Do nothing that is of no use

Miyamoto Musashi – The Book of Five Rings

The title of this post is a quote from the Book of Five Rings, or Go Rin No Sho in Japanese that was written by Miyamoto Musashi almost 400 years ago. Written in approx. 1645 but still applicable today. Continue reading my post to understand why.

What

Keep doing the things you enjoy

How we do things can be very important. If you are an elite level athlete how you do things can result in a win or loss. In elite level competition, the winner is sometimes determined by hundredths or even thousandths of a second. And if competing in your chosen discipline is how you earn your living that can result in a  gain in thousands or even millions of dollars or a loss. For the rest of us, the difference can be continuing to do the thing we like to do or prevented from doing these things because of injury, of loss of motivation. Let me explain further by breaking this out into 2 categories:

        • Motivation
        • Injury

Let’s talk about motivation. I’m going to tell you a story that may help make this clearer. A number of years ago I signed up for an introduction to running clinic being offered at my workplace. The clinic was advertised as a way to dip your toe into the water of running, a way of educating yourself on how to run and possibly finish up by running a 5k race. The first day we all suited up in our running gear and then went out and ran a mile, or attempted to run a mile. Most of us, pretty much all of us, had not run a mile in quite a while. Months, maybe years for some of us since the last time we ran or even did something physical that would tax the cardiovascular system heavily. We put on our shoes, shorts, and t-shirts and went out and ran a mile. Some of us did. Not everyone completed the run and not everyone came back for the next class. If I were to be blunt in describing this I would say our instructor broke some people. Unintentionally but that is what happened. She took a group of office workers mostly in their 30’s or 40’s and had them run hard for 1 mile. I look back at this day with much clearer eyes, much more educated eyes and I can respectfully say that was the wrong way to run a clinic. How can I say that? If the goal is to get more people passionate about running and to then help them learn how to run and then continue to run that did not happen. If you were one of the people who did come back it was due to sheer determination to continue and not quit.

We tend to be motivated to continue to do things when we feel good about what it is we are doing. Seeing and feeling results can also build or maintain motivation for most people. Some, not many, are motivated by negative experiences, negative peer pressure, or competition. The classic example of someone driven to succeed to prove everyone wrong which usually means prove their parents wrong, or prove their ‘friends’ wrong (friends who think they are motivating you by putting you down are not really friends, lose those toxic people in your life). And is motivation out of fear, or hate healthy? What consequences come with that?

So how would I run that first day of the running clinic? I would probably follow a proven approach of running and walking. I would also assess my students and off of that determine the run/walk interval. 1 mile converts to 1600 metres approximately. So I might try 400 metres running followed by 100, or maybe 200 metres at a quick walk. That works out to approximately 3 intervals. This gives the students an opportunity to run and then also get their breath back if you will and also an opportunity to gear up for the next interval. Also, it’s not going to be overly taxing. And in the end, everyone ran a mile and can walk away proud of that fact. Motivated for the next class to learn how to improve and motivated to run again.

At the beginning of any activity that is new, we should treat that in the manner that it is new. Are you better at your job today than when you first entered your profession? Absolutely!

If you do things that are of no use, are an impediment, create disinterestedness, build incuriosity than you will not continue. You need to do things and only things that build confidence, curiosity, passion, drive. Those things that fulfill you. Only then will it become something that you will want to continue with. Do only the things that are of use.

learn to run
Proper technique can reduce risk of injury. Credit to sporlab

Let’s move on to the second point. Before I forget, I have broken this into 2 points but there are more. Perhaps I’ll expand on some of the other points in an upcoming post. From years of coaching in the personal training industry and also instructing in martial arts, I have seen many examples of this. People failing to properly warm up, failing to listen to their teacher, failing to adequately rest, failing to properly cool down, failing to use proper technique. I can continue but this should make the point.

Do things that are of use

If you look at the quote ‘Do nothing that is of no use’ it also infers the opposite. Do everything that is of use. The incorrect technique will lead to injury. Let’s take running as an example. All of us know how to run just like we all naturally learned how to crawl, walk, and then run. We know how to run instinctively because we had to run away from predators, in short distances to safety if possible, thousands of years ago. It was for survival. But that does not mean we know how to run 5km’s every day, a 10km race, marathon, or an extreme endurance event.

