by MJ
FUEL  ~  Dish of the Day:
Boost your Omega intake tonight and try one of our many Salmon recipes! Here are a few of our favorites: Baked Salmon Mediterranean and Dr. Bruce’s Teriyaki Fish[Click here for additional Recipes]

AIR  ~  Movement of the Day:
The beauty of the Deadlift is that it’s not just for bodybuilders. It is for lifting your groceries, your kids, bags of mulch, morning furniture…you name it. Its for life. [Click here for additional Workouts]


SPARK  ~  Thought of the Day:

Essential Element: Wellness is experienced, not achieved.  Every choice, every day. [Click here to read Spark Insight: Coping Mechanisms]

Journal: What one thing do you do every day? Not brushing your teeth or walking the dog – one thing that makes your life unique? Write down what it is – why you do it – and what’s come into your life because of it. This life you’ve got is only yours – live it magnificently.  [Click here for additional Journal exercises] Spark Photo Credit: http://yellowbrickblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Words

Functional Fitness – Training to Get Fit for Life

by admin

At Bonfire we recognize and advocate that being physically fit is one of the major cornerstones of being healthy.  Physical fitness does, however, incorporate a wide spectrum of concepts, theories and elements.

In addition to the many, many benefits that being physically fit creates within the realm of being healthy, we also recognize that life is filled with unpredictable physical events that require simple to complex body movements at any given moment.  Not only do we want our bodies to be able to handle these unpredictable life events without injury, but we want our level of physical fitness to enable us to negotiate them with great success throughout our lives, as did our fit ancestors.

The term functional fitness is one that simultaneously defines, describes and includes the “holistic” physical fitness objective within the Bonfire Program, which could also be called “life fitness.”  It means doing exercises or activities that imitate “real life,” full body movements through wide ranges of motion. It could be described as Compounding Fitness.  It is a form of fitness designed NOT to isolate particular muscle groups or body parts. For example, rather than performing a “bicep curl” on a machine, a functional movement exercise would be to lift a weighted object off the ground from a squatting position to a standing position, holding the object overhead – all done with careful attention paid to safe and proper body biomechanics and posture techniques.

“Functional movements are  natural, effective, and efficient locomotors of body and external objects. Functional movements are compound movements – i.e., they are multi-joint. But no aspect of functional movements is more important than their capacity to move large loads over long distances, and to do so quickly. We believe that preparation for random physical challenges (i.e., unknown and unknowable events) is at odds with fixed, predictable, and routine regimens.” [http://www.crossfit.com]

Finally, a fitness regimen incorporating functional movements can be had by anyone, at any level, and at any age.  It doesn’t require elaborate equipment or facilities; it does, however, require effort.  Functional fitness is not, contrary to popular belief, confined to elite athletes or “strongmen.”

Here are two more great articles on this subject:
Being Fit vs. Being Healthy: The 10 Facets of Physical Fitness
Short Interval, High Intensity Exercise

Week 4 Air Insight: A Constantly Varied Approach

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Functional Fitness – Part II

Critical Concept:  A Constantly Varied Approach
Variety is the spice of life – and of true fitness.  The key to extraordinary fitness is diversity.  In order to achieve optimal health, one must achieve optimal fitness.  In other words, to move toward greater health, you must move toward increased fitness.

Fitness is defined by Crossfit Founder Greg Glassman as having optimal physical competence in all ten physical skills (cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, flexibility, strength, power, speed, coordination, balance, agility and accuracy).  If you desire to become healthier, you must desire to become more fit.  These ten “Pillars of Fitness” should be considered a virtual “wish-list” that outlines your approach to exercise and activity.

Most people today train or exercise with a very narrow approach to fitness.  They do one thing (like running, rowing, yoga, biking, etc.) and do it repeatedly for years.  There are fantastic benefits to be gained from each of these individually, but on their own will not produce a well-rounded, truly fit person.  These activities produce “specialized athletes” with a limited scope of fitness.  It is not hard to expose a marathon runner’s weaknesses:  simply ask them to demonstrate a strength maneuver, challenge their flexibility, or simply jump for height.  Similarly, ask most power lifters to run down the street.  It is easy to expose the limitations created by specialized training.

If your goal is optimal fitness, you must vary your training constantly.  You must expose yourself to a wide variety of challenges and activities.  You should regularly recruit constant low-grade activities (such as walking), periodic high intensity activities (full exertion), pick up heavy things occasionally, and get plenty of rest in between.  Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, has it right:  “Move frequently at a slow pace, lift heavy things and sprint once in a while.”

