In the world of physical fitness, there are generalists, and there are specialists. Today, it seems like there are far more specialists than there are generalists. Don’t believe me? Look around at the explosion in the number of people signing up for marathons – or the rows of people logging endless miles on the gym treadmill while they watch TV. Think about the popularity of yoga.
We’ve got nothing against any of those activities (well, truthfully, we’re not all that excited about the TV treadmills.) But we’ve noticed something: sometimes, folks find themselves specializing, even though their real goal is something else entirely.
What I’m about to write here will hopefully make some of you think about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ behind your training. What is the intent behind your physical fitness? Do you want to run a 5K? Deadlift 400lbs? Press to handstand? Any one of those would be a worthwhile pursuit.
Maybe you want to be able to go hiking with the kids all day or work in the yard pushing a wheelbarrow full of dirt. Or maybe your goal is even more general than that. Maybe you simply want to be challenged and move better.
Now ask yourself this: Does your current training support your function and current lifestyle. And do you enjoy it?
If you’re like a lot of people who come to us for the first time, what you really want is some level of general fitness. Yet we’ve found many people don’t know what that looks like, or how to get there.
That’s why we’re proponents of GPP, General Physical Preparedness.
The rationale behind GPP training is the exposure to many different disciplines of fitness that will prepare you for any one of a thousand different situations you may encounter throughout your day. Think about squatting your bodyweight, or falling on a ski hill. Think about gardening and hiking. All completely different things, right? But good GPP programming will help you be able to physically handle all of them.
With GPP, your warm-up may look like a mini yoga class; your skill and strength work may incorporate gymnastics, Olympic lifting, powerlifting etc. The metabolic work may look similar to that of a competitive rower, runner, collegiate athlete or GPP athlete. There are a variety of skills to master and it is challenging due to the fact there is so much to work on.
Will GPP help you become a specialist? No. But you will have had exposure to a variety of skills and situations. Essentially you will have built a solid physical foundation to jump off of and tackle whatever it is you enjoy doing, or to help you negotiate some challenging situation you’ve found yourself in.
Now consider the person without a basic level of GPP. They may have been a runner for the last 20 years and have done little to no strength training. As a result, they’re probably on the path to being broken. They might have knee pain, or plantar fasciitis. Sure, they can go long distances – slowly – when their knees don’t hurt. But can they lift the bag of topsoil? Can they do a single pushup? Or think about the devoted yoga practitioner. They probably have good flexibility. But how do they do on a strenuous weekend hike?
In our view, some of these folks have specialized too much. And with specialization comes sacrifice.
Let’s get back to my original question: what is the intent of your physical training?Do you want to compete in an Olympic lifting competition? Then you need some specialization. Triathlon? You need time in the water.I could go on, you get the point. There is a time and place to specialize. But there’s another way to think about the path to specialization. We see it as expanding your basic level of GPP to pursue a specific goal.
My point here? For most of us, the intent of training should be to improve the way you move and feel both inside and outside of the gym. That’s GPP.
If you have a broad range of goals and navigating life is your main function, then you’ve come to the right place. Our goal is to provide you with a solid base level of strength and conditioning that you can use to tackle whatever it is you enjoy doing.
We have folks come into our gym all the time who have been lifelong runners, lifters, and athletes looking to expand their menu or regain lost skills. They want to enjoy what they are passionate about again. By having a solid base beneath you, you have the choice to pursue most anything.Do you want to specialize to meet a particular goal, like a triathlon? Start with GPP, then expand from there. Getting too far down any one hole for too long will result in some trade-offs.