“If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t doing any good.”
Who said that? A Navy Seal?
Reality check: Exercise doesn’t need to feel intense; it doesn’t even need to feel like exercise…
…even so, the human body was engineered to hunt and gather; not to leave a bum print everywhere we go!
The moving body is in its element and prime fitness is our natural state so what’s gone wrong and how come we keep making choices that go against our innate good sense? Taking the car for short trips or choosing the meat option when what we really want is the salad. Maybe it’s the way we’re wired?
Those of us who take up exercise or regularly keep fit, have personal fulfilment as a primary motivation but, sadly, some people’s efforts never pay off because, the same as it goes with social trends like eating, fashion or even; faith, without proper guidance, we could blindly follow others down a path that just isn’t right for us. That’s when things start to go a bit pear-shaped so the aim of this book is to get us on the right track and help us enjoy our time here.
Our cultural approach to food and exercise would appear to be in direct proportion to our economic status. In so many parts of the world, food is medicine and gyms don’t exist, whereas, in the west, there appear to be more gyms than there are schools or churches and food is treated with suspicion, even scepticism.
Question 1: If food is mostly an agent for weight management, doesn’t that establish a mindset of fear and distrust rather than one of enjoyment? Same question for exercise.
Question 2: When someone stands on their bathroom scales, what information are they gleaning from the resulting data?
Question 3: So what if your waistline fluctuates day to day? So what?
Scales and tape-measures are for carpenters and baggage handlers.
I’ve seen too many cases where the data on the scales has a direct effect on a person’s mood, decision-making, self-esteem, motivation, happiness and even how they conduct their day. There IS no ‘perfect weight’ or ‘ideal shape’. Your optimum physical health won’t look like anyone else’s and when you achieve it, you won’t need scales for confirmation.
As a Personal Trainer, I couldn’t care less how much you weigh because unless my plan is to lift you up and carry you around the gym, that sort of data doesn’t tell me what I need to know about you. Nor am I the earth-mother so can’t presume to tell another grown-up what to eat and when. In this book, I’m only sharing what I know.
Train Smart; Not Hard
Whatever YOUR fitness means is entirely up to you, not me. People are much better served when I put my energy into researching the best training methods for them, not when I help promote a poor self-image by encouraging people to compare themselves or to treat their beautiful bodies like cargo!
Put a succulent pot-plant where your bathroom scales used to be and turn your imagination on. I want you to come with me and witness the following spectacle.
Imagine, at your local gym, a new class entitled ‘Burn The Beast’. This High Intensity Interval Training class is promising to burn more calories than any other and have your clothes hanging off your bones in no time at all. It sounds economical; you sign up.
For this thirty-minute sweat-fest, there’s an instructor with a stop-watch, ten exercises and the goal is to ‘rep out’ for thirty seconds then rest for thirty. Thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off. Just to keep things interesting for the regulars, the challenge is to achieve more reps than you did in previous rounds or rep-out ‘to failure’ - failure being the point where your body collapses.
The first round is Push-ups. Here’s a quick demo. Go!
2 questions: Even if you managed to keep going and surpassed your previous count, where exactly does the victory lie? Are you any fitter or stronger?
Unfortunately, in many gym environments, pace comes before form and the value of an exercise can be completely lost.
Excerpt from author bio: Working the long shift in gyms, I couldn’t help noticing some of the behavioural patterns of regular users. Apart from bearing witness to some hopeless training habits, I noticed that people didn’t come to the gym for homogenised bodies but because they wanted to feel better. Not just better about their own reflection, that was at the bottom of most people’s list; no, better about living, to have more energy, fewer ailments, aches, pains, bad moods and to enjoy their efforts without pressure.
Relax, Sweat, Eat; Repeat - The Busy Person’s Guide To A Great Body. I’ve spent the past 2 years writing and researching for this book because it’s my belief that each of us can get a high-end service from our bodies. All we need is to find the balance of movement, nutrition and rest, then with the right fuel and the right conditions, we can turn any go-cart in a Jaguar!
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