Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ease Into A New Exercise Program

My family and I recently moved to Ghana. We live on the outskirts of town and don't have access to a gym. The other day I realized that my kids had not been exercising so I encouraged them to start an exercise program that we could do in our compound. I put together the following series of exercises:

Jog around the yard 3 times
40 jumping jacks
35 mountain climbers
30 air squats
25 sit ups
20 push ups
15 supermen
10 burpees
3 final laps around the yard

I warned them that even though I was going start them together and time each of them, they were not to worry about how fast their siblings were going and they should go at a very slow pace. I told them we were just trying to establish a baseline to determine their current condition.

I started them off and kept warning them that even though I was timing them they should not compete with their siblings, it was not a race, and they should go slow and pace themselves. I kept repeating "Take it easy" in my best Nacho Libre voice over and over but they kept wanting to prove how well they could do. One of the five got nauseous towards the end so I made her stop. The others finished but one of them threw up about 5 minutes after. The next day, four of them said their legs were so sore they could hardly get out of bed.

It surprised me to see that just 12 to 13 minutes of exercise could be so hard on them but I've seen this many time over the years with clients starting an exercise program. When I first started working at a large gym years ago one of the trainers told me he likes to push new clients really hard for their first workout so they will realize they are in bad shape and really need him. I have never agreed with that philosophy and don't know how you could get  a client to come back for a second session if you did that. I have always been about baby steps and gradually increasing the intensity and difficulty of exercise over time so your body can adapt to the new stress, even to the point that many people question me and wonder why we aren't going harder. I prefer starting with two sets instead of three and using lighter weights during the first couple workouts with new clients.

I was glad that I didn't experience any of the same problems that my kids did after I did the same workout but I have been active for years even though I haven't done much since arriving in Africa. Anyway this experience was a great reminder of how important it is to ease into a new exercise program or activity if you have been sedentary for a while. If you go too intense too soon with your exercise you will be very sore, could set yourself up for injury, and won't have an enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Functional Fitness

I am a fan of functional fitness but I also like JP Sears even though he has mocked almost every topic I hold dear. I can see the truth to much of what he is making fun of. Anytime people take any good thing to an extreme or begin to exhibit a holier than thou attitude since they have some superior knowledge or discipline, then it becomes off-putting.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes.