The fitness journeys of Random Ron, Fun Francine, Calorie Carrie and Intense Ivan
Exercising alone does not magically guarantee success. At Kineo Fit our philosophy begins with moving right, eating right and training smart at our core. This produces the mechanism for fast and lasting success. This is illustrated with the model of the wheel, which you can learn more about here. A metaphor I like to use is looking at when one prepares a gourmet meal. Much care is used when adding the right ingredients and amounts. The right amount of heat and duration are also critical. Achieving optimal fitness and health requires a similar, thoughtful and calculated approach. Neglecting these fundamentals will leave you often times far away from the goal you set out to accomplish in the first place. This might be best illustrated with some case studies. Although these 4 individuals are made up examples, they represent the four most prominent examples of why people have such a hard time achieving lasting success on their fitness journey. I’m sure all of us have one time or another played the roles of these examples. We are excited to have you meet Random Ron, Fun Francine, Calorie Carrie, and Intense Ivan. Let’s GO!
Random Ron decided it’s finally time to get in shape because he’s gained some weight since his football days. He joins Global Gym because he got a great deal and only pays $24 per month. His membership includes access to all the fitness machines in the universe and all the group ex classes he wants. With all these tools at his disposal he’ll be back to his old self in no time. Ron works out every day and starts to do the lifts he remembers from his football days, but soon starts to feel his old shoulder injury start to flair up and some low back pain. He then starts using machines that don’t seem to hurt his shoulder or back. He notices after several weeks he hasn't lost any weight. Maybe he needs some cardio in his life. He forces himself to get on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes during each workout but he is getting bored fast. He sees people walking out of the cycle room with a good sweat going, so he decides to try a class. Maybe he’s just not working out hard enough and needs the fit cycle instructor to kick his butt. Reluctantly he comes into the first class. The music was pumping and the instructor, Sally, was more than motivating and encourages him to push it harder and harder. 20 minutes in he gets light headed, he feels like he’s going to puke. How embarrassing!
In his prime he could run circles around all these people, but now he thinks he has to step out of class early. Ron doesn't return to the gym for a week. He starts to struggle with consistency and his shoulder and back do not feel any better. He has a few mini resolutions, but they don’t last long. After 6 weeks from starting he stops all together. Not wanting to accept defeat he keeps paying his membership for another 6 months before finally canceling.
Sadly, this is a very common scenario. In fact, big box gyms as part of their business model rely on millions of Random Ron's in order to sell more memberships than their facility could possibly facilitate. To illustrate how crazy the fitness industry has been let’s apply the same philosophy to a different industry. Let’s say a new auto body shop opens; it’s nice and clean, has all the new and shiny snap-on and craftsman tools imaginable. The manager asks you what the goals are for your car is. You tell him it’s not shifting right and probably needs some transmission work. He says great, for $24 per month you can have access to the garage and work on your car anytime you like. I think you get the point.
Having tools available to you does not guarantee success. It’s how to use the tools that’s important. The most convenient and cheap fitness solutions miss the core fundamentals of moving right, proper nutrition and training smart. What Ron needed was some focus on moving right to get his muscle compensations corrected, along with the right amount of exercise, intensity and recovery as well as a healthy eating strategy. Millions of people embark on the same path as Random Ron- whether it’s joining a gym, doing home workout videos, or doing random online workouts, but most often miss the keys to lasting success. Let’s now meet Fun Francine.
Francine has been wanting to lose a 20lbs of weight for a long time. Her youngest kid just started Kindergarten so she has time to herself most weekdays. Her goal is to improve her overall health and lose the baby fat that she wished to do so for a few years now. Her friend has told her about a high-energy kickboxing class that she should try. Francine is ready to try anything. She’s a little nervous pulling up to the studio and as she walks into the front door she notices “Sculpting Starts Here!” prominently displayed on the storefront window. Her first class was super intense, but that 30 minutes “kicked her butt.” It was hard, she was sweating and breathing heavily the whole time, but it was fun and a great stress relief to punch and kick that bag. Her favorite instructor, Carlos, is super cute and motivating too. Francine is even down a few pounds after a month of the workout.
After 2 months of going faithfully, she starts to develop some shoulder pain and hitting the bag gets more and more painful. She sees her doctor who sends her to the physical therapist. Her therapist happens to be a mixed martial artist. He suggests that her pain is from repetitive, incorrect punching technique combined with the fact that most of the strengthening in her classes is mostly pushing patterns (punching, pushups, burpies). He suggests her workout needs more complementing pulling pattern exercises and gives her a routine to correct the muscle imbalances she was developing in her shoulders. She was instructed to lay off hitting the bag for a while but did not want to lose the last month of her kickboxing contract so she continues to go, letting the instructors know of her limitations. They are understanding and put her on the one stationary bike for most of the session. She appreciates the ‘modification” but kinda feels like the red headed step child.
After her contract is up she decides to join her friend who likes doing spin classes early in the morning. This new type of class promises to “torch calories” and she’s excited to try something new. Her first class was very engaging and entertaining - and felt like a “DANCE PARTY ON THE BIKE.” The classes are fun with great energy and she starts to build a great relationship with the cycle instructor, Brittany. After a few months, with no warning Brittany had moved on leaving her with a new instructor, Marty. Marty’s music is annoying, he isn’t as motivating, and didn’t even learn her name for 2 weeks! She feels like she needs to try something else. She noticed the gym was advertising an new drum based workout that uses weighted drumsticks that promises to “pound away the pounds.” She enjoys the class for a time but it starts to get overcrowded and repetitive. She stops working out for a while and is searching for something new.
