Thursday, September 27, 2012

Start acting like a 3 year old.

Think about when you were a kid.  There was so much you could do, and you pretty much did it without thinking.  We used to jump around, crawl, roll, run, and really just "play".  As adults we really don't engage in those activities as much.  Think about it.  When was the last time you did these things for fun.  Not just part of a workout? 
Babies squat! Babies squat perfectly. 
Without even thinking about it, they drop down, and are in perfect squat form.  I try to get my clients to strive for this.  I will always say "squat like a baby."  This image is exactly why.  Adults, as we get older move less and sit a lot more.  This leads to muscles to kind of "fall asleep." More inactivity lead to your body not knowing how to move properly and leads to all sorts of compensation patterns.  I cant even tell you how many times I've told clients to push their hips out and keep their chest up or lead with the hips and the knees will follow.  So tip #1 SQUAT MORE.
Running has evolved from something you do as a kid on instinct while playing games like tag or sports to something adults do as a chore, slaving away on a treadmill.  Kids run around everywhere.  I watch my nephew and hes bouncing off the walls, running all over the place.  On a visit to see them in Georgia, I spent a lot of time chasing him around the house.  From one end : "race me uncle Chris!" to the other and back to the couch.  Over and over again.  No thinking, not forced into it, just playing.  So tip #2 PLAY MORE.
What is the first thing we learn to do as kids?  We learn to roll then crawl.  We should crawl a lot more.  I have my clients crawl a lot.  Sometimes within a workout, sometimes just in terms of a warm-up, but crawling is great for mobility.  As we age, we lose mobility, especially in the hips.  We also lose the ability to support our own body weight, either because we get heavier or because we don't take part in exercises that require us to support our own weight. 
There are many ways to crawl and many workout systems have popped up that are all about crawling.  Like Animal Flow.  Even just for mobility purposes alone, crawling is worth it.  Tip #3 CRAWL.  By the way, its a great core workout.
Kids jump on and off of everything.  Couches, chairs, stairs, beds.  They love to jump.  Try telling a kid to not jump on something.  Doesn't really work.  They jump without fear.  Kids also play hopscotch, jump rope, leap frog.  All little kids games.  I try to get clients to jump, broad jumps, box jumps, whatever.  They have to size it up, stand there, think about it, and then finally do it.  Then it comes down to teaching how to land properly.  Landing softly is instinct for kids.  Adults need to think about it. 
Jump rope is even harder.  We lose that coordination and skill for jumping rope when it used to be so natural.  The first time I give a client a jump rope, its "oh i remember, i used to do this as a kid." Time to relearn!!  So last tip; JUMP MORE.
There ya go, get out there and start acting and moving more like a kid.  It'll do your body good.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh you only lift 5lb weights? Go on about how big your bag is!

I think that line would be a great sarcastic Wonka meme! Don't you?

It seems to me that the myth that women shouldn't lift heavy weights because they will get bulky is still prevalent.  Not a day goes by that I see women just using 3lb or 5 lb weights.  Or maybe an occasional 8lber thrown in there.  Now its bad enough that I see this, but what makes it even worse is that I will see a woman go from bent over rows on the bench right into tricep kick backs(if you can even call them that) with the same 3-5lb weight.  Sorry, but if you think that is going to make your arms toned, then you might as well do 100 of them( which oddly enough, a certain celebrity trainer prescribes).

Lifting heavy weight has numerous benefits, of which include building muscle, bone density, and strength.  But wait, " don't want to build muscle" you say.  You don't want to look "bulky."  Good news, you're in luck, lifting heavy weights wont make you bulky unless you are training that way.  It takes training to get bigger and eating to get bigger.  Oh and there's that little thing called testosterone, that as a woman you don't have enough of to warrant that kind of muscle growth.  But you keep doing
your light weights and your endless cardio.  Hows that working out for your fat loss?

Oh yea one more benefit of building muscle: increased metabolism. 

Benefit #2 of lifting heavy is an increase in bone density.  This happens because as the muscle gets stronger, it pulls harder on the bone it is connected to, and the bone cells need to react and produce more bone cells to support to added strength in that particular muscle.  Most women do not lift heavy enough to warrant such a response in those cells.  Most likely because of the #1 excuse of not wanting to get bulky. 

