Wednesday, August 29, 2018

My Favorite Fitness Authority

Over the years there have been many fitness personalities who have created a big following and influenced many people. I've benefited from quite a few of these people over the last 20 years but the one guy who really stands out for me is Jeff Cavaliere of Athlean X. Jeff is incredibly knowledgeable and does not rely on "Bro-Science." He knows his stuff and is always in great condition but the thing I admire most about him is that he uses common sense which is not very common these days.

Sometimes his language can be  a little colorful when he's trying to get a point across and he frequently struggles to keep his shirt on but he speaks the truth. If you are serious about improving your fitness or if you'd like to expand your exercise repetoire, I highly recommend him and his Youtube channel. He puts out so much good information on a regular basis and is head and shoulders above so many other Youtube trainers or fitness personalities.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fitness Around the World

B & P Gym in Kumasi
I've been living in Ghana over the last year so I've had to work with my clients back home over the internet. I've not been as busy with training as I'd like to be so I was grateful for a new opportunity that recently came up. We just moved to a different home in Kumasi and shortly after doing so, a new gym opened up in one of the nearby neighboring buildings. I was excited to be near a gym again even though I still can't do much upper body work due to my shoulder injuries. It is called B & P Gym and I was impressed with the facility.

While running on the treadmill there recently, I met a trainer and the owner of they gym. When they found out I was a personal trainer they started asking me questions. At the end of our conversation I offered to teach some brief classes for their clients and they took me up on it.

It has been fun to share fitness with people here. I did a class last week and one this morning. I've learned that some aspects about fitness are the same here but other things feel quite different.


The Differences:

Gyms are not as plentiful here and memberships can be cost prohibitive. Aside from the money issue, many people are so busy working morning to night that they don't even consider exercising. Generally speaking, people here are active and do more walking than most Americans but I've seen fewer people out exercising than back home. I've gotten many strange looks from people while I am out running and I'm sure they are just wondering why I'd be running if I didn't have to. There are no road races to run here either. Soccer is the only organized sport to speak of.

The food challenges are a little different here. Fast food and junk food are not available to the extent they are back home. More people cook from scratch here but their food choices are more limited to what is grown locally. They are not spoiled by having a Costco or Walmart when they go shopping. There are some supermarkets and malls here but they are much more expensive so most people get their food at small food stands or the large outdoor central market.

When talking to people about the importance of rest and recovery I told that that getting enough sleep makes a big difference. When I asked if they got 8 hours of sleep each night most of them laughed and said much less than that.


The Similarities:

Many of the questions they asked were similar to what I hear back home. They asked if it is possible to spot reduce fat from problem areas. I was the bearer of bad news and let them know that the last place the fat comes off of is typically the problem areas they are concerned with and that nutrition is the key, not just doing 300 sit ups per day.

Several of the gym patrons wanted to know what supplements they should take. I pointed out that they should only be worried about supplements once they are eating right, working out regularly, and getting sufficient rest. Even then I told them that they had to be careful since so many supplements are not even proven effective. I've seen miracle pills being sold at the mall that claim to cure everything. There is no FDA here looking over people's shoulder or making them substantiate claims.

As usual, the guys want to know how to get bigger muscles and the women want to know what exercises will help them slim down the fastest. The women here also expressed some concerns about getting bulky if they lift weights.

People here want to improve their health, take better care of themselves, and feel better. I applauded their efforts in coming out to a gym on a rainy Saturday morning and encouraged them to keep it up and stay consistent.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Customizing Your Fitness


The more I observe people trying to stick to a fitness program, the more I realize how important it is to customize a program to one's level of commitment, fitness level, age, budget, and available time. 

I get a kick out of the saying "you are unique... just like everybody else", but it is true that we all are unique in that we all have different goals, abilities, and preferences. Unless we take these differences into consideration when developing a fitness program, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

I compare fitness to a color wheel where we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking there are only about 10 colors to choose from when there are actually thousands of variations.

If Bruce Lee could make up his own martial art of Jeet Kune Do which was a hybrid of other marital arts based on his personal philosophies, then we should be able to do the same with our fitness too. I don't have as cool a name for mine; I just call it customized fitness.

When it comes to nutrition, there are many many different eating styles and some of them are in direct conflict with each other yet there are people who have had good results doing each of them. I can see advantages and disadvantages to following traditional, raw, keto, paleo, or vegetarian diets. I've adopted aspects of various nutritional philosophies that sometimes contradict one another and I've applied them in a customized way that works best for me. What works for one person may not work for another. There are multiple ways to get to a desired destination.

I follow this same concept when it comes to exercise. I enjoy traditional sports but also appreciate aspects of Crossfit training as well as lifting weights in a traditional body building type of program. I've cut back on my long distance running due to injuries and prefer shorter 5K races that don't take such a toll on me. I love playing basketball, and I could easily play a couple hours every day if I had that much free time. Since basketball is my favorite activity, it is at the center of my work outs, and I schedule other cardio and resistance training activities around it throughout the week.

Is there a specific sport or activity you really enjoy? Even if it is not recognized as the greatest all around work out, I'd still encourage you to stay active by doing what you love and then trying to incorporate other conditioning aspects you may be missing into your routine. I still think someone who gets out and walks with friends everyday will have greater success in the long run than someone who attempts a more comprehensive program if it is going to be too difficult or complicated for them to stick with over time.

There are many different philosophies out there when it comes to exercise, nutrition, and fitness. I try to incorporate as much truth from each one of the various disciplines that I can. I adapt them to my personal circumstances and make modifications when necessary. If you are concerned about starting a particular program because you don't think you will be able to stick with it, then it is important for you to customize it to your unique circumstances in order to persist and get long term results.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Great Physical Therapy Youtube Channel

I frequently watch Youtube videos about exercise, proper form, and injury recovery. I recently came across a channel called "Physical Therapy Video" which is hosted by physical therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck. I watched several of their videos and found them informative and interesting. If you are looking to heal up quicker from an injury you may want to research some of their videos for some good information about recovery and prevention.