The following post contains several questions from an interview with Kinsei-Do's founder, JC, run by www.bookmyfit.com.
Kinsei-Do abides by the philosophy of balanced functional fitness. What is balanced functional fitness? What exactly makes an exercise or training program holistic
Functional Fitness is definitely a trend or buzzword in the last couple of years, when all it really means is to have the ability to move as intended by nature. This sounds so simplistic and generic, but the inactive lifestyle, constant sitting (at the desk or in the car) and working on computers of the modern age has rendered most of us completely dysfunctional. We have bad posture, severely limited mobility (usually in the hips and shoulders), extremely weakened core muscles, and most of us will pay the price for this somewhere down the line.
Having Balanced Functional Fitness or being functionally fit refers to a state of physical capability that allows you to do the things you want to do, like running around with your children, playing football or tennis with some friends, or just moving around in your house or garden without feeling tired or in pain.
To be able to do all this takes more than just lifting weights in the gym, or doing long steady state cardio (e.g. jogging). It takes a combination of different training methods to improve strength and endurance, but also maintaining or increasing flexibility and coordination. Kinsei-Do considers all of these physical aspects and molds them into a combined program, and that's what makes it holistic.
Can you give us an overview of the program? What can first-timers expect?
We typically start (after properly warming up, of course) with drills and games for Power and Speed/Agility, such as jumps and shuttle runs. It's important to train these two pillars when the body and mind is still fresh, because the intensity is high and requires the practitioner to be very focused.
After these drills, we move on to the Strength and Flexibility/Mobility part. Here we alternate classic strength building exercises like pushups and sit-ups with yoga-like static flexibility movements. At this point the body is fully warmed up and the muscles are receptive to being stretched, and at the same time the static stretches serve as active rest periods between the strength exercise sets.
Last but not least, we end each session with a short but high intensity Endurance workout. These are usually between 7 to 15 minutes and come in three different difficulty levels, so there is something for everyone!
As beginners or first timers, you are encouraged to just join in and follow along. Where applicable, the coach will adjust the difficulty of certain exercises according to the individual needs, e.g. substituting pushups with knee pushups or modifying certain Power exercises. That said, the sessions are very beginner friendly and no one should be afraid or embarrassed to try it out!
How important is it to incorporate variations in your workout routine?
Variety is definitely extremely important. First, as already explained earlier, training all aspects of fitness is critically important for actually being fit. If you only do weight lifting, you are definitely going to be strong, but your muscles may be tight and shortened, and your mobility is limited. Similarly, if you only go running, the muscles of your upper body will not be as well trained as your lower body, and again you will be limited by imbalances. That's why a holistic training approach is so important, and whether you cover all your bases by practicing Kinsei-Do, or instead prefer to go for HIIT bootcamps for endurance training, then yoga classes for the flexibility training, is a matter of personal preference.
Secondly, why do we work out at all? Most of us don't do it because we enjoy strenuous or high intensity cardio and weight-lifting. Most of us do it to a) look good or b) be able to perform better at activities we enjoy, like being faster on the football field, to jump higher on the basketball court, etc. There is no better way to increase that overall performance than through a varied training!
Last but not least, for many people the thought of going to the gym 3x per week or running 5km every other day for many months is just mind-numbingly boring, so variety is also key to keeping things interesting and staying motivated in one's training! I am generally open and interested in almost all sports, and love to try out new things!
What are your top 3 tips for optimizing a workout?
Focus - that means put your phone away. Concentrate on what your goal for the workout is, and then put all your physical and mental energy to it. You will be done much faster and feel more accomplished after a 30 minute workout like this, than after a 2 hour session in the gym where you have spent half the time on Facebook...
Always warm up - this ensures your body is ready while at the same time prepares your mind for the workout ahead.
Set ambitious, difficult long term goals, but realistic and achievable short term goals - goals keep you focused on your fitness journey and motivated when you hit bumps and setbacks. Know where you want to go, but also know that anything worth achieving takes dedication and time, and will not happen overnight.
People say that working out before going to the office makes it hard to power through the day, but after work, they feel too tired to train. To get the best results possible, what is the best time to exercise? What advice would you give to keep your clients motivated to exercise regularly?
Actually, I personally find that the opposite is true: a good workout in the morning is the best way to start the day, and often leaves me more energized than before, and also more motivated to get on with work. Of course I do not have the time or the energy to go through 90 minute high intensity sessions in the morning, but a combination of stretching, strengthening and balance work is ideal to wake up the mind and body.
As it is a matter of personal preference however, I believe there is no "best" time. Or rather, the best time is the time that works for you, the time you can commit to regularly. Regularity is so important because humans are creatures of habit, and it takes time to establish a new habit and get into the rhythm of training at a certain time. I also believe it is better to do some kind of activity or training for 20-30 minutes every day, rather than trying to do a 1-2 hour training once or twice a week, to establish this habit, and to get results.
Due to my job in consulting, there isn't a typical daily routine that I have been able to follow for months or years, however ideally my day starts with a workout. Not only do I need that to energize me for the day, it also makes me feel like no matter what else the day will bring, one good thing has already happened, so it sets me in a positive mood.