Although as human beings we have a body that is built almost perfectly to run long distances (Kenyan’s would run for days tiring out their prey before killing them) most of us don’t know how to run properly. The majority of people who have not had proper training think that when you run you land on the heel, then roll forward and push off of the toes. I think most people believe this because if you look at a pair of running shoes the heel is extremely cushioned. Why would you not land on the heel with all that cushioning? Now, go by a pair of minimalist shoes and try that. Shortly into the run you’ll have to stop due to intense pain.

So if I have running shoes that are greatly cushioned what is wrong with landing on the heels? Without going too deep into it, it’s the body position when you do this that can lead to other injuries such as in the knees, hips, back, shoulders. If we are such good runners because we naturally know how to run then why do so many people get injured? Repetitive stress injury is one reason. Constantly doing one thing such as running is not healthy for your body. The body will strengthen certain muscles, the muscles doing the work, and the other muscles, usually the muscles opposite the ones doing the work are not getting worked out as much. Muscle imbalances build up and this also leads to injury. Also, the muscles that are primarily being used are used in a certain way, a certain range of motion. If you look at running the hamstrings and quads are not engaged in nearly the full range of motion they are capable of. This is one reason why I’m a proponent of incorporating variety in your workouts.

Now, I get it. I get how people get hooked to doing one thing. I was one of those people who fell in love with running. My long runs would typically consist of runs ranging from 20km’s to 40km’s depending on the week. That feeling you get from the endorphins and hormones being released can be incredible. But you have to incorporate other training that will in the end give you a well rounded balanced body. I’ve run into people who when they find out I train in Karate they tell me they used to do Karate until they got injured doing it. Unless it was due to sparring or another underlying issue I guarantee it was due to incorrect technique. How do I know? Because I educate myself on these things, on how mechanics of the body work to produce power and how improper mechanics will cause injury. Also, I’ve been to Okinawa a number of times training with Okinawan’s who are in their 70’s and 80’s and they are training and doing the same things much younger people are. If Karate killed your body how is this so?

Finally

Fitness should be something for life. Things you enjoy doing should be things you do for your life. Just like eating. Look at the history of fad diets. They all end up in failure, they are unsustainable. Whereas you look at one group of people that have the largest amount of centenarians (Okinawans) and they historically eat a diet comprised of 85 – 90% complex carbs.

Do nothing that is of no use. Think about this, deeply. And if you don’t know what it is that is of no use, that’s ok. Everyone at one point is a beginner. That is why there are experts in these areas; personal trainers, running coaches, swim coaches, sensei’s, etc. Invest in yourself. Why wouldn’t you do that? I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did now, and years and years from now. Don’t eliminate those things that are of no use and it will probably be a short trip.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

the view can be different from here

…and I like the view

Ninety, one hundred and eighty. Degrees of angles. Degrees of angles we normally train in. Squats, bench presses, pushups. Most times when we do these exercises we do them at a square angle to the ground. We do our exercises this way because we need gravity to provide the needed resistance. So what’s the issue? Doing the same thing over and over, the same way. Repetition.

Resistance

Over time our bodies will adapt to a load being applied at the same angle relative to the muscles that are being worked. As our muscles adapt the less they respond to the load and the lessening of the benefits  we get from working out are realized.

Another benefit of incorporating angles into our workouts is it can target different areas of the muscles being worked. Also, it can help to maintain strict form when working out, preventing us from cheating an exercise.

How to

Lets look at the bench press or the pushup. Most times when doing this exercise our body is mostly parallel to the ground albeit on a bench when doing bench presses or the slight angle we realize when doing pushups. What if we raised our feet when doing pushups, or elevated the back part of the bench that supports our upper body when doing bench presses? This now changes the load from being distributed to the middle of our chest to more of the upper area of our chest. This also changes up what our muscles have been used to. I guarantee if you have been doing either of these exercises in the traditional sense and change it to incorporating this angle you will feel the difference. Now do the same but use a decline. With respect to bench presses, you will need a decline bench. For pushups, you can do your pushups by having your hands on a bench, couch, or anything that is about 12 to 16 inches above the ground, keeping your toes on the ground. Be sure that whatever you are using that it is stable and safe.

