Back in the day
When I was in secondary school, before the days of mobiles phones and Game of Thrones. We had two blocks of lessons that used to put the fear of god into every child who was not, as I would say “sporty.” It was the dreaded P.E. and games lessons.
Back in the eighties
Health and fitness was never heard of in schools! All the sweet you ate from the local shops were laced with every kind of addictive and colouring that it would make a serial poisoner blush. Kids would come out of school and run to the corner shop and buy a quarter of cola bottles and a single cigarette from behind the counter. This is when we were turning 13 years old! We had the green cross code man, a cat telling us not to talk to strangers and don’t go and collect your ball if it gets stuck an electricity pylon. (Frankly this is good advice.). Not much about how to stay healthy. A “carb” was something your dad fitted to the family car during the weekend.
Nothing to stand out from the crowd
I had my own group of mates, who would spend more time chatting about the latest computer games and who had the best home computer system. Sport was not a major part of our lives during or after school. This did not put us in good stead with the P.E. Teacher. Who would be more interested in the kids who had the ability to play football. That was my biggest gripe!
P.E. and football, the be all and the end all
Everything around the P.E. department evolved around being able to play football. If you were good at football, the staff took notice of you and if you wasn’t, well, you just went through the motions of skimming the curriculum trying different sports for a couple of weeks before trying something else out. You didn’t get a chance to breathe before you swapped a rugby ball for a tennis ball. It’s was crap, we did not learn new skills, we did not get fitter! Most of my P.E. teachers were lazy! It’s easier to do group or team activities then to find something suited around the individuals needs and abilities. We are more likely to stick to an activity if we enjoy it!
You would think things have changed. Not really in the schools. Things still revolve those team sports, just there is more choice of the games we are no good at.
The children on how the body works. How the muscles move, what happens to our heart if we don’t exercise, when you eat food and how does it effect the body. How can you get stronger, how to challenge oneself etc. The trouble is most of what is taught about the human body is usually taught within a science class. How about skipping some of the p.e. lesson within a class environment or even visit the local gym? Teach children and young adults in the benefits of keeping fit and getting stronger in a safe place. These will one day be their customers.
You don’t need to be good at sports to train your body.
At school, it doesn’t matter if you’re great at science, a mathematician, crap at team games, a super artist, crap at maths and English. Everyone can get stronger and fitter! You don’t need to form a team, kids can do press ups, goblet squats, learn progressive overload, teach them many forms of body weight training.
Let’s start early, change the mindset and get the grey matter sparking. Let’s try and get it right for this and the next generation.
Consistency is golden!
A couple of years ago, while trolling through the abundance of YouTube videos. I was trying to find a fitness programs. (This was before I became a Personal Trainer). I just wanted to find a program I could do at home with the equipment I had at that time. I could have spent less time watching the whole series of Game of Thrones! It was, a challenging task. My mind felt like it was trying to swim through treacle. Everyone trying to sell you a program, saying their program is the best thing since Noah got his hammer out and visited the timber merchant because he heard the weather forecast for the next 40 days.
Anyway, I found a video of these two guys driving and having a conversation about working out and how important consistency is when exercising and training. This really hit me. It makes complete sense, but I never really gave it a second thought. The message was, whatever training program you follow, if you’re not consistent, you will not see the positive changes. It’s that simple, but I feel many people never take this into account. Credit to the Buff Dudes https://www.buffdudes.us/
People expect to see endless amounts of fat falling off their bodies or muscle being built within a few sessions lifting weights. If they don’t, they give up!
That’s right, 60% of gym membership goes unused. People spend their hard-earned cash every month without using the gym. This seems crazy! I know of a person who has two memberships and does not use both with any consistency. Money down the drain? Definitely.
Let’s face facts, when we go to gym, we have all good intentions. We go in all enthusiastic, buzzing around, soaking up the atmosphere that the gym vibe can give you. After a few weeks, you may start to miss days. Something comes up that stops us attending the gym which may be out of your control. You get ill and miss a few more session. Sounds familiar? It does to me. It’s not long before the gym membership card is gathering dust.
Everyone is different
We all are unique. That’s a wonderful thing! We must not expect to start lifting the same weights as the guy who has been lifting for five years. We also spend time online and trying to mimic the person who has a six pack and promises you that you can get you a solid set of abs if you leave your email and buy into their program. We expect results in a brief period with as less work as possible. Life doesn’t work that way.
Just be consistent
Because we are all uniquely different, some people will see results quicker than others. Never compare yourself to the girl or guy next to you. Their body might be genetically built to put on muscle quickly. They may have been training for many years! This does not mean it won’t happen to you, it just might take longer, results will happen by being consistent. Gradually increasing reps, weights and even sets over a period of months will get you stronger and fitter. (Progressive overload). There are no ifs or buts, it will happen. Every now and then you will look in the mirror or try on an old pair of jeans and you will gradually see your body composition changing over the weeks, months, years. Be consistent, trust the process it WILL happen.
