Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed the last article on the benefits of training and I hope this gave some insight as to why getting your physical health back on track is so important. There so many benefits that I just simply could not fit into that article, so do yourself a favor and research the facts a little more if you’re looking for a deeper conviction, the evidence is out there and, it is clear as day. I hope that if you’re reading this that you’ve already decided to make the change! Seriously, getting your physical health back on track should not be physically daunting, you should be excited. Actually you should be cheering out loud at the prospect of a new and healthier you. Be proud of yourself and the change you are making as you are actively pursuing a better life for yourself and your loved ones, which is a huge deal! So, how do you get started? Keep reading and I will give you the guidance required to smoothly transition into an exercise routine and get you on track for the new and healthier you.
Firstly, getting started does not need to be hardcore, remember in the last article I mentioned that getting started could be as simple as just routinely walking each morning or afternoon. One major point in getting started is to go at your own pace, this is crucial for anyone who has been sedentary for a long period of time, or anyone who has or has had injuries in the past. Getting fit is certainly not a race and as a trainer, too many times would I witness others pushing their limits with clearly no experience or technique to build upon. Whilst this approach may work fabulously in the short term, it is a recipe for disaster in the long term. You are likely to either injure yourself, or quickly develop dominant muscle groups, which will lead to long-term muscular aches, strains and pains as well as injuries down the track. Now I say this not to discourage you, only to point out that some forms of training, particularly in the gym can be complicated if you intend to do it right. You can always try the ‘euro training style’ featured in the TV series ‘My wife and Kids’, but I wouldn’t recommend that ha ha. You don’t start running without first learning how to walk right? So start slowly. Now before getting stuck into training properly, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and create a systematic balance in your body so that you can avoid the onset of injuries and strains and get the best possible start to the new you.
I would advise for all beginners to do a Pre Assessment and Pre Training Program (PTP). Any good trainer should be able to provide this type of service, if they cannot, then they are probably not an ideal trainer to start with. Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists and Chiropractors should also offer this service initially, and I highly recommend seeing one to gain insight into any underlying issues you may have prior to getting started. The purpose and significance of a Pre Assessment is to observe your body as it is both stationary and put through ranges of motion. To the trained eye this will identify almost all of your imbalances. The benefit is that it will highlight the areas most in need of attention, highlighting the dominant muscle groups, muscles being overworked and at the highest risk of causing injuries. Simultaneously it points out the weaker muscle groups, the muscles not functioning properly or to full strength. As a trainer I loved doing this, quite often I would make my list of a clients strengths and weaknesses and be able to link most findings to former injuries or to the individuals profession and work routine. When an assessment has been done, ideally a 6 – 8 week program should be created to strengthen weak muscles and balance out the dominant ones. At the culmination of the program, you will be in a very good position to train a little more rigorously without the greater risk of injury but also with a good understanding of technique having 6 to 8 weeks of experience under your belt.
Now if you don’t have access to, or cannot afford the services above you don’t really need it, it is merely advantageous. You do not to start out the right way, as the last thing you want is to start exercising and end up with an injury shortly after. Rest assured you can achieve this without the help of a face to face professional. We do live in fortunate times and information as well as tools available to us is abundant. You may not be in a position to get a gym membership, but I am sure you have the Internet right? I believe the most crucial exercises when doing PTP’s is emphasis on Unilateral Movements, movements focused on individual sides and muscle balancing such as lunges, step ups and step downs. The great thing is that there endless exercises and tutorials available via the Internet. I will be adding some to our website as well as tutorials for you to view also. These exercises are seriously great for highlighting your stronger and weaker muscle groups, you will be able to feel the difference instantly. Give it a go right now and I guarantee you will notice significant differences. Start by making a list of the exercises you like and the ones you feel are doing the most benefit to you. Now be honest with yourself, if you do one of these movements on your left side and cant repeat the same effort on your right then you need to make it a priority. Always start with the weaker side, as it will determine the total number of repetitions you should be doing. For example if you can only do 6 on your weak side, then you only do 6 on your strong side until your weaker side catches up in strength, that is how you start to balance your body.
There is another form of exercise that accompanies PTP perfectly, I would in fact encourage everyone to partake in this form of exercise regularly, as it really is brilliant. That type of exercise I am referring to is Pilates and Yoga. Studied for thousands of years, Yoga and Pilates are superb for balancing out the body and achieving symmetry. Furthermore this form of workout enhances flexibility, which by the way contributes to achieving symmetry of the body much faster. Good flexibility is so very important; it is key to reducing injuries, aches and pains. I am of the belief that many people taking pain relief medication don’t need it, and if they only took a closer look at their body and understood it more, could resolve the issues naturally, without resolving to medicine. Neurofen for example states on their recent adverts that headaches are caused by strained neck muscles, so why then are we popping pills to relieve the pain as opposed to simply stretching those strained muscles out? This is one area that work in motion endeavors to educate others on what to do to reduce the severity and occurrence of things such as headaches and common aches and pains in the knees, lower backs and necks among other places. This can be achieved through education and training as medication is not a long-term solution, but a long-term problem. In getting back to Yoga and Pilates, just remember to go at your own pace and know your limits, don’t tackle anything too crazy just yet. If you’re not a fan of group sessions and classes, again the Internet is your best friend. You can YouTube a clip anytime and do it from the comfort of your own home, get your partner involved as well. You will be amazed by the vast benefits you gain and the relaxation these classes done routinely, will provide to you. I cannot recommend this more highly.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s read and please stay tuned for our next one.
