Strength and Fitness – Why We Need Both
Why do we, at CrossFit Steinbach, do what we do? The simple reason is that we believe in the training methodology that we use. Varied, functional training is really where it’s at in terms of maintaining a broad base of strength and fitness. You need strength elements in your training, and you also need metabolic conditioning (aka “cardio”, as some would call it).
Why train our strength?
The simple answer is that being strong makes everything easier. As strength coach Dan John puts it, “If there is a truth in training it is this: the stronger you are the easier it is to achieve all your other goals.” For some people, this might mean being quicker on hockey skates, and for others, being able to carry a bunch of grocery bags at once (because who wants to make two trips in from the car, really), or being able to more easily lift things for your job.
Strength training makes you a more capable human being. You should be able to easily squat your own bodyweight up and down. You should be able to push yourself up from the floor if you’re laying flat. You should be able to pull your bodyweight up onto a tree branch or a rock. This is why we train squats, push-ups, and pull-ups. These are human skills that we should all possess. They do not represent an unachievable level of strength. With diligent, frequent practice, you can get there.
Why train our conditioning?
On the conditioning side of things, we need to train our heart, lungs, metabolic pathways, and hormone systems to be capable of dealing with a wide variety of activities and durations. You should be able to do an short, intense sprint if needed. You should be able to go up three flights of stairs without feeling like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. You should be able to perform physical activity at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes to an hour without being totally wrecked after (or during). This is the human body’s evolutionary heritage. Our bodies thrive on this sort of variety.
Like it or not, our bodies need both strength and conditioning. If you’re training for a specific sport, you will undoubtedly need to make some trade-offs in some areas. If you’re training for health and longevity, you need the whole picture. Train hard, play, learn new things, challenge yourself to do things you don’t like, enjoy the things you do like, enjoy the people you train with, and have some fun! Keep the end goal in sight, but enjoy the process.