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Better Movement in San Diego


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Your generation deserves to be physically able to do what you want and like to do. You deserve to be challenged so you can live life on your terms as long as possible. It is not an anomaly for baby boomers in San Diego and other generations to be strong, resilient and active while enjoying their retirement or enjoying work. There are four areas that you should be investing your time in when practicing better movement: Strength, Balance, Mobility & Cardio.

Strength

In a podcast, I heard recently Dr. Jonathon Sullivan spoke to the necessity of strength training of older adults. Nothing rings true more than this:

“The loss of muscle mass in aging adults is nothing short of a health catastrophe…”

If you are not strong enough to get out of a chair, pick things up, move yourself and other things it can drastically affect your quality of life. Sometimes individuals tell me that they don’t want to get “too muscular.” You need that muscle. It is important to continue or start training now to be stronger. It is never too late to do some form of strength training.

It can be intimidating walking into a gym. You may not know how to use the equipment. It can be a scene of loud noises, egos and so much going on. Most gyms will provide an introductory tour and show you how to use the equipment. That may not be enough. Perhaps it is better for you to work with a qualified professional to show you not only how to use the equipment but also what you can do without machines to increase your strength.

Wherever or however you choose to work in maintaining or improving your strength – using age as your excuse as to what you cannot do will not get you stronger. Often strength training can help you reduce pain, improve movement and indeed confidence. Do you need proof?

The deadlift may have a special name..but you do a version of deadlift every time you pick things up off of the floor. It is a full body movement. You don’t need to be a powerlifter to do some form of this so you can continue using your legs and posterior muscles to move. Here is the story about this woman. Click here to read it.

Balance

I use the example of a program running in the background when it comes to balance. When everything is going well we don’t really think about balance. But when our balance begins to erode it can take actual concentration to ensure that you don’t fall over. Regardless if you think your balance is good or not – challenging it and practicing better balance is important to better movement in life.

Generally, when we think about balance training it is standing on one foot and balancing. Sure that is a good way to perform balance training. You need to start where you are and if that is very difficult then practice it, and be mindful of your posture at the same time. At the same time, consider that movement is part of everyday life. When you are moving you are using your balance. Often balance is part of a complex movement.

Want to see an example of such a complex movement?

I challenge you to fight that initial reaction you may have that you cannot do this. This and most if not all exercises can be broken down into steps…then once someone is ready they can begin to link them together. I don’t downplay that this movement is challenging…there are so many more things in play here than just balance: single leg strength, coordination, core stability, body awareness…. That is everyday life activity!

The statistics for falls is staggering. Click here to check out the stats on the National Council on Aging website. Balance training is one of the pieces of the puzzle to help reduce chances of falls!

Mobility

What the heck does mobility mean?

In the words of Pete McCall in his article in ACE Fitness online magazine he describes joint mobility as something that:

“…relies upon a constantly changing axis of rotation. The muscle, fascia and elastic connective tissue surrounding a joint function to create movement and provide the stability responsible for controlling joint position while it is in motion. Optimal mobility allows a joint to experience full, unrestricted motion while controlling the constantly moving axis of rotation.”

Let’s back up a bit and make sure you understand the knowledge that he is sharing. I will put it in plain words, your optimal movement is when you can move your joints in a path and way that is natural and optimal for your body. This includes things like being able to raise both hands above your head or hip movement that allows you to comfortably walk, run or move without having to compensate how you move elsewhere.

Often I have found it useful for individuals to do some movement in different directions to help improve mobility. It does not need to be groundbreaking, but it can help you reconnect with your body. This is something that everyone, including myself, needs to do more of. If you make time to exercise in its various forms…making time for mobility work is imperative.

Take a look at some of Ruth’s movements below.

 

Cardio

I put this here because you may be expecting or looking for it. Perhaps you do cardio. Walking, treadmill work or hiking. This can be a good way to get outside. This is a great way to relieve stress and get some vitamin D. There are many benefits to cardiovascular training, check out this great article here.

My advice is this. Don’t feel as if you need to become a runner. If you are walking, hiking or running mix things up. I have heard comments on the fact that someone is walking so many minutes a day and is not really seeing any results. Obviously, there are other factors in play..but what is your walk, hike or run like? Change up your intensity, add some incline, or start timing it to see how far you can get in a certain amount of time. Volume – aka the amount of time you are walking or distance is not the holy grail.

Above all, I encourage you do get your cardio in. However, start at the top of the list! Get stronger. There are is a substantial cardiovascular benefit to strength training. Check this article out.

Wrapping it up…

This is not an exhaustive list of what you should be doing to improve your quality of life. That would be too overwhelming! 🙂 Being physically active and incorporating strength training, working on your mobility, challenging your balance will lead you on a good path to continue to be able to live life on your terms. In San Diego and elsewhere, I challenge you to invest the time in various forms of movement!

