Here’s an example from my life that just occurred. I hit up Starbucks every morning before class for a tall coffee. If it is cold I usually leave the car running to stay warm. For whatever freakin’ reason, I locked the keys in my car with it running. So without hesitating I took off running because I knew I wasn’t far from my house. I had Lugz boots on, jeans and a button up shirt with a jacket…. Hardly training attire. My running pace was as hard as I felt I needed to go to get me to the house, grab the spare key and get back so I could make my 9 AM class that I could not miss. There is no sidewalk so I was off road for 75% of the route and it was bumpy, grassy, limbs, mud, gravel, rocks, pretty much anything but level.
Once I got to the house on the way back, I took a shortcut or what I thought would be one. It wasn’t, but further extended my run which now had turned into a faster pace because I lost time which was growing short.
I made it to my car, lungs not burning too badly, about what one could expect from fresh air training and a 30 degree nip in the air, sweating nicely, which felt good in jeans and my feet had blisters on them I could not see but feel. I expected maybe a little soreness in my ankles and feet from the boots which are not geared for running, some leg soreness because I haven’t run a distance like that in over a year or so. And I measured it off with my car – it was 3.1 miles total. I had zero soreness on a scale of 0-10. I didn’t blow out a knee, get plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, Achilles issues, didn’t have a heart attack, no fractures, rolled ankles, etc.
Point of my story, I have not run in over a year. I do not stretch before training nor did I do any type of stretching before attempting my run which according to my rolly polly fitness gurus you must do before every activity or you will most certainly die from tightness from poor performing muscles. I did not go buy the proper running shoes or what one would think is proper for that activity. I did not have an adequate water supply to replenish my fluids which again, according to the professionals you must have otherwise you will just pass out from dehydration.
But what I have done is train in extension of every limb using only my body weight and antagonist firing as the stimulus or load and maybe a 3-pound dumbbell. I have trained close to every day, something done every day whether it’s a full program or RDL’s in the shower. I have eliminated stretching completely. I have eliminated traditional forms of cardiovascular exercise completely (i.e jogging, biking, spinning, ellipticals or steppers). I haven’t iced anything in a couple of years. I wear a shoe that has very little sole to it at all which keeps my feet as strong as they were meant to be. When I train I try to make every move and every hold as intense as I can for that particular day (this is not all the time, but I’d say over 90% of the time over the last seven years).
In other words I have trained to survive life and when life tried to throw me a curveball I handled it. How many of you have handled the curveballs life has thrown you? I have heard a lot of injuries from loading Christmas trees at a charity drive, tendonitis from the occasional paddle game, plantar fasciitis from walking the lake with someone special, a broken wrist from tripping and falling on ice.
Life is going to try to attack your body with force, gravity, steps, doors, people. This force will never stop coming at you. It is constant – let’s agree on that. What is not constant is your body’s strength or its ability to maintain lean mass. Over time the hormones responsible for keeping lean mass on you will plummet; elasticity will lessen. We must, must, must stay as strong as possible throughout the greatest range of motion for the rest of our lives because life’s forces will not stop coming for us. Accidents unt us down. All we can do is prepare and when that time comes, meet it head on and laugh as you push right through it with ease with no physical repercussions.
I’ve been asking a lot of people lately why they would ever suggest to someone to train and exercise. The answers are always to be skinny or lean or have nice arms or abs or whatever. This is dead wrong. The main purpose of training is for function, to survive life. To keep your body as able as it can be for as long as it can be able. If a lean, sculpted body is your dream, then eat more fat, more protein from animal sources and eat more carbs from only fruits and vegetables and you won’t be able to keep fat on you for hibernation purposes.
Train to survive and eat to live. If you meet one of these unexpected life forces and it beats you and you get injured, then you either aren’t training hard enough to create enough adaptation necessary for your demands or your training system is dog shit. My bet is that both are true.