PYRAFIT turns 6 years old on February 14, 2018!
The story began in Bakewell, Derbyshire, on February 14th, 2012
Giles: My Boss, and a Level 3 Personal Trainer of 10 years. Me: A Level 3 PT of two years and now fanning the ink on my Group Exercise certificate.
Giles: “Oko, I need you to cover my Group PT session, tonight”
Me (Oko): “What time?”
Giles: 6:30 ’til 7:30
Me: How many people
Giles: 5 or 6
Me: What do you normally do with them?
Giles: You’re a PT, you figure it out
Me: ?… ?… ?…
Giles: Well? How’s it coming along?
Me: Still thinking…
Me: Still thinking…
Giles: Stop pacing, you’re wearing my carpet down. Anything?
1830hrs: Class members start arriving, one by one, all around 50 years of age and each one looking like a seasoned exerciser.
This lot, I thought, aren’t getting fit for the beach; they’re keeping fit for life! I looked down at my notes and immediately upgraded each exercise.
I had found my niche and the first PYRAFIT group was formed!
Developing Our Signature Moves
As a trainer, my approach to fitness was completely revolutionised by this new set of people I had found to work with. Suddenly and to my enormous relief, no one was asking for advice on ‘how to get a six-pack’ or how to tone ‘just my arms’. This group of 50-somethings seemed to want ‘more energy’, ‘better moods’, increased flexibility and strength plus some overdue self-exploration into how their own bodies actually want to move – in short; they needed fixing!
Once their trust was established, my job was to assess their specific needs and develop the exercises with less focus on convention and , much more, on rehabilitation
For example, a 6ft man with a weak upper back and limited flexibility in his hips, won’t necessarily be well served by a program full of Deadlifts and Bench Presses. My responsibility as his PT is, not only, to give him what he want’s (strong legs and pecs) but also; what he needs in the long-term (a strong back and increased range of motion in the hips).
The Older Athlete
What happens to our fitness levels as we age? The answer is; nothing much! Apart from a deterioration in motor-skills and balance, muscle is muscle and, therefore, responds to exercise in just the same way.
Motor-Skills are cognitive, so, our aptitude for balance, agility, coordination, speed and reaction-time, ultimately boils down to neuro-muscular fluency (the communication pathway between the brain and what the body is doing).
Balance, or loss of, could be down to deterioration of one of our other senses, such as hearing, or diminished eye-sight. Poor balance could be as straight-forward as muscular inequality – caused by repetitive habits (including, bad training techniques) – which, in the long term, can contribute to postural misalignment.
All, of which, can be redressed with the correct sort of exercises.
Principles Of Movement
Student personal trainers are taught the basics. For example: Push, Pull, Lift and Squat.
- Pushing: generally works the posterior chain (the back of the body)
- Pulling: generally works the muscles of the anterior chain.
- Lifting: shoulders and upper back.
- Squatting: the lower body
Classic exercises, such as the Push-up, Sit-up, jogging on the spot and Bicep curls have all been used successfully, over the years, for general fitness training, but not everyone has the same goals and very few of us, the same needs. The one thing we ALL need is to be ‘fit for life‘.
One size does not fit all. A 25-year-old healthy gym user might have a very different trigger for getting fit to that of a 38-year-old man who wants to look good but, more crucially, needs to keep up with his young children. A 45-year-old woman who simply wants to look and feel younger may know she needs to manage her physical health rather than squeeze her hips into ‘skinny jeans’ and a 55-year-old man who wants to spend less time at the physio clinic will do better to reverse the damage done by his lifestyle, with corrective exercise.
