Just this: Don’t waste your time working in bad form.
I teach a core class at a couple different facilities and after one class a client approached me and asked, “Hey, are you and that other lady on the same page?!” Always eager to learn, I assumed I had done something wrong and was anxious to hear how I could improve. When i asked her to explain she said, “Well, that other lady told us we could hover with our butts in the air if we weren’t strong enough to hover with good form.” If you know me, you know my pokerface is sometimes lacking – that’s the exchange for genuineness. I audibly gasped. Ooops. Then I smiled.
I asked them all to hover with me, butts high in the air, taking note of what muscles are stressed in that position. Arms, shoulders, calves…. I asked about core muscles, but nope, they weren’t feeling it. Then we lowered into a good flat hover, elbows under shoulders, belly braced, neck and spine lengthened, glutes squeezed – of course they felt their core muscles working. The problem? “How the HECK do you hold that as long as the instructor is asking?!”
Answer: If you can’t, you don’t. You only have what you have today. When you can no longer hover on your toes in good form, lower your knees. When you can no longer hover on your knees in good form lower your body to the floor, rest and then come back in for as long as your good form lasts. Repeat. THIS is how you build strength in a specific muscle group. Find that group and work it as best you can, rest and come back to it!
IMPORTANT: Please don’t be intimidated by “good form”. Do your best. Keep an open, learning attitude. Focus on continuous growth. Don’t stay away because you are worried you won’t do it perfectly, we’ll all get there together. K?
Meet Stephanie, every where she goes she is plagued with ridiculous 50shade references in marketing!
I’ve had lots of questions about my Themed Bootcamps out at the Bolingbrook Park District (Wednesday nights, 7:15pm – shameless plug). This post is not about that! HAHA! This is a themed workout for a PT client who just couldn’t seem to escape 50shades, no matter where she went. She posted THIS image the day of her training so I promised her a 50shade workout…even if that only meant that her grey shirt would grow darker and darker due to all the SWEATING!
Note: Grey necktie and HANDCUFFS at family restaurant! LOL!
I decided if it’s ok for them, it’s ok for me! (sort of)
So here’s what we did.
50 of EVERYTHING.
It’s a simple full body workout designed to wear you out and make you feel amazing, simultaneously!
50 single arm bicep curls 8 to 10 pounds
10 box jumps
50 triceps kickbacks standing bent over 5 pounds
50 single leg hip thrusts, elevated
10 box jumps
50 lying back extensions
50 lying toe touches
10 box jumps
50 overhead shoulder presses 3lbs (with trainer in background for good measure)
10 box jumps
I broke up the push-ups and box jumps to ensure completion. This girl did EVERY pushup on her TOES!
Just to keep it fun (and make it harder to work due to excessive laughing) I would ask her if she remembered her “Safe word” to which I immediately replied… “That’s RIGHT! Cause there IS NO safe word!!!”
Here’s what I didn’t do…since I work at a PARK DISTRICT for Heaven’s sake…. handcuffs, blindfolds, other non-workout ‘equipment’. HAHA! Have fun, be creative.
Let’s just say it… we want fitness to be easy.
“Just tell me how many of these I need to do to get in shape”
“How much should I eat to lose weight?”
OK. That was the diplomatic opening.
The ‘sassy mouth’ opening looks more like this: We are a lazy and blissfully ignorant people.
I say blissfully because ignorance is something most people actually CHOOSE. Yes. You choose it. Most of you. There are places in the world where information is not readily available. There are learning disabilities that make getting good information nearly impossible. But for most of us. It’s out there, we just prefer a quick fix, a magic bullet, a super pill – or shake, and then we want to be on our way.
Stop. just stop.
Your body is a machine. A machine comprised of gooey and dense and hard stuff that is designed to all work together. Take that complexity and add emotion, triggers, learned habits and the chaos of everyday life and you have a crazy soup of intangible ‘stuff’. So what really makes you think that there IS a quick fix? A pill or shake or a certain number of sets or reps or a “TOP 10 MOVES TO GET THE ULTIMATE BODY”.
Stop. Just stop.
Let’s just start preparing ourselves for a lifelong plan to stay moving, listening to our bodies, feeding ourselves according to the output of energy. Let’s put an emphasis on learning, growing and changing when appropriate. Let’s not hold on to our fitness ideas too tightly. Science discovers new things all the time. Trends come and go. Let’s calm down AND get riled up!
Stop with the quick fixes and GO! with the rest of your moving life.
Intensity. If you’ve been in a class, bootcamp or personal training session with me you have heard me talk about it and urge you to find it!
I don’t know what it is that makes some people afraid of intensity and others invigorated by it. This I do know… if you don’t learn to harness and control your intensity levels you will miss out on some of the best workout moments you could ever have!
We expect intensity when we watch movies. We expect it when we listen to music. We expect it when we listen to people talk about what is important. I think our lives CRAVE intensity. It’s like the real working of whatever muscle we are trying to use. Can you get results half-assing your workouts? Yes. Will you be proud of the end results. Quite possibly. So what’s the big deal?
You. That’s the big deal. How far in life do you want to go without drinking deeply, singing loudly, standing proudly and defending passionately? Probably not very far. Even if you are an introvert… you still want excellence. Our computer programs, our meals or toys… all require a certain sort of intensity in their production. It’s the squeezing that last bit of oomph out of a thing (no matter who is looking). This isn’t about showing off or being noticed, this is about calling out what is deep inside you.
For many years I was depressed. Clinically. Medicated. Dull and somewhat hopeless. It was like looking at the world through a film or a cloud. I wondered if people could SEE the foggy film that separated them from the real me? My accomplishments were waking up, making it through the day and falling asleep.
Enter intensity. With each moment my goal is to get the MOST out of it I can. (Even if that is a resting moment – I rest WELL) When working out I want to take my metabolism and my muscles to a place of stress. Stress is where growth comes from. Where I am not sure if I WILL be able to breathe during the next boxing set. Or if my legs WILL hold up for the next set of squats. When my muscles get little micro-tears, when my lungs push all the way to their capacity, when my body learns to adapt to new stresses…I grow.
THAT is what we are looking for, growth. Not cloudy, filmy hiding from our lives. As unhealthy as this sounds, I used to use my many layers of fat as a buffer, protecting me from my potential, from people seeing that I DO have a chance but I am not taking it. Another milky film to look thru and hide behind. My guess is you don’t want that. My guess is you want your body to move the way it’s intended until you don’t need it anymore.
Intensity. Find it. Push yourself. You may be amazed at what you can do. I am.
Most of us don’t wake up and think, “I am going to be awesome today!”
It’s more like, “shit. I have stuff to do.” And maybe “gah. I hope I don’t suck. ”
For me…”shit. I’m late!”
So how DO we activate our ‘awesome’? Well, I think you (me, anyone) are at our most awesome (inspiring, giving, productive) self when you are being true your thoughts and beliefs…with a openness to being wrong (misinformed, misguided, mistaken) and a passion to grow.
That’s a LOT of thinking, especially first thing in the morning. So, for me, it’s still “shit. I am late!” But throughout my day I focus on honesty. Trying to be as honest with myself and others as I can.
Welcome to Awesome.