A lot of people are intrigued by the name Laid-back Fitness. How can one base their business on an oxymoron? Well, if you’ve been reading here for a while, you already know that we at LbF value rest, sleep, recovery, random but brief intense bouts of movement, and most importantly efficiency! Based on approximately 10 years of epistomology, I’ve found an extremely efficient way to look good, feel amazing and perform well without having to be a deuchy gym bro, psycho WOD killa, or obsessive endurance “athlete.” Here’s how my experience has shaped the LbF way:
Back in 2002 I was on the sidelines with a knee injury for my D3 College Football Team. I was completely heartbroken when I went down because of all the hard work I had put in lifting and sprinting that summer. I felt like a beast! But still I wasn’t that ripped; definitely solid and muscular but nothing overly impressive (about 15% body fat I reckon). I also was hyperfocused on football-specific movements. I squatted, benched, cleaned, sprinted and backpedaled. In fact, I attribute my knee injury to 80% range-of-motion-squats and not balancing them off with enough deadlifts or posterior chain exercises. A couple months of limping around and staying away from the gym, combined with frat house style eating and boozing, I hit an all time high of 192lbs (I’m 5′-9″)! At this time I was in pain but determined to get back on the field. I knew it would take 4-5 hardcore sessions/week and about 15lb of fat loss. They both pretty much happened but regretfully I did not try out the next season.
In 2007 I was filling the void left by lack of competitive sport through triathlon. I was an absolute endurance monster and was training for an Ironman! My training consisted of 12-20 hours/week of swimming, biking, and running. As a chronic cardio maniac, I ate when I was supposed to (every 2-3 hours of course) and what I was supposed to: brown rice, oatmeal, turkey on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato, GU, gatorade, low fat/fat free cottage cheese, beans, bananas, pre-workout energizers, post-workout recoverers, and more gatorade. I tipped the scales at a pretty healthy 175-180lbs but I was confused. “I’m burning 5-15,000 calories per week! Where the hell is my six pack?” Sadly, it wasn’t to be found until years later…Oh yeah and I had a ton of really annoying hip, knee, and ankle injuries. I used to stock up on frozen peas just to cool my poor joints down. On race day I popped about a half dozen pain killers just to get through it. Finishing was a big accomplishment but I remember feeling that something just didn’t make sense.
A year or so after reaching endurance heaven I read A Case Against Cardio and it completely rocked my world. This was what I was looking for! My primal journey started then (literally that day in March 2009) and since has led me to discover all kinds of awesome philophies out there re: eating, exercise, health, and life in general. At the moment I’m a dense 170 lbs (~8-10% +/- body fat) with no injuries (except the occassional “incident”) and am stronger, faster, beastlier, happier, healthier, sexier, and overall better than ever! I’m still able to do some long ass events, but the only time I do long ass runs or swims is the day of the long ass run or swim. And, I spend a fraction of the time “training” than I ever have in my life! Based on this experience, I offer the following:
LbF prescription for a healthy body and a pretty sweet life:
Go easy – activity is fine but only kick your own ass 1-2 times per week
Go hard – when you do kick your ass, kick it as hard as possible!
Fast smart – if you’re not hungry then don’t eat…crazy right?
Be efficient – if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well! Think about how you move and waste the least amount of energy/muscle activity possible.
Practice - yeah we’re talkin bout practice! How are you going to get better at something (i.e. running, swimming, balancing, jumping, etc) if you don’t practice that activity. This is not to be confused with working out! I’m talking about specific technique practice where your analyzing your form and doing drills to improve. Most of us just go out and move (run, bike, swim, etc.) without really thinking about HOW we move.
Be a Kid – it’s way cooler to cross monkey bars than do lat pulldowns. Plus you can turn any terrain or setting into a workout if you’ve got the skills and imagination.
Thank you to all the people I haven’t met who’ve influenced me:
Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple
Erwan LeCorre of MovNat
Weston A. Price of WAPF
Dr Nicholas Romanov of the POSE method
Keith Norris of Theory to Practice
Brad Pilon of Eat Stop Eat
Crossfit – The dudes at Crossfit Providence are awesome and it was through them I found Mark’s Daily Apple. I worked out there for about 6 months in 2009. The workouts were crazy intense! I’m definitely not a crossfit hater, but from what I observed they “train” a little too much and the “sport of fitness” thing makes me chuckle. That being said I think those are more “main site” things than reflections on CFP.
And especially thank you to all the people I have met who’ve influenced me (there are a ton of you out there but I picked the brains of these folks the most):
My Aunt Rose Russo from Yoga School of South County
Carla Joyce@ Village Wellness Center and Diane Debitetto
Oh and cold water plunges make you better at life!