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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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How To Thrive Over 50: A Movement Checklist


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One of the definitions Merriam-Webster has for thrive is: “to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.”

Your generation can progress towards, maintain or realize a goal of thriving. Of course, you may have a different definition of thriving than the next person (not to mention whatever stereotype general society deems as thriving!). However, all that matters is your definition, your lifestyle and your likes and wants. You can thrive over 50 and still be continue to pursue your fitness goals…however you define them. You decide how fit you need to be over 50!

Think of this checklist as the trunk of the tree…you should add on the branches and leaves and make it yours.

High Intensity Is For You Too

High-Intensity interval training is explained by American Council on Exercise (ACE) as:

a cardiorespiratory training technique that alternates brief speed and recovery intervals to increase the overall intensity of your workout. HIIT is used by athletes and everyday exercise enthusiasts to reach performance goals and enhance fitness and well-being.”

Notice that in the description there is no mention of the specific rate of intensity or rate of speed….This is because this is a relative experience. If Usain Bolt did an interval I doubt if many of us could keep up with his speed. The word to focus on is…his speed. Thus, his intervals may be faster or more intense than ours but as long as the way you are moving is a high intensity to you is all that matters.

So remember…intensity is relative!!

You may have heard this term in some fitness articles or in the news. Here is an article that was published in the New York Times about the idea that this type of exercise can be good for any age. Click here to read it.

These intervals are short and allow you give a high rate effort in short bursts. You can be using equipment  – for instance on an exercise bike pushing it for 30 seconds and backing off for 30 seconds and back on. Also, they are many bodyweight exercises that can also be used for this type of exercise. Just remember you know what is high intensity to you, that is all that matters. Go quicker than you usually do. This does not necessarily mean giving (and sometimes should not be) 100%.

High-intensity movements can add variety to your workouts and can be a fun way to challenge yourself. This does not need to be your entire workout…nor should it be the kind you do every time you get your blood flowing. However, sprinkling this in occasionally can be a great way to mix things up. So the takeaway is that older adult fitness can and should include some aspect of high intensity.

Move Your Limbs One At A Time

Think about the way you move during your day. You reach for the refrigerator door with one hand. You carry a bag of groceries in one hand. You walk upstairs one foot at a time and you walk one foot at a time. The list goes on and on as to how you move one arm or leg at a time. With all of that in mind, why not move in ways to help you move better like that?

Let’s take just the legs for example. There is much research that links lower extremity strength and mortality rates. Not muscle mass…but leg strength. Read here about a study regarding leg strength. This makes sense because if you are unable to get out of a chair, walk and move without assistance this could be a serious issue. Of course, those in a wheelchair or have restrictions to walk or stand is a different story. However, all can work on ways to be stronger so they can move better.

Now with what I mentioned above about how we move throughout life that is why single limb (also known unilateral exercises) exercise is important. Single leg strength is important to work on and there are many variations and options on how to do it. Tony Gentilcore has a good write-up about unilateral strength training.

I will talk about it more below…but one benefit to single leg training in all of its variations this also involve balance! Of course, you don’t need to do unilateral movements all of the time…but it should be a part of your repertoire. This could be strength training or bodyweight exercises…either way, start where you are now and build a foundation.

Practice Getting To The Floor And Back Up Again

Cleaning the house, gardening, playing with grandkids, finding something that rolled under the couch…all of these and more involve getting to the ground and back up again. Without a doubt, if someone cannot do this there is a great risk of them falling. Also if they do fall then they won’t be able to get up without help. As you can imagine having the confidence to be able to get to the floor and back up again can be huge. On the other side, not having the ability to do this can detrimentally affect one’s confidence not only to get to the ground but also walking as there may be a greater fear of falling and an inability to get back up again.

There are many ways to do this movement. It does not have to be pretty. There are many options for getting to the ground to standing. When the basics get easy there are options to add a level of difficulty and it does not need to involve adding weights. Here is one of the ways to do it below.

Click here to see the other options for the floor to standing exercise.

Challenge Your Balance

Balance training is often not something you may think of until you notice that your balance is not as good as it used to be. That, of course, is a good time to start working on improving your balance. In addition, balance training should be part of everyone’s regime. Yes, you can work on balance in some specific moments and also….dancing is a great way to work on balance! There are many benefits from dancing!

On the same vein as how we move in regards to single limb strength…when we are walking we have to use balance as we are on one foot at a time.

Think that your balance is great? Good then work to maintain it. If holding your leg up and balancing for 30 seconds is too easy then get more movement involved. Think about a single leg deadlift or a lateral lunge to balance. On the other hand, if your balance needs improvement you can tell that in your everyday activities. It is so important to address this so the chances of a fall are decreased. Check out some options here.

