the opinions of David Baden as a result of personal experience with himself and those who have sought help from him.