Personal Training – What to Expect in 2022? Here’s What I Think.

By now most of us have returned to our normal routines following one of the strangest Christmas and New Year periods certainly that I’ve ever experienced. If you’re like me then the sooner we get back to our regular ‘habits’ the better.

And (hopefully) this includes your fitness and well-being schedule.

However, I’ve been keeping an eye out for what’s going on in the constantly-changing world of personal training, and I thought you might be interested in some of the ‘nuggets’ of information and ideas I have gathered from around and about.

One impact the pandemic has had on a great many people is the rise in anxiety and even stress levels linked to the massive changes in our social interaction – or lack of it- over almost two years of necessary distancing, mask wearing, isolating etc.

It appears that the result has been that, although personal training fitness sessions delivered via “collaboration tools” such as ‘Zoom’ have been very well-received and worked extremely well for most people during the pandemic, the vast majority of clients (and me!) prefer the immediacy, accuracy and sociability of face-to-face workouts. There is recognition that the value of exercising with a qualified instructor is increased if they are actually in the same room advising on posture and technique etc! Not to mention improvements in mood and better sleep benefits. And this obviously applies to face-to-face, individual classes in the gym as well.

As far as I am concerned if any of my clients prefer a ‘Zoom’ session, either as a last-minute change for convenience or for a long-term programme, I ensure my workouts can be made-to-order however they need to be delivered. (And I have some clients abroad who can be serviced only via ‘Zoom’).

Also, truly personalised programmes, rather than a pre-recorded You Tube workout, are more popular than ever, creating more challenges for personal trainers to ensure they monitor progress and analyse performances of individual clients to ensure they are receiving the optimum coaching for their own particular needs. (Of course, many PTs do this assiduously already because that’s what’s expected).

Another noticeable dynamic is the growing use of smart technology with wearables such as Smartwatches, fitness trackers like ‘FitBit’ or eGym, ‘joule’ wearable jewellery, smart clothing, ‘implantables’ or even smart tattoos! Offerings such as ‘Whoop’ and ‘Joyn’ are now tracking ‘wellness’ in addition to exercise activities.

It goes without saying that the absence of a qualified fitness expert at the “point of use” raises the risk of misuse and over-reliance on technology at the expense of quality of exercise.

The same could be said for the myriad of free online sessions that seem to have proliferated in the past year or two. Again, the objective is to be commended but the principle of designing a tailored fitness programme to address individual needs and circumstances, including medical conditions and physical limitations, never gets a look in due to the generic delivery and absence of immediate feedback. Care should be taken to check that the instructors are qualified and the publishers are verified or approved before you take on one of these programmes.

Some organisations in the field of delivering fitness and wellbeing courses believe that more employers may take to subsidising their staff on fitness programmes or via well-being allowances. It could be worth making enquiries in the right circles about that!

The ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ concept is taken to another dimension with ‘ZUU’, which uses 30 animal movements such as the bear crawl (walking on all fours), frog squat (a dynamic squat position) and gorilla walks (jumping like an ape) and mixes them with bodyweight exercises for muscle, aerobic and anaerobic work. Maybe you’ll see some of these in our workouts in the future 😉

Having said that high intensity workouts are popular in time-limited situations, the demand for more low-impact exercise is on the up, with rowing and Pilates-style isometrics enjoying increased interest. This seems to come hand-in-hand with functional training where the movements are closely related to actions of the body in everyday situations like climbing the stairs, standing up from chairs etc.

Other activities I am seeing more and more examples of are trapeze, trampolining and weighted hula hoop exercises. Even roller skating has been brought to the fore by trending on TikTok (and I now have a set, so watch this space…!).

And at this point I should state my personal interest in pole and aerial hoop fitness. I chose this to enhance my portfolio of exercise offerings because they are fantastic, low-impact methods of getting super strong, working the cardio vascular system and getting a total-body workout. Whether in a class or 1-1, Pole and Hoop is SUPER challenging but also such a laugh. Combined with cross-training in the gym, I highly recommend you give the aerial fitness life a go!

One fact is abundantly clear, whatever the latest trend, properly designed personal training plans will accommodate them and enhance the combined effects to deliver a true cross-training regimen to the benefit of the client.

So that’s my “take” on the likely shape of some of the fitness and wellbeing themes, memes and maybe dreams that we’ll see through the next 12 months.