As we get older it is so important that we practice improving our balance. The statistics about falls and the life-changing effects of elderly falls are staggering. Falls are not an inevitable part of aging. Improving your balance and also agility will reduce your risk of falls and keep your confidence at a high level when you are carrying on your everyday life and fun activities.

Move Outside Of The Cross

Often when we do certain exercises that involve stepping we get locked into moving forwards and sometimes sideways. Both are good, especially sideways. However, think about how we move in life. We don’t move exactly forwards or exactly sideways. We step in many directions if not all within the hands of the clock (if the clock is on the floor).

This is an example below of a movement that helps my clients move outside of the cross. As you will see I also show an option how I do it. This goes to show you that there are options for all levels!

This bit of advice can be helpful for those of you that have tight hips. Often stepping outside of the usual angles can help to move in directions that your body has not before. Lubricating the joints in that way and also improving mobility can be an “aha” moment when you can see how movement outside of the cross will help in more than one way!

Don’t Buy Into Get Rich Quick…

You are already shaking your head, yes those get rich quick schemes don’t work…so why not apply the same thought to those guarantees for you to lose something or gain something in 30 days or some prescribed time?

Building up your strength, cardiorespiratory endurance or other aspects of the way you move takes time. Not only do we all have different bodies but our lives can be different. Thus progressing to whatever goal that you have whether it includes improving balance or getting stronger can differ from person to person. You bring your individualism to the table when it comes to improving how your move. Make sure if you don’t have someone that is working with you to help you reach the goals (your goals!) that you make a program yours and adjust how you need to.

Whatever works for you, stick to it. You may know someone that has stuck to strength training or things like P90X and have seen results. What really interests you that you can come back to and set up a path of consistency? If you are ever questioning a product or a specific gym do your homework. These days there is a lot to choose from. If that does not help then turn to a fitness professional for advice.

Switch Things Up

Variety is the spice of life – which also applies to movement. Don’t feel as if you have to do the same type of exercise or movement every time you lace your shoes. Having a consistent schedule is good like going for a walk with a friend a couple times a week. But to get set in the same exact routine every week will over time lead to a plateau. In other words, you will probably stop seeing as much progress towards the goals that you want to reach.

Think of this variety as reading the same book over and over. Eventually, you may almost have it memorized and your base of knowledge about the contents will only go so far. However, if you read different books on a similar subject matter you will have a greater understanding and base of knowledge. Here is an article that talks about why it is important to vary workout routines.

Speed Hides Control

We are all guilty of doing things quickly and this can happen when performing an important movement. You have probably seen people do curls, squats or other kinds of movement very quickly. Yes, sometimes moving quickly is necessary. For instance, the high-intensity exercise I touched on above – moving quickly is par for the course. However other movements when you are going quickly you are using more momentum and less stability.

So speed hides control…

So when should you use less momentum? One rule of thumb could be when you are moving with heavy weight. If you are doing curls just don’t throw the weight up and let it fall back down and repeat. Below is one of my videos about this that may also shed some light on proper technique.

 

Don’t Forget About Self Care

Improving the way you move is imperative, without a doubt. At the same time self-care rounds you out and allows you to be your best physical self during your everyday life activities…not just when improving the way you move. Here are a few things you should keep in mind for checking off that self-care box!

What Are You Putting In Your Body?

In regards to this aspect of fitness, it cannot be ignored that what you put in your body will affect how your body functions. Because I am not a certified nutritionist I am not going to give you specific advice.  I know what works for me, you know what works for you…or not. One thing you could do is keeping track of what you are eating daily and your energy level you could try hacking it that way. However, if you want to get some qualified advice then turn to a nutritionist or others in that field that can give you specific advice about YOUR body…not just the general population.

Enjoy What You Do

You know yourself better than anybody else and what you enjoy doing.  If you pull yourself out of bed already dreading your workout you are not setting yourself up for success. There are countless ways to move. There are exercises classes of many kinds that don’t just involve weights. If you are not for group exercise classes and instead want to be outside doing something then look into your options. Sometimes the resources that you have available may be limited…so use what you have!

As a Functional Aging Specialist in San Diego, I want you to also practice certain movements that you do in everyday life so you can do them better. I want you to improve the way you move through various forms of movement. There is a consistency in meeting a certain amount of times a week. There is also a foundation that is built from day one. The key is once you have mastered a certain movement then it is time to make small changes to challenge you.

Reach out to me so we can work together and you can use our sessions to help you move better in everyday life and continue to do what you want and like to do!

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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.