The same principle can be applied when carrying out dumbbell chest flies. Doing this exercise on an incline or decline angle will put the load onto the upper and lower chest area respectively.

Using an incline bench you can apply the same principle to when you do dumbbell bicep curls. With your back against the inclined bench, let your arms hang down, holding the dumbbells. Having your body at this angle, no longer parallel with your arms will make it almost impossible to cheat when doing dumbbell curls. If you try this, you will notice that the amount of weight you use will probably be less than when doing dumbbell curls the traditional way.

The traditional lat pull down, pulling down the horizontal bar directly from above you can also be modified to incorporate a new angle. If you pull down having your upper body on an 80 degree angle you will still be hitting the lats but you will also target more of upper/middle back area, similar to a seated cable row. Be careful doing this one that you don’t end up swinging the body because of the load being too high. This is not what you want to do, and could lead to injury.

Not everything

Not all exercises can be done this way, especially when exercising safely. These are just a few options to help you keep realizing the benefits from resistance training, another way to ‘shock’ the muscles.

It’s beneficial to you to incorporate different things in your workout routine. Altimately you are the one that benefits, the one that grows.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

all the blood that I would bleed

It’s about embracing the pain

You’re tired of sucking wind either when working out or doing anything mildly strenuous. You want to be able to make it through a workout, push yourself hard, and make a quick, or quicker than normal recovery.

You need to work out your cardio respiratory system. Time to build the heart and lungs. It can be tough but the payoff is tremendous.

Benefits

Stated earlier, the benefits can be realized when doing normal day to day activities such as going up a couple flights of stairs, having to walk a longer than normal distance, or something unexpected such as having to push your vehicle out of the deep snow (hopefully you haven’t had to do this).

The benefit of having a strong cardio respiratory system will lead to quicker recovery when working out. What I mean is it will take less time for your heart rate to return to normal. So you can push yourself doing interval training and have your heart rate lower quicker as you get ready for your next intense interval. So instead of being out of breath, heart racing when you are getting ready for the next interval, you will feel stronger and ready to go. That’s a nice feeling.

Another benefit is an increase in performance. Why? I’ll explain what the cardio respiratory system does and I think you understand how performance will benefit.

The what

The cardiovascular and respiratory systems work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to body tissue, such as muscle. It is also responsible for removing waste. Our respiratory system takes in oxygen providing it to our blood, and it removes carbon dioxide, the waste product. Our cardiovascular system is what moves the oxygenated blood to our tissues, delivering oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

More oxygen will be delivered and more carbon dioxide will be removed as efficiency increases. One large influence on this is what is called stroke volume. Stroke volume is the amount of blood that can be pumped in one beat of our heart (specifically the left ventricle). The typical amount of blood that is pumped in one beat is 70 milliliters. As we become fitter the ventricle becomes larger and stronger, able to move more blood and contract with more force. When resting, our body required a specific amount of blood to be circulated. For someone who is fit, and has a larger than normal stroke volume, the heart does not have to work as hard to deliver the amount of blood needed.

When we are training the effect of having a larger stroke volume means more blood is pumped to our tissue than someone with a smaller stroke volume. I’ll try to explain it this way. You have two people filling a balloon with air, one with a pump that with each stroke delivered 1 litre of air, and the other person, the fit person, had a pump that delivered 2 litres of air with each stroke. The balloons are the same size, requiring 100 litres of air to fill it. The amount of strokes per minute are the same for both people, 20 strokes (think of heart rate, each person’s heart rate being 185 bpm’s when working out). The average person, who can only pump 1 litre per stroke requires 5 minutes to fill the balloon (20 strokes/minute x 1 litre = 20 litres per minute).  The healthy person requires only 2.5 minutes to fill the balloon. The healthier person can move more air per stroke requiring less work overall. Apply this to the heart and it makes sense why someone with a larger stroke volume, a healthier cardio vascular system, can accomplish more work at the same heart rate than the person with the smaller stroke volume. Does that make sense? Maybe? If it doesn’t, or it seems convoluted, let me know.

