Simplifying Fitness (Part 1)


Simplifying Fitness


Step 1: Start with your body

Torso, Arms, Legs, Head. Check. 


Step 2: Add movement

 Movement is simply muscles contracting against bones to create movement. 


Step 3: Categorizing Movements

 Human movement can largely be broken down into 5 Categories:

  1. Upper Body Pushing
  2. Upper Body Pulling
  3. Squatting/Lunging 
  4. Hinging
  5. Core (Bracing/Stabalizing/Rotation)

Furthermore, some of these movements can be subcategorized (i.e. single arm/leg, double arm/leg, open-chain, closed-chain, but let's keep it simple)


Step 4: Combine Movements

By combining these basic movement categories/subcategories we are able perform a seemingly limitless amount of efficient, beautiful movements. 

Let's break down a few common exercises/exercise modalities to see what movement categories they utilize. 

Running/Jogging- Running is essentially an efficient repetition of shallow lunges, alternating single arm pushing and pulling, along with core stabilizing. 

Deadlifting- A proportional combination of hip hinging, squatting, core bracing and isometric upper body pull to hold the weight.

Carrying Groceries- Like running, it is repetitive shallow lunges, along with core bracing and isometric upper body pull to hold they groceries.


Step 5: Energy Systems

In short, energy for all movement (muscle acting on bone) comes from the synthesis ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Once the ATP is utilized it needs to be replenished through one of three energy pathways:

  1. ATP-CP System
  2. Glycolytic/Anaerobic System
  3. Oxidative/Aeribic System

If you feel a bit lost with the terminology just think of it this way:

  1. Shorts duration of high energy output (strength training happens here)
  2. Moderate duration of moderate energy output
  3. Long duration of low energy output


Starting to get a little confusing?

Look at it this way. Any movement or exercise can be used to train all three energy systems. Movement is not inherently good or bad, right or wrong; However, exercises do have there pros and cons. 

Let's take a look at a few common exercise modalities.


  1. Short Sprints (ATP-CP)
  2. Long Sprints/Intervals (Glycolytic)
  3. Long Distance Running (Oxidative)
  • PROS: Inexpensive, relatively simple, able to do without equipment/facilities, 
  • CONS: High impact, not suitable for all fitness/strength levels, limited and repetitive range of motion, difficult to build strength


  1. Explosive/Heavy Lifting (ATP-CP)
  2. Circuit Training (Glycolytic)
  3. Low Weight/High Reps, Group Fitness (Oxidative)
  • PROS: Easy to increase load/intensity to build strength, lots of facilities, 
  • CONS: Need for equipment, requires technical proficiency, 


  1. Short Sprints/Hills (ATP-CP)
  2. Intervals (Glycolytic)
  3. Long Distance Ride (Oxidative)
  • PROS: Low impact, locomotion, easy to master basic pedaling
  • CONS: High cost, limited range of motion/variability, safety 


Keep it Simple

All forms of exercise, including yoga, running, weightlifting, jazzercise, elliptical trainers, etc. are all just variations of movement. How you complete the form of exercise/movement determines what benefits it will offer. 

In Part 2 we will discuss some of the fine points of choosing exercise including:

  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Strengths and Weakness of certain forms of exercise
  • Tools of the Trade