Option One -
press ups and burpees till your eyes bleed,
Option Two -
a steady gentler approach which gradually challenges you as you progress and improve.
I F**king love exercise!
Not everybody feels this way, in fact most days when it’s time for me to workout, even I don’t feel this way! Especially when my joints are hurting and I have a million things to do.
Movement is the physical and mental release that so many of us are in dire need of. Exercise is a new concept in many ways, just 100 years ago humans had no requirement for press ups, squats and the like. People where just far too busy every single day expending thousands of calories on daily jobs that we can do easily with the help of machines.
This, along with less abundant food (especially sugary/ fatty foods) kept most people in good shape without ever having to hit the gym.
But times have changed, we live an age of sitting, think of a typical day for most people.
Wake up- sit and watch the news, drink a coffee.
Sit in a car and drive to work, raise up anger levels waiting in traffic.
Sit at a desk for 8 hrs, get angry at emails you shouldn’t be CC’d into and inanimate objects, eat lunch quickly at desk whilst responding to emails that mostly don’t often matter.
Sit down in car on way home, traffic now much worse, anger levels rising high, resilience worn down, glass of wine and chocolate imminent.
Sit down, eat a quickly prepared meal with little nutritional value, interrupted by answering more emails on your phone which is now just a thing that everyone at work expects.
Sit down watch some Netflix to escape the tedium of the day and distract you from having to face it all again tomorrow.
Ok so that’s a harsh description that doesn’t fit every person reading this, maybe you have an active job on your feet such as manual work, or being an underappreciated and undervalued mother or maybe you cycle to work and hit the gym already (that’s awesome if you do!)
Even then though, most of us still aren’t active enough, even with hitting 10,000 steps from walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the lift etc.
The price we have to pay for the awesome privilege of living in a world where we have a nice house, a warm safe environment for our family, easily accessible food and a wide variety of entertainment choice, is exercise.
The body is capable of many things, and if the full potential of our body is not explored often, we risk losing strength and muscle, and with that decreased stability, and with that increased risk of injury.
Along with reduced confidence in how we look, along with decreased mental health due to a lack of physical outlets (when we move we release built up tension, with exercise we are forced to concentrate on movement and give our brain time away from the regular tensions and stresses it has to chew on)
So exercise is important, bur even more important, is exercise done well, hence why Personal Trainers like me are able to earn a living :)
All movements can be tweaked and adjusted to create a different outcome, a lunge with a slight lean forward hits the backside muscles mostly, whilst a more upright lunge hits the quads, if we change the hand which holds the weight we can alter the impact on the core, if we alter the foot position we can improve flexibility in the ankle or help work around a difficult knee issue. There are just so many variations to one single exercise that can be modified and adjusted to suit an individual, learning these movement adaptations and adjusting them to suit an individual based on their goal or on an injury or specific issue they have is the reason why I can justify higher prices than many other trainers.
Because in spite of my love of exercise, I know that it can also suck, it hurts, it can be awkward, a person can often feel silly or embarrassed when exercising, this is all quite normal, so if someone is making the effort to move then my job is to ensure they get something out of it. If they tell me they want to feel their abs working then I know that when they are performing a sit up I should make them aware if they are using their arms to cheat and get momentum, or working past a range of tension to the point where nothing is being achieved.
And of course, then there is movement specific to aging.
As we age, we lose muscle and can become weak, it’s a natural process known as sarcopenia, there are ways to counteract this, mostly we should adhere to the principle of use it or lose it.
If you’re 50 years old and haven’t jumped since you where in your twenties (most day to day activities don’t give rise to the need for jumping) then it can be scary and difficult to jump onto a small 15 cm box, as some of my clients have discovered. This means a loss in our most important physical capability, explosive power! When we lose this, we lose the ability to react quickly such as slipping on an unexpected patch of wet grass.
Another example, during most peoples day to day life they have very little need to squat, the most they do is stand up from a chair, so it can be quite a shock when I get clients to squat to full range, without any additional weight, for only one set of ten reps, their legs can ache for a few days. This lack of movement if left can result in weaker joints over time, which increases the risk of pain and injury.
I’ve rabbited on too much already with this web page, so I’ll summarise the kind of exercise usually done at my studio in one paragraph below.
At my Private Personal Training Studio in North Ferriby, Hull, we go through lots of different types of movements, to work all the muscles in the body, using bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, boxing, slam balls, GripRs, Core momentum trainers, TRX’s and a host of other tools, to achieve a goal or a host of goals such as fat loss, muscle gain, strength, injury recovery, aging well, feeling good and perhaps most importantly, just because it’s fun and in the long term it makes you feel amazing.