A lot of people come into a gym or fitness studio with some goals in mind. They might want to lose 20 pounds. They might want to get a bigger chest. Maybe their goals are to get faster, or “feel better”. Some of these goals are pretty cut and dry in how you can measure the success of them. Weigh yourself. Measure your chest. Time your speed. What does “feel better” mean? How do you measure that? That’s a topic for another time, but what I want to go into is the “how” of getting to these goals. In a world where we are averse to looking into the process and accepting what that may entail, where we want whatever the goal is with the least amount of work possible, sometimes it’s good to take a hard look at the action plan from where you are right now. Not from where you think you are. Those two things are usually different.
I’ll take a new client who has been working out on their own, or even with a trainer sometimes for years. They’ll have as their goals to lose body fat or get stronger, and then when we go through simple balance exercises, it looks like I asked them to do Swan Lake. They want to build a house without the foundation. Their balance, which they NEVER work on, is horrendous, but they want to get big and strong. Balance is the key to getting strong, and most people aren’t patient enough to go through the programming of being better balanced, and having a well set up foundation to become truly strong.
We need a thorough assessment of where we are at currently before we can realistically attack our goals. If you are 60 pushups away from 60 pushups, wouldn’t it make sense to start with being able to do ONE? I love having big, scary goals. But if those big, scary goals aren