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Memories Are Built On Movement


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I was leading a group hike in San Marcos and having a great conversation with a woman that was talking about the amazing experiences she has had in her life. She and I were discussing how important little and big moments are in life. She was and is a vigilant person when it comes to her health and well being.

As we rounded a steep hill and came up on the ridge to see the sun burning off the morning fog I was talking about how she was able to what she enjoyed doing. She would not be able to have so many memorable moments in her life sitting in her house. She had to physically move. She had to perform simple and complex movements not only for everyday life activities but other ones that facilitate what she did for work and for enjoyment.

There are times in our life where our focus is on movement. When we are younger it is a learning process discovering our world. Then as we get a bit older and playing is a large part of our development we move in so many ways. As adults, both parts may fall off where jobs, careers or raising a family can become our priority. Injuries sharpen our attention on our bodies as to what we are unable to do or are aware of pain when moving in certain ways.

I challenge you – be more aware of how much movement is a part of your life. It should not have to take injury or pain for you to recognize this. Making this connection is a step in the direction to practice better ways of moving. Sitting back and not being proactive can lead to restrictions on what you can physically do. As you find ways to improve how you move that not only facilitates better movements…but also more memories!

 

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Baby Boomers Guide to Better Movement – Vol 2


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Do Complex Movements

Everyday life activities involve complex movements. Rarely do we isolate one specific muscle when carrying out our daily lives. Not convinced? Think about getting into a car. There are many ways to get into a vehicle depending on how high it is off the ground. However, we don’t just sit down like we do into a chair. At some point, at the least – these things are in play: balance, flexibility, agility, and strength.

Thus, moving better in life involves incorporating complex movements. Walking is more than just using your legs, it also incorporates balance and agility when there are obstacles in the way. Think of these complex movements another way…often when we do move in life we move with weight or moving weight. Carrying groceries, pushing a shopping cart or picking something off the floor are all ways we move that are complex movements. So don’t overthink this idea!

With all of that in mind (pardon the pun)…your ability to perform these movements is something that is not just physical but mental also. Practicing movements is good for your brain.

Examples include:

  • Lateral lunge/step to the side to balance.
  • Squat to medicine ball push out.
  • Performing standing curls or presses with a foot stance that challenges your balance.
  • Starting at the 1/2 kneeling position and then coming up to standing.

 

Be Able To Get Down The Floor & Back Up

The ability to bring yourself all the way to the ground and back up to standing is probably something that was an afterthought when we were kids. As we get older we may not play as much especially if we don’t have kids or even pets. When the kids are old enough that getting on the floor is not a priority you may not do it as often. For some individuals getting to the floor is not only difficult but it is scary…because they are not confident or able to get back up. This is something that I want all of my clients and you to not be afraid of doing.

That inability and/or lack of confidence is huge. That can greatly increase the chances of falls and injuries. Looping back into the previous section of complex movements…this for sure is a complex movement!

For some ideas on ways to practice this click here. However you do it, don’t worry if it is not perfect. Practice makes better. The more you practice and have that confidence the more you can keep the chances of falls low. If it is easy for you there are many ways to make a floor to standing exercise more challenging.

Do What Works For You – Consistently

It is easy to be assaulted with what works in regards to better movement to improve your quality of life. You may have friends or family that have found success with certain workout routines, diets or gadgets that keep them on track in regards to what they should be doing. End of the day those that tout their success have one thing in common – consistency.

When you just walk every once in a while or go to an exercise class when the spirit finds you then it is not a recipe for progress. It is true that sometimes you may not feel like doing that activity. It is important that you stick to a consistent schedule of movement. It does not have to be the same thing, but a consistent schedule of movement can reap many benefits. You will see that over time there may be a plateau of your progress. When those times happen do not fall into the trap of automatically choosing more volume of whatever activity you are doing.

Variation or variety can be your key to maintaining your quality of life or improving it. For example, instead of going for a leisurely walk outside or on the treadmill – increase your pace. In this instance stick to the mileage, you usually cover and ramp up that intensity to add that variation to your usual walk and make it more of a challenge.

Be Attentive To Your Hearing & Vision

What do your hearing and vision have to do with better movement? Actually much more than you may think…other than the obvious. Everything is connected! Poor vision can negatively affect your balance. Click here to read more about that. This is about your vestibular system.  Curious to know that is involved with that amazing function of our bodies? Check out this overview of the human balance system.

Your ability to hear is connected to more than just than that sense. Hearing loss can bring an increased risk of falls. Yes! Read more about it here.