The what

So what do we do to improve our cardio respiratory system? Cardio training. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that you have to start running. Cardio training does not have to include running, or biking, or elliptical machines. Now you like me, right? I’m going to change that. With what I tell you next, you may end up hating me. I’m ok with that because I know you will benefit from what I’m going to tell you, and that is my goal. I’m doing this for you, not me.

If you follow my blog, have read some or most of the articles you probably know I’m a fan of intense workouts. Slow and easy is not for me. I’m not going to get into why because I have done that in other posts. What I’m going to do is layout some options you can use to help you become better, stronger.

Intervals: Interval training can be a number of things. Tabata is a good example of interval training. 20 seconds of full out work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes total (or longer if you love pain). 60 seconds of 90% intensity followed by 30 seconds of 60% intensity work. Another example could be 90 seconds of 90% work followed by 30 seconds of 60% work. There are so many benefits to interval training. Better utilization of glucose (provides energy to our body), higher resting metabolism, growth in our stroke volume (yeah!), etc.

Intervals can vary quite a bit. From the 20 second work 10 second rest of tabata to 3 minutes work, 1 minute rest of another interval method. The work you do can be anything as long as you hit the targets. Jump squats, burpees, sprints, mountain climbers, clean and press, etc. If you want to run on a treadmill, go for it. It’s up to you.

Other options

Are there benefits to activities such as going for bike rides, quick walking, jogging or none interval activities? Sure. Different benefits but they are there. We can’t do interval training all the time because it is taxing to our body, and our body needs time to recover from these hard workouts. Throwing in a non-interval training activity is a great way to add variety to our workouts and there may also be other benefits realized. Some people when they run can turn their mind to a place that brings them peace and relaxation, and happiness. There’s a lot to be said about benefits of this. Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Exercising should not be totally exclusive to one activity. That’s how we end up with imbalances and sometimes boredom.

It makes sense.

Add interval training to your workout. Start off easy, one session per week. Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself. Do this for a month and I know you will be pleased with the results. Kill it. Have no mercy when you train and you will ultimately be triumphant.

It may not feel that way, but trust me. You are awesome and you will kill it. You always do.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Put me back on the line

Give me more of a reason

I look at things that happen in my life, things that I see, questions asked, people’s experiences and I look at these things and see if I can find a lesson in them. Maybe find something that I can pass onto you that helps you with your training and helps you reach your goals quicker.

That has always been the purpose of my blog, to help. To help you grow in the part of your life that is fitness. If only one article has done that, than I have succeeded.

A new one

I recently revisited a client of mine that I started training about eight weeks ago. This client of mine is very goal oriented and had a specific goal she wanted to achieve – to better her game by increasing her strength and power.

I liked the idea of training this person because her goal was very specific and I felt it would be very challenging. She is a very athletic person, I have known her for probably the last 4 years and already knew her work ethic. This is partly why I had no issue leaving her on her own to train. I have said in previous posts that I don’t feel that everyone needs a personal trainer for all their workouts. Some people? Yes. But not everyone.

The purpose of this visit was to reevaluate her performance and to touch base as to the next 4 weeks. I was anxious to see what the results would be.

No hiding

I said I was anxious but I was also nervous. There is no hiding from the results, or massaging the results to provide a different outcome than what it is. The numbers don’t lie. It can be like shining a bright light onto you. Success or failure, there can be only one outcome.

Success! The reevaluation showed lots of positive gains. Vertical jump increase, drastic increase in leg strength, increase in chest strength and so on. The program I had put together worked and I am seeing the results.

But the results were not evident to my client, until we measured them.

Tracking

It wasn’t until I tested my client again and compared the results to the initial test that she realized that she was making gains. Part of this is due to a good part of the program designed around exercises using body weight making it difficult to see increase in strength since no dumbbells or barbells were being used.

