Let’s first address the powerful phenomenon of ENERGY. How do we gain energy, healthily? And how can we sustain a reserve of it?
Without energy there is no life. Fundamentally, our bodies have an energy budget that gives us life. Since we actually have an energy budget, why then would we make counterproductive choices that give away our energy, like over-medicating, over-caffeinating, over-intoxicating and under-nourishing ourselves?
Now let’s address the phenomenon that is the MUSCLE. Think of muscle as ENERGY in action. Once we eliminate the toxic substances that we mindlessly ingest, then can we hold the key to the fountain of youth. Then can we make a point to focus, attend to, nourish and pamper our muscles not only to ensure appearing and feeling our best selves, but to secure and increase our energy. This, Dear Anatomists, is how to age spectacularly well… and why we really should be loving our muscles more than we are.
When paired with a diet intelligently followed, EXERCISE:
1. fortifies our immune system and looks real good on us.
2. improves our mind, increasing circulation to the brain and helping to maintain neurochemical and hormonal balance.
3. improves sleep which is when our bodies rejuvenate.
4. increases muscle mass, meaning the higher the muscle mass the better our metabolic function. This means the food we ingest will be utilized for energy to feed energy-producing muscles.
As far as diet is concerned, no one recipe fits all. But as opposed to diet, one exercise recipe DOES actually fit the spectrum. Whether or not you are an athlete, pregnant, injured, vital, young or older, there is
ONE EXERCISE that fits all and reigns undisputedly over the rest.
I gladly present the powerful realm of training called isometrics. You are probably familiar with exercises such as the plank, the wall sit, or a still lunge. Isometrics, or ISOs, have recently reignited within the professional athletic field and are now being used for performance enhancement by many of the top coaches in the world. If performed correctly, these exercises have the potential to prevent injury, improve the body’s functioning ability, and increase overall strength.
When beginning this training, classic isometric exercises can each be done for an entire minute sustaining correct form, and overtime worked up to 5 minute holds. One exercise in particular, called the Glute Hamstring Extension (ideally performed on a GHD or GHE machine) is a fundamental way to strengthen the entire spine and our core muscles. As an addition to your fitness mat and weights at home, it is more than worth a look into:
The primary motive behind ISOs is the nervous system training element. When you are performing an ISO, the key is to maintain correct form, meaning an elongated spine, a tight puffed out chest, “pencil-pinching” shoulders, and an overall calm demeanor. Let me make achieving perfect form easier, simply push your lowest rib out (a trick I proudly came up with😉)
. Have a look into or ask a trainer about all the different types of ISOs: strategic isometric bursts, explosive isometrics, eccentric and concentric isometrics, long-hold isometrics (plank, wall sit), and extreme, oscillatory and maximal-overcoming isometrics.
One more point to elaborate upon this “pre-hab” exercise is the idea that can be termed “iso-neural
training.” This refers to coming out of each position, such as the wall sit, by slowly inching down over a 10-30 second count. Again, this trains the nerves and helps to eliminate “compensation” or erroneous movement patterns. Never underestimate an ISO. Even though ISOs are slow or still, the rate of “firing on and off” the muscle is powerful. Isometric training can activate more muscle fibers than any other type of lifting. It helps rehabilitate and prevent injuries and inflammations, while also rejuvenating the muscles.
What more could our juicy energy-gushing muscles and egos ask for?
[A word on my personal experience. For 12 years, I suffered excruciating pain and debilitations due to chronic inflammation in my lower back and hips. I could speculate possible triggers, but somehow I would still experience a debilitating flare-up multiple times per month. After 10 years, I received a diagnosis of Spondylo-arthritis and was prescribed a daily anti-inflammatory medication. But 18 months ago, my life took a transformative turn when I stepped into AthletiX, now named Temple Body, a specialized rehabilitation clinic in Southlake Dallas. There, I was introduced to a distinctive pre-hab isometric-based training regimen that has revolutionized my life. I have solely and consistently followed this training method—and miraculously— haven’t encountered a single flare-up since my first session with them. Makes you think, no? 🤔]