One thing I can guarantee in 2022 is that I shall continue my journey to learn more about what I can do to propose exercises and activities which improve both the physical and mental wellbeing of my clients

b x

Strong to the CORE!

Why are Core Exercises So Crucial? 

You probably hear mention of your ‘core’ or ‘core muscles’ every time you work one-on-one with a personal trainer, in a boot camp session or in a gym class. It basically goes with the territory of fitness regimes and exercising. 

But why does it play such a leading part in exercise? What is this ‘obsession’ with the core? 

Well, if you knew how important your core is to the efficient functioning of your body, you would give it plenty of attention in your workout. Any well-planned, inclusive fitness programme will involve core exercises so it’s probably a good idea to understand what are your core muscles. 

Your stomach, middle and lower back contain the key core muscles. If your core muscles are weak or lack flexibility, this can have a detrimental impact on the functionality of the rest of yourbody. If you exercise to build up your core, then you improve the power in your limbs. 

‘Kinetic Chain’ 

Some of you may even have heard about the ‘Kinetic Chain’, the name which refers to the basic movement system of the body. The ‘Kinetic Chain’ goes from the top of your spine through your hip joints and knees, ending in your feet and ankles.  

All of the parts of this ‘chain’ – muscles, joints and nerves – work together so if you are active and healthy, they will combine to generate motion. If your core muscles are not healthy, any attempted movement interacting with your Kinetic Chain will risk being weak, inadequate and maybe fruitless. 

Your core does a great job in protecting your internal organs, helping the efficiency of your breathing and other activities which require strength and control such as childbirth, heavy lifting and climbing. The core even comes into play when you sneeze, cough or laugh (ever done a hard core sesh and winced the next day when you sneeze?) 

So How Does Exercising the Core Muscles Help? 

By working the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and trunk, core exercises will ‘educate’ them to all work together and help improve and maintain balance and stability. This can help you avoid or alleviate back pain, adjust posture and maintain functional fitness i.e. help those everyday movements which your body needs to perform just to manage your daily activity.  

If you can strengthen your core muscles you will find it easier to perform all sorts of activities which will seem to be unconnected with the strength of the muscles in your trunk and abdomen. Reaching for items on a shelf, bending down, squatting, pushing a vacuum cleaner, climbing stairs, digging the garden, mowing the lawn, ironing, pulling, lifting and, believe it or not, even just standing still! All these actions require movements which incorporate muscle groups within your core which, when benefiting from regular, focused exercise, can work far more effectively and efficiently and avoid injury. And that, in turn, can help to prevent pain. 

On the other hand, if your core muscles are weak then you may experience lower back pain and poor posture, amongst other symptoms. 

Your balance can be affected by your core muscles; the stronger and more flexible they are, the greater will be your ability to maintain your balance and stability, which helps, not just in everyday tasks as covered above, but also if you play sports or undertake any physical activity.  

At this point it might be worth mentioning the bit of the body that most people think of when they hear “core muscles” mentioned: The abdominal muscles or ‘Abs’. While they are part of your core muscle group, you should be careful not to focus on them to the exclusion of your back or hips. In fact, overdoing exercising your abs can risk injury in the other areas. 

Which Exercises Work Best?

There’s FAR too many to list here, but I’ve got a few covering the different parts of your core, loosely divided up:

Transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus exercises (‘6 pack’ and below the tummy button)

Crunches/curl ups

Knee folds or toe taps

Leg raises

‘bicycle crunches’

planks

Obliques (sides,/ the ‘corset’)

Side bends

Heel reaches

Side planks

Glutes and lower/mid back:

Glute thrusters

Back extensions

Planks

Deadlifts

And I for one, as most of my clients will confirm, always ask for “quality” rather than number of repetitions when instructing. It’s not how many you do but the way that you do them that most influences the outcome of an exercise. 

acknowldegements:

The importance of working your core: Physio & Pilates Central (physiotherapycentral.co.uk) 

Why the core muscles are so important (healthylivinglab.com) 

Fitness is for all

“Plus-sized fitness classes in Exeter to help people feel confident”

-https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-59131641

This headline caught my eye recently and I really couldn’t let it go by without commenting on how disappointed it made me that some people are put off exercising in “traditional” gyms because they are described as ‘plus-sized‘

I feel particularly concerned because my personal training philosophy has always been that no-one should believe that they have an unsuitable body shape or size which precludes them from exercising and that there isn’t an exercise programme which can’t benefit them when professionally planned or supervised.