The Break With Convention
Watching the group burn through my programs every week, did make me wonder why so many conventional exercises have us bending forwards and backwards, side to side or jogging on the spot. ‘The body can do so much more’, I thought. I began to plough my brain in the hope of producing original exercises, not only to prevent mental boredom but to keep their fitness from reaching a plateau. Feeling limited with only a standard knowledge of exercise, I wanted to delve deeper into the principles of movement, so, enrolled on an MSC in Bio-Mechanics at Sheffield Hallam University. Very soon and without hesitation, I adopted the label: Functional Fitness Coach which describes my approach to training much more accurately than, the vague and generic label, ‘Personal Trainer’.
The PYRAFIT program has been running since 2012 and as no program has ever been re-used, over the years, we’ve steadily developed a huge library of Signature Movement Patterns (SMP). Our SMP’s are exercises that not only develop and train our bodies but fix them at the same time.The living body is superbly engineered to repair itself, so by keeping the focus on functional fitness rather than ‘cosmetic fitness’, the Pyrafit Training Formula works with your body to develop your true capabilities – after all, your fitness is entirely subjective!
Our Unique Programs
The PYRAFIT programs are designed progressively, so each week, team members are started on a brand new program of developmental exercises. There is no risk of the dreaded ‘plateau’ that many of us reach when the body is so used to the same exercises it no longer seems to respond to the usual training methods. A common complaint of regular gym users.
Advanced training is not about working harder, it’s actually about working less; but more efficiently!
Our Winning Formula
Each 50-minute PYRAFIT session is a complete workout. We leave no stone unturned! The formula, itself, is our ‘secret sauce’, so it’s only revealed to members but let’s take a look here, at the principles and components that make the PYRAFIT programs so unique.
Section 1: The Warm-Up
This is the 1st and most crucial section of every program. The pulse raising and muscle conditioning exercises performed in this part of the program will be mimicked throughout the session. In our blog, The Warm-Up… Why bother we stress the importance of preparing your body for the coming workload.
Section 2: Resistance & Isolation
Once the body is nicely prepped, we move the focus to resistance and begin to isolate chosen muscle groups. In this section, we can focus more on muscle tone, definition or, if necessary, rehabilitation of under-performing muscles. Isolating body parts for improvement is okay in the short term but as previously stated, a crucial part of fitness training is getting the balance, right!
Section 3: Compound Exercises
This is usually the most intense part of the program and where we tend to feature Our Signature Moves. ‘Compound’ exercises, also termed as ‘multiple-joint’ engage the whole body, so, rather than isolate, here we involve as many muscles as we can. Compound training ultimately keeps our joints and muscles working in synergy, prevents the over stimulation of isolated muscles and boosts metabolism by activating more of the body’s energy systems.
Section 4: Core Focus & Cooldown
Each exercise, throughout the program, will employ the core stabilising muscles (for this reason, we NEVER use fixed equipment) but in this final section, we take the opportunity to really hone in on the abdominals too.
As soon as the last drop of sweat has been produced, the atmosphere – along with the music – dramatically switches gear and we hit the mats for our final component…
…because, crucial to any workout, whatever the intensity, is The Cooldown!
The PYRAFIT Service
High-End Training For Everybody
For the previous 2 years, I’d been working as a Personal Trainer and it hadn’t escaped my notice that the best results were going to those who could afford more than 1 session a week. Most weeks, I could see a visible improvement in clients but a much slower improvement occurred in the people I only trained once a week. Unless we’re taking up other forms of fitness activities, a 6-day interval between training sessions is more than enough to trigger a ‘de-training’ effect, as previously covered in our blog What happens when we stop exercising?. Other times, people would miss their sessions entirely, due to other commitments. Hence, the minimum-2-sessions policy! As a PT, I wouldn’t compromise my fitness training due to finances or the timetable of my local gym, also, to satisfy my professional ego, I need to see that my clients are getting a satisfactory result from all the effort they’re putting in. Designing group personal training programs, rather than delivering 1 to 1 sessions, allowed me to spread the cost, serve more people and provide a crucial 2nd session that would prevent de-training
Fitness For Life – Not Just For The Beach!
To your Health & Happiness Emma Oko