Many personal training programs simply provide you with a motivator who will push you through a series of exercises designed to work specific body parts; this approach is flawed and will potentially de-train the body. In real life muscles do not work in isolation from each other but in integrated patterns simultaneously. My approach rarely uses *fixed machines; I predominantly use free weights, swiss balls, barbells and cables. By using this equipment we allow the body’s stabilising and neutralising muscles to switch on; thereby increasing the training effect upon the body, burning more calories and increasing metabolic rate. By choosing functional exercises that replicate natural human movement patterns, such as to bend, squat, lunge, push, press, twist and jump we challenge the body’s systems as a whole unit mimicking exactly how the body should work in everyday movement. This approach guarantees not only that you will burn calories and look good, but that you will actually perform everyday tasks or leisure/sporting pursuits much better.
*Our bodies were not designed to exercise on machines, they were designed to function in the wild. We are designed for three-dimensional freedom, not two dimensional guided, unrealistic exercise that encourages muscle imbalance for any given movement. The motor programs developed on machines are of little use to the body for anything other than pushing or pulling the levers of that very machine during that very exercise. This limits functional carryover to those that operate cranes, excavators, bulldozers, and buses for a living; they are about the only people that must apply force to levers in a seated, supported two-dimensional environment. An example; The chest press machine is designed to work your pectoralis majoris. This is a large muscle group in your upper body. It’s a “pushing” motion, but we use this machine sitting down. When in our real lives do we actually “push” anything while we are sitting down? Out with the new and in with the old.
Exercise has the same effect as a drug; I make sure you are prescribed the right drug. Exercise without assessment is dangerous and counter productive.
I am not interested in show off body builder types; exercise is just one factor towards complete health. I also do not take a militant approach to training, after all not everyone is comfortable with exercise. So no boot camp style shouting!
Exercise is a stress to our bodies, so if you are already stressed out, heavy exercise is just depleting you further (so is being shouted at). Therefore a workout will add insult to injury. I will prescribe what’s suitable for you. That may mean not ‘working out’ but rather ‘working in’. ‘Innercize’. Motion = Emotion, as you move, so you will be moved.
Would you like to ensure you are performing the right exercises for your body and getting the most from your time and effort exercising ?
It could mean re-learning what is taught traditionally in the fitness industry though, which just tends to focus on making people gym-fit. …I believe there are a lot of unhealthy people in a lot of gyms. It is way off and heading in the wrong direction regarding health. It is moving further from our natural eating and movement patterns and just getting more technical. We need to get back to basics and adapt an holistic approach to wellness. That means looking at how our ancestors ate and moved around (they certainly did not go to a gym, nor did our grandparents). Getting healthy is very easy to get wrong, especially with all the current bombardment of sharply contradictory information. But you must eat the right food for you, and do the appropriate exercise. A integrative approach to health using medicines that nature provided, Holistic Fitness and Naturopathic Nutrition is the way forward. Fitness and weight loss are side benefits of being healthy.
What to expect
Think of how 99% of most gyms/personal trainers work & my methods of approach to personal training are 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
The initial consultation will cover a comprehensive physical evaluation of your body providing me with detailed and accurate information related to your current physical alignment and movement function. As a C.H.E.K. Exercise Coach I am trained to precisely measure spinal curves, length/tension of muscles, function of the ‘core’, and analyse how you move. These measurements help identify what may be contributing to pain or poor performance in your life or sport. Being a Naturopath also allows me to go further into you health evaluation.
Posture and Stability Assessments
This will involve lining you up on a plumb line to identify postural imbalances. Also measuring forward head posture, pelvic tilt, first rib angle, thoracic and lumbar curve
Stretch Assessments and Corrective Stretches
9 point flexibility test which will dictate which muscles to stretch and what time of day to stretch them.
Stress and Lifestyle assessment, do you need to ‘Work-out’ or ‘Work-in’ ?
I will determine your Physiological load dependent on such factors as sleep, nutrition (many people exercise too hard and fail to eat correctly) , digestion, stress and when you eat. The higher your Physiological load, your tolerance for exercise goes down. Contrary to popular belief not all exercise is beneficial. Working out will cause insult to an already over-loaded system.
Assessing Abdominal Wall Function
Do your deep transverse abdominals (‘Core’ muscles) work and to what percentage? If you are eating the wrong foods, have had a C-section or use a weight belt in the gym then I can guarantee they do not work. Assessing core strength and co-ordination. This is your foundation and where all movement originates from.
Thoracic and lumbar spine mobilization techniques often with a foam roller to gain some functional movement before you start exercise program . We’ll do specific stretching and joint mobilisation to free you up, and targeted exercises and movements to iron out any kinks in your system.
Stability and Core Exercises
Now to start building your foundation of strength from the deep core muscles outwards. No machines just swiss balls, a stabilization cuff, a mat and a dowel rod. They may look easy, but trust me, even the strongest ‘looking’ people cannot do these.
Conditioning Exercises and ‘Functional’ Movements
Your body is now ready to start building strength and power with functional movements.
People want to jump in and start with all the ‘Big bang’ exercises and do endless cardio trying to achieve unattainable, unrealistic goals. They wonder why they end up with poor results, a limp and back pain.
If you are stuck in a flexed position (*forward head, rounded shoulders, hunched back- Known as Upper Cross Syndrome) as 99% of people are from sitting too long. Then you start bench pressing, you are just exasperating the condition. People just tend to focus on the muscles they can see in the mirror, which pull us down in a flexed position.
*For every inch you head migrates forward, it is the equivalent of a water melon hanging from your forehead, pulling and stretching on your neck and back muscles.
Machines just unnaturally isolate muscles, all those nuts, bolts and steal are doing the job that all your stabilizing muscles should be doing (you may use 3 muscles on one particular exercise on a machine, whereas you may use 200 different muscles if you did the same exercise using free weights on a swiss ball). I will design a program that will focus on movement not isolated muscles. I also avoid cardiovascular (aerobic exercise) with some clients (see skinny down section as to why).
Now you can see why CrossFit, Bootcamps, poorly trained Personal Trainers and large Fitness classes can be detrimental and dangerous to people’s health because they use a ‘One size fits all’ approach and do not consider your individual requirements. 72% of people have a disc-bulge, yet don’t feel any pain. We all need to stretch and strengthen different muscles, which can only be determined by a postural assessment.
Imagine starting an exercise program with the above posture. Which is unfortunately typical of most modern domesticated people. You will inevitably cause further imbalances and end up injured. You wouldn’t expect a balanced ride on a bike with a buckled wheel. The bike will eventually fall apart; same goes for your body. Corrective Exercise identifies and tightens long weak muscles and stretches short tight muscles before starting your program. Standardized Personal Trainers are not taught to consider any of this.
You must be assessed before you start any exercise program or you will be programming your brain with faulty movement patterns and end up injured and even more structurally imbalanced. Structural imbalance like the diagram above is a major stress on our bodies. It will lead to faulty breathing (so less oxygen), adrenal fatigue and so on. Posture effects you internally, and your internal health will effect your posture…If your trainer isn’t assessing your posture…leave !
The body can learn a new movement pattern within 300 – 500 repetitions, however if the initial input is slightly wrong then it could take up to 5000 repetitions to rewind the bad habit and input the new programme (Schmidt, 2000).