Don’t Neglect Stability 

First, let’s start with a definition of stability and go from there. American Council on Exercise defines it as: “the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.” Feel free to read more about it here.

Does that help? If not – think about this idea. Think about owning a movement. I am sure you are familiar with the basic dumbbell bench press. The person is on their back on a bench and pressing two dumbbells up and bringing them back down. For sure, there is a time and place to move those weights up quickly. On the other hand can that person “own” that movement and slow it down a bit so there is less momentum so they are forced to be in control of the entire exercise.

What kinds of exercises can improve your stability? Honestly in the right situations slowing down the movement so there is less momentum is one of the best ways to do that. Another example is the dumbbell curls. You could throw up that dumbbell and let gravity pull it back down and do as many reps as possible. Yet a test of stability that is the foundation of strength is raising that dumbbell with the control without much momentum.

Build Your Core Strength and Stability

The core is much more than a 6-pack. Your core muscles are more intertwined with your body outside of that square area below our chest. Learn more about your core muscles here.  Our posture, how we move, sit and carry out our daily life all fires off our core muscles.  A good way to keep lower back pain away is to do core strength and stability exercises. This does not mean doing crunches all day.

Sure you may know about crunches. I personally am not a fan of them as it can lead to neck pain and does not really hit multiple areas of the core musculature. I am a fan of the dead bug exercise. I could write an article about why I do…but why recreate the wheel? Check out Tony Gentilcore’s article about this and also study his videos on mistakes people often make.

Also, all core exercises should not be on the ground. The reason is that we also are using things like balance or strength when we do utilize our core muscles…so why not do that when we are challenging our bodies to improve our core strength? Check out some examples below in the video.

 

 

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50+? 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Strength Training


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Generally, when the words strength training are said we think about Olympic athletes or those individuals in gyms with bulging muscles lifting heavy weights.  Without a doubt, they are strength training. You don’t need to be a superhero…or look like one to reap the benefits of strength training. Also, strength training is not only for the youngins. Everyone should be doing it!

1.

You Need Strength For Your Everyday Life Activities

I see it happen often. Individuals underestimate either how strong they are or how strong they can be. This happens in a gym setting where they may be disconnected to everyday life. Of course, it could be their unfamiliarity with weights. Yet your ability to lift luggage, a bag of groceries and shovel show all take strength. I promise you a gallon of milk weighs more than two pounds. Yet at the same time, a client will insist that she can pick up 2 or 5-pound weight. Do you travel? The maximum amount of weight carryon luggage is currently at 40 pounds. You may have wheels on it but at some point, you have to pick it up and put in the car or pick it up off of the ground. Standing up takes leg and core strength. Sometimes you may be holding something or someone. Do you want to always ask for help getting up or help to put your luggage in the overhead bin?

In everyday life what we move, pick up or carry often does not have the weight stamped on it. Nor are things exactly evenly weighted in everyday life. Even if you do not have a manual labor job – even an office job involves lifting boxes or other everyday feats of strength. Retirement is not best spent on the couch. If you are retired the world is your oyster. Chances are you are living your best life and every day is a weekend. Traveling and being as active as you want all encompass being strong enough to enjoy not having to answer to anybody.

You may have the fear or concern of hurting yourself while strength training. Perhaps you have hurt yourself in the past or want to learn about better form. Even if either or both are true then reach out to qualified professionals that are looking for people just like you to help get stronger.

Also, don’t forget that elephant in the room…BONE DENSITY.

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2.

Strength Can Translate To Confidence In How You Move

Nobody likes feeling helpless. You don’t enjoy being injured or unable to do a task or movement that you see others do with ease. You don’t need a psychology degree to understand the emotional and mental value in moving throughout life knowing you can use your body the way you want.

Read this great article in Self.com about women and the benefits they have seen from strength training. Click here to read it. There is a substantial connection to the emotional benefits of strength training. It is great to see that lightbulb go off when women recognize that they are physically stronger than they thought they were!

If you do play sports the benefits of strength training may already resonate with you. Although there are other things in play like agility, balance, or flexibility…strength is an important component. Are you are a runner? You need to be doing strength training too! Being able to “dig” stronger and more efficiently can help you run better, faster and edge closer to your PRs.

Do you claim not to be an athlete or play sports? I am sure you already see the trick question here. You still have events every day. You do squats, lunges, deadlifts, walk, lift, twist, pull, push every day. Being able to perform all of those movements with ease, or with more ease is key to having the quality of life that you deserve.

There are exercises that mirror everyday life movements or help facilitate better movement in everyday life for a reason!