Walking in a gym, approaching the free weights and resistance machine, I always thought something was missing. Was it the barbell bar clips? Sometimes. Paper towel dispenser empty? Occasionally.
No, I’m talking about a notebook.
How many times have we seen the public wading through the gym floor, scratching their heads, looking at what machine to have a go at. Not thinking about what part of their body they need to work on next, rep range? I can’t remember.
Ok, it might not seem “cool” to be seen using a notebook on the gym floor. Let’s face it, we must carry our water bottle, phone, towel, protein shake, locker key etc. I’ll be doing a workout before I even hit the squat rack!
Hear me out
I’ve got a brain like a teabag. I forget things. It could be my age or I’m just a lazy sod and can’t be bothered to remember things. Ask my wife. But the one thing I am hot on, is my programming. I need to know what reps and sets I am training. Should I increase the reps? Hit another set? Is it too hard? too easy?
Take it or leave it
The idea of taking notes will not work for everyone. Some people are not inclined to go to the gym and write stuff down. They know what they should work on and just get on with the task. This is fine, go forth and be happy. That’s not me.
Benefits of taking notes
You will see (hopefully). Personal trainers taking note about their clients, even sometimes mentally. They need to know how to progress their clients towards their goals. I’m lucky enough to have my fabulous whiteboard, in which they can see their training programme for that day. I even write my own up before I train. [insert photo]
These days you don’t even need a pen and pad to take notes. With the use of smart phones, we have a notebook at the ready. Just tap in the information like, exercise, set, reps, notes and you have got a record to keep for when you next hit the gym. So, instead of taking a selfie, in front of the mirror for your next Instagram update. Tap in your results and you won’t have a brain fart when you do the exercise next time!
Oh, you can take it further!!
Why not create a spreadsheet and take it to the next level? If you have Microsoft office account then you can easily set up a record of your exercises. Failing that, set up “sheets.” A free and great spreadsheet from google I use this myself.
Use a ready-made app that you can record your results on. Check the App Store and look around. This can be a little hit and miss. So, check the reviews on the App Store and google to make sure it does what you want it to, then make your choice. Some people even do a review on YouTube, so it’s worth checking the website out.
There is a lot of benefits to keeping track or your programming. Give it a go and see how you get on.
Woman Should Lift!
We see it in every gym. Men hogging the free weights grunting and groaning like their lives depending on them making caveman noises. While the women…not all, can be seen hitting the cross rower or treadmill. If you’re lucky you may see some women hitting the resistance machines and maybe picking up some dumbbells. I know this is just a generalisation but it’s a sad fact too many females are missing out on a wonderful way to get strong and fitter with the use of free weights.
Why is this the case?
Many women are intimidated by the resistance/free weight area. They avoid it and rather go to the cardio section or join a pump class. It’s the fear of the unknown and feeling they are doing something wrong, could be one of the reasons. You may not be sure you are doing things correctly. Another reason could be that the guys tend to hog the weights section and tend to take over, claiming the area like a dog cocking it’s leg up the neighbour tree.
Resistance to lose weight?
The fact is, training with weights is the best way to lose weight. Period. By creating lean muscle, you speed up your metabolism as lean body mass need the calories you to feed them! So instead of storing excess calories, you are making your body use them to repair the muscles after a workout.
It needs to change
Things may be changing in our gyms, but not fast enough. Staff at these gyms should be encouraging their female members to use these machines and free weights and educating them on where to start and how to lift in a safe way. Give them the tools to go away and be confident within the resistance areas.
Don’t be afraid of asking the staff to guide you to helping you achieve a safe, effective use of resistance machines and free weights. You can also look around the gym floor and observe how other people are using the equipment. Book some personal training sessions at the gym, make use of their experience and knowledge to help you to reach your goals. Don’t forget the power of YouTube! There are plenty of people offering tips on how the lift, push and pull. My personal favourite is ScottHermanfitness who has a wealth of videos on training every part of your body.
Not sure still? Hit the machine weights.
Most stationary machines usually have instructions on how to use them and are safer to use than free weights. This is because they are set up to perform a specific movement. If you have read the blurb attached to it. Just remember to make sure the weight pin is set to a light weight and give it a go. Think about what joints you are using and what muscles are being worked. Do three sets of ten reps and next week increase the reps to eleven or twelve and so on. When you’re hitting up to fifteen reps, think about taking the weight up a little.
Remember that every part of the gym should be open to everyone! Don’t let part of the building become a no-go area. You could be that female that gets other to try a large part of the gym that a cross trainer cannot compete with.