Best You've Ever Been
Another powerful excerpt from Fitness
Author Phil Kaplan's newest book, The Best You've Ever Been!
The Best You've
Ever Been (excerpt #2)
THE COMPONENTS OF PHYSICAL EXCELLENCE
OK, I've already explained Psychological
Congruence. Now let's zero in a bit on precisely what I mean
by the other state of being I claim will turbo charge your
life, Physical Excellence.
we can equate physical excellence with strictly a sensory
measure, listening for the words, "I Feel Great," but there's
a more precise measure that can carry across our entire population.
Ideally Physical Excellence goes beyond a look and a feeling
and rolls over to positively impact and heighten the enjoyment
of every experience. With that thought in mind, when people
seek physical excellence, they should consider it encompassing
the following nine components if it is going to be far reaching
into excellence in all areas of life.
- An Optimistic Outlook
- Appreciation of "Moments" That
Better Your Passion For Living
- An Increased Sense of Potential
Throughout the pages that follow,
we'll look at these one at a time for a better overall comprehension
of what we, as humans, are truly capable of.
Flexibility - you've seen
the graceful dancer who arches her back so completely her
foot touches the back of her head and if you've ever watched
any of those "World's Records" shows, you might have seen
people fold themselves up and disappear into little boxes.
I don't believe we need to aspire to match those performances,
but I do believe most of us, even regular exercisers, often
neglect this vital component of fitness.
Flexibility actually refers to
the range of motion possible about a joint. The greater the
range, the greater we consider the flexibility of the muscles
and connective tissue that play a role in movement around
a given joint. The bad news . . . a neglect of flexibility
training can lead to shortening of the muscles, limited movement
ability, and greater potential for injury. Allow the hamstrings
to become less flexible and with time, a low back problem
is almost a certainty. The good news . . . flexibility is
probably the easiest of the components to improve. A 10-15
minute stretching session 4-5 times a week can do wonders
for increasing or restoring flexibility.
- If I tried to count the number of people who came to me
for exercise advice and told me of their lack of energy, I'd
be well into the hundreds of thousands by now. When we discuss
"energy," we're really referring to the efficiency which with
fuel (food) is converted into heat. I know that doesn't sound
like the same thing as you ask for when you have to get out
of bed in the morning and your body just doesn't want to,
but ultimately, the body's use of calories is going to determine
your energy level. Optimally fueling the human body and then
facilitating the best usage of that fuel to make the body
more efficient at all levels of performance is the secret
to capturing and controlling energy.
Leanness - too many people
who are carrying more weight than they'd like believe they
simply want to weigh less on the scale. The fact is, it is
quite possible to sacrifice muscle tissue, weigh less, and
actually increase your percentage of bodyfat! If weight loss
is a goal, in the great majority of cases, fat loss is going
to be the solution.
lean body is a body that has a healthful proportion of lean
body mass to fat. While bodyfat testing can estimate body
composition, we can be quite discerning based upon the reflection
in the mirror. If you have a body where muscle appears "toned,"
you are likely in a body that has a desirable proportion between
fat and lean mass. We can call that a "lean" body. Keep in
mind, we do require some fat to live, and our body's must
hold on and utilize adipose material (fat) for optimal health.
"Lean" does not mean fat free. It just means that while your
body maintains a composition sufficient to meet health and
performance needs, you are not carrying excess fat that may
impede performance or health. A "Lean Body" is an amazing
piece of biochemical machinery. It is an integral part of
achieving Physical Excellence.
- Exercise physiologists have battled with strength coaches
in attempts to define the word. One accepted definition in
physiology circles is, "the maximal force muscles can exert
isometrically in a single voluntary effort (Kroemer, 1970)."