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3.

Strength Training Has No Age Limit

You are never too old to strength train. Like anything as we get older our priorities change. You understand that to be able to move your body is what is important. There may still be some aesthetic motivation…but trying to get a 6-pack is not as important as being able to play with your grandkids on the floor or having the ability to continue working if you so desire.

If you desire you can still do some movements that not only take strength but are fun and make you feel strong…like the tire flips below.

How can she do this? Why did I have her do this? Martha’s squat form and ablity to squat well with weight translate to flipping the tire. There is some pushing involved with her hands, but when she gets down low to drive up with her legs and hips that is 80% of the work.

The main thing to impress upon you is the necessity for you to strength train and challenge your body. It can be done through bodyweight exercises at first if that is your level of strength. Then in time adding some sort of resistance is key. It does not have to be dumbbells, resistance bands can provide an often underutilized way of increasing muscular strength. Moving with resistance or weight is important to maintain or improve your quality of life. Strength training is for you!

 

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Thoughtful Movement


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It is much more convenient when you don’t really have to think when you are moving. Things become second nature. In everyday life, it can be a plethora of things. We go on autopilot often and muscle memory kicks in.  But there was a time we had to think and focus on how we moved. You were thinking more when we were learning.

It is like when you first learned how to ride a bike or even drive a car. You were probably hypersensitive to your balance and your speed when you were learning how to ride a bike.  As for driving a car balance was not an issue…but all of the things you had to do (check your rear mirror, then your side mirror, check out your speed, turn your signal on, watch for that stoplight) was kind of a sensory overload. Soon all of that calmed down and you got it. It became second nature.

As for your movement now it is a bit different. Perhaps you don’t play as much as you used to do when you were younger. Maybe you are tired of being beat over the head about exercise with a capital E. It could be you feel disconnected from your body.  Whatever it is, you know you need to do something, and you are trying.

I still challenge you to be engaged. If you dance – get into it. Let the music take you but reconnect with your body and play with your movement. If you are going to the gym or doing more conventional ways of exercise don’t just go through the motions. Study. Learn. (…and trying to say you are old won’t fly with me!) I don’t mean be a perfectionist about form. I mean notice your breathing. Learn about the importance of creating tension in your body during a movement and notice how that feels. If you do work with a trainer still don’t turn your brain off. Notice how much weight you are moving with. Be a good student and learn. Take ownership of your sessions.

Exercise is good for your brain and there are definitely ways to move that make you think and be more aware. It can be more like riding a bike again. This way of engaging does not stop at strength or conditioning…stretching and moving in ways to increase your mobility should be a mindful activity too.

You may come up against a barrier. It could be a physical barrier of a range of motion or a mental barrier as to something you think you cannot do or a movement that once lead to injury. Listen to that and don’t pack that away. Being aware of that and allowing that feeling to sit in the present is all about thoughtful movement.

Your brain was firing on all cylinders when you learned something for the first time. Those first times are still now and in your future. You just have to be open to learn, seek out advice and try different things. Allow yourself to learn how to ride a bike again. It can be scary but also exciting and stimulating. Again, you are never too old to learn. You can create more neurological pathways at any age. Read more about it here.

Get on that metaphorical bike & learn. Make mistakes. Avoid comparing your progress to others. Fall and get back on. It is all part of the process of better movement. It feels new and different.

Walk towards more thoughtful movement 🙂

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Balance: The Program Running In The Background


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Your computer, phone or other technology that you use has things going on right in front of you. You make calls, work on documents, send e-mails or other things when you make use of that device. You don’t need to know how exactly your device works to know that there is usually something else going on the background. We usually realize that when things slow down because the program in the background is affecting the main task at hand.

Shifting the focus from your technology to your own body – let’s think about the technology of you. You are out to run errands. You walk out to your car and while shifting something in your hands to free the others you then open your car door and get in. You get to the store, shop and come back home.

The entire time. Every step. The program of balance was running. It ran in the background keeping you steady and on your feet while moving, shifting your weight and carrying things.

Usually, we only notice that a program of balance running when it becomes the main focus or concern of a movement. For instance, you are walking on a narrow surface and want to avoid stepping off of the edge. Or you are balancing with one foot raised to see how long you can do it. Especially when you trip on something and are trying to avoid falling it is a focus. Your focus is all about your balance and moving without falling over. On the flip side, we also notice our balance when our ability to keep our balance while moving has eroded. For example, you notice when you have to really concentrate on not falling when changing direction quickly, getting in and out of a chair or just walking quickly.  All of these instances could be a signal that your balance has eroded.