Lastly – if this all sounds interesting to you… Click here to learn about and sign up for the: Baby Boomers Better Movement Workshop here in San Diego!!

Better Movement Flyer

 

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3 Movement Lessons You Could Take From Children


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There are lessons on movement that we can take from the generation that is still learning how to function in a world that we are so used to navigating.  Here are three lessons that we could learn from them.

  1. Explore your world on your hands and knees

Generally speaking, children crawl, scoot and move around their world on their hands and knees before they can walk. When is the last time you have been down there? Crawling itself is a great movement that is great for your entire body including your brain. Perhaps you do cat camels/cow stretch on your own or in yoga class. Take a step further and just move around. Stretch your neck, legs, and torso in ways that can get your vestibular system working on more cylinders. Vestibular what? Viola… watch and learn below.

Explore the Original Strength Youtube page for good material. Also from a trainers standpoint…if you got down to the floor, you have to get back up again! It is important that you practice getting down to the floor and back up again. This is an easy thing to do until it is not, then practice how to do it in ways that your body allows.

     2.  Do what you enjoy doing

Children have a gift of tunnel vision and are in the moment (yes for better or worse sometimes!). They enjoy little things, big things and all kinds of things. How does that pertain to you? You don’t have to follow the crowds and walk into a gym if you are not comfortable there. There are many ways that you can exercise that doesn’t involve going into a large gym. You could think on the smaller scale and look to see if there are some more boutique gyms that have a welcome environment for you to benefit from some personal training from. If any kind and size of gym is not the most welcome to you then try sports leagues like tennis or golf. Running clubs often have running groups for all levels and probably one for certain age brackets too. Think you are too old to run? Ask Ida Kneeling about that…

   3.  Do some unscripted movement

I dare you to turn some energetic music on and see a child not start reacting to it. Dancing is not the only type of movement that can be unscripted. They also run or move their bodies in various ways.  If you have space get outside and get your hands dirty in the garden. Nobody is out there telling you when you move to the next station or how many reps to do when you are doing yard work. However, there are so many functional movements in yard work. If you don’t have space or ability to cultivate some life outside then find ways to move that don’t have to do with the stereotypical aspects of exercise. Volunteer, help build houses, find ways to move that you enjoy and can reconnect with your body.

Need some more advice from someone older? 🙂

 

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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 To 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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Three Things You Know You Should Be Doing But…


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There are things that we know we should be doing that help improve our quality of life and general health. They are pretty simple. They are often not the most glamorous, page-turning or exciting things. Yet any fitness trends latest drugs or instant gratification aside – not doing these can affect our health in negative ways.

Start with what you know….give yourself credit. You know these things. Be better at doing them. Forget about waiting for new years…every day is a new day!

Drink More Water

You can search for yourself all of the statistics of how much water is in the body, how much water we should drink a day and the like. You know you should be drinking more. You don’t need to watch an exclusive news report or some talk show to get this groundbreaking news. You know this.  Every day you restart your intake. This is a lifelong habit. Making excuses that your organs, skin, brain, and body pay for is not good.

water infographic insta

Get Enough Sleep

Sure, it can be a struggle to get enough sleep every night. Life happens. Stress happens. Insomnia happens. But just letting things run their course and not trying to find a sustainable way to get 7-8ish hours of sleep a night is a bad path to travel. Regardless of how healthy you eat, how rigorous of exercise you get or health craze that is working for you – that can’t replace giving your body the chance to heal, rest and regenerate. Check out the graphic below and click here to read more.

sleep_deprivation_effects_pinterest_crop
Graphic Credit: Healthline.com

 

Move Your Body

Yes you know you should. Your body was never made to sit, ride in a car all day or sit behind a desk. The days are not behind you where you can benefit from exercise in various forms. Your body was made to move. Click here to read here an article posted by American Council on Exercise about just that.

Just move. If you are not a fan of the gym then find some other space or activity to take up. Click here to read a great article posted by Tim of Original Strength about this.

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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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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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Don’t Let A Fitness Coach Coddle You


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You have decided to invest in a personal trainer, or you are considering it. Finding the right personality, style, location, and rates that meet what you are looking for is important.

S/he or they should listen to you about what your goals are. There should be a bit of digging to unearth what you really mean. The reason they should do some digging is –  let’s be honest you may be saying something you have read, someone has told you or you don’t want to look dumb. Usually, there is a bigger reason why you chose this moment in time to move your body more or differently. That is part of the psychology of working with someone as their personal trainer. We as fitness professionals have to listen with more than our ears and ask some probing questions.

After the initial meeting especially during the first couple of sessions your trainer should be paying attention to things like how you move, your range of motion, body awareness and what your actual fitness level is (compared to what you may have said…because sometimes people overshoot or undershoot). During that time it is understandable if your trainer is cautious or wants to focus on creating things like stability before moving to a heavier weight. You should “earn” the right to add more weight or do an advanced movement if you have not mastered a foundational movement. 