So what is “Plus Size” Anyway

I hate the term and what it implies. According to recent research, ‘plus size’ could refer to someone who is UK size 6; but size 16 has also been defined as ‘plus size’. Apparently, most people think that being ’plus size’ means being fat, but it can encompass such characteristics as different body type and proportions – more booty, curvier thighs, larger bust etc. Essentially, it’s just a poor term to describe the variety of shapes and dimensions of the female body.

In fact, the average UK dress size in 2021 is a size 16.

The article goes on to explain that the classes in Exeter are aimed to help those with larger bodies and “give people confidence”. If this is their objective then I can only applaud the initiative and wish them all the success possible but, as a personal trainer, I have been taught to offer fitness activities which are tailored to the needs of individual clients, whatever their physical capabilities, limitations or size.

To put it simply, I plan individual exercise programmes for clients of all shapes and sizes which can be done in their own homes if they prefer that to the gym. NOONE is too unfit, too overweight, or too old to start to improve their health and wellbeing.

To coin a well-used phrase, “It’s what we personal trainers do”.

Acknowledgements

http://www.plusandwow.com

spotlight@bbc.co.uk

www.yours.co.uk

Make Room to Swing a Kettlebell?

Strongly rumoured to have originated in Russia in the 1700s where (according to http://www.endofthreefitness.com) farmers used a similar implement to weigh seed crops, the Kettlebell graduated to being a handy tool for exercise in between the normal farming activities.

It’s essentially a ball with a handle like a kettle and it can be held by the handle, the ‘horns’ (the sides of the handle) or by the ball (or ‘bell’) itself. Although the usual way to hold the Kettlebell is by the handle, various grips can be used in different exercises. For example, if you want to hold it while doing squats, you may find it better to hold the ‘horns’. On the other hand, you could hold the ball/bell when doing rows because this adds to the exercise by demanding a tighter grasp to prevent the Kettlebell slipping through your fingers.

I recommend the Kettlebell as part of conditioning and strengthening routines because it helps with building strength and muscle mass, cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness. One Kettlebell is sufficient to give you a good workout so you don’t need two.

If you’re thinking of buying a Kettlebell then most trainers recommend new users start with a 12kg and 16kg for men and an 8kg and 12kg for women. For more experienced weight training users these could move up to 16kg and 24kg for men and a 12kg and 16kg for women.

Yes, but what does a Kettlebell actually do that’s so good for me?

The key feature of the Kettlebell is that the weight is off-set, unlike the dumbbell, whose load is evenly distributed through the length of the handle. This means that the Kettlebell is more difficult to control because it centre of gravity is few inches from where you are gripping the handle.

Which in turn means that you are having to be much more careful about how you do the exercise (i.e. your form and technique) and you will be using more muscles than you would doing the same exercise with dumbbells.

As a result, the kettlebell compels proper execution of the exercise. As an example, if you do a squat holding a Kettlebell in front of you makes you sit back into your heels more on the way down which improves your squat pattern.

The off-set nature of the weight in a Kettlebell also forces you to focus on your core to avoid risking damage to your lower back or even to stabilise your body when swinging the weight.

Most kettlebell exercises impact the entire body, and many require lifting the weight from the floor to over your head which works muscles across the body involving a wide range of movement which can create significant

Conclusion

My research has led me to the following conclusion about the efficacy of exercising with Kettlebells.

a. They are great for conditioning the body because they can be used for flexibility, endurance, strength and balance training.

b. Because they require you to contract your core they really help with core strength. And not just by working the core in one direction or plane.

c. Working with a Kettlebell will improve your stabiliser muscles and your balance.

d. In using a Kettlebell in exercising means you will need to be aware of the proximity of people and objects in the space around you so you will develop a sense of where your body is in that space. This also helps coordination (mind – muscle).

e. Do you know what ‘EPOC’ is? Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is when you burn calories at a higher rate AFTER your workout. And this is a proven benefit of an intense session with a Kettlebell. So it is very effective at burning calories leading to loss of fat.

f. Fast-acting cardio training is another major benefit when using Kettlebells. According to research you can get the same cardio benefits, such as burning fat, increasing metabolism, and improving cardiovascular health, as running or cycling in half the time.

g. The way Kettlebells compel you to move through different planes of movement helps your flexibility and joint strength and stability, thereby improving range of motion.

h. Swinging a Kettlebell produces power and speed from your hips and this also improves stability and helps prevent injuries.

i. Kettlebell training will result in lean muscle.

j. Kettlebells are great for high intensity but short workouts and they put much less pressure on the spine.

k. Using Kettlebells in a structured fitness programme they will improve your posture because the exercises for which they were designed will engage the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck.

l. Consistent use of a Kettlebell is known to improve the strength of your grip. And the stronger your grip, the stronger you are.

