Something I've come to appreciate much more since lockdown began is the importance of balance. Today I'm referring specifically to having a balance in your training.
Now to be clear, I don't mean balance in the sense that you train everything equally. It's fine if you want to do that, but it's not necessary.
No - what I'm referring to is the fitness pyramid.
What is the fitness pyramid?
Think of your fitness levels as the peak of a pyramid. The height of that pyramid will be restricted by how wide its base is, and if the base is uneven it will topple over entirely.
In my opinion, the three key areas that everyone needs to have a base level of competency in are endurance, strength, and flexibility. These are not only necessary for performance, but for health as well.
As I said above, it's important that you remember that this doesn't mean that you need to train all 3 areas equally.
For example, if strength and muscle gain are your main goals, you don't want to spend too much time on endurance. Two or three light - moderate conditioning sessions per week will be enough to convey all the health benefits, and improve your ability to recover from resistance training. Doing some mobility work each day for 10 - 15 minutes could also do wonders for keeping a lifter's joints healthy, as the range of movements we perform in the gym tend to be fairly limited.
Conversely, if you're a distance runner you don't need to be chasing powerlifting records, but you should be able to hit some basic strength standards by doing 1 - 2 days of lifting per week. This will positively affect the runner's speed and injury resilience. And yes, some stretching will also help keep their body healthy.
I started off as a teenager who quickly developed a reasonably good base of athleticism, thanks to doing an ungodly amount of Crossfit-style workouts, basic strength training, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
After leaving school and stopping BJJ, I got away from this base. I got a lot stronger and built more muscle, but I also was not in very good shape for things that didn't involve lifting weights (see: most of life).
This lockdown has helped me bring things full circle. I now have the perspective to appreciate the importance of strength training, and have started embracing some more of the stuff I did in the past.
What About You?
Be honest with yourself. Are you the guy/girl who loves lifting but never does any kind of cardio or stretching?
Or are you the endurance machine who needs to get better at pull-ups and touching their toes?
Find your weaknesses, and bring them up to scratch. You could be jeopardising your health and performance otherwise.