There is no need to wait until you notice the signs. There is no benefit to waiting and increasing the risk of falling. Also be aware of other things to check like your vision, medication you take or even your hearing. They can negatively affect your balance.

Click here to read about a study that reported how impaired vision can affect your balance.

Click here to learn about how medication can negatively affect your balance.

Click here to find out about research that links hearing loss can increase the risk of falls.

Be proactive. Find ways to dynamically challenge and improve your balance.

Click here to go to the Balance Video Series and find ways to improve your balance.

 

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The Baby Boomers Blueprint To Better Movement – Vol 1


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Your generation is very diverse however in between all of the different lifestyles and priorities there is one idea, in particular, you intersect on. That point is the ambition to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Largely, the first thing that comes to mind are the things you enjoy doing. Next are the things that you need to do in your life and everyday life. However your priorities fall, better movement plays a powerful role in doing what you want to do when you want to do it.

Here are some things to keep in mind to give you some structure.

Avoid Protecting

Pain sucks. I get it. An injury is not fun either. We remember when we were injured especially if it greatly impeded our everyday life. Perhaps after we have healed that episode is imprinted in our head. You may move a bit differently. You may move in ways to avoid that injury that happened. It can include moving more within our range of movement, thus moving less in ways to protect something like our backs. Possibly this is affecting your breathing and you are holding your breath more. You may also be tighter in some areas and not even aware of it because you are engaging certain muscles for longer than you used to do.

Obviously, there is a mental and physical part of the pain. They are intertwined very well.

But there has to be room for movement. There needs to be room to discover ways to improve things like your strength, stability or become more aware of how you are compensating in your movements. Making room for movement does not mean throwing caution to the wind, ignoring pain or acting like you never were injured in the first place. Making room instead includes learning how you can reduce the chances of it happening again through ways of movement or breathing. Making room includes variations like an assisted squat instead of a bodyweight squat. Making room can also include seeking out qualified professionals that can help you. You don’t have to do this alone.

Step Into Strength

Physical strength is used in our daily life. This does not diminish as we get older. Your priorities may have changed in regards to your physical stature but your body still thrives from strength. Leg strength is one of the indicators of your mortality rate. If you do walk that is great. However, strength training builds that foundation for a lower extremity that can take on the terrain of various levels and softness. Building strength means fighting some sort of resistance. Things like claiming that you don’t squats, deadlifts or lunges in real life leads to avoiding the exercises you need to be doing. You do variations of all three exercises in your daily life including pulling, pressing and twisting. Reaching for the lightest weight possible does not translate to lifting, carrying and placing a heavy bag of groceries on the ground.

Stay On Balance

Balance is not a physical attribute. Balance is not a measurable thing like height and weight. It may not be the sexiest like impressive feats of strength or some flexible yoga pose. However, the ability to have the balance to move throughout your life is easy to take for granted. As you move…think of balance is a program running in the background. It runs in the background when you are walking down the street, mounting stairs or picking something up off the floor. That program is running when an obstacle is in your way or when you are carrying the groceries inside.  Don’t wait until the warning signs come to the forefront of balance that has eroded. Remember – your life involves movement. When you do work to challenge and improve your balance incorporate movement.

Train For What You Enjoy

Your life involves movement. Especially when it comes to the things we enjoy doing, we want to be able to move well. You don’t need to be some daredevil to justify practice so you can move better. It should be pretty straightforward – you enjoy golf, swimming, running or hiking? Why not learn how to be stronger, more agile confident and just plain better at those things?  Even if activities like that are not on your list of things to do – again life involves movement. Your life involves various strength exercise, things that take core strength, movements that demand balance and agility.  That joy of movement is what makes things enjoyable and memorable.

Get Out Of Your Head

I don’t know who came up with the quote but loosely paraphrased – the gains largely happen on the days that you don’t want to exercise. When we feel like rocky it is easy to exercise however you see fit. It is those days when it is a bad week, you are not feeling strong or something is just off. Also, don’t expect every time you move to be some monumental step of progress. Often we are practicing a movement and working to perform at it better. We all have different lengths to achieve the goal of a better movement. Lastly, setbacks happen to the best of us and listening to your body is ever so key as we get older.

Sometimes the truth is that you may not be able to do some things physically like you used to do. That does not mean you should give up on learning other ways to move. If you keep on drawing lines in the sand as to what you will not do or try soon you are stuck in a small box of movement. That restriction does not bode well for a quality of life that allows you to do what you want to do – when you want to do it.