Some of my favourite Kettlebell Exercises

As I hinted above, a Kettlebell can be used in a lot of exercises. And here are just a few that I use with clients and myself. If you have never picked up a Kettlebell before, or have any lower back issues, don’t use without proper instruction!

Goblet squats

Single and double leg deadlifts

Clean and press

‘Round the worlds’

Lunge and twists

Tricep over heads

Swings

Front raises

and if they’re feeling brave…Turkish Get ups!

The gym has a great variety of Kettlebells, and for home training – I carry around my 8 and 12 for you! 😉

B x

Acknowledgements

http://www.endofthreefitness.com

http://www.onnit.com

alltoknowabout.com

All You Need to Know About Getting Started with Kettlebells | Breaking Muscle UK

http://www.setforset.com

Add to your Strength Training…with Weighted Walking

Having just returned from spending twelve exhilarating days with a day-pack on my back exploring Northumberland and the Highlands of Scotland for my honeymoon, I am brimming with enthusiasm for the many benefits of what has become referred to as “Weighted Walking”.

I should start by emphasizing that my recent foray into this arena involved more intense exposure than I would recommend to anyone looking at trying ‘Weighted Walking’ for the first time. (As with any physical activity, it’s best to get some assurance from your doctor as to what is safe for you to try.)

Begin slowly and carefully and build up within your own limitations. Go straight for a 10 mile hill walk with a 60lb army load on your back and you’ll not get far!

But including this controlled enhancement of walking as part of your lifestyle change, alongside your strength training with me in the gym or your home-based sessions, is an effective way of augmenting your exercise routine and adding variety. Not to mention harnessing the benefits of activity in the fresh air!

By now you will have gathered that ‘Weighted Walking’ is simply walking while carrying some additional weight to increase resistance and provide some low-impact physical activity, with a little higher-intensity than comes with a ‘normal’ (unweighted) walk. The extra weight can be anything from a pair of water bottles or wrist weights to a fully-loaded rucksack but remember, the weight must be distributed evenly to avoid any risk of imbalance or uneven stress on your joints or muscles. AND only work within your own capabilities – don’t push it too far. Probably best to start with a couple of weights of 2 to 3lbs each, but you could start with less if you feel more comfortable with that. It doesn’t take much to start feeling it!

It’s important that you don’t alter your method of walking to accommodate the extra weight. For example, avoid changing your posture such as hunching your shoulders or leaning forward because this can lead to long-term injury. Try to keep your normal walking ‘shape’, and adjust your backpack to sit properly on your back.

If you can give ‘Weighted Walking’ a try you’ll find that the combination of strength and cardiovascular exercise will contribute to improvements in your balance, tone your muscles and increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

There is an interesting article in the September issue of Good Housekeeping about ‘Weighted Walking’ and several online publications provide more information.

In my opinion ‘Weighted Walking’, if used properly, can add variety to a fitness plan, maybe on the days you’re not working out with me, or when your are on holiday!

Managing Injuries

Most of us who try to maintain at least a moderate level of fitness through exercise or physical training of some kind will experience some form of discomfort, aches and pains etc. as a result of the activity we have chosen to indulge in (perhaps caused by a slip or by trying to lift a heavy weight).  It’s almost inevitable. However, actual ’injury’ from exercising is also something that can happen even to the most careful person.

One reason why we warm up before a session is to prepare our bodies (and minds to a certain extent ) for the activity to come and the cool down afterwards is to avoid the sudden tightening of muscles etc. when we stop. Practicing these properly can help to avoid injuries. Follow JOINT MOBILISATION – MUSCLE WARMING – DYNAMIC STRETCHES

The key action point is to ‘manage your injury’.

Too many people don’t follow this principle and end up exacerbating the problem and increasing the recovery period, resulting in increasing the amount of time they have to spend away from their exercise regime.

One thing you should never do is return to exercise too soon: If you think you’re fine and the problem appears to have gone away, it pays to delay your ‘come back’ for a few more days.

