Fitness Enlightenment: Path to Smarter Training

Coach Serge here! I want to share a personal story with you. It’s a tale from my own fitness journey, filled with ups, downs, and some surprising revelations.

I have a feeling many of you might see a bit of your own journey in mine. (And hey, if my story strikes a chord, don’t hesitate to send me a DM on Instagram and share yours – I’m all ears!)

You’re here because something about our approach sparked your curiosity, right? Whether it’s the unique blend of our program or just a general interest in fitness, I’m glad you’re here. Let’s dive in.

The Misguided Beginnings

My fitness journey began with a simple, yet flawed belief: fitness equaled bodybuilding. As a teenager in the 2000s, my resources were limited to classic bodybuilding movies like ‘Pumping Iron’ and downloaded documentaries of Ronnie Coleman shouting “light weight, baby!” I was convinced that hypertrophy training was the be-all and end-all of fitness.

The Era of Confusion

Without realizing it, my gym routines started to incorporate elements of powerlifting. Squats, bench presses, deadlifts – I was doing it all, but with no clear direction. I was like a ship without a rudder, aimlessly drifting in the sea of gym equipment.

My goal was simple yet misguided: to be bigger and stronger, especially on the bench press, while my leg workouts were, embarrassingly, almost non-existent. “Girls don’t care about legs, do they?”

The Copycat Phase

My training was a hodgepodge of whatever I saw on YouTube, downloaded torrents, or the biggest guys at the gym were doing. Techniques, progression, planning? These were foreign concepts to me.

I vividly recall seeing someone perform a clean & push press and being baffled. Why use legs in a shoulder exercise? It was beyond my understanding at the time.

The Wake-up Call

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself in the military, aiming to join a specialized unit. That’s when CrossFit was first suggested to me. My initial reaction? Dismissive. To me, CrossFit was just a bunch of weird exercises and those infamous dolphin pull-ups.

But with time on my hands before my unit application, I decided to give it a try.

The CrossFit Revelation

I’ll never forget my first day at a CrossFit box, the skepticism I had. The workout was named “Karen,” involving 150 wall ball shots. Ten minutes in, and I was gasping for air, my ego deflated.

That session was a turning point. It exposed gaps in my fitness I never knew existed. Despite being able to bench press 315 lbs, I realized there was more to fitness than just lifting heavy or looking good in the mirror.

Learning the Ropes and Recognizing the Flaws

I was soon captivated by the intensity and variety of CrossFit. The workouts are diverse, combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardio, which provided me with a full-body challenge I hadn’t experienced before. There was a wide variety of skills to learn and always get better at, like muscle-ups, handstand walking, snatches, thrusters. There was a bit of bodybuilding here and there. The main focus always lay in work capacity, which was perfect for what I needed to train for – a specialized military unit. The community aspect was a game-changer; the support and motivation from fellow gym-goers were unlike anything in traditional bro gyms. People seemed to care, cheering you on.

However, I soon observed some crucial drawbacks. The emphasis on constant high intensity and competition often led to a race against time and peers. This atmosphere, while exhilarating, sometimes encouraged sacrificing form for speed. Despite the excellent cardiovascular and strength benefits, this approach risked injuries and often overlooked the individual’s fitness level or progression. I would see others cutting corners, shaving reps, just to beat me or to get a better score. Heck, I found myself countless times really wanting to “miscount” just to beat a guy or gal next to me who was doing a drop-in from out of town.

The Evolution of My Training Philosophy

This experience led to an epiphany: Fitness isn’t just about bodybuilding or the relentless intensity of CrossFit. For me, and likely many of you, these methods had their strengths but also significant limitations. Did I ever aspire to compete in a bodybuilding contest? Not really. Was the constant strain of high-intensity workouts, heavy lifting and being sore all the time truly satisfying?

My real goal now? To be fit for life’s adventures, not just for the gym.

Here’s where the concept of physical freedom comes into play. It’s about being ready for anything life throws your way – a spontaneous basketball game, a hiking adventure, or simply enjoying active life to the fullest.

This philosophy is why the featured image for this article is me with a camera in the mountains. It’s why I train – to stay active and engaged in life, even in my later years. Life, after all, is mostly lived outside the gym.

That’s why, at Fitness Academy, my team and I have developed a unique approach.

We’ve distilled the best elements of bodybuilding, powerlifting, strength and conditioning training, along with the functional aspects of CrossFit, into a comprehensive daily training program that covers:

  • Power: Developing explosive strength for dynamic actions.
  • Strength: Building the capacity to handle more weight and resistance.
  • Muscle Mass: Gaining muscle for improved body function and metabolism.
  • Stamina: Enhancing cardiovascular health for endurance.
  • Mobility: Increasing flexibility for a wider range of movement.
  • Athleticism: Boosting agility, balance, and coordination for overall fitness.

To learn more in-depth about our exercise framework and training methodology, check out our article here: Training for Everyday Life: Our Programming Framework.

Join Us on This Journey

In our program at Fitness Academy, we address a lot of traditional bodybuilding or CrossFit style programs head on head-on. We adopt the varied and high-intensity aspects of functional fitness but include structured progressions, ensuring workouts cater to individual capabilities. By controlling workout intensity via specific formats and focusing on form over speed, we aim to reduce injury risk and provide a more balanced, effective training experience.

I share this story not just to reflect on my past, but to illustrate the evolution of our approach at Fitness Academy, and where our methodology comes from. It’s about understanding that fitness is multifaceted and requires a balanced approach.

New Training Block Begins Today

If my story has inspired you and you’re considering giving our program a try, I have something special for you. Click here to join us and lock-in 20% off every month with the code WELCOME20. Hurry, this offer expires soon!

A Personal Path for Everyone

Remember, the most important thing is finding a plan that resonates with you. But to know what’s best, you need to try a lot of it. If you don’t explore and question, how can you know whether it could have been right for you? My story isn’t just about our fitness program; it’s about understanding that the right path in fitness is personal and varied.

So, whether you’re with us or charting your own course, make sure it’s a journey that fits you perfectly. Everyone’s fitness journey is unique, and the key is to find the path that aligns with your goals, preferences, and lifestyle.

Cheers, friends!

Coach Serge