The Fitness Craze: Figuring Out What You Really Need

The last few years have seen an incredible upswing in mainstream healthy living. People are finally starting to take a look at their day to day activities and the food they eat to improve themselves. The military strives for physical fitness, and yet does a poor overall job of balancing the body’s nutritional needs with tactical training.

Repetitive stress injuries are frequent and recovery time is often in short supply in the military. Long movements with heavy weight on the back takes its toll over time and the body suffers. Recently, the military has transitioned to a functional fitness approach designed around PRT. This is supposed to help remedy many of the problems of the previous military fitness generation which focused on pushups, sit-ups, running and ruck marching.

Functional fitness is about training to conduct the tasks the body will perform anyways. It uses both body weight and external weights to develop a stronger core while using multiple muscle groups simultaneously – a contrast from standardized gym machines which target only one muscle at a time. One of the most popular functional fitness programs is Cross Fit. It seems you cannot move 10 feet in the military today without hearing someone talking about their amazing Cross Fit personal record. Records are an accomplishment, but all too often it seems that in an attempt to achieve--- a record, people will push their bodies past its limits, resulting in potential downtime for recovery.

On the other side of the spectrum is a more humble yoga workout. This is a body weight workout designed to add flexibility, strengthen the core, and provide physical well-being.  The workouts can range from hot yoga to meditation, with each providing physical and mental obstacles to overcome in order to improve the mind and body. Whereas functional fitness is dynamic, yoga is fluid. Where functional fitness can include jarring movements, yoga focuses on muscular alignment and stretching. Yoga is a natural balance to functional fitness.

The body requires more than one element to make it strong. A workout is about challenging yourself to improve. A good workout is something that you can smile while doing. A great workout is something you can smile at after completing it as well. It is not enough to be able to do a perfect clean or snatch, it is about finding the natural balance to allow the body to develop in physical capability and creating a general well-being which provides personal satisfaction.

The goal at the end of the day is to be happy with the way you look and feel. That means being healthy and able to accomplish day to day activities without hurting yourself. The solution is to find the happy medium between workout types and also to find personal pleasure in conducting these workouts. They will help the body to overcome injury, prevent unnecessary downtime, and keep the body strong and flexible. They are natural compliments to each other and are becoming more readily available to the community. At the end of the day, the biggest change you do for your body may be to introduce it to the different approaches to improve yourself, and then following through physically and mentally to commit yourself to personal improvement.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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