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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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Fling Yourself at Life


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We all have our own story.

We all have things that we have overcome or challenges we want to overcome. You know what yours is. Whatever your story is… your body is part of that story. Your body is involved in your story. That story about your body is an emotional one. We even attach emotions to parts of our bodies like our heart. When some part of our body is not working the way we want…or not the way it used to be it can affect us.

It can be emotional.

When we were kids we moved our bodies how we wanted to without a thought. We flung ourselves at life, we threw ourselves into playing…could care less about protecting our back and we were not worried about what other people thought.

As the years pass we play less. That is a past tense. We think more about form. We are more concerned about the scale, and we have to think about when we do some sort of movement that can count as exercise. We care more about getting steps in, turning on our gagets and exercise becomes more of something we have to schedule and do…instead of something that just happens.

We blame this “have to” on jobs, kids, life, getting older or because it is too hard or intimidating. Fight your excuse(s). Instead of side stepping, give yourself the permission to care less about how and instead more about what you can do.

Your story that includes your body can include better movement. This movement does not have to be forced. Allow yourself to play. Allow yourself to dance. Allow yourself to turn off the societal norms of what you are supposed to do because of your age or gender. Allow yourself to learn how to do something new.  Discover ways to move that you look forward to doing often.

You will see that if you add more movement to your story your body and mind will reward you.

Fling yourself at life.

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Independence: A Vital Goal For Older Adults


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Whether it is a 50-year-old woman looking forward to retirement, 65-year-old man that wants to reduce the medication he is taking or a 72-year-old woman that wants to go hiking at the Rocky Mountains with her grandkids – they all want independence. Some may have higher levels of independence than others but they intersect at the same idea.

That idea is to do what they want to do when they want to do it.

The key ability is to live longer and live with better quality of life. This opportunity to stay independent for years does not come by being sedentary. This freedom does not come from being complacent. Attaining and maintaining independence comes from a constant vigilance for a better quality of life – and acting on it.

An important part of how to give yourself the opportunity at longer lasting independence is improving the way you move. This improvement is not done by being part of a gentle program that treats you and your body as though as you are frail, without potential and should not be challenged. Instead, you deserve a program that is introduced in a way that meets you where you are now…and challenges you so you can strengthen that foundation of independence.

Use that person or group class that you attend as your supplement (think of vitamins). That program is a part of what you are doing to improve your quality of life. Thus, this program is not the only thing you are doing – but an important part.

In other words, in addition to that program/fitness professional that works with you individually or the group:

  • Keep on playing.
  • Keep on hiking.
  • Keep on enjoying your dance class.
  • Keep on getting outside, getting your hands dirty and gardening.
  • Keep on planning exciting trips near and far…and physically prepare for them.
  • Keep on golfing.
  • Keep on being attentive to your health in other ways. (ie: eyesight and hearing checks, understanding medication side effects, managing chronic diseases)
  • Keep on learning and being creative.
  • Keep on going for walks with your partner, friends or neighbors.

You deserve a program that fits your needs, dreams and desires. Be vigilant about maintaining your independence and quality of life!

 

 

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Exercise Without Assumptions – Train For Agility


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We rarely enjoy it when individuals make assumptions about us based on our beliefs, how we look or our age. When it comes to moving better and exercise don’t let assumptions about your potential hinder you. Regardless of your age, you should be training for a physical experience – life.  I strongly believe that age should not restrict someone from moving better. You can read more about it here.

Agility

Agility is defined by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as:  “how accurately and rapidly a person can change direction; involves the stages of acceleration, stabilization, and deceleration.”

With that definition in mind, a scenario may also help hit it home as to how important agility is.

It is a sunny day in San Diego. You are walking down a sidewalk and a couple is walking the opposite way busy with an excited conversation. One of them was holding their toddler’s hand who has a stuffed animal in her hand. As you say good morning and they pass the toddler decides it a perfect time to toss the stuffed animal right in front of you.  You were walking at a comfortable pace, but stop and quickly step to the side so as not to step on the animal.  You then reach down, pick it up with one hand and quickly catch up with the parents that did not see the “offering” and hand it back to them.

Let’s break this down, in terms of agility.