After 6 months of starting working out again she finds that she has made little progress towards her goal of losing baby weight. Not giving up, however, she begins her search for the next ‘fun’ workout that will be the answer. What was the continued breakdown in Francene's fitness journey? When fun replaces proper mechanics, eating right and the right amount of intensity, critical spokes of the fitness wheel are not developed. It's important to not dread your workouts but try to find an exercise program that you enjoy that is also grounded in the real fundamentals of health and fitness. We are now ready to meet Calorie Carrie.
Carrie’s main agenda is to be slim and lean. She bought a $300 pair of designer jeans a few months ago and her #1 goal is to FIT INTO THOSE JEANS! She is obsessed with burning calories but doesn’t realize that some of her other actions gain them back just as easily. Carrie works out religiously, but also enjoys 2 glasses of white wine every night. In addition, she treats herself every Friday night to happy hour with the girls. Carrie has a gym membership where she has access to multiple machines. She starts with the elliptical, as she thinks she will burn hundreds of calories every time she steps on. Next she moves onto the stair stepper -- to get a “firmer booty.” Eventually, she decides to take her workouts home and pursues a Bikini Body home video regime- it is supposed to sculpt your body and tone your butt. She wants to continue burning calories, but also have some lean muscle.
She decides that her motivation at home isn’t at its highest, as there are so many distractions. While doing squats, her 4 month old Golden Retriever puppy loves jumping up on her. Her cat also likes to step on the remote in the middle of the video causing her to lose focus. She realizes that going back to a gym is the best option for her. Next, she tries a fitness studio that is nearby. Her best friend loves it there so she has to give it a go. The studio claims to “Sizzle 1000 Calories a Class!” Carrie is shocked, as this will burn even more calories than she has ever dreamed about. She walks into the first class, very excited and ready to start. The instructor Ashley has very high energy, comparative to a cheerleader encouraging the class nonstop. Carrie believes she is going to soon fit into those jeans. Each class, her heart rate is high the entire time so she knows those calories are flying away. She starts losing some weight in the first 6 weeks, but eventually plateaus. She still hasn’t changed her eating habits and daily wine consumption. Carrie is not alone. If your workout is all about calorie burning, you are probably doing mostly a cardio workout that makes you sweat. This will burn calories but your body will adapt to the same stimulus after relatively short amount of time. Boot-camp style workouts designed to keep you moving constantly makes lifting heavy enough to trigger changes at the cellular level difficult. Without recovery between heavy strength sets, the body is limited to lighter weights and therefore less benefits. With less focus on burning calories and more on training smart and eating right she would finally start seeing the "tone" and results she is looking for. Let's meet Intense Ivan.
Ivan was a stud athlete in high school. He was a competitive varsity player for football, baseball and wrestling. He just recently got out of the army, adjusting back to a civilian business job and lifestyle. He has put on some weight in this adjustment and feels the need to get back into his competitive, athletic state that he is used to. His buddy does an intense workout routine in a local warehouse, and Ivan decides to join. He starts going every week and he loves it. He can’t get enough of the high intensity, “boot camp type” of workouts that he is familiar with. He loves competing with his peers as he works out, he loves that each session leaves him in a pool of his own sweat and that he begins to bond with the group members -- as they are “suffering together.” Soon enough though, his elbow starts bothering him but he ignores it. He says to himself, “NO PAIN NO GAIN!”- a mentality that has got him through many instances before, as he just pushes through. As he keeps exercising through the discomfort, it turns into constant pain that affects him in day to day activities. He endures trouble sleeping and Ivan becomes extremely irritated as to the impact this pain has caused for his daily life. He backs off completely from his regular lifting routine and struggles due to the lack of competitive endorphins running through his veins. He feels like he has converted to “sissy workouts” and decided to, yet again, push through the pain. Here, his pride gets in the way a little and his elbow is worse than ever. He eventually gives up on the bootcamp workouts, as he can’t compete in the way he wants to, and moves onto running.
His fiance, Amanda runs almost daily and convinces him to start training with her. He downloads a fitness training app and attempts to set a personal record on most days. He still has the mentality “the harder, the better.” He grows frustrated with his lack of medals for the day from his app, feeling disappointed with his running and he starts to notice some changes in his motivation. He has been extremely tired, gets sick more often and it becomes increasingly hard to get up every day to run. Eventually Ivan grows to loath running and tells Amanda that he is switching to something else.
He loved being outside while exercising with running, so he feels like mountain biking is a great alternative. Here, he can go further distances on the bike and loves to explore new terrain. Ivan discovers a new thrill/passion for mountain biking, that he hadn’t experienced since the military. He repeats the pattern of going hard on almost every ride. When the weather starts to change he finds it is hard to motivate himself to get out and ride. Ivan decides to join a new facility that his fiance just started which stresses proper mechanics, the right intensity and recovery and educates them on healthy eating. Ivan is forced on some days to take it easier as the program emphasizes lighter intensities mixed with the harder work.
Him and his fiance find they are working out consistently and combined with eating the right foods he finds his energy and mood start to increase. His joints feel much better because of decreased inflammation and correcting muscle imbalances. He starts looking forward to mixing mountain biking back into his routine and even signs up for a few races. Training smart, moving right and eating healthy has him getting lean but also strong again. His body is getting the recovery and nutrition it needs, so when he does the more intense workouts or rides he’s ready to make real gains. Ivan and Amanda find themselves in the best shape of their lives going into their wedding.
All in all- doing it right matters. We hope the above examples illustrate what I have witnessed thousands of times having been in the business of fitness for more than 20 years. We don’t intend to imply that the modes of exercise mentioned above are a bad choice in themselves, but the right fundamentals outlined have to be present as well, in order to have lasting success. We encourage you to study these concepts and implement them on a daily basis to experience health and fitness beyond what you thought was even possible. Do you relate to any of the above examples?
Founder of Kineo Fit