When seeing the Doctor is a good call

The first action when feeling that you may have an injury is to consider if you should seek medical advice. You’ll be the best judge of that and certainly, if you have any of the following symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately:


•       Pain that stops you sleeping at night.
•       Pain that doesn’t seemed to get better after a few days.
•       Tingling or numbness in an area that persists over a few days.
•       Sudden pain which travels down your arms or legs.
•       A sign of weakness in your limbs (not necessarily painful).
•       Weight loss or high temperature which has appeared suddenly.

Assuming your physical condition does not include any of those examples above then here are some of the most common categories of injury experienced by regular exercisers:


•       Sudden trauma – e.g. twisting your ankle or pulling a muscle during a lifting exercise. If it hurts a lot and there’s significant bruising then you’ll know that you should probably see the doctor.
•       Overuse –  generally you notice a sudden pain and can almost immediately identify the cause.
•       Repetitive stress – difficult to identify one particular cause because the problem appears over a period of time and may manifest itself when you’re doing something unconnected with the part of the body that has been injured.
•       Exhausted Adaptive Potential – this can come about due to the healing of a previous injury not being managed or treated properly. It can also be caused by your body adapting to compensate for the problems caused by the earlier injury. Again, this might be a problem where the site of the pain is unconnected with the injured area (referred pain)

So how do you manage injuries?

Not every injury is the same, so it’s important to use the right approach in your particular situation.
Most of you have heard of the various ‘Etiquettes’ for managing injuries: RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) or POLICE (Protection-Optimal Loading-Ice-Compression-Elevation) or MEAT (Movement-Exercise-Analgesics-Treatment).

So “Which one should I use?” I hear you ask!

RICE’ is one that’s been around for years and suggests we rest, elevate the injured area, put ice on it  and compress the area. This has its uses but, as I have said, it has fallen out of favour with many trainers and coaches.

POLICE’ adds movement of the area at issue on top of the traditional RICE procedure, but rest and icing are still of major importance.

MEAT’  recommends using general movement and specific exercises to encourage the ‘damaged’ area to move healthily, combined with painkillers if needed.

One key question for people managing injuries is when to rest and when to keep moving.

Movement is generally considered to be the best approach but obviously this isn’t necessarily the case with all injuries and some will tend to heal more quickly if they are rested.

For Traumatic injuries which have required attention from a doctor you’ll probably be advised to rest. But if you didn’t need to see a specialist, you may find that a few days or up to a couple of weeks’ rest with cautious or moderate exercise towards the end may work best for you.

If you’re managing an injury caused by Overuse it really is important that you use rest to improve the situation and hopefully the affected area will feel better within a few days, allowing you to contemplate starting gentle exercise again. This time, though, avoid problems caused by overuse by keeping to a planned routine – maybe ask your PT for advice. There is always SOMETHING we can do, and keep other areas of your body conditioned whilst you recover.


If the issue is Repetitive Stress, again, a PT can advise on suitable exercises and movements to help you avoid causing more damage by strengthening the areas in question.


When we come to Exhausted Adaptive Potential Injury this is most effectively managed by avoiding exercising and obtaining a medical professional’s opinion on how to proceed.

In summary, unless the problem is such that it needs the intervention of a specialist, the prevailing guidance in most cases is that some degree of movement is better than total rest.


And, as always, as I am qualified in Adapting Exercise for Controlled Conditions, you can hit me up for recommendations for your very own, personalised ‘Rehab. Plan’

😊

HAPPY WELLBEING WEEK!

Wellbeing and Wellness – A Virtuous Circle

As you can imagine as far as I am concerned there can never be too many references to ‘Wellbeing’ or events and activities promoting ‘Wellness’, but even I have been surprised to find out how much space in the general consumer media and social channels has been taken up by articles, opinions, testimonials and reports around both subjects and the   myriad of gatherings, conferences and activities which are being organised to keep wellbeing and fitness “front of mind” throughout the year:

‘World Health Day’ on 7 April; ‘Global Wellness Day’ (12 June); ‘World Wellbeing Week’ (June 21 -June 30); ‘Festival of Wellbeing’ (28 June – 09 July); ‘Healthy Eating Week’ (28 Sept – 03 Oct); ‘World Mental Health Day’ (10 October); ‘Movember’:  Men’s Health Awareness Month; November : ‘National Stress Awareness Week’; 13 November : ‘World Kindness Day’ – to name just a few!