  1. You had to come to an abrupt stop and simultaneously step to the side.

This is the deceleration that was mentioned in the definition. If you didn’t have the agility (and balance!) coming to an abrupt stop could end in a fall or a trip. Of course, you also had the option to step over the stuffed animal too. That would also be using agility as you would react and step over an object and clearing it so you did not trip.

There is also the simultaneous sidestep. I am sure you guessed by now this takes some coordination to be able to judge how far to move your foot over and stop at the same time once you moved. Again, balance plays an issue as stopping and moving to the side can test ones balance if it has eroded.

  1. You picked up something and simultaneously started moving in another direction.

Here you are not only moving but moving with weight in your hand. Sure, this stuffed animal may not weight much. However, it still takes stabilization to move. Why? You were in a lowered position and pivoted in another direction with the animal in your hand. You had to stabilize and move. If you did not have the agility and balance doing this simple movement could have resulted in a trip or a fall.

  1. You picked up your pace to catch the family.

Acceleration occurred at the point where you grasped the animal and moved in an opposite direction. This aspect of agility is important so you can move quickly and with confidence. It was not a slow walk, as you would not be able to overtake the family. The parents were busy talking to each other so trying to get their attention would not help. Of course, you can argue that you could have decided to keep the stuffed animal for yourself 🙂

Food for thought: How do you think the scenario would have gone if agility was a problem?

I hope that this example helped hit home the importance of agility in everyday life. We all could use some “practice” in agility. You see on TV of athletes doing agility training so they can move better on the field of play. In your life – where you move is your field of play. Click here to read my other post regarding the importance of training for balance too!

Train for agility so you can move with confidence and enjoy the quality of life that you deserve!

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How Fit Can You Be Over 50?


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This question may come to mind when fitness and healthcare professionals strongly encourage various forms of exercise. How much “in shape” or “fit” do I need to be?  Many articles and studies highlight the numerous physical, neurological and cellular benefits to exercise.

The best answer is to turn the question back on you…how fit do you need to be to carry out the physical demands of your everyday life? What can that entail?

  • Sitting down.
  • Getting up.
  • Stepping to the side and reaching for something.
  • Reaching up to get something.
  • Carrying heavy items on one side while walking.
  • Turning to see what is around you.
  • Walking up stairs or on uneven ground.
  • Conditioned enough not to be winded at the top of the stairs.
  • Clothing and bathing yourself.

The list goes on…

This physical ability to carry out everyday tasks is also called your functional capacity.

Another way of phrasing this is – what do you enjoy doing and what do you need to do physically to be able to do it? Vacations? Visiting and playing with grandkids? Hiking trips? Running marathons? Enjoying the sites at a national park? Everything that brings you joy incorporates some sort of movement, regardless if that just means walking across the floor to open the door for a family member.

To answer the question one way: You should be as fit as your life demands.

This idea means you should not structure your life around your bodies limitations especially if they include your functional capacity. Instead, you should practice, exercise, and “train” to be able to do what you want to do easier and with less thought about how your body is moving.

Another way to answer the question is: Be as fit as you can possibly be.

Striving to be fit is a lifelong journey. As we age we may have to adapt and change the ways that we do exercise, but that does not mean we stop challenging ourselves. The more you move better every day you are rewarded with independence, confidence, and peace of mind that you don’t let your age determine what you can or cannot do.

To be clear, being “fit” is more than strength (although it is important, as especially leg strength is associated with morality).

It is also the power to move quickly if necessary.

It is also the agility to be able to walk over and around objects.

It is also the balance to be able to walk, bend, carry things and do things simultaneously.

It is also the mobility and flexibility to move your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, neck, and shoulders.

It is also the ability to be able to get to the ground and stand back up.

 

You CAN be fit over 50. You deserve to live the life you want to live!

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Don’t Ignore The Elephant In The Room – Move Better Now To Keep Your Independence


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There are things that we can count on one hand that we fear as we age. These fears include disease, disability, and dementia. Exercise can reduce the chances of these, ease the symptoms or improve the overall quality of life and health while living with them. Thus, even if you are living with something like Parkinson’s you should still be exercising! Instead of resigning to the idea that all of these just come with age or that there is nothing you can do – I challenge you to take a firm grasp of what you can do and empower yourself.

Below I share some resources and articles that speak to each of these.

