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Health and Wellbeing

14 Aug 2014

I meet many people every day and discuss with them their goals for health and fitness - it’s always about change.

The desire to change body composition, or the desire to change (improve) fitness levels or to achieve things they have never achieved or have not for some years.

These are simple or normal goals that people set, but what isn’t so simple for many people is understanding what is needed to actually change our physical being.

Common motivations are:

The pursuit to burn calories (that of which is actually more easily offset through adjustments to calorie consumption);
Improve our functional capacity; or
Reshape or resize our existing musculature.

In reference to the first point, our mainly-obese society is slowly learning that movement of any kind will aid the pursuit to rid ourselves of excess calories stored as fat, though when it comes to the last points, the average punter generally misunderstands that simply by moving we cannot create change – we have to force change.

The human body is an extremely adaptive tool. If you ask it to wake at a certain hour each day, it will re-program itself to wake at that hour.  If you move to an unusual climate that is at first uncomfortable, within a couple weeks your body will adapt to it.

It’s similar in exercise. If new environments are stressed upon the body, it will adapt or change or grow.  However, if nothing new is imposed, or no new limits are attempted, nothing will change as there is no need for the body to adapt.

The above is a general perspective that is relevant to both the experienced or even elite exerciser, along with an absolute first timer.  For each individual, regardless of experience or lack thereof, new territory must be explored.

Greater speeds, heavier weights, further distances, need to be attempted for us to force our bodies to adapt and change. If we don’t, if we stay within only what we are capable of then nothing will change as there is no need for the body to do so.

Therefore, with this thought in mind, training intensity, whatever the training mode, is one of the most important things to consider in your training plan.

Beginners note, this message is in no way suggesting that you too need to work as hard as the gym junkie running next to you on the treadmill.

It simply states that you need to extend yourself beyond normal activities. i.e. if you previously spent the day entirely chained to your desk, your relevant training intensity to create initial change won’t be much more than a brisk walk or lifting a 5kg weight from the ground to above your head.

If you’re starting from the beginning, the process is quite simple really. It only gets really tough at the other end of the spectrum when you capabilities or limits extend much further.

If you’re unsure of how to create change for your level of fitness, get help from an exercise professional ASAP. If nothing else though, just try every now and then to go that little bit faster, lift that little bit heavier or move in another different way.

Just don’t keep functioning to the same limits and expect change.

Keep training. Keep improving.

Anton Pilli can be contacted at Genesis Fitness on 9690 2626 or

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