Also striving for perfection when it comes to exercise in its various forms can be problematic. Striving to move better and moving towards a goal of moving better than yesterday is a better way to think about exercise. This does not mean you are taking things easy. It just means that moving better is a process. We all have different ways of learning and the rates of which we progress.

Volume Is Not The Holy Grail

Increasing volume in ways like spending more hours exercising, adding more weight or increasing reps is not necessarily the path that leads to a better quality of life. So what if you are walking or jogging for an hour? Is it a leisurely pace and you are wondering why you are not seeing an increase in your cardiovascular health? So what are ways to tweak a workout other than volume?

Four ways to change up the way you move are Time, Intensity, Duration or Variation.

Time

Using the running example, time can be a factor. How far can you get in 20 minutes?

Intensity

The question posed above can also apply to intensity because you are picking up the intensity of the run. Also, you could do some sort of intervals. Let’s say 800 you go at “race pace” and then the next 800 you back off and go slower. You do this for 3 miles.

Duration

Yes, this is volume here. You run for an hour. Of course generally, in this instance, you will not be pushing the pace. You are focused on staying steady and a pace you can stick to. However don’t get comfortable. After you are doing well then it is time to see if you can cover more distance.

Variation

This could be cross training or other ways of running. Maybe you are doing some agility drills like high knees, quick backpedaling or lateral shuffles. All of these and more contribute to you being a more agile and body aware runner.

Do What You Know You Should Be Doing

There are some things that we should be doing that don’t involve a doctor’s prescription, recipe or a how-to manual.  Don’t play dumb. We all are guilty of it. Nobody is good at everything.

Often we gravitate towards some new trend, new diet or fast lane to a healthier us. The boring stuff gets left on the curb. Don’t let that boring stuff get left behind in your routines. Need an example? I am sure you have heard all of the statistics about how much percentage of our bodies are water and the importance of hydration. Yet how many excuses have you given as to why you are not drinking enough water?

  1. It is boring.
  2. It does not taste like much.
  3. I keep forgetting.
  4. There is water in my coffee (So basically, I get enough water).
  5. I don’t like the way it tastes.
  6. I know I should but…

Drink your water, come on. Find what works for you whether it be a bigger water bottle, some sort of routine or a ribbon tied around your wrist. Dehydration is a road that can lead to bad compensations and results.

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How Much Do You Want it?…A Better Quality of Life.


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I had a great soccer coach when I was in High School. He turned our team around from dismal seasons to a nearly undefeated record. He instilled in us the drive to improve and to work together during that process. One of the things he said a lot was, “ how much do you want it?” He wanted to pull out of us that drive to be a better team with more wins and more success for the school. His saying can ring true to many aspects of our lives and ambitions.

Often clients answer their own questions when it comes to things that should change to meet their goals. I worked with a woman in her mid 40’s that was in good shape but she wanted to lose some weight. She had a respectable exercise regime of 4 days a week and she was no couch potato. I asked her what she was eating these days. She blurted “oh I love sugar, I know that is my problem.”

She answered her own question, but she still wanted a tough workout to help her lose weight. Sure she could use some tweaks to her workouts. But she quickly admitted that those yummy m&ms were a large contribution to her weight gain. She still kept eating them. How much did she really want to reduce the sugar in her diet?

Another quick story. I hiked with a woman that used hiking poles during her hikes. They can be a great tool for those that do walk. Her balance was pretty good from the brief time I was hiking with her. She mentioned the next day that she noticed that her balance was not what it used to be. She wanted some ideas about exercises she could do to improve her balance when she had the time. I proposed that she leave the hiking poles in her room for her hike. Why? She could also use that opportunity during a hike to practice better balance. Yes, she would have to go a bit slower and focus. However, hiking was the perfect opportunity to improve her balance. It may be a bit uncomfortable and should have to go slower – how much did she want to improve her balance?

When it comes to improving the quality of your life there is no magic pill, 30-day turnaround or one-size-fits-all workout. It takes time. Especially if you have lived years of inactivity, ignoring tightness and pain or only wanted to do easy exercises you may be facing a wake-up call.  The truth is that it takes time, effort and patience to improve or maintain the quality of your life through fitness. Wanting a better quality of life should not influence unsafe or unhealthy ways of forcing the issue.  Improving the way you move is one habit to get into. There may be other lifestyle habits that you may need to learn (or unlearn!).

The benefits of taking this motivational saying to heart reach far to our everyday life. It does not have to be perfection. It does not mean working out 7 days a week and on a strict diet of broccoli and water (which sounds pretty miserable!). It means making small choices that add up to improve your quality of life.