Side note…if your coach is not listening to you and your goals or instead of paying attention to how you move they just give you a cookie-cutter workout that is not tailored to you…that is another reason to move on and find someone else to work with!

But is your trainer coddling you? Are they so focused on your age, gender or other factors that they are not really “listening” to your current fitness level? They should be meeting you where you are at…not making assumptions about who you are. 

Two examples of this coddling are: a 75-year-old client walks into the gym without any serious issues walking or balance. That client asked to sit down for the majority of the exercises, always physically “helped” across the gym? At least from those few facts, I would argue – that client is being coddled.

Another example is if a female client is told to stick to the lighter weights after showing that she has the strength and stability to do more than 5lb. Again, she is physically strong enough to do an exercise with a heavier weight. She can do heavier. She wants to go a bit heavier. She enjoys getting and feeling stronger.  Why is that trainer holding her back? It is not about trying to do some dangerous amount of weight when a client is put in an unsafe place. It is about helping someone get stronger. 

A fitness professional should meet you where you are at and introduce some challenge into your sessions over time. The challenges don’t have to be ridiculous.  Subtle changes or options to an exercise can provide the opportunity for a client to have a goal to practice something so they can perform better at it. You don’t need to be (and honestly should not be) crawling out of the gym after a session. 

What should not be happening is a trainer that is “protecting” you in ways that are only holding you back. This coddling can be one of those if-I-see-it-I-know-what-it-is things. It is not about comparing your workouts to other clients in the gym or asking your friends what you did with their trainer. This is about an individual giving you enough respect to see potential in you. 

A fitness professional regardless of how accomplished they are or how many letters after their name should find that sweet spot of safely working with you and at the same time challenging you. It may be a bit out of your comfort zone but nothing unsafe. Obviously, they keep in mind any restrictions you may have when working with you and creating your program. However, treating you as if you are fragile, not strong or capable is only doing you and your body a disservice. 

If you feel this is the case give that professional a chance to explain their process of your sessions. Perhaps there is a rhyme to their reason and progressions are around the corner. Maybe they are working on improving an aspect of your movement and strengthening a foundational movement is a priority. After that conversation, you feel as if that lack of respect is continuing it is time to start shopping around. That relationship needs to end regardless of how much you may like them.  At this point, there is no value to you personally of the services they are providing to you. Clients’ goals and aspirations can differ as much as the next person’s. However, goals of different shapes and sizes all intersect with the idea of progress. Even if you want to maintain your current physical abilities, challenges will facilitate that, coddling will not. 

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Being Thankful for the “Little” Movements in Life


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The holidays are upon us. We are assaulted with ways to spend our money. We are encouraged to focus on the big things. I have already seen my first Christmas tree go by on the road so its that time again. Without a doubt, we are encouraged to spend more money on things that are materialistic or focus on the numbers in our life. It is those big things that we are hit on the head with for now until the end of the year.

We are always guilty of focusing on the big movements: weight, number of pounds lifted, anniversaries, new gadgets etc…

What about the little movements?

Recently I was sitting down with a gentleman during a consult prior to his 3 personal training sessions with me. He was a very interesting individual and began telling me about himself. It was great. However, I was falling into that trap of the big movements. I asked him about what kind of exercise he was doing. He talked about his swimming but then about his son and his life in Tel Aviv. I kept thinking…but what are his fitness goals and how can I help him?

He talked about the fact that years ago he was so overweight that it was a struggle to get out of a chair. He is an attorney. He would wait until his client left the courtroom to struggle to get up because it was such an ordeal. Now he has lost a substantial amount of weight between changing how much he ate and swimming. Yes, the weight aspect was about the numbers…

However how many times have you gotten out of a chair? It is usually an afterthought to many of us. Even with physical restrictions that we may have – there are little movements that we take for granted.

  • Reaching out and grasping a glass.
  • Opening a car door.
  • Turning your head to look behind you.
  • Picking up a gallon of milk.
  • Sitting down and getting out of a chair.
  • Scratching the top of our head.
  • Going for a walk.

These little movements may seem little to those of us that have little to no difficulty in doing it. These little movements can have a huge impact on our quality of life though. Those that have had to put effort and work into being able to do it…or do it again have more perspective than the rest of us.

I encourage you even on your worst day to notice the little movements. Keep on challenging yourself & allowing yourself to be challenged by others to move better in life. Simultaneously revel in those little movements that began when you woke up this morning. Ensure that those little movements continue to be an afterthought. Regardless of your age exercise in its many forms allows you to continue to do what you want to do and like to do in life.

Lastly…back to that gentleman. After I took my trainer hat off and just listened to him I saw the joy he had in his little movement today. He wanted to do some work on the recumbent bike for about 15 minutes. We talked more about his life, family and his perspective on how far he has come. In this instance, it was definitely a situation where he was doing much more for me than I for him in that session.

 

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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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