Science-Backed Strategies for Your Fitness Journey


Sorting through the intersection of the latest in science and what’s right for your individual body can be daunting. 

As we continue to talk with the best-in-class experts in whole health, we were fortunate to spend time with Dr. Matt Jordan as he discussed how to blend scientific understanding with personal wellness to create a roadmap for optimal health. A renowned expert in athletic performance, Dr. Jordan shared a wealth of knowledge around the intricate balance of physical stress, recovery, and adaptation. 

Grounding your fitness routine in scientific principles will help identify the guideposts to follow on your health journey and how your Hydrow fits into your life and health. 

Embracing stress as a fitness ally

Contrary to popular belief, stress in the realm of physical fitness is not your adversary—it’s an essential ally. Different stress types, like anaerobic and aerobic exercises, uniquely stimulate our body. 

For example, anaerobic activities such as weightlifting enhance muscle strength by creating micro-tears in muscle fibers that then heal and increase muscle capacity. On the other hand, aerobic exercises like running improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart and increasing lung capacity.

Balance is key here. The right amount of physical stress triggers our bodies to adapt, leading to improved strength, endurance, and overall health. This process is akin to a finely tuned orchestra, where each element plays a crucial role in creating a harmonious outcome. 

The cellular response to exercise

Exercise stimulates a remarkable cellular response in the human body. Our bodies respond to different training stimuli at the cellular level by “seeing” and adapting to the signals they receive during different types of exercise. 

For example, strength training triggers muscle hypertrophy, where muscle fibers grow thicker and stronger. Mitochondria (Mitochondrial biogenesis) is increased by engaging in endurance exercise. Often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria boosts the body’s ability to utilize oxygen and sustain prolonged activity. 

This adaptability of our cells underscores the need for diverse training stimuli, not only to build strength but also to enhance endurance, flexibility, and overall metabolic health. 

Crafting your training load

At the foundation of every effective fitness regimen is the concept of the training load. This critical factor intertwines the intensity, volume, and frequency of your workouts, ensuring your body is not just challenged but is also given the opportunity to adapt to the new challenge and thrive long-term. 

When considering your training load, think of it like a recipe—each ingredient must be measured and combined correctly to create the perfect dish. Not all recipes are the same, so your training load will look different based on your current fitness level, priorities, and the time you have to devote to exercising. 

Work capacity and the dynamic of high vs. low intensity

Developing a robust fitness program upon which to build more intense workouts (called work capacity) is crucial for long-term fitness success. Dr. Jordan highlights the significance of growing work capacity as a foundation to build on. It’s not just about enduring longer workouts — it’s about enhancing the body’s ability to recover and respond to physical demands. 

High-intensity sessions, such as sprinting or heavy lifting, are essential, but your training week should be balanced with lower-intensity workouts and recovery days. By spending the majority of your exercise time on lower-intensity, longer-duration workouts, you can build a solid base that supports overall health and prepares your body for more challenging exercises. 

This equilibrium not only helps prevent burnout, but also ensures your training is comprehensive and caters to different aspects of fitness, like endurance, flexibility, and strength. 

Recovery: Your secret weapon

Recovery is also the unsung hero in your fitness journey. It’s not merely about rest—it’s an active and essential process where the body adapts to the stresses it has encountered. 

Sleep plays a pivotal role in both physical restoration and cognitive function, mood regulation, and hormonal balance. Nutritionally, your recovery involves replenishing energy stores and providing the nutrients necessary for muscle repair and growth. 

Valuing and prioritizing your recovery is an essential habit to build so you can bounce back with energy the next day to exercise again and build a long-term fitness routine. 

The power of consistency 

Finally, the impact of consistency in your workouts cannot be overstated. Setting realistic goals, tracking your progress, and celebrating small victories are crucial components of a successful fitness journey. 

Consistency is a key motivational factor and can be the difference between fleeting enthusiasm and long-term commitment. Not one singular workout is going to change your fitness — it’s an accumulation of small, regular steps over time. 

Fitness, as Dr. Jordan highlights, is a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. It’s about understanding and respecting your body’s response to various stimuli, whether it be stress, recovery, or different types of training. This journey is not just about achieving immediate goals, but rather fostering a sustainable lifestyle that integrates physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

In this evolving path, each step is a learning opportunity that contributes to a more vibrant and healthier self. At Hydrow, we believe in empowering you with the knowledge and tools to make this journey successful, one step at a time.