Before I even start, I just want to make one quick note. This entire section will contain a lot of things that will overlap with other articles and blogs on the web (for example my friend Cristi recently wrote a short blog post about a very similar idea to what I’ll be writing today). Nonetheless, everything I write is my own creation, my own experience and my own opinion, unless stated otherwise. I will soon name all my main sources of documentation, but do not confuse documentation with stealing. I do not steal anyone’s work, this is all my own babbling. Also, unlike most of the stuff out there, I do not look to advise anyone. I am just presenting my view and it should be clear that anyone should build their own, not borrow mine without thinking it through before. Now, let’s start.

I decided to call this category fitness, because I couldn’t find a better word to encompass my vision. I believe in what I call complete training. A person should train their mind, their body and their soul, with equal interest. Further more, for each of these, variety is required to cover all grounds. Here we will only focus on training your body. If I extend to some of the other areas, I might actually just call it Übermensch.

Arnold

1) Build muscle: Weight lifting

Why: If you would only have to do one thing, this would probably be it. More than any other amateur sport, this builds the kind of discipline that training requires. That extra dessert, that pint of beer on Friday, that party you went to last week, all of these show right away. Bodybuilding doesn’t happen in the gym, it happens 24/7. It’s training right, eating right and sleeping right.

Advantages: Develops muscle. Helps to create a proper hormonal environment. Can be used to target specific weak areas. Generally safer than others. All-season, all-weather. Cheap.

Disadvantages: Doesn’t do as much for cardiovascular health. Could affect mobility if done by itself. A lot of legends and BS surrounding this sport, it’s hard to get stuff straight.

Muay Thai

2) Use muscle: Martial arts

Why: Because you’re meant to move and you should be able to do so easily. You may look like Arnold, if you can’t go up two floors without gasping for air, it doesn’t mean much. My general recommendation here is martial arts, although I guess any cardio will do. But martial arts require more coordination, they add discipline in using your muscles and they help with a lot of other things, such as confidence. Finally, it’s a hell of a workout.

Advantages: Heart pumping, calorie burning. Builds confidence. Usually includes some mobility work.

Disadvantages: Can easily lead to overtraining. Will significantly reduce rate of muscle gains.

Stretching

3) Care for muscle: Stretching

Why: Because otherwise you will get hurt. Because it helps muscle grows. Because you should still be able to scratch your back, even if your biceps looks like a normal person’s leg. Also, because it helps fix your messed up posture.

Advantages: Helps mobility; some studies suggest it helps muscle growth and it prevents injuries.

Disadvantages: Can’t really think of many… Some say there is such a thing as too much stretching, but I don’t think amateurs have anything to worry about.
Note: I have limited experience here, so in the future Yoga might take the place of regular stretching, but I haven’t done much of that yet.

If you do all of these you will be what I call an athlete. You are training your body in all ways, not just bits and pieces of a broken puzzle.

NOTES:
Pictures are from:
http://www.screwyourecession.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/free-muscle-building-workout.jpg
http://www.thaimartialarts.org/assets/pictures/Mai_Muay_Thai/Muay_Thai_10.jpg
http://peakrunningperformance.com/webpages/images/stories/stretching.jpg