So where do you start?  Start where you are.  If you are not exercising at all, anything that you add today will simply move you towards greater health.  Out of everyone, you stand to gain the most.  According to a Harvard study, the greatest gains in health and fitness are achieved in the population that goes from zero exercise to 3 times per week.  So get to it.

For those that consider themselves “super-fit,” audit your fitness levels and methods against the 10 Pillars of Fitness; find your weaknesses or over-sights and have at it.  You will never achieve your fitness potential if you do not expand your definition of fit.

For everyone else in between, do what moves you.  Get creative.  Find new ways to exercise or add activity.  Break through old boundaries, get out of your rut, and get into a groove.  A vital behavior is to train a different way every time – never repeat a workout.  Your body thrives when it has to adapt to a variety of stressors.  Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, tone your body, or increase your energy, you will find that your results will accelerate under a wider variety of challenges.

Train movements, not muscles.  Train for health.  Train for life.

Summary Checklist

  • Add activity every day in every way
  • Calculate Energy Balance
  • Add Functional Training
  • Add variety and activity patterns to your exercise

Week 3 Air Insight: Functional Fitness

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Functional Fitness

Critical Concept:  Do What Moves You
Exercise is a supplement.  Our modern mechanized world has removed most of the obligate activities of our everyday.  This has left us largely movement-deficient.  Our cells expect and require relatively high levels of regular energy expenditure, including occasional bouts of real exertion.  For thousands of generations, we would walk an average of 10 to 20 miles per day – every day!

This lack of constant activity must be supplemented if we expect extraordinary health – which, by the way, is normal.  We should expect optimal cell function and health.  It is the natural consequence of living in alignment with your design.  Unfortunately, it is not the norm.

We are (literally) being crushed under the weight of the health issues created by a sedentary culture.  You were designed to move – and you sit.  The result of this is we are now faced with an over-weight, under-muscled population – the twin engines of chronic illness.

For most people, there are many excuses for not working out regularly:  no time, no energy, no money, or all of the above.  The Bonfire Program will address all of these.  The good news:  exercise is free.  The more energy you invest, the more you get in return.  And the research shows that short interval, higher intensity exercise gives you better results than long, drawn-out journeys on the treadmill or punishing runs on the pavement.

You are going to start playing again.

Functional Training is the most effective, efficient and flexible form of training ever known to man.  In fact, it has been the only type of exercise or activity any human had ever done prior to just 4 or 5 generations ago.  Believe it or not, cavemen did not do calf-raises.

We have designed the Workouts of the Day so you can work functional fitness into your daily rituals.  These workouts are designed just for you.  If you have questions about why we have created the workouts we prescribed, or questions about how to perform a specific workout, you can always reference the Glossary Of Bonfire Health Terms by clicking here.

To paraphrase the brilliant Coach Greg Glassman of Crossfit:  Functional Training is defined as universal motor recruitment patterns - compound, multi-joint movements that are effective and efficient locomotors of body and external objects.  In other words, we move ourselves and objects in natural ways over distance as quickly as possible.  There is an emphasis on training movements, not muscles.  Moving humans, not machines.

Functional Training is fully scalable.  It is not uncommon to see a young, fit teenager training alongside his or her grandmother.  The workouts are typically shorter than traditional gym workouts – and the intensity is progressive.

Well people move every day.  A best practice is to join a functional training center like Crossfit.  The coaching, community and expertise is unmatched.  Follow a program that promotes natural, functional movements.  Avoid relying on “specialized training” that develops one or two facets of fitness, but ignores the other critical elements that make up true fitness.  Join a team, get back to a sport that you loved, or learn a new one.  Play with your kids and grandkids – they functional train naturally.

The big idea is to simply do more than you did yesterday.  The ultimate fitness metric is increased work capacity.  All of the benefits of exercise are simply derivatives of this one factor.  Cardio-protective benefits, improved insulin sensitivity, body composition, blood lipids/cholesterol, abdominal measurements – all of the good stuff is found here.  The research is clear and compelling: the potentially enormous return of investing in exercise for the prevention of disease on the primary level cannot be overstated.

It’s time to face the facts:  exercise is optional.  Your choices are:  significantly increase your chances of having a long, healthy life, or ensure yourself a long and painful battle against chronic disease.

Ask your doctor if getting off of your butt is right for you.