How To Stay Fit For Life: The Official Top 10 Countdown – Part 1

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Articles, Fitness

– Author Ben Greenfield (above) poses at a 2005 bodybuilding show –

 

There are a handful of very significant tricks that I utilize on a daily and weekly basis to stay trim and fit for life. Some of these techniques are motivational, some logistical, and some simply fun. But I don’t see any reason to selfishly keep the top 10 techniques to myself, so without further ado, here is Part 1 of the “Top 10 Ways To Stay Fit For Life”. Look for Part 2 this Friday, and leave your comments or questions below!

#10: Flexibility

No, I’m not talking about turning yourself into a hyper-flexible rubber Gumbi toy. Instead, I’m talking about flexibility in your fitness routine. If you want to be fit for life, your worst enemy is an “All-Or-Nothing” approach that requires you to stick to a rigid workout or fitness plan. Kids sick and keeping you from leaving for the gym? Your weight training routine may need to be adapted to be a simple body weight and elastic band routine. Snowstorm rolling in on the day you have a long run planned? Grab the jump rope or stationary bike and head into the garage. Long meeting keep you late at work? That 50 minute aerobic session may need to be sacrificed for 12 minutes of high intensity intervals. You get the idea. Flexibility is crucial to be fit for life.

#9: Muscle Is Youth

Muscle is youth, and you must engage in some form of resistance training if you want to be truly fit. The hormonal and metabolic response to weight training is far different than what you get from cardio, and lean muscle fibers are a perfect spark for your metabolism and your figure. But don’t waste your time with biceps curls and crunches. Use full body moves that incorporate multiple joints. For example, try three of my top full-body moves: Swings, Deadlifts and Turkish get-ups. Exercises like these should be the core of your resistance training program.

Swings:

Turkish Get-Ups:


Deadlift:

#8: HIIT

If you read my post “Yet Another Reason You Could Be Wasting Your Time With Long Slow Fat Burning Aerobic Workouts” then you were introduced to the concept of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. There is no denying the superior cardiovascular adaptations and time efficiency of this form of training. My own personal rule is that each week, I must do at least one HIIT session in the pool, on the bicycle and during a run. Depending on the time of year and the structure of my training program, the sessions may be long or pleasantly short, but they always happen. If your cardio is 100% conversational, then you’re leaving lots of fitness on the table.

#7: LSD

Yes, LSD is a drug. And it is also a form of exercise. “LSD” is short for “Long, Slow Distance”, specifically those long slow fat burning aerobic workouts I just finished abusing. But there is a place for LSD, and I recommend their use at 2 points in your fitness program; 1) when you wake up in the morning in a fasted state, a 20-60 minute LSD session (walking, yoga, easy bicycling, etc.) can be very effective for initiating the fat burning process; 2) once per week, a big weapon in your fat decimating toolbox can be an unfed LSD session, such as a 2 hour hike on a Sunday afternoon with water only. So while LSD should form the minority of your fitness program, it can be very helpful for fat loss when used strategically.

#6: Trouble Spots

After helping literally thousands of people lose weight, achieve high performance and reinvent their bodies, I’ve discovered that nearly every human being on the planet consistently have easily identifiable weak links. If these trouble spots are not addressed, folks are almost always consistently sidelined by injuries, never achieve the performance or look they desire, or both. What are these trouble spots? There are four of them: 1) tight hip flexors; 2) weak butt; 3) weak rotator cuffs; 4) overall muscle tension. What are the solutions?

Tight Hip Flexors: stretch ’em, preferably 2-3 times per day, and even more if you have a seated job. Here’s a good move:

Weak Butt: Do hip extension and hip external rotation exercises. The first exercise shown below (bridging) is an example of extension, the second (fire hydrants) is rotation:

 

Weak Rotator Cuffs: Start with easy exercises, like 4 sets of 25 internal and external rotation 2-3x/week, but progress as quickly as possible to tougher exercises. For example, I keep my rotator cuffs strong by setting a rule that I must do at least 50 pull-ups a week. Doesn’t matter when, as long as they get done.

Internal Rotation:

External Rotation:

 

Overall Muscle Tension: use a foam roller regularly and get a full body massage at least once a month if you can afford it. For upper back tension, here’s one perfect foam roller move:

Alright folks, that wraps up Part 1 of the top 10 Ways To Stay Fit For Life. Look for Part 2 this Friday and leave your comments below if you have questions.


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6 thoughts on “How To Stay Fit For Life: The Official Top 10 Countdown – Part 1

  1. Vicki says:

    Hi Ben,
    I started the 36 week Triathlon dominator plan. I love the 12 resistance training routines.
    Some exercises are kinda hard because of the balance and strength combination required.
    They look easy but aren't. After the first set I get the trick, and even if I'm slow, I get through the routine. I "feel" muscles I thought I was using all the time, I hope that is a good thing. I guess I wasn't using them enough or the right way. :) Thanks

  2. Andrew says:

    Part 1 is great!! I’m always learning new and fun tips. Thanks for all you do!!

  3. avril says:

    Hi Ben, love the tips, especially like the roller ball, what's the best way to use the roller ball on muscles, if you want to look after your knees? Cheers… Avril

    1. You wouldn't use the ball on your knees, but could use it on the inner and outer thigh muscles to improve hip range of motion, which can relieve stress on the knees.

  4. Becky H says:

    Great post Ben, love the tips. #10 really hits home for me, learning to be flexible with the routine is very hard to do, but it's essential. Looking forward to part 2.

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