Drink more water. Move more every day. Get enough sleep. Reduce the amount of sugar you are drinking and eating. Get stronger. Improve your balance. Move in different ways to challenge yourself. Enjoy how you move better.

If you have physical restrictions consult qualified professionals that can give you ideas on how you can improve the way you move. Make time to improve the quality of your life. Stop making excuses on what you don’t have time to do. Stop using your age as an excuse.

How much do you want it? 

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The Power of Patience When Improving the Quality of Your Life


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One word can be a driving forward force or a weight that can hold you back from reaching goals that involve improving the quality of your life.

Patience.

When it comes to patience and improving the quality of our life being patient with ourselves and the process is what the bricks that line the street to our goals are made of. This could be patience in listening to your body after an injury and to adjust, recover and learn from what happened. Or being patient and understanding that losing weight takes time, regaining your mobility takes time, getting stronger takes time, as does regaining your body awareness. None of these happen overnight. Understand that chiseling away at any of these takes time.

If you are working to regain something like strength or balance – understand that it did not erode overnight. That took time. The kind of strength training you were doing was not sufficient or consistent enough. Think about the amount of time it took for your balance to become so challenged that you started noticing it. It was more than a span of weeks or months. That took years. Initially, it may not have even been noticeable. Perhaps as it became apparent it was not addressed.

Think about how over the years bad posture can add up. For example, wearing shoes that are not good for your body (like heels!). Or ignoring a nagging tightness that adds up to some sidelining pain. It has a snowball effect.  I don’t point this out for you to beat yourself over the head about that amount of time.

I instead point this aspect of time to give you a perspective. I understand if you are frustrated and want that goal for your health to be reached tomorrow. Especially in this day and age of instant gratification, instant text messages and especially ads that infer that they can get you quick results you become accustomed to thinking like that. Often this is not the case. If it does happen it can be questionable if that movement improvement is truly sustainable.  Recognize instead the power in doing something about your health and well-being. That empowerment can be exciting and stimulating. This commitment takes work and I see and hear many testimonials from individuals that have come far because of their own work and the help of other people.

Obviously being patient and giving excuses are completely different. For example, being patient while improving your hip mobility does not mean doing mobility exercises every once in a while. Instead, this means being patient with not seeing immediate results when consistently doing the mobility exercises. This patience includes recognizing the small improvements as they add up to big ones. Setbacks are frustrating and they can shatter our patience. You are human and you feel things. After you allow yourself to feel what you feel – while pressing reset and putting the pieces back together, be patient with the rebuilding process. As you put the pieces back together, think about how that setback happened and how you contributed to it.

Finally, Practice patience with your process. You could feel as if you are doing all of the right things and you are not seeing the results that you seek. Nothing can be more frustrating than that feeling. If you feel stuck improving the quality of your life, reach out to allies, fitness professionals and other qualified health professionals who can guide you down the right path to your goals. When you find someone you trust that takes your goals and interests to heart, understand that they see the long-term benefits to seemingly sometimes small choices.

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The 10 Whys for Investing in a Fitness Professional


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When you invest in something there is an expectation to see some sort of return. It can be in form of money or in a way that progress is seen in the eyes of the individual making that investment. Investing in your health is a long-term investment where progress is seen over time.

Investing in a fitness professional is a choice made that should not be taken lightly. But why should you make that choice?

1.

You want someone else to be accountable to.

Even if you have never done sports you have been in situations where you have done better because someone was guiding you and pushing you to succeed.  You not only wanted to do well for yourself but felt accountable to them.

This extra amount of motivation can be a great driving force to improve your quality of life. It can motivate you to not only stay focused but be that extra push when otherwise you may have done something else. It cannot be ignored that this accountability can also extend to your daily life. As improving one’s quality of life does not end at the end of your session…you may be better at making smart choices during the day.

2.

You are stuck.

You are not seeing the results you want to see (or used to see). Or you are not sure how to practice moving better. You know that you need to exercise but you are unsure how to. Maybe you are overwhelmed walking into that large gym in your city. In addition to new things like kettlebells or TRX, you have an idea that using them could be good for you…but you don’t want to hurt yourself in the process.

So you want to ask for help. You don’t need someone to be with you every time you exercise…but maybe once or twice a day out of the week you want help with strength or form and get better at that.

3.

You don’t want to have to be your own trainer.

