An old approach to getting healthy without having to lift a single weight.

14 05 15 NaturalFitness

You may or may not have come across natural fitness in your quest to pin down the right workout routine for you. Whispers of its effectiveness have started making the rounds, so we decided to try it out.

This approach to fitness is not new. In fact, it’s been around for quite some time, perhaps lost in the in the midst of gimmicky gyms and workout routines.

Ron Das of Toronto’s Power Institute, the first natural fitness studio in Toronto explains: “Natural fitness is an organic approach to strengthening the body and using the body the way nature intended,” he says. “Natural fitness is more about creating strength and endurance to perform all your day-to-day activities with ease.”

The Method

I arrive at Power Institute, unsure of what to expect when I was immediately introduced to the highlight of the gym, the Power Plate. I was asked to hop on this vibrating surface, while performing everyday functional movements. It was alarming how the intensity of a squat seemed to quadruple while standing on the surface, which is designed to force your body to stabilize itself and your muscles to contract more frequently. My knees started to buckle in a shamefully fast amount of time.

So why try this alternative workout that doesn’t require lifting heavy weights? “It’s different than the traditional approach of lifting artificial weights in an artificial range of motion that doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, “ says Das. If you’re married to your daily weight lifting routine, Das says that many muscled athletes who live in the weight room, “can bench press their own body weight but can’t even do a simple pushup.”

The natural fitness method has a lot more practical benefits to everyday life. “Years ago, before desk jobs and driving everywhere took over, people were a lot more active and ‘naturally strong,’ explains Das. “Any given day would involve pushing, pulling, lunging and squatting. Somehow, weight rooms in gyms became popular to artificially simulate weight-bearing activities.  We are now moving away from this type of workout, which has a great deal of potential injury.”

Is it Effective?

What about cardio though? It wasn’t immediately obvious how you would work up a sweat on a Power Plate, but I was shown an easy way to do a step aerobics type workout. Sweat starts to break minutes later, unlike my treadmill routine that doesn’t see me break a sweat until at least 15 minutes in.

While most workouts require a certain level of endurance, with the Power Plate both upper or lower body strength are required to participate, natural fitness is an equal opportunity workout for those who are in great shape to those who are injured or rusty. “The best thing about this is that natural fitness is for everyone,” remarks Das. “Athletes benefit from this type of training as much as elderly people with a myriad of health problems.  Natural fitness ensures that as we grow old, we maintain our ability to be active and self-sufficient. To be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, lunge to tie our shoes, etc…”

After one session the obvious unqiue benefits of natural fitness and Power Plate present themselves. Is it a replacement for your current workout routine? Well, it simply depends on what your training goals are, how much time you have and your budget.

If you’re interested in learning more, Das encourages potential clients to visit him at Power Institute to give natural fitness a little test drive.