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Back to the Basics by Nunzio Signore

Our early ancestors had it rough. Whether it was hunting for food, building a shelter or enduring extreme changes in temperature, they had to be aware of the effects on their personal energy stores. Their demanding lives made their bodies lean and strong. Because we no longer have the daily mandatory physical demands that were once necessary for survival, manual hard work has

become scarcer for many and energy expenditure is at an overall all-time low.

Enter fitness training, the need for exercise due to our decreased physical workload over the years. This phenomenon started to really grow approximately 40 years ago with the introduction of various trends we refer to as cardio training. The 1970’s introduced us to jogging. Since then there have been an endless supply of fads, gizmos and gimmicks aimed at keeping our minds busy so we don’t realize how uninterested we may be by our workouts. The truth is, most cardiovascular machinery does not allow us to use the compound movements for which our bodies were designed. They generally keep us in one plane of movement for as long as we can. Treadmills, ellipticals and bicycles keep us in the forward or “sagittal” plane. These pieces of equipment are very popular because for the most part they’re very easy to perform.

There is just one problem. We do not move in just one direction. And statistics show that the world is not becoming more fit. Instead, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are at an all-time high. Basically, we’re doing something wrong. Some reasons for our declining health could be that people engage in types of exercises that:

1. are the fad of the month

2. make you tired

3. make you sore

Let’s look at this more carefully:

1. Fad workouts can include jogging, spinning, or any number of ‘in’ fitness techniques. Not that any one of these forms of exercise is bad in moderation, but if it’s the newest thing people have a tendency to overdo it, making their training regimen one dimensional.

2. Not allowing yourself enough rest between reps or sets will diminish your power output from set to set, depriving your muscles from maximizing the amount of intensity at which you can work. The end result is less strength and stability in your muscles and joints. Most injuries occur when the body is in an overly fatigued state in which the body compromises correct form to just get through the movement.

3. If your exercise program is still making you sore after a couple of weeks, you’re not adapting to the movements and you need to find a more suitable workout.

It’s time for us all to simplify our workout routines and get back to the basic compound movements such as squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and jumping. Just like our ancestors. When we get back to the basics, we become stronger. Plus, we look and feel better.

Nunzio Signore is the owner of Rockland Peak Performance located at 174 Rt. 17 in Sloatsburg. For more information, call 712-5415 or visit

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