Lastly, getting stronger is super important, because why not be stronger.  Why would you want to be weaker?  Think of how many things you pick up in a day.  Wouldn't it be amazing if it didn't strain you so much to pick something off the ground, or carry out the trash, or pick up your child/grandchild/dog/whatever.  I woulds say yes.  I had a client that was so proud of how strong she became because she was able to lift a big pack of water bottles, and another that picked up her 70lb dog and was amazed that she was able to.  That's why you train heavy, that's why you strength train. 
Well that, and the stronger you are, the more stable your joints, the more balanced you are.  And when you get older, balance gets a little tricky and wouldn't it be nice to say that your strong enough that if you stumble, you'll have the strength to not fall and go boom?
I know many who have had near misses and if it wasn't for training heavy, they probably would have gone down. 

So please do yourself a favor and lift a little heavier than you are used to.  I promise the benefits will be worth it. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What are you passionate about?

I recently received an email regarding writing for fitness from Jon Goodman.  He asked "why would you want to write for fitness"  He went on to ask if there was any moment that brought on that desire to write.  In my mind, he was really asking me "what are you passionate about?"
It really didn't take me long to come up with an answer.  The only problem I had was limiting it to the 75 words that were required in the reply.  How can I narrow down what I am passionate about to just 75 words.  I tried really hard.  I even asked a dear friend that I ask to look over all of my work that I write, just to make sure I wasn't leaving anything out. 
Here is what I came up with:
If there is one thing I'm passionate about, it's education:
Not just for my clients, but for trainers as well.  My inspirational writing moment
came in response to two articles: one about personal training as a career,
the other calling kettlebells "overrated."  These articles got me heated
because they showed how out of touch the public is with respect
to fitness.  There's a lot of garbage out there.  That's what I want to change.
Now narrowing down my response to 75 words was hard work.  I had many rewrites with the same basic premise.  That I have a passion about education.  I figured I would take that simple little question, and expand on my train of thought with no words limit:
My passion lies with education.  First and foremost with the education of my clients.  With each and every workout, I try to teach my clients a little more.  Its usually something small like a new way to stretch, or maybe its learning how to foam roll, but the key is, its something.  Something they can take away from the workout, and maybe show a friend or family member.  Nothing makes me prouder than seeing a client teach someone else a new skill.  Recently it was a simple piriformis stretch that one of my female clients showed her husband. 
Another aspect that I love about teaching my clients is skill exercises, like snatches or cleans.  Or even deadlifts.  Seeing a client hit a new PR on a lift, or just getting that a-ha moment on an exercise makes it worth all the missed lifts. 
Educating not only my clients is important, but I believe educating the general public about not only the benefits of a proper exercise program, but more importantly the "how" of exercise.  Too many people really don't know what it is to  really workout.  Most people exercise, some people get in a workout, few people train to force an adaptation.  As Ive written before, most people slave away on the cardio deck.  Or take advice from terrible celebrity "trainers."  There's an overload of misleading, awful information out there that the public just eats up.  And most of it has no basis in the real training world.  "Get your flat abs doing these 3 moves."  Really?!?  No, your abs will not get flat doing those 3 moves.  Yes, your abs will work, but flat abs come from proper diet and exercise intensity. 
Too much info dilutes really good info. 
Trainer education is another passion of mine.  Ive written about this before because I believe that most trainers lack the skills and knowledge to be successful, safe trainers in the fitness industry.  Its a big commitment for a client to put their body and their life in the hands of a trainer, and I'm sorry but I would like my trainer to know what the hell they are doing.  Not one that took an exam online and in an hour can call themselves a trainer.  That leads to the perception that "anyone can be a trainer."  I take pride in the fact that I have the education I have.  Other trainers should too.  That is why I've tried to teach other trainers the things that I know, and make myself available to any questions that they may have.  I take pride in the fact that I am a go to guy for answers when it comes to training related questions.  In my opinion, trainers should have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, exercise science, assessment, and nutrition.  Along with knowing what to do if presented with a client with certain contraindications or special needs.  Oh and some rehab knowledge is a must too. 
So yea, I could totally rant about personal training and the state it is in, but that could take an entire other post. 
What I'm getting at is I think there should be education backing our industry, and my passion is trying to get something in place.  Till then, I will educate any trainer that comes to me with questions. 
That is what I am passionate about.  I ask "What are you passionate about?"