Perhaps you have some exercises that you enjoy doing. But when you do them it seems to take a lot of time to do your routine and you want to be more efficient. You are busy or just don’t want to have to think about your programming for your workouts. It can be a weight off of your shoulders to know someone else is thinking about how you can move better and put that into action. Although you are not “turning your brain off” during the sessions – you can instead focus on learning.

Especially with the internet, there is a lot of good information out there. There is some bad information too in regards to health and fitness. You have an idea on where you fall in regards to your values and beliefs. With all of this in mind, you can also use a sounding board of someone that is qualified to work with you and your health history.

4.

You want a supplement to your own activities – so you can do them better.

Golf is your game or maybe tennis is. Or you are an avid runner that enjoys competing in triathlons, road races or trail races. You are doing well but want a secret weapon in your corner. As a competitor, you understand that solid training will lead not only to do the best you can do but also lessen the chance of injury during the event.

You want your coach to hone in on your passion for competition and understand the process of training and tapering before an event. Nothing is more rewarding than putting in the time and effort into preparing for an event and feeling the hard work pay off during it.

Lastly, you may be looking to manage and whittle away current injuries. Thus, stretching and tapping into your coach’s network for massage therapists is a great way to get a solid referral instead of a guessing game.

5.

You know of friends and family that have excelled with theirs.

Friends or family are getting compliments because they are looking good and moving much better than they used to be. They proudly tell you that they have a personal trainer. They may have had to go through a couple until they found the right fit but eventually, they found someone that listens to them, “meets them where they are” and helps them reach their goals. It could be face to face or in this day and age, it could be an online trainer.

6.

All signs are pointing to this.

You know you need to improve your quality of life. Your doctor is giving you another stern talking to about your health and what needs to change. You have done some exercise on your own and are enjoying your results but you feel as if you can do better. Or your significant other or close family member is encouraging you to do something, anything to reduce chances of disease or disability.

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is exercising its power over you. Click here to read about it! This is when something that you have noticed or been told about starts popping up everywhere. You talk to someone about maybe investing in a trainer and then you start seeing signs everywhere.  Maybe this blog post is a part of it! 🙂

7.

You want to maintain or improve your quality of life.

From reading various news sources and books you know that you want to reduce the chances of disability and disease as the years go by. If retired, you want to do what you have always wanted to do with all of the time in the world. Perhaps you have the health history of parents or relatives that you want to reduce the chances of being diagnosed with.

Possibly you have family or friends that you have seen suffer or deteriorate because of their sedentary life. Or you know of others that have tried to work out on their own (maybe you too) but still keep losing interest and restarting on occasion. Thus, you would appreciate a coach to keep you on track.

8.

You don’t know how to use the fill-in-the-blank equipment.

You may see them or hear of these:

  • Different weight machines
  • BOSU
  • TRX
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance Bands

Of course, the list may go on. You have seen YouTube Videos or even people using them at your gym. However, you are hesitant to just hop on and give it a shot without knowing proper form. It is understandable that you may be overwhelmed and not know where to start. Or you may even question if all of the new things are really needed to help you reach your goals? Is it to be for strength, conditioning both or more?

Some gyms do give a quick introductory walkaround of the equipment. Usually, that is bookmarked by a session with a trainer. Perhaps you see someone working out and you ask them how do use it but you don’t want to interrupt their workout.

9.

You read many articles about fitness but want advice and guidance specifically geared to you.

A fitness journey is a life-long one. This journey is not one-size fits all. Your body is different than the next persons. You may see many advice columns about what do to. Maybe you have implemented some of the advice into your life and they have worked to some extent. However, you are missing the personal attention to your life, schedule and your personality. You are equipped with a lot of knowledge but would appreciate some guidance.

10.

You are ready to make a change in your life.

This is probably one of the most important on the list. The reason is if you are not ready to make a positive lifestyle change that can be the elephant in the room that you cannot escape. There is something called the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of Behavior Change that has five stages of change. You can read more about them here on the American Council on Exercise’s website. Click here.

To put this simply – if you are not convinced that any of the various forms of exercise should be something that is a priority for your quality of life then that is a significant issue. Could you just invest in a personal trainer and expect them to motivate you and convince you to show up at each session and put forth the effort? I hope you answered no. This is not about having a bad day, being tired or going through things in your life  – which happens to all of us. If you are not ready to make a change you are not seeing the value in physical activity in your daily life.

Making a change can be anything. This change could be getting up early before work to exercise. Or this change could be cutting back on a sedentary lifestyle and instead of being more active in your everyday life also (i.e. taking the stairs instead of the elevator). The change could be as simple as recognizing that you need to improve the quality of your life – you may not know exactly how but that is okay. The important thing is that you are open to learn new things and make the time to move better in life. YOU have to make that realization that your health should be a priority of yours. Regardless of how good a personal trainer is he or she cannot be the single source of motivation. This is a team effort!