For our purposes, definition is not all that important. We
know what physical weakness means. We know that someone who
is physically weak is not a model of physical fitness. If
you are, therefore, going to be the Best You've Ever Been,
while you don't have to lift an elephant, you should note
gradual increases in the ease with which you perform physical
work. If the physical stress that you bear in the course of
a day requires a struggle, you absolutely need some strength
training. The goal, in search of physical excellence, is to
be able to perform the daily tasks, requirements, and activities
life throws your way with ease.
- While strength refers to a force being generated, endurance
deals with the number of times you can perform a movement
or the length of time during which you can maintain a given
level of exertion. Is it possible to have world-class strength
and lack in physical endurance? Sure! And vice versa. A marathon
runner who cannot perform a single pushup would be an example.
Remember, in search of physical excellence, we seek balance,
thus, our training will focus not specifically on strength,
nor endurance, but rather a progression in both areas. If
walking up the steps leaves you winded, physical excellence
has thus far eluded you. You should be able to run when called
upon, walk as is necessary, and pedal, swim, or climb if those
activities are a part of your life, without feeling the "I
need to sit down in a corner and huff and puff to catch my
breath" sensation those who yearn for physical excellence
are often faced with.
Stamina - stick-to-it-iveness.
While endurance and stamina overlap and are closely linked,
the best way I've found to isolate the separate meanings behind
the words asks you to run for as long as you can at 5 miles
per hour. When you become exhausted and have to stop, you
have put your endurance to the test. The stamina question
asks, if you have to travel 20 miles, and you stopped running
at the 3 mile mark, at what point do you feel "ready" and
"mentally driven" to again start to run.
a 20-mile race, the individual with the greatest level of
stamina and endurance is certain to cross the finish line
Life doesn't always ask us to stop
at the finish line. We sometimes are forced to stop short
of reaching a destination or goal. With stamina, we continue
to plod forward until what was once a goal gets chalked up
as an achievement.
An Optimistic Outlook -
this may not initially appear to tie into "physical excellence,"
but without it, the obstacles that you're bound to encounter
individually and collectively stand to throw you off course
without any hope of you returning.
deep-rooted knowledge that physical excellence is possible
provides a power that allows you to optimistically hurdle
through and over anything that falls in your way. I'm not
suggesting you ignore the hazards and pitfalls of life, but
rather that you accept that they're provided to make you stronger,
to provide you with greater endurance and stamina, and each
is quite simply a challenge you now you'll overcome.
of "Moments" That Better Your Passion For Living - it's
not the destination as much as it's the journey. Arriving
at a destination is a fleeting moment. I have personally met
with so many athletes and bodybuilders who lived for a single
moment of glory and spend the rest of their lives trying to
recapture a moment that has since become a part of history.
Enjoy the ongoing improvement. Enjoy the knowledge that your
in some way better today than yesterday. Recognize and appreciate
the momentary rewards that manifest as a result of a commitment
to becoming The Best You've Ever Been.
An Increased Sense of Potential
- every Personal Trainer knows this scenario well. A client
desires to lose 20 pounds. He trains intensely, following
the trainer's advice to the letter, and the day arrives. The
weigh in. He has lost 22 pounds! In that moment, he feels
fantastic, at least on an emotional level. The trainer expects
he will have a lifelong client and fan, but shockingly, the
client never returns. Perhaps he shows up months or years
later in a saddened condition after experiencing a dramatic
physical decline. Why? Because the client reached a moment
of achievement, but failed to recognize his potential. As
much as you improve, recognize that there is always room to
grow, and with tiny improvements stacking upon themselves,
the potential for excellence is literally infinite.
now you should be excited by your potential. No, I haven't
yet shared precisely how you're going to get there, but you
at least understand the direction in which you life is about
to move. You'll need to summon up some patience if you're
expecting to jump right into throwing barbells and dumbbells
around. Now that you understand the mission at hand, it's
time to take a look inside, not at the heart and lungs, but
at the controlling force, that intangible which we know as
* * End of Excerpt
#2 * *
I anticipate releasing
the Best You've Ever Been in early 2002. For now, any connection
with my programs or seminars can help you begin that vital
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