Welcome to another article, today I will be discussing the benefits of training, which I am sure a number of us are already aware of as well as touching a little on diet. I would like to discuss the growing trend in our society revolving around a lack of exercise and poor dietary habits, the implications that has on our health and also our society and some simple ways you can get started. I will also be sharing a personal experience which I hope will help you see that you to can make a change if you truly want to. Lets get started.
It is important that we stay active, since our beginning for survival reasons we had been instinctively born to move in order to stay alive. Fast-forward to today and a totally different story has emerged. We no longer hunt and forage for our food having simplified that to fast food and paywave We are no longer being born with the same natural instincts as before as the notion of survival has dramatically changed. I believe that our financial state now more than ever dictates our survival as opposed to our physical state, which is too commonly put aside for ‘more important things’. Sedentary lifestyle is vastly increasing with only 1 out of every 3 Australians participating in some form of physical activity on a regular basis (heartfoundation). This is worrying, if our sedentary lifestyle increases and exercise decreases, more degenerative diseases will increase such as Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis, which is already becoming a common trend. Furthermore of the 1 in 3 remaining active, around 60% are still falling short of the weekly-recommended amount as indicated by the Department of Health. So what are the repercussions of us neglecting our physical health and is it really that big of a deal?
Non communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as Cancers, Heart Disease and Diabetes to name a few are at an all time high and many experts would agree that this is largely due us neglecting regular exercise, increasing our sedentary activities and continually poor dietary habits. Lets look at a few alarming statistics from a single report WHO (World Health Organization) released in 2014. They looked at the Mortality of 147,000 individuals in Australia and found that 91% of deaths were contributed to NCD’s. It found that the probability of dying prematurely (Ages 30 – 70) from the Major 4 NCD’s (Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Respiratory Disease & Diabetes) which was a 9% likelihood. That’s almost a 10% risk of you dying early from something which is largely preventable. The cost to the Australian People is in excess of a staggering $27 Billion just for the largest 4 NCD’s which is more than 30% of the total allocated health expenditure, funds we could be using to upgrade our hospitals, facilities, pay for research and employ more doctors and nurses. I would be willing to wager that you would like to enjoy your hard earned retirement years, who wouldn’t? Well with the alarming number of NCD’s a person not eating right and neglecting regular exercise will incur over their lifetime, I doubt that will be possible. Seriously, love and appreciate yourself enough to make that change right now or at least make it for your family or friends.
Appreciate yourself enough to make small changes starting now, commit to a half hour walk each morning or afternoon for example and get your family involved as well. Of course you need to find something you enjoy or think you’d enjoy: running, swimming, yoga, hiking, rock climbing, surfing whatever it may be, there are literally thousands of activities you can tryout, just start by doing something. It is easy to make small changes and build from them, you’re not expected to make an all out change right away. It is near impossible for most to simply flick that switch, all things take time and that’s ok. As the old saying goes ‘the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step’, Lao Tzu. Whilst starting your exercise routine, simultaneously start watching what you’re eating. Again, I’m talking about taking small steps. For example, the next time you reach for a candy bar, grab a piece of fruit or yoghurt instead, prep some healthy meals so you are not tempted by junk food when you’re short on time. The more you do this and actively pull yourself out of bad habits the more you will educate and condition your brain into eating healthier, more nutritious food groups. If you need motivation to do all of this, picture your family or friends and remind yourself why you’re doing this, or picture a healthy happy retirement with your partner. As your body adapts, you will soon stop craving those unhealthy foods and exercising wont feel like a chore, in short it will get easier and you will begin reaping the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, that I can promise you.
I feel compelled to share a story from my personal life with you. When I broke my neck at age 18, it took me a year and a half before I could start training again. Prior to that incident I was incredibly fit, I was strength training via weights five times a week and playing AFL consisting of two additional training nights each week and a game on the weekend. I was a pretty fit kid and I had a very good self-image. After that year and a half passed, my self-image had diminished completely and I could barely look at myself in the mirror without tearing up. I had gone through bouts of depression having lost all that made me feel special but also all career prospects due to the severity of my injury. My physical fitness was all but gone and I was in a pretty lost state. What I learnt from that experience looking back now is that no one could have changed that state I was in except me. Ultimately I had to be the one to motivate myself again to get my life back on track. It took a lot of time to get myself to a state I was happy with, but I eventually did and it wasn’t a result of doing nothing. I had committed myself to getting back into the gym five times a week, I had committed myself to eating healthier, I had committed myself to pursue a career I would enjoy. It is easy to do nothing, but no reward was ever achieved by doing nothing. It is important to note that I didn’t achieve my goals all at once either, I had to work on them slowly, but the more I did, the easier the task became and my accomplishments grew, as too did my goals. Please start by making small changes in your life, ones you know are for the better, the more you do the more empowered you will become and the more you will achieve. It’s on you.
