Eclectic Fitness? Choose Principles Over Methods

Exercise, Strategies Add comments

“Accept what is useful, reject what is useless” – Bruce Lee

To most people, the fitness world is like a palace with a thousand doors.

If they choose to go through one, the rest are closed to them.

That’s how people have fallen into armed camps, each touting THEIR training tool as the best.

“Are you a kettlebell guy?” “Do you use the TRX?”  “Sandbags and tires are the ONLY things that build functional strength”


You hear garbage like the above at fitness seminars.  A long time ago I learned a quote from Alwyn Cosgrove that has pretty much shaped my approach to training:

Methods are many,

Principles are few.

Methods often change,

Principles never do.

Ever since I learned this idea, I’ve been focused on finding health, fitness, and fat loss PRINCIPLES.

Most of mine are based on understanding the components of metabolism.  (Here’s a primer on metabolism for you: The Four Components Of Metabolism)

If you want to make the biggest changes to your health, fitness level, and fat loss goals, you should focus on metabolic strength training.  This gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

The PRINCIPLE behind metabolic strength training is to activate as much lean muscle as possible, to get it burning extra calories long after your workout.

The METHOD you choose is almost irrelevant.  You could do your metabolic strength training by:

  • Lifting barbells
  • Lifting dumbells
  • Swinging kettlebells
  • Dragging tires
  • Using your own bodyweight as resistance
  • Using the TRX
  • Whipping battling ropes
  • Heaving sandbags
  • Throwing medicine balls
  • Carrying rocks
  • Grappling with a partner
  • And on and on and on

I want to take a quote from Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy:

“The particulars of your strength-training routine are less important than your strategic approach (intermittent, fluctuating, intuitive, and balancing effort with energy levels).  Remember that you are striving to achieve a high power-to-weight ratio and balanced, functional, total-body strength.  You want to be lean, well muscles, and fit enough to perform reasonably well at any physical challenge that comes along.  Consequently, your routine should be focused on exercises that engage a variety of muscles with sweeping, real-life movements (squats, pull-ups, push-ups, etc.) instead of a series of isolated body part exercises (this includes those ever popular, narrow-range-of-motion abs machines!).”

The bottom line (and what I wanted to say today), is that HOW you train is more important than WHAT you train with.

Here are some principles to take home with you today:

  • Work HARD
  • Take short rests
  • Pair two or three exercises instead of doing “Straight Sets”
  • Use BIG movements (think V-Up instead of crunch)

One Response to “Eclectic Fitness? Choose Principles Over Methods”

  1. 10 Cool Kettlebell Exercises For You | Wold Fitness Notebook Says:

    […] I said in this post about Eclectic Fitness, ALL exercise tools have their place in a training […]