The 3 levels of progression
For any model to be a successful one, you must follow a proper order of progression. Trying to move forward by skipping steps will kill your efficiency to work towards a specific goal and most probably, leave you stagnant. I consider myself really blessed to have found the right teacher at a point where i was drowning in marketing gimmicks and pretentious advice. And i quote; “Follow your passion and become Mr. Responsible. If not, then forget about health, fitness and certainly forget building a muscular structure. That’s the order- HEALTH, FITNESS and finally MUSCLE BUILDING.” Not every one may resonate with this, but vouching from my personal experience, it is as logical as it can get. It will certainly put your lifestyle on the right path irrespective of the end goal you want to achieve.
The first thing that you must focus on is HEALTH. Nothing comes before good health- your body’s basic state of existence with minimum internal dysfunction, maximum ability to resist disease and general well being. The reason I use the terms “minimum/maximum” is because its extremely hard to have an ideal scenario where the body is absolutely free of specific disorders or diseases. This is majorly decided by a person’s lifestyle- things like nutrition, sleep pattern, cleanliness, hygiene. It boils down to how diligently you can take good care of your own body by making the right choices on a daily basis.
Next up in line is FITNESS- a term indoctrinated so deeply, that we have almost forgotten the true meaning of it. Once you’ve achieved a good base of health, you can start pushing your body on various physical parameters. This is where the appearance and performance of the body comes into play. For complete fitness, you must holistically develop on the following strands:
- Strength and Power
- Body Composition
- Agility and speed
- Flexibility and Mobility
- Cardio-respiratory and Muscular Endurance
These strands aren’t in any particular order of importance. While the effort should be towards developing on all strands, we all have some that will be prioritized over the others. Hence, its an ongoing process which needs continuous work, tremendous patience and endless practice. As you can see, “body composition” is also an integral part of the strand and it fortifies the claim that performance needs to be complemented with the right appearance of the body. Developing a good body composition (low body fat, high muscle tissue) is a sure shot way of keeping the body functioning well without complications and lifestyle disorders.
This brings me to the last level of progression- MUSCLE BUILDING. Beyond general fitness lies the quest to build quality muscle that every man and woman must strive for. You’re probably thinking “oh but i don’t want to get too big. I don’t want to be muscular”. Do understand that Hypertrophy (building muscular size) is not as easy as you think it is. You don’t have to put on tonnes of muscle if that’s not your goal, but you most definitely need to aim towards muscle building. The purpose of building quality and functional muscle is to achieve a good body composition while developing the ability to perform stupendously. A body with more muscle-mass is a factory that’s constantly firing at full potential- good vitals, ample strength, boosted metabolism and the carry over to move better in day-to-day life. Muscle tissue requires lots of effort to sustain and is very high maintenance. It makes your body expend more calories just to maintain the muscular state. To expend the calories, it will tap into your fat stores, thus, keeping those love handles and muffin tops at bay.
“MUSCLE is the best FAT BURNER”
The problem is that most people get caught up in the chaos of pseudo fitness, trying their hands at anything and everything while missing out on real mastery of one particular path. No particular style of physical training is bad as such; but when everything mixes up without a definite end goal, muscle building soon becomes an non-achievable myth. People subconsciously give up by the time they manage to achieve good health or basic fitness. They never really experience the real benefits from muscle building.
The bulls-eye approach
Now here comes the tricky part- health, fitness and muscle building are not to be treated as mutually exclusive. You cannot afford to move to the next level while forgetting about the previous one. Think of it as a ‘Bulls Eye’– a series of three concentric circles with health at the outside, fitness in the middle and muscle building at the very center. The idea is to keep moving inwards and make sure you don’t fall out of any of the circles. Simply put, you can’t try to build muscle at the cost health. This will help you form a solid guideline to work towards longevity. It’s not about how quickly you got the results and burned out, it’s about how long could you do the right things to sustain that result.
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates
The importance of physical fitness goes right back to the days of Greek Civilization. The ancients knew very well that fitness should be an integral part of our lives. They also realized that it is a combination of both beauty and performance. Our body is the vehicle that carries our soul, and it is our utmost duty to work for its betterment. In conclusion, this is my philosophy that has helped me maintain the fine balance between appearance and performance –
“Look the way you perform
and perform the way you look.”