There was even a ’World Sleep Day’ (19 March) and a ‘Global Hand Hygiene Day’…..I mean…..! (5 May) . Neither of which I am sure you missed! 

With so many health awareness messages being sponsored and endorsed I could hardly ignore the opportunity to add my thoughts.

So how are ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Wellness’ connected? 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘Wellbeing’ as “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy”. However this will depend upon each person’s experience of life so it is difficult to pin down how individuals will assess their own personal state of ‘Wellbeing’ i.e. their state of mind.

On the other hand, ‘Wellness’ is a condition enabled by a process of practising habits and performing activities which contribute to a person’s physical health. 

The connection is simply that each influences the other and nurtures a beneficial effect which works both ways. ‘Wellness’ (physical health) encourages a feeling of ‘Wellbeing’ and a sense of ‘Wellbeing’ (mental and emotional health) frequently inspires further habits and activities which enhance ‘Wellness’.

‘World Wellbeing Week’ is particularly enthusiastic about the links between wellbeing and wellness is are keen that people understand that “the 5 Ways to Wellbeing” are “Connect, Get Active, Be Mindful, Keep Learning, Give to Others”. 


Not a bad thought to end on.

x

Get Wobbly!

Pushing ourselves beyond our own personal ‘comfort zones’, even just a small amount each time, is a great way to grow our fitness and flexibility. So, with that in mind, I will be introducing a new ‘slant’ to training over the next few weeks for those of you who are feeling ‘adventurous’.

You might find us doing some of your usual moves (shoulder presses, squats, reverse lunges, press ups etc.), but with an added extra which will enhance your sessions and get you used to a little ‘Balance Training’. It’s low-impact and can help us improve proprioception (positioning and stability of joints) by challenging our balance while exercising. 

Balance deteriorates as we age and muscular neurological pathways decay so balance training can be beneficial for life. A ‘Balance Trainer’ is a rubber dome (like one half of an over-sized basketball) with a rigid platform which you use to balance on while exercising.  It sounds weird but, used properly under supervision, it has been proven to help create balance in your body, enhance neuromuscular coordination (improving neural pathways between the brain and the body) and promote stability through ‘educating’ your core. 

Balance training even helps  improve the brain’s circulation, memory, coordination and balance. Because you are working harder keeping your balance, it also uses more calories to perform even the most basic exercises. And it’s surprising how much balance we need to employ in a day of normal activity, let alone in fitness sessions. Standing up from a sitting position, climbing or descending stairs, carrying shopping bags, turning around, getting into the bath etc. all require stability to avoid toppling over – it may seem like overstating its importance in connection with simple everyday movements, but the older you get, the more you notice the significance of proper balance.

So say “Hello” to balance training as it becomes part of our workouts!

Recover strength lost during Covid

A recent story on BBC News caught my eye. According to a survey for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Sport England, almost one third of people who exercise regularly believe that their general strength has declined during the Covid pandemic. Around 23% of under-34s said it had fallen and the figure for over 35s was higher.

A person’s general level of strength is an indication of muscle mass and a lessening of muscle mass could result in long-term issues concerning mobility and balance. This then could initiate other health problems necessitating visits to the doctor or physiotherapist, osteopath or acupuncturist!

Fortunately, most of my clients have largely been able to keep to their well-being and fitness routines during Lockdown by working with me online, in gardens or parks and now, FINALLY, in person. However, for those of you for whom this has not been possible, when you start back again it would be a good idea to get some expert advice on how to reintroduce exercise into your week. A good PT will be mindful of your circumstances and can tailor your ‘build up’ route to attain your previous levels of flexibility and strength in the optimum timescale so you can start to get yourself back on track.

We would begin by trying some fundamental exercises which shouldn’t put too many demands upon your current ‘de conditioned’ musculoskeletal frame. It’s all a question of restarting your strengthening exercises gradually.
Whether you are a seasoned gym-goer or a keep-fit beginner, the universal advice is, “Don’t start a marathon with a sprint”

You don’t need special equipment e.g. weights or resistance bands because, depending on injuries and abilities, we can utilise your body to provide sufficient resistance for your strengthening needs.

Most of us know about press ups, squats, lunges and sit ups etc. and these are all good strengthening exercises that are commonly used and, if you have a PT, they will be able to bring some new ‘moves’ to the routine. What we’re all looking for is to get back to the habit of exercising as regularly as possible, keeping as healthy as possible, for as LONG as possible!