Chronic Disease

Dementia

Disability

I encourage you to do your research within and outside these resources. There are fitness professionals like me out there that are looking for people like you to improve your quality of life – whatever quality that means to you! Whatever you do, push yourself to move better so you can better do what you like to do and want to do, easier, better and with less discomfort.

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Squashing The Myths About Exercise for Older Adults-Part 3


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Despite our cultural depictions of aging, we all have the ability to age well with the strength, agility and balance to maintain our quality of life and the activities we enjoy. Traditional exercise programs, and even many fitness professionals, often disregard the ability of mature adults and seniors to maintain and gain qualities like strength and agility.
Regardless of age, we should all make the time to move, exercise, or play. Let’s squash one of the myths that hold mature adults and seniors back from moving better:

#3 Okay…exercise, but just take it easy…
To counter this myth, Fred Devito summed it up with his quote “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
Progress in fitness will only occur over time when you are challenged. Sure, it is important to start off light when you begin a new fitness program, but soon your body will become used to the exercise and a plateau will happen. Progressions should be incorporated that continue to challenge you to move forward. My clients trust that I will push them just enough so they continue to see the results of their hard work, but not to a point of injury or exhaustion. The key to maintaining the right balance of challenge versus safe progression does not require a steep incline, instead the magic word is variability.
For example, if you enjoy walking on the treadmill, instead of going at the same pace for an hour – do intervals. Try 5 minutes at a comfortable pace then 2 minutes at a challenging pace. Keep coming back to the comfortable pace to recover, then ramp up again to stay challenged. Another simple variation to stay challenged is to vary your foot pattern if you enjoy working with dumbbells. Instead of standing neutral (i.e. feet hip-width distance apart) try a staggered stance as thought you’re midway through a walking step with one foot ahead of the other. Not only are you doing your curls but also you are testing your balance and core strength.

We move throughout life engaging multiple body parts simultaneously – so why isolate just one when we are exercising? Train for life!
Don’t let these myths hold you back from living with the quality of life you want! There’s no such thing as too old to exercise. Especially as we age, exercise may become but more about what you can DO rather than just how you look. A healthy fitness program means being able to play with the kids/grandkids, enjoy a good golf game, take that trip of a lifetime, or maybe just get around easily.
It is never too late to train to move better in your everyday life!

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Squashing the Myths About Exercise for Older Adults – Part 1


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Despite our cultural depictions of aging, we all have the ability to age well with the strength, agility and balance to maintain our quality of life and the activities we enjoy. Traditional exercise programs, and even many fitness professionals, often disregard the ability of mature adults and seniors to maintain and gain qualities like strength and agility.

Regardless of age, we should all make the time to move, exercise, or play. Let’s squash one of the myths that hold mature adults and seniors back from moving better:

  1. You will hurt yourself

This myth implies that mature adults and seniors are too frail and weak to exercise and moving will just lead to injury.

That is a just plain wrong. Yes, anyone starting a new exercise program should start off slow and set a foundation based on their current fitness level. Yes, consulting your doctor, getting your eyesight checked, being aware of the effects of medicines, etc. are important considerations. Lastly, yes, it is important to recognize any physical restrictions based on past injuries or current mobility challenges. These are factors to be considered at any age when changing lifestyle or starting a new fitness program.

The key is to recognize these factors and develop exercise options based on this awareness. For example, if walking places too much strain on joints, Nordic walking (i.e. with walking/hiking poles) is an excellent option. These poles actually facilitate an increase in oxygen consumption and energy expenditure by engaging the upper body instead of just the legs.

Contrary to this myth, improved fitness levels actually reduce the chance of injury. People with reduced mobility, tend to modify their movement based on fear or discomfort. Imagine walking on a narrow bridge over a swamp of alligators. How are you walking? Probably with shuffling steps in a hunched position. In this position you have a narrow base of support, walking is difficult and uncomfortable, and catching yourself if you trip will be difficult. Now, imagine a beautiful walk on the beach. You are relaxed with a more comfortable and confident gait. With a better range of motion, posture, and gait there is less of chance of injury or falls. Gait and balance issues are a major cause of injury in older adults.

One of the key contributing factors to reducing falls is exercise. Everyday life takes mobility, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility and power. Testing and training those functions in a proper fashion will lead to more confidence and ability to move throughout life with more ease.