The Purposes and the Nature of Fitness Training
While the exercise regimens followed by professional bodybuilders and weightlifters have very specific goals (the former aiming to develop exceptional musculature for cosmetic purposes, and the latter as a means to increase strength), fitness training tends to be of a rather more general nature. Although it is also a goal-oriented process, it is somewhat broader in its scope, being designed to pursue a variety of goals that together serve to improve overall bodily health, appearance and performance. As such, it is of particular value to the average individual of today who, typically, lives a mainly sedentary existence, without undue concern over the quality of his or her diet.
Given the widespread publicity regarding the link between obesity and illnesses such as type II diabetes, coronary artery disease and stroke, many South Africans are attending gyms with the primary aim of losing weight, and thereby safeguarding their health. For such purposes, the rigorous programmes of exercise undertaken by those seeking more extreme outcomes are quite unsuitable, and could possibly be dangerous. Instead, in cases such as these, the solution will lie in pursuing a more moderate form of exercise which, together with a healthy diet, make up the basic elements of a general fitness training programme.
Although less physically demanding, the effect of these milder exercises is to increase the burning of fat by raising the metabolic rate, and this is further boosted by the effect of a balanced, but nutritious diet. In addition to the desired weight loss, the regimen also serves to promote toning, together with a moderate increase in muscle bulk and strength, as well as improved cardiovascular function. In short, it offers just about anyone a simple and effective means by which to both look good and feel good.
By modifying the content and focus of the regimen, it is a relatively simple matter to adapt a programme of general fitness training, in order to render it a little more specific. For instance, by selecting exercise that boosts strength, agility and stamina, it becomes more suited to the needs of those wishing to improve their performance in a particular form of training. A golfer might wish to improve balance, which would then require emphasising those exercises best for core stability. Similarly, in the case of a tennis player, exercises aimed at improving upper arm and forearm strength could help him or her to develop a faster service.
Similar programmes have been used quite successfully as a means with which to aid recovery from injuries, first supplementing and eventually taking over from the services of the physiotherapist, and even expectant mums can gain considerable benefits from a suitably modified programme of fitness training. Given the strain on the back during pregnancy, exercises to strengthen it during the first trimester can prove invaluable. Later, the focus of attention will shift to the abdominal muscles, and those of the pelvic floor, in order to reduce strain on the back as the baby grows,
Suitable for all but the expectant mums, there is a viable alternative; one that requires a lot less time than is needed for conventional exercise regimens, yet actually produces quicker results. Known as electro-muscular stimulation or EMS, personalised fitness programmes using this state-of-the-art technology are offered at Body20 studios across South Africa.