TOTAL BODY MAINTENANCE is KEY, let me show you how 😉

MAY IS FOR MOTIVATION!

May is traditionally a month to celebrate. It’s the beginning of Spring (in the
Northern Hemisphere at least); new growth, flowers appearing and Winter being
left behind.


Which makes it a great time of year for starting a new exercise programme or
giving your mind and body a boost. So here are a few thoughts on ‘changing up’
your ‘Healthstyle’.


“Tomorrow is Today’s most popular labour-saving device”.
Getting motivated to exercise, even if you have regular classes with a PT
assisting and advising you, isn’t always as simple as making the entry in your
diary. Your session is approaching fast but are you “up for it”?


As a PT I have to be fully aware that, even though a client has committed to a
series of workouts, he or she has to juggle their calendar to accommodate work
demands, family issues, other leisure pursuits, illness, caring, school concerns
and emergencies etc. All of which consume time and absorb both mental and
physical energy so that periodically the ‘fitness session’ has to take a back seat.
With all these extra and unforeseen pressures is it any wonder that our
enthusiasm for physical exercise can take a”hit” occasionally. How many of us
let a little thought creep in to our minds that, “It’ll be better if I do it tomorrow.
I’ll have more time”? You have to agree, it is very seductive; there’s always
something more urgent (and less challenging?) that must take precedence.
Even if it’s a workout with a PT, sometimes it’s simpler to ease off a little with
the effort you’re putting in if you don’t feel “prepared”.
We’ve all done it but what’s the antidote?


Motivation
Your motivation takes you from thinking about doing something to actually doing
it
. And motivation can come from within i.e. ‘Intrinsic Motivation’, a combination
of your desires, resolve and passion to attain targets that are personal to you.
When you yourself want to get things done for your own gratification or for
pleasure. Or ‘Extrinsic Motivation’, which is defined as being derived from
external influences such as prizes, peer appreciation or awards etc.


Getting started is the toughest part so with this in mind I thought some tips
might help.


Be clear about your reason or reasons for exercising. Why you want to
do it. When you’re in the middle of a session, with all the discomfort
and challenges that can involve, the last thought you want to occur to
you is, “Why am I doing this?”
Knowing the effort is worth it to achieve your target, whatever it is, is
key to driving you on.

Train for a ‘Good Cause’ e.g. a charity etc.
If it culminates in an event e.g. a race, then the completion date in the
diary will spur you on.


Start with small goals. Don’t try to push yourself too hard at the
beginning. A professional PT will always design a routine to suit the
individual client such that the exercises and activities are achievable
and commensurate with the capabilities of the client.


If you’re training on your own and you’re finding it hard to get going or
you’re tight for time, just set your sights on doing, for example, sit
ups, then do ten reps of the exercise twice instead of three times.
Chances are that once you’ve been through the sequence once or
twice, you’ll want to switch it up to your normal levels.


Stay in touch with other like-minded people using Social Media to
compare progress and indulge in some friendly competition.
Elsevier has published a Preventive Medicine Report which showed that,
anonymous social networks significantly increase enrolment in exercise
classes and that social influence is more successful for improving physical
activity.


Make a date in your Diary. A study carried out by in the USA found
that scheduling exercise as a daily activity promotes regular exercise.
Sounds obvious but having it there in writing must help.
If you have regular dates with your PT then this goes without saying.


Set your alarm and place it on the other side of the room so you’re
forced to get out of bed to switch it off. (It works!).


If working out at home, allocate a special place for your workouts. Inside and/or out. It will
automatically assume the identity of your ‘personal gym’. And you’ll
never forget it
.


Change the exercises in your workout and be careful not to over-train. Ensure you get some rest during
your exercise programme. PTs are adept at reading the signs and will
rarely allow a client to overtrain.


A lot of people find that a PT can help them motivate themselves to, in
the first instance, actually start exercising. The PT can set them off on
the right track, designing a bespoke routine, ensuring proper performance techniques and monitoring their progress, fine-tuning
along the way.


Alternatively, an experienced gym-goer can benefit from a PT
providing motivation them by changing their usual fitness programme
to freshen up the challenge.

Check out the videos available on my facebook page
They might help you get in the mood.

With thanks to http://www.healthline.com., Elsevier, http://www.psychologytoday.com