It's About Time

If you have ever spent more that 5 minutes with me, it is fairly obvious that I love fitness. I have learned so much (sometimes the hard way) in the 30 years that I have been teaching. What better way to share my passion than to start a blog and pass on the information that I share with clients on a day-to-day basis.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Who showed up to the gym today?

Getting to the gym on a consistent basis can be a huge struggle.  Once you are in the doors you may face an even greater challenge.  No, it isn't your trainer.   It is which one of your personalities has decided to show up and how can you work with the personality-of-the-day.   First, pat yourself on the back for just getting to the gym.  Next, recognize who showed up and then, third,  learn how to make most out of  your workout.  Read the common personalities below and if you recognize any of them, learn how to better the inner you.
  • Sandra the social butterfly-Characteristics:  Uses gym time to catch up with friends,  make new acquaintances, or just stall so they don't have to work out. Carries their cell phones with them around the workout floor so they don't miss any opportunity to talk.   Help: I usually encourage people to get a workout buddy or join a class or small group training.  Friends help friends be consistent, stick out a hard workout and even compete a little to raise the bar.  The problem comes when our social interactions interfere with our productivity.  I always tell my clients, "If you can visit through your entire workout, you are not working hard enough."  When you train anaerobically, you don't have a lot of extra oxygen to do a lot of talking.  Work hard and then recover.  Talking during recovery is encouraged.  If you can talk you are back to normal breathing patterns which means your body has recovered and you are ready to go again.
  • Zoey the zombie-Characteristics:  Too tired to effectively do exercises,  no energy, can't remember what exercise they just did or what leg or arm they just used. Hair looks like it is still in bed.  Clothes may be on inside out.  Help: With our hectic schedules and our to-do lists measuring a mile long, it is easy to get a little sleep deprived. People who get quality shut-eye have better brain function and are able to manage their weight better.  Poor sleep rises obesity rate  due to messing with endocrine regulation of hunger and appetite, not to mention less energy to be active.
  • Alan the angry bird-Characteristics:  The music coming from the aerobic studios is irritating, the other members are irritating, the weights are too heavy, etc . They ask a lot of questions like "Why do we have to do this exercise or why do we have to do 12 reps?"  There is generally  very little talking and a lot of eye rolling (temporary problem).  Many exercises are put on their "do not like" list.  Help: Believe it or not, I encourage a little grouchiness.  Sometimes when you are working really hard or challenging yourself to do something new or out of your comfort zone you may get a little sour.  That is OK.  I just have one rule.  It is called the sassing hour.  I don't allow grouchiness to arrive  until you have reached the half way mark in the workout.  After that time you can let out your inner grouch as long as you are still working hard.  Another point to remember is that generally the exercises that you dislike the most are the ones you NEED the most.
  • Wanda the whiner-Characteristics: Usually has one or more muscles that are already sore prior to the workout.  Don't want to do anything strenuous. Usually begins workout with an excuse.   Stretching comes up often as an alternative to working out.  Help: You should always listen to your body.  Small pains,  or muscle issues shouldn't be an excuse not to workout but more of a reason to find what is really causing the issue and finding an alternative way to move.  Inactivity is not an answer. 
  • Oliver the Olympian-Characteristics: Feels like they can conquer the world,  wants to do 10 more reps of any exercise, tends to overdo when they feel great or pick weights that are heavier but not necessarily better.  Help:  When you are feeling good, take advantage but be a smart exerciser.  You should vary your pushes.  Balance out your week with different types of workouts.  Spend 2-3 days doing HIIT or interval training at a high level, balance that out with strength, core, and flexibility training and plus other activities that are fun workouts but aren't extremely strenuous.  Multi-hour workouts several times a week put you at risk for injuries that come from over training.
  • Fireman Fred-Characteristics:  "Where's the fire?"  Always in a hurry, rushing to finish reps, hurrying into the next exercise, always rushing tempo of exercises, always asking what is next.  Help: Our body moves at many speeds and we should train and workout the same way.  We have different muscle fiber types and should train them all. Don't be afraid to slow down or use isometric contractions to activate muscles and stimulate calorie burn.  Something else to consider is the quality of your push.  If you are giving 100 percent to your exercise, you and your body should want  and need recovery.  If you are always ready to do the "next" thing you should consider pushing harder during your exertion and then enjoy the benefits of recovery.
  • Doubting Thomas-Characteristics: Usually asks a lot of questions and or has a lot of inquiries.  "Should I be doing this?" "Am I too old to be doing this?"  "Is this good for me?" "Am I doing this right?" "Should I make this a recovery day?" Help: Don't ignore any of those questions but address them head on.  Fear is huge reason for people not improving or reaching their goals.  Set small and short term goals that can lead up to larger ones and hopefully eliminate some of your doubts.  Education is also empowering.  I love to teach my clients as much as I can so they can see the value in what they are doing.
  • Serious Sally-Characteristics: Smiles are left in the locker, on a mission to get specific workout in,  not in the mood to hear a lot of dialogue.  Help:  There is nothing wrong with taking exercise seriously but life is too short not to enjoy it.  Find some fun in your workout no matter how hard it is.  Be proud that you are completing your workout.  Love what your exercise is doing to your body.
  • No No Joe-Characteristics:  The words don't, can't or won't come up a lot.  Fear, doubt, or injuries are reasons for avoiding certain exercises or classes. Frustrations from chronic injuries tend to hold them back.   Help:  There are many ways to work around injuries, pre-existing conditions or limitations that may hinder our fitness goals.  Your pains and fears are real but we can work with almost anything.  
Recognize and embrace who shows up to the gym, you can work with anyone and get the results you want.  I have embraced all my personalities.  You should do.    

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