6:00 am and I’m already at the gym before even the Sun is up, hoping to have few sets of “squats”, but the squat rack is already taken. I decide to use the kettle bells… oops the weights I train with are taken, of course no luck with the step boxes. I say “fine let me do some pulling exercises on the cable cross with Swiss ball”. I don’t know about you, but luckily not so many people touch or know how to use those two.
I start my 10-15 min warm up combined with some specific stretches, and my mind starts racing way before my body is warm. That guy on the squat rack will most probably have a disc bulge (I just can’t guess when). The one with the kettle bells will surely suffer from chronic headaches if he doesn’t already. Oh the lady running on the treadmill will have an ankle injury. Ok ok concentrate on your training; “it’s not your circus nor your monkeys HOURY”. But how can I stop when the personal trainer behind me is literally kicking the guy’s ass who’s performing some crunches while he’s only able to move his neck, his belly is so bloated that you can’t even see any movement?
The only way I could calm my mind every morning is by reminding myself that I would probably have done the same thing if I haven’t had the knowledge that I have today, (and yes I was in those people’s shoes once upon a time, completely lost, trying so hard to do the right thing) I never knew where to start or what to do exactly.
I somehow feel with people, my wall was decorated with 5 different personal training and sports conditioning certificates, yet I was not even close enough on sorting out my own nutrition or exercise program, let alone figuring out ways to prevent injuries or work with people who were already injured.
I’m not claiming I know it all today, in the matter of fact the more I’m learning the more I’m realizing I know nothing.
So why do I (in my humble opinion) think you should skip the gym? Do I really mean that?
Yes and no,
1) Walking is one of the best and most natural forms of working out, you can’t go wrong with it, I’ve never seen a personal trainer that teaches walking. Keep in mind though, posture is the key for your wellbeing, maintaining a good posture while walking is very important, especially nowadays I see many people use their mobile devices, which could eventually lead to structural postural deformations such as forward head or even kyphosis.
2) Before you start any sort of exercise program you should make sure that that specific exercise is going to enhance your posture rather than make it worse, “crunches” for example are a terrible idea for people who already have a forward head, disc injuries or a kyphosis (a hump) in their upper back, because it will make that deformation even bigger and probably structural instead.
3) Most of the personal trainers today (including myself a few years back) do not study anatomy the way they should, and you’re depending on that very same person to work on yours. If your personal trainer doesn’t intensively assess your posture prior designing your program, look for another one, CHEK practitioners are highly qualified in that matter.
4) My husband is a civil engineer, I know that they would never construct a building unless they first laid down the foundation, to make sure that the building will stand still. You might ask how is that relevant? for some reason we are in such a hurry building muscles prior working on our weaknesses, imagine constructing the floors before putting the foundation of a building, that building won’t have much chance of survival, isn’t it? but we do end up carrying heavy weights or doing vigorous cardio workout prior working on our body’s foundation.
Your target should be correcting posture, strengthening the weak, stretching the stiff way before attempting to do any intense exercise.
5) Contrary to how the majority of the people think our bodies do not actually burn more fat with more cardio, a short session of correctly performed weight lifting, circuit training, and even yoga can actually burn more fat than an hour of cardiovascular workout.
6) Stretching then exercising, is the key for a healthier more flexible and stronger body. For a long time I was stretching before and after exercise, and I was almost always stretching all my muscles, now I know that stretching after the exercise has not much of an effect, and stretching the muscles that don’t really need stretching can actually cause more harm than good. A skilled coach can set a tailor-made stretching program for you that lets you stretch only the stiff and facilitated muscles, keep in mind stretching weak muscles, can weaken them even more. If you have stiff muscles that you’re already aware of try to stretch them everyday for a week and be amazed by the result.
7) If you’re how I used to be, you will probably think that exercise will make you lose weight, and shape up your body. The secret is, your food is what represents more than 80% of your body’s shape, (tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you how you look), the exercise is the salt and pepper that you want to add to make it look and feel great. If you have to make a choice whether to exercise or correct your food, I’d say pick the second!
Briefly what I’m trying to say here is that, when done right; exercising at the gym could actually serve great purposes, such as building fabulous looking bodies, correcting postures, reversing disc bulges, and preventing many many injuries, but at the same time research shows that people have much higher risk of getting injured at a gym than anywhere else..
When taking the decision to enroll in one, or coming up with a program for your routine, here is my little tip for you to figure out if you’re doing it right, just about a month after sticking to a program if you start achieving your goals without having any sort of discomfort and pain, then keep up the great work! Else stop and hire me, I’ll tailor make your exercises for you 🙂