When you are ready to make a change it could be acknowledging something like wanting to lose weight or get stronger. I challenge you to go deeper than that. Think about how you would feel or be able to do if you reached your goal. Especially if your goal is just about the numbers…what would you do after you reached that goal? …just food for thought. Already having such deep conversation with yourself will help you be a better “investor.”

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The Rocks, Pebbles & Sand of Movement


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You may be familiar with the Rocks, Pebbles and Sand Story (aka Jar of Life Story). If you are not it is a great little story that reminds us of what is important in life. Take two minutes and watch it here.

I will wait…

Obviously, the message that this story brings displays what is really important in life. Without a doubt.

After thinking about this story it can also apply to improve the way you move by prioritizing. Now that you know what this story is about I will break up how we move in 3 parts: rocks, pebbles, and sand. This is not an exhaustive overview…but it will give you an idea of prioritizing how you practice better movement.

Rocks

The rocks of movement are what we have to do to carry on with our everyday life. This can include:

  • Getting in and out of bed.
  • Going to the bathroom.
  • Walking with agility and balance so we don’t fall.
  • Picking things (or little people) up, carrying them and putting them in other places.
  • Getting into and out of the car (which can involve pulling & climbing).
  • Being able to turn our head to look for things.
  • Navigating uneven terrain along with inclines and decline.
  • Clothing and bathing ourselves.
  • Taking care of our children/family.
  • Carrying babies, pushing strollers and spending time on the floor.

Some that see this list may feel that it is mundane. If that is the case then these activities are not arduous or take much thought.  Or you or a family member may have problems doing this, there may be some compensation to perform them or at the most extreme – someone is helping them do it.

These rocks of movement are imperative to be able to do. A vacation is different when you are not able to get up, move, put your clothes on or other movements on your own.

Because these are the rocks of movement it is so undeniably important that we practice moving better so can either move better or with less discomfort…or continue to be able to do them.

Pebbles

The pebbles of movement can include what we do for a living or who we care for. This can include:

  • Sitting for long periods of time (don’t worry I will talk about this below)
  • Being on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Lifting heavy weight and placing it elsewhere.
  • Walking long distances
  • Professional/Amateur Sports
  • Manual labor
  • Carrying babies, pushing strollers and spending time on the floor
  • Caring for older individuals

This is what we do that can involve different ways of moving aside from everyday life activities. It can be a movement that we should practice so we avoid injury (like mobility or strength). On the flip side if we sit all day our posture will be affected. Also, the footwear that we are wearing can also affect us. We should be aware of the pebbles that should be developed so they don’t erode. We should also be aware of the pebbles that can negatively affect how we move and find ways to reduce that chance.

In other words, you have to think about what your pebbles are. Especially you have chronic pain or tightness in these pebbles it is time to assess how to eliminate them. Our pebbles are what we need to do so we can live a comfortable life however we define it.

Need an example? What if your job involves picking things up and putting them in various places. That not only involves your arms but your legs, core…yes your entire body. This video below also applies to the rocks! You reach to pick up things all the time.

Sand

The sand of movement can include what we do for fun or ways of movement that have a greater chance of injury if not performed correctly. This can include:

  • Sports
  • Competing in half-marathons obstacle course races and the like
  • Physical feats like climbing Mountain Everest

What do you do for fun? Golf? Running races? Adrenaline-fueled activities? You could still continue doing what you need to do in your life but this is what makes it so much fun. However, if you ONLY did these that is not good. Why? You should be strengthening your rocks and pebbles so you can reduce a chance of injury and perform at your best!

Think about it this way – if I only ran Marathons every month and nothing else I would not be at my best. Why? I would not be working on strengthening my legs, core and entire body for the event. Also, any pain and tightness coming from not addressing the mileage I am putting on my body will affect how I live my daily life and also my job. It is not fun when you are hobbling around the house or have to do your job is awkward because of a chronic it band tightness. At the worst, I may have to stop running marathons because I was not strengthening the foundation of my rocks of movement.

Wrapping up…

You may have different types of sand, pebbles, and sand in your life. The way you practice moving better for the rocks and pebbles is important. If you only take the time to pour all sand in your jar you are neglecting to strengthen your rocks and pebbles. Also, when it comes to improving movement is more than just strength, the ability to move, have the flexibility, coordination, and balance is just as important!

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