When the Day is Long… How do I stay Strong?

30 Aug

I count the number on my fingers, one, two, three, four appointments this morning. This is going to be a tough one…

How am I going to get through the morning?

           After back to back to back to back appointments I have to admit I am exhausted. It’s a tough business. Not much time to rest between appointments and I haven’t eaten my breakfast. I’m often taking thirty seconds to take a spoonful of peanut butter and be on my way. It’s the only chance I have to eat during the course of my morning.

          I have to admit finding the energy after a long day is tough. It takes a lot out of you to help people. While it’s the greatest part of my job it’s also the toughest. Those who are in my profession understand what I mean. It takes a lot of mental energy to work with and help people on a daily basis. People come to us for energy. People come to us for help. We are human too! Sometimes we need that motivation and encouragement just as much. It’s hard for us to want to exercise because by the end of a long day, we’re tired too. It’s a matter of mental fortitude and pushing through the fatigue.

I love my job. The part of my job that most people don’t quite understand is how dedicated you must be. It’s time and energy to help those you’re working with. The job doesn’t stop when the appointment is done. If you think it’s all about reps and sets, you’d be wrong. There is much more work done behind the scenes that most people don’t see.

How do I get through a hard day? Sometimes I just need to take some quiet time for myself. I go home and put my head down. That’s the honest truth. I am sometimes so mentally drained it’s really hard to hold my head up. It’s tiring. It’s not because the people I work with are draining. I give 100% to each of them and after a long day, I need to recharge my energy. Being a trainer doesn’t mean I don’t get tired. It doesn’t mean I don’t need motivation. It means I have to work at giving myself energy in order to give it to others. That’s not easy. Somewhere in the chaos, I have to find quiet time. Don’t we all!

I made it through. I survived like I always do. It was hard work and I have to admit my voice was pretty hoarse by the end of the morning. Time to re-energize and get moving.

Here’s to another day at the office!

 

TOP FIVE BIGGEST MISTAKES IN EXERCISE

28 Aug

My Top 5:
The Biggest Mistakes in Exercise

Over the course of my twenty years of experience, I’ve learned some valuable lessons. I want to share with you my top five lessons about what people do wrong in the gym. Hopefully through these lessons, you can learn how to be successful in the gym.

1) Poor Training Programs
The BIGGEST mistake I see people make is over using machine training and body building techniques. Strength means nothing if you can’t use it. Stability training means training the muscles that keep your joints in place. This means challenging your body in an unstable environment. The better your stability is, the better your strength.

2) Quantity over Quality
When you compromise form in order to lift more, it’s a false sense of strength. “If you can’t lift it, don’t lift it.” Lifting more weight poorly doesn’t make you strong. Doing an exercise poorly simply creates poor muscle recruitment. Therefore you are hindering your own strength development.

3) Following False Fitness Trends
Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t make it true! There is no such thing as one abdominal exercise that will flatten your stomach. There is no such thing as a “cure all”. It takes consistent effort over time to see results. Don’t believe what you see! Wellness is a lifestyle, not something you can buy on a shelf.

4) There’s No Quick Fix
The time and effort it takes to be unhealthy is the same time and effort it takes to get healthy.

5) Don’t Be Hung Up on Looks
People want to change their physical appearance thinking it’ll make them happier. That’s not the case. If you are not well on the inside, you will not be well on the outside.

I’ll do it my way… Even if its wrong!

23 Aug

I’ve told this guy a hundred times and he still does it wrong!

He admits he does it incorrectly and tells other people not to do what he does.

   If you’re approached by gym staff and told that what you’re doing is unsafe, would you listen?

You’d think anyone with common sense would like to avoid injury. Yet I’ve seen it so many times I can’t even count it. You’ve been told and even shown how to execute an exercise properly, and you’re still doing it incorrectly. My question is, do you enjoy getting hurt?

Most people who are lifting weights incorrectly are usually lifting too much weight. Unfortunately their pride won’t allow them to adjust to a lower weight. I’ve told the same person multiple times that he’s doing an exercise wrong. Why doesn’t this person listen? I’m not paid to give this person unsolicited advice. My logic is if I’m watching you exercise and it hurts me to watch you, I’m going to say something. Whether or not you choose to listen is your call.

If you’re a gym goer, you’ve probably seen it too. The same person doing the same exercise wrong all the time. He’s been told and told again. Should you intervene? As a gym member you have to remember that you are not qualified to offer advice. If you give someone advice anyway and they get hurt, you’re responsible. Tell a qualified professional and let them intervene. I know your intentions are good. If you are not a certified professional, you’re gonna be in big trouble.

