A long time ago, a former athlete started lifting a lot and got really strong, impressive looking muscle. He drank protein powders and ate nothing but steamed broccoli and baked chicken. He was ripped. Then, a girl he met at the club challenged him to try an aerobics class. He did it! It was fun. It nearly killed him. The next day he decided to run one mile "warm up" before starting his lifting routine. When he returned to the gym, he was completely shot and could barely finish his lifting routine. Hmm, he thought. Maybe I should start swimming in the 20 yard pool again. The former athlete eventually figured out that being strong does not consittute "fit".
This went through my head when a good friend (who was always overweight in the "old" days) emailed me saying he had opened a supplement store in another state and that he was lifting and participating in natural bodybuilding competitions. He is ripped! I was shocked. He looked like a head on a picture of Arnold Schwartzeneggar's body. I asked him if he wanted to go for a short run before lifting (as I was headed to the gym too) and he said, "Oh, I don't do any cardio." When pressed on this subject, he stated he was worried he'd loose "mass" and his "shock and awe" factor of his size. We talked about his strength relative to his fitness and it was very interesting. He can bench 300 lbs. like it is nothing, but he cannot do a set of bench then 10 push-ups and another set of bench. Interesting. Same for every muscle group. So let me get this straight... you can bench 300 lbs., but only if it is in a gym and you haven't done other exercise?
Any real world exercise is better than a 'gym exercise'. Think Rocky IV....
|Yes, even chores can be a workout.|
Without getting into my methodology in coaching cycling or triathlon - there are certain sets and types of workouts that need to be done at certain times of the week or in a specific workout. Missing those sets and their timing hurts your fitness.
In the end, racing is about fitness. More fit. More able to handle heat, cold, wind, waves... you name it. Fit, is more than just lifting a weight or pushing a pedal. It's about moving mass. I am not in shape and look like a "gamer" next to my friend. However, I was able to knock out some impressive bench sets of 15 reps (while doing push ups) as I waited for him to do six reps. All this AFTER swimming 4,000 yards and then running 6 miles in about 50 minutes at aerobic pace.
So... who is more fit?