At the end of the evaluation my client was so pumped seeing the increase in strength. Could she of seen this earlier? Absolutely.

Journal. That’s it. Recording each workout on paper. Capturing what you have accomplished. It’s also a good way to capture your general feeling that day; tired, energized, strong, weak. A journal can be a great way to see your progress as weeks go on and to keep yourself motivated in reaching your goal, or goals. I think we underestimate the value of capturing each workout and the impact it can have.

The payoff

If my client had a journal, she probably wouldn’t have been as surprised at the results. It was the action of me reevaluating her that showed the gains made, but it didn’t have to be. The gains were there, just not being measured. Record everything, from day one.

How do you measure your progress if you don’t know where you came from?

Yours in health,

Darryl

the stars are alive, and they are in my reach

the flame flickers, reaching, grasping, waiting with it’s hand outreached.

I consider this the third post in my series regarding adding strength and muscle.  The first post was the challenge that I’m sure you accepted. The second post deals with the progression made so far. This post I will talk about things that you may be doing that in affect could be sabotaging your progress. Will there be more posts in this series? Yeah, I think so. Stay tuned.

It’s what we do

Restless. You want to add the poundage of muscle onto your frame, but you are that type that when in a gym, or anywhere working out you cannot just ‘sit there’ counting the seconds or minutes. You try to take a 2 minute break between sets but no matter what you try you can’t. You find yourself waiting no more than 30 seconds, or maybe a minute. The fact is you won’t be adding the muscle you would like to unless you take that rest. Try it yourself. Look at how much weight you use when resting for 2 to 3 minutes compared to how much weight you currently use between sets. I bet you that with the longer rest you are using more weight each set. Why? Because the body needs that length of time to replenish its energy stores used to lift weight. Rest, slow down, and relax. Enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Minimalist. Are you eating enough or are you eating the same you always have. We know where that has gotten you, nowhere when it comes to adding muscle. If we don’t have the protein intake needed for our muscles to grow, they won’t! Personally, I’d rather be on the side of too many calories than not enough. Once you hit that point of knowing you are consuming too much, you can always scale back.

Enjoy it. I always think this sounds funny when I say it, I love food and I love eating. If you do too, enjoy it more and get in those quality calories. If you can, keep track of the amount of protein you are consuming daily. Try to spread it around too. Don’t try to consume larger amounts of protein in fewer meals. Have that protein always available for your body to use it.

Stress ball. Relax. Yeah, I know. It’s easy for me to say, isn’t it. But it’s true. Stress can be good, it helps us react to threatening situations but if stress isn’t dealt with properly it can be detrimental to our weight gains but worse, it can be detrimental to our overall health. As westerners I think we missed the boat on how to deal with stress, and how to relax. I don’t think meditation gets the respect it should. Hopefully it will now that the technology exists to show the benefits of meditation.

We all need more. Sleep. That’s it. As simple as the word, it really is that simple. You will want to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night so the body can rebuild, become stronger, become bigger. That is the goal, right? If you aren’t sleeping, why is that? Do you know? Can you do something about it, maybe the previous point can help? Getting the proper amount of sleep can be tough, I know this because I am there myself. What can you do? Some say if you are going to eat before bed time, eat foods high in protein (a plus) and fat because this will regulate your blood sugar and prevent a rise in blood sugar possibly impacting your ability to fall asleep. When lying there in bed, breathe in through the nose and exhale out of your mouth, nice and slowly. This rhythmic breathing can help to relax the mind and body.

By no means do I pretend to have the solution. I wish I did.

Playback. Are you keep a log of what it is you are doing? No, why not! How is it you know what you did last week, or what you did the last workout? Are you resting the proper amount of time between sets, are you lifting more that the last workout, do you know what you did yesterday? Besides being a great motivator, a log helps you get the most out of your workouts be knowing what you did previously, and letting you know what it is you need to do today. Recording what it is you are doing, number of sets, number of reps, rest, amount  of weight helps you stick to the program and will help you get there quicker. It also allows you to review what you did against what you were supposed to do and make changes if necessary.

Also, a few weeks in you can look back at week one of your log and marvel at the progress you have made.

I wish

I don’t have the pill, I don’t have the magical answers. I wish I did. I can only provide recommendations to you to help you achieve your goal. There is one thing I will say that I think is probably the most important. If you take only one thing away from reading this, take this: Believe in yourself. Know that you can do it. Why? Because you can! I know you and I know what you can do, and you can do this. Don’t ever doubt it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず。

Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu

No pain no gain. Words to live by, right? It depends. It depends when the pain happens. We need to experience pain from working out but that pain needs to be later, not during the workout. If we aren’t experiencing pain after the workout, we have not challenged our muscles significantly for them to grow and become stronger. What about during the workout?

Injury

Experiencing pain during a workout is your body telling you to stop, right away. The pain you are experiencing is because you have injured yourself and if you continue to work out, you will only aggravate the injury, possibly making it worse. Stop and treat the injury.

Understanding what is it

Some people make the mistake of taking being uncomfortable as being in pain, and tend to stop because of being uncomfortable. I’ve written a few posts on the power of the mind, and this is a case of the person become defeated by the mind. Being uncomfortable is not fun, most people prefer not to be. But we need to be uncomfortable to realize any gains from working out. You need to learn the difference between being in pain, a pain that is muscular or skeletal and being uncomfortable. If you never do, you will never experience the gains you are looking for.

What kinds

Muscular pain can be a pulled muscle, or worse a torn muscle. You can also experience injury of the connective tissues, the tendons. With these types of injuries you should follow the rule of RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest. Stop what you are doing and get yourself somewhere comfortable. Relax and enjoy some downtime. Ice. Put ice on for 15 minutes and then remove for 15 minutes. Do this until swelling has gown down. You can make your own flexible ice pack by putting water and rubbing alcohol into a zip lock bag and throw it in the freezer. Or you can use a bag of frozen veggies. Compression. Use a tensor bandage to add compression. Elevation. Keep the injured area higher than the heart. If after a while you still have swelling, or are concerned about the injury, see a doctor.

Injuries to our skeletal system such as a fracture, break, or sprang should also follow the RICE rule. Again, if swelling remains or you are concerned about the injury, see a doctor.

If you have experienced any of these injuries you need to let that area recover. Give it the rest it needs. Coming back and training that area too soon can lead to extending the time to recover to 100%, or could lead to a more serious injury of the area. If you are someone who needs to workout, see what options you have that remove that injured area from the workout. See a personal trainer for ideas if you need to. An injured foot is a great time to train the core. An injured arm could be a great time to train the legs. Be flexible in ideas as to what you can do. But give the injured area rest.

Smart

Training smart. I always say it. Training smart will result in getting more out of your workout, and lessening any chronic aches and pains you may experience down the road. Train hard, hard enough that you do feel the muscles aching the following day, or two. That’s the pain you are striving to capture.

Listen to your body. Respect your body. Love your body and it will love you back.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Of all the words of mice and men

It’s not for the things you’ve done, it’s the things you haven’t done.

You have read the mission and you have accepted it. It might have seemed somewhat daunting, but you knew you were up for it. It’s something you have been wanting to do and have been having trouble doing it, or getting the anticipated results. But this time it’s different, this time it’s going to happen.

Where are we

About a week and half ago I wrote an article on what you can do to gain 5lbs of muscle in 4 weeks. I laid out things to do, and things not to do. Some of them easy, some of them more challenging. Things like getting an adequate amount of sleep. Yeah, we all wish this was easy to do. Getting the right amount, or even too much protein can be tough too. But I don’t want to talk about these things necessarily.

It’s been 11 days! Well, eleven since I wrote the post. Where are you in project five lbs? 4 days, a week, or 11 days? How are you making out? Have you been weighing yourself? If you have, relax if you haven’t gained weight yet. The body may not necessarily respond right away. It might take two weeks to see an increase of 2 or 3 lbs. The worst thing you could do is start to worry. When we worry, or create stress our body responds by releasing cortisol, a hormone that can be harmful if we don’t handle the stress correctly and do away with it. Don’t sabotage the work you have been doing.

Keep going

If you have hit a stumbling block, don’t quit! Keep going. Push out your date if you have to. Reevaluate that roadblock and put together a plan to deal with it in the future. It’s not the end of the world (that stress thing again). Instead, focus on the positive things you have been doing. Feel good about them. You should.

A slice in

It’s a small slice in time to see what you can do when training specifically, for a specific goal. Try to manage things so you are able to keep on track.

If it’s late, and you haven’t worked out, do it anyway. Once you are into it you’ll feel better and you’ll feel better afterwards, nah, you’ll feel fantastic because there won’t be any guilt! You’ll then go into the next day carrying that high you felt from your workout. Believe me, it’s a great feeling.

But don’t sit there contemplating it. Sometimes you have to say f*ck it, and just get it done. That’s it.

4,3,2…

Week 4 will be here in no time. Fly by just like that. Welcome that week with that 5 lbs. of muscle on your frame. Who knows what comes after that. I’m thinking another 5.

Yours in health

Darryl

Hold hold the light that fixes you in time

Finding out who we really are.

You’ve been with your trainer for about 2 to 4 weeks and you’re contemplating cutting the cord. Ahh, the pain, how dare you! Ok, I will get over it. Being a personal trainer I know I’ll have clients that need me there every workout, and I know I’ll have clients that don’t. That’s fine. I’m not in the group that feel everyone needs a personal trainer every workout. So you are ready. You feel that you are ready to work out on your own. You have your schedule, your exercises and you are confident you have the technique down.

But you are a little hesitant. There are questions on your mind. Will you be able to perform as well without your trainer being there to push you? Will you remember how to do every exercise you were shown? Will you remember all the nuances?

All valid concerns.

It comes down to

I think it can be said that if you are someone who needs to be pushed, who isn’t a self motivator when it comes to exercising, you may want to rethink the decision to start out on your own without a trainer. A personal trainer plays many roles, one of them being a motivator. The motivation can come in the form that you are paying for their services so you want to get your monies worth, or your trainer knows what to say and do to get the most out of you. Probably the latter, I hope so since that should be happening.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s ok to have to have someone there to push you. If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

The art

Technique is another area that a trainer services are invaluable. Improper technique can lead to short term or long term injury. Some people pick up proper technique fairly quickly, just like some people learn to ride  a bike fairly quickly. If you aren’t one of those people be sure you talk with your trainer. Your trainer should be able to tell you that she or he is comfortable in you doing your workouts on your own, and that your technique is satisfactory. If your trainer has concerns they should be voicing them. If you choose to ignore those concerns that could be a risky decision.

Something you can do to help you understand the proper technique for the exercises you are doing is to ask questions. Remember, you are responsible for your health and well being, not your trainer. If you aren’t asking questions when your trainer is there you are passing up a great opportunity to better understand technique. Questions such as ‘where do I keep my elbow?’, ‘should I lean forwards or backwards’, ‘what if I can do more reps when I hit the number I’m supposed to do?’. If you can’t think of anything to ask when doing the exercises, try to think of questions after the workout when you are home and can reflect on the workout. There aren’t any stupid questions, well, there is. The question that doesn’t get asked. No one is going to ask the questions for you, it’s up to you.

Move forward

So how do you know your workouts are working now that you are on your own? A journal is a great way to keep track of your progress. Keep track of weight used, number of repetitions, number of sets. If running keep track of time and distance, elevation if running on a treadmill. Also enter into your journal how you feel during and right after your workout.

When working cardio by running, biking, etc., the length of time it takes you to get your resting heart rate back is a good indicator of your fitness. If your heart rate returns to resting in around 1 minute you are doing really well.

Keeping a journal of these things will allow you to see if you are progressing, plateauing, or regressing. If you find a couple of weeks go by and you aren’t making any progress it might be the right time to call your personal trainer and talk about a reengagement.

No right or wrong

It’s alright to use a personal trainer bits at a time. A personal trainer does not have to be a year long commitment, for most of us. Understand your needs and goals and if you are meeting them than that’s great. That’s the goal, isn’t it?

Yours in health,

Darryl