The point in all this is that sometimes people do have to learn the hard way. I’m responsible as a manager to tell the person. If they choose not to heed my advice then I am no longer responsible. It’s not personal that a staff member wants to help. If anything, we want to make sure you are safe. We want you to remain uninjured so you can continue coming to the gym.

You may have a hard head and choose not to listen. You know you’re doing it wrong and choose to exercise improperly. That’s your choice. No one will be impressed when you throw your back out tying your shoes…

Just a word to the wise… Quality over quantity. Execute an exercise properly and you’ll develop the strength properly.

In the words of Paul Chek

“If you can’t lift it, don’t lift it!”

 

Women & Weight Training

17 Aug

      I could get away with it back in my early twenties. I don’t lift so heavy anymore…

Ten years makes a difference to the body. Being in my early thirties now, I realize that I don’t need to constantly lift heavy weight in order to be strong. Strength is an accumulation of time and effort spent lifting a variety of weight. I’ve learned the hard way when you lift so much all the time, it takes a toll on your body.

Weight Training in the Gym

I’m a strong advocate for women in the weight room. I have seen a shift from when I first started weight training at thirteen. I remember being surrounded by young boys trying to look buff. Weight training was not a woman’s sport. I’m happy to say many more women have adopted strength training in to their life. I have seen the benefit of consistent training. The key to continued success is to change the training.

I’ve been in the gym for most of my life. Twenty one years to be precise. I started lifting weight at my mom’s gym. I loved it! The feeling I got from being strong and capable has been a source of joy for me. The key to my continued success is to constantly change what I’m doing in the gym.

Changing the Exercise to Develop Strength

A client of mine and I were talking. She is in her early sixties and has been an avid gym goer her who life. “I can’t lift as much as I could when I was in my thirties.” That’s a good point. As you progress through life, so to should your exercise program change. I have no issue picking up a forty pound weight and putting it over my head. It doesn’t mean I need to do that all the time. It’s hard on my body. I like to reserve my strength for when I need it most!

There is such thing as lifting too much weight all the time. It’s counter-productive to developing strength. Lifting heavy weight all the time is terribly hard on your joints. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. When you get injured, your muscles atrophy and then you have to start again. It’s a vicious cycle. If you’re in to lifting weights all the time, then you know what I’m saying.

It’s not worth the risk of injury to lift excessive weight all the time. Your body needs rest and recovery. That recovery period is when your muscles grow. The mentality is to lift heavy all the time to gain muscle mass. If that’s the case, then you will pay the price.

I’ve limited my heavy lifting to once or twice a week. It’s enough to maintain the strength I have. That rest period between work outs actually allows me to lift more weight next time. In the mean time I’m working on stability training in order to accommodate my heavy strength training days. Lot’s of ab and back stability work on Swiss Balls and Bosu Balls. It compliments strength training nicely and allows me to be stable enough to lift heavy.

Canoe Paddle on Bosu Balls

This is my definition of ab work! I created this exercise to challenge both stability and core strength. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to keep upright while those bosu balls are beneath my feet. (Do not try this on your own without direction from a professional)

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Friday, August 10, 2018

 

For the average woman just starting in the gym, strength training three days a week is sufficient. It’s important to change your program every twelve weeks in order to develop strength. Change the program in order to get results. That’s my lesson here. If your goal is to get stronger, then you need to change what you do. That advice applies to beginners and more advanced gym-goers.

Whatever your goal is, keep at it and success will follow!

 

What to do When Your Partner Isn’t as Active as You.

15 Aug

I’ve heard this far too often…

“I wish my husband would get active too. He’d rather just sit on the couch”

“She doesn’t do anything. I’d like for her to get more active instead of sitting around”

“He buys my favorite chips and waves them under my nose. I have to say no and walk away.”

      What to do when your partner isn’t as active as you?

1) Don’t Pester! 

Pestering your partner often has the opposite effect you’re looking for. They’ll dig in their heels and respond negatively because it feels like you’re forcing them. No one likes to be reminded of what they aren’t doing! You can always ask if they’d like to go for a walk or a bike ride. The worse your spouse can say is No. I encourage you to encourage them. Leave the door open for them to participate with you if and when they feel ready.

2) Find Something You Both Enjoy

You love the gym. He loves to stay home. He’d rather go for a run. You’d rather go for a walk. Where’s the in between? You are allowed to enjoy activities on your own. Find a happy medium. I encourage you to participate in some activities your partner enjoys. If you tried it and legitimately don’t like it, then at least you tried. There’s always something you can both do together. The upside is if your partner simply enjoys different activities, then be supportive of that. As long as they are active!

3) Talk About It

Be open with your partner about your intentions to get healthy. Make it clear what they can do to help be supportive. If it’s a matter of changing your dietary habits, then work together to make gradual changes. You cannot expect to change someone just because you’re motivated. At least you can involve your partner in a way they can be supportive.

4) Lead By Example

Sometimes you can influence someone by not badgering them to death! If your purpose is to be more active then stick to your guns. Often what I find is when you start feeling good, people notice. When people notice, they may follow you. Always be supportive and encouraging about your partner’s ability to feel better. People come around in their own time. It just takes a role model to lead the way!

         Hopefully these tips can help you and your partner become healthier!

What You See is not What You Get

14 Aug

I like to scour the internet for the latest fitness news and call b.s. where I see fit.

So I came across this particular link and my b.s. meter went off!

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/health/fitness/20-exercises-that-show-results-after-one-workout/ss-AAxtmVc#image=16

Any exercise routine that claims you will see results in one day is lying to you.

The issue with a routine such as this one demonstrated in the article is that it’s not designed for the beginner. I’ve done these exercises many, many times over the course of twenty years in a gym. From that experience I can tell you, there is a high rate of risk involved. I meet with clients who cannot bend down to tie their shoes. If you have any form of back injury, then I would not recommend ANY of these exercises. These exercises are dangerous for the absolute beginner. These are exercises are dangerous for anyone, especially if they are executing them poorly.

I read these articles and I just laugh. Ninety percent of the people I work with are not conditioned for such high intensity movements. You already need to be in good shape in order to do these exercises. If you think I’m full of it, have a look at my “Exercise of the Week” and that’s the kind of routine I do on my own. It’s taken me twenty years to master these exercises. It’s not because I’m a slow learner. It’s because these exercises are effing hard. I can say with objective and practical experience that the exercises demonstrated in these articles are hard.

I do not recommend these exercises for the average exerciser. These moves are high intensity and you can get injured quite easily. If you cannot even squat properly, then I would recommend mastering that first. A beginner level gym-goer would find a basic squat hard enough. This is considered high intensity for someone just starting out. When you start to add jumping to the mix, this is considered far more advanced and should be saved for someone with more experience. Please keep that in mind when you come across articles of that nature.

There is not just one exercise that is the “be all, end all” of exercises.

If that were the case, then we’d all do some squats and be in perfect shape. The only way you have long lasting results is if you put in the time and effort. Don’t be fooled by articles that claim certain exercises will get you in shape immediately. It’s a big fat lie!

Keep this in mind…

The amount of time and effort it takes for you to get out of shape,

is the same amount it takes to get back in to shape.

More than A Maid: The True Story of a Personal Trainer

09 Aug

     While I’m cleaning up after a day’s worth of sweat, I’m thinking about my clients…

 

All of my clients share one thing in common.

They all have to manage chronic illness and it’s my job to help them.

I am in a funny mood this evening. As I’m cleaning up the gym equipment, I can’t help but be mad at myself. Most of my members see me cleaning the equipment on a daily basis. I can’t help but think maybe that’s all they think I do. Meanwhile I’ve been busy with appointments all week. All of my clients share one thing in common. They all have to manage chronic illness and it’s my job to help them.

          I had to help a client with Parkinsons put his socks and shoes on because of his severe tremor.

It’s tough emotionally when you’re having to work with people overcoming serious health issues. Cancer. Parkinsons. Dementia. Stroke. Hip Replacement (to name a few). These are my usual clients. I do not work with well people. It’s my job to figure out how to get their functionality back. How can I help my client recovering from a stroke walk without a cane? How can I get my client with dementia to learn new exercises? How can I help my client with Parkinson’s get his socks and shoes on? See, I’m more than just the maid. My day’s are spent helping others learn how to help themselves.

It never ends…

Much like the vacuuming and the dusting, the job never ends. The human body is a puzzle. While I’m busy mopping the floors, I’m trying to figure out how the pieces fit. In my downtime, I research new exercises to help my clients. When I work out, I’m busy working out a new exercise for someone else. Maybe something I do can help a client. My job is not just about cleaning toilets and mopping floors. My job is about looking after a whole bunch of people without much credit. While it does get tiring after a nine hour day, I know it’s just part of the job. It’s part of the profession. It’s what keeps me going.

         Caring about others is an every day job.

If you’re inclined to do it well, it means giving a lot of time and energy.