Stress is becoming an all to common problem in our everyday lives. From stress in the work place to stress back at home and everything in between, it seems to be an unbeatable crisis to kick. So how can we tame this invisible beast and how can we empower ourselves to negate the effects of stress and live healthier lifestyles? In this article we will discuss what stress is, in simple terms, I will speak about some of my own personal experiences and tools I have learnt as well as highlight some activities which may help reduce stress and the impact it has on your life. So, what is stress?
Stress is our bodies natural way of responding to any pressure or threat. It is an automatic reaction of our nervous system releasing cortisol and adrenaline. Unfortunately, our body finds it hard these days to differentiate everyday stress to that of a more life threatening experience. This could be a result of the source of our stress and the unnatural way we live today. For example, stress during our hunting and gathering era would have been more distinguishable, threat from a predator, threat of no food, or the coming winter. Nowadays its small triggers that can set us off without us even realizing. Receiving an unexpected bill, meeting work related deadlines, getting the kids to school on time, just minor everyday things which can elicit severe stress to occur. It is estimated that close to 1 in 3 Australians are struggling with above normal stress levels and is seemingly increasing. We all experience stress, unfortunately, if not managed it has the nature to compile and become evermore daunting. Lack of sleep and panic for example can be a further reaction to say piling up bills, which only enhances the impact to your body and mind.
I have over the years learnt to deal with simple triggers and I would like to share some of my life experiences with you. I underwent anger management sessions as a child due to family issues and divorce. Looking back this largely helped me develop skills early on to stop and breathe, take a step back from certain situations and think prior to acting. I have also had some pretty life changing experiences, one of which was breaking my neck. This injury highlighted the fragility of life for me and actually helped put life into perspective. As a result I do not worry about little things, because in the greater scheme of things, they really do not matter. I have also found that focusing on the little things will only allow them to compile until all you see is hopelessness. Negativity only attracts more negativity, that is a fundamental belief that I have.
I learnt how to deal with my stress through some pretty dumb luck. I don’t believe anything to date has been unlucky for me personally, even breaking my neck. I should have been a quadriplegic or dead, so I am more than lucky and grateful to be here with only a stiff neck to show for it. If I can give you one piece of advice, learn to let go of negative things in your life, as I mentioned earlier, negativity only breeds more negativity, which in turn leads to aggravated stress. I bet there are a number negative things impacting your life and causing you constant stress right now and you my friend have the power to change that. Disputes with family or friends, perhaps you missed that promotion at work, or someone scratched your car, you received a fine or your partner left you. Who knows and really, who cares. Are you ill from a terminal disease, are you starving and unable to feed your family, are you fleeing from a war torn country? Lets be real, a lot of little things that occur in our day to day lives are trivial in comparison to what a majority of the population go through each and every day on a global scale. We all have problems, the difference is how we manage those problems, will it be to your advantage and benefit or will you allow little things to be the catalyst for larger problems in your life? It’s on you!
The last thing I would like to leave you with, are some actions you can take to help deal with stress either at the time of it occurring or for ongoing management. These methods will seem pretty simple, but if you are severely suffering from stress then it is likely you are not doing a number of them. The first of these is deep breathing, this is a great immediate action to take when you are feeling stressed or anxious, 3 deep breaths is all it takes. The benefits are vast and have been known for centuries. Simply focus on the deep breath going in, and focus on slowly exhaling, out the more the merrier. Doing a hobby or just anything you enjoy is another, seems obvious right, but do you? Happiness is a powerful ally in managing stress and anxiety. We are constantly doing things for others and it is important to do some things for you more routinely. We will be much happier as a result and it is ok to be a bit selfish from time to time, in fact, it is essential to your own happiness. Eating right is fundamental to a healthy body and mind, I’m not saying to be a saint, I still eat junk food and drink from time to time, the secret is control and portion sizes. Be strict on yourself. In conjunction with eating better, start an exercise regime, it doesn’t need to be vigorous to start with, start by doing anything, go for a jog or a walk, do some push ups and sit ups every morning, anything to get your body moving, this will help largely in managing stress. Finally do your research, there are a number of methodologies out there to help you deal with stress and anxiety, the more research you do the more efficiently you will be able to manage the effects. Knowledge is power and you can train your brain to overcome certain thoughts and feelings that cause detriment to your well being.
I hope that this short article has helped in giving you some ideas on how to manage stress, but more importantly want to manage it for your own benefit. We so often just accept things as they come, not realizing our lives would taste so much sweeter if we just said enough is enough. You cannot change that stress is a reality, but what you can change is your own habits to better manage stress and eliminate it from your own life. Research the topic and learn the tools which work for you to overcome this and gain control. I promise you, your life in every respect will be so much better off for it. This is your life and your journey, you and you alone are the one responsible for how much pleasure and joy you experience along the way.
Thank you for reading and all the best till next time.