You likely understand that in order for your body to work as well as it can, you should not be eating a diet based around cookies and cupcakes. However, when it comes to exercising, you may be stuck on a metaphorical dessert-heavy diet. As a Muscle Activation Techniques™ specialist and certified personal trainer in Schaumburg, I often have to discuss with my clients the difference between exercising for health and exercising for entertainment.

While what you are currently doing for exercise may seem more fun and entertaining than it’s healthy “organic” counterpart, understand that if you only eat the foods that are highly processed, eventually you are not going to feel well. Likewise, while the high-intensity, made-for-tv-esque exercises may be appropriate for your body from time to time, if that is your only form of exercise, eventually your body is going to be needing something “healthier”.


Just like the stomach ache that comes from eating too much pizza, the little muscle twinges and soreness that lead to the joint aches and pains are your body’s way of saying, “Hey, if you want to keep exercising that’s cool, but you have to give me something different.”

One way to be able to keep doing your “ice cream” exercises–the ones that may make you feel pretty good in the immediate and short term but may leave you feeling not well in the long term–is to balance it out with some “organic” exercise like Muscle Activation Techniques™ and strategic resistance training. This version of exercise is designed to give your body what it needs to allow you to continue to participate in everything else you want to do. It may be able to prolong your ability to do the high-intensity, “rah-rah” workouts by keeping your body tuned up and functioning optimally.

I like cheesecake, but if that was all I ate, I would eventually have to start eating something else to make sure my body stayed healthy enough to keep eating my cheesecake. And, just as a garden-fresh salad with grass-fed/grass-finished sirloin doesn’t have to taste terrible, participating in “organic” exercise doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, with the proper guidance and consultation, it can be really fun and allow you to feel sensations you haven’t ever felt before while exercising.

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Charlie Cates

Charlie Cates is the leading consultant to high-level professional, college, & high school basketball players in the Chicagoland area for injury prevention, recovery, & muscle performance. As a certified Muscle Activation Techniques® MATRx practitioner & former college basketball player, he uses his personal experience & understanding of the game & player demands to create customized exercise options for his clients to recover faster & perform their best. He is certified in the highest levels of MAT®, including MATRx, MATRx Stim, and MAT® Athlete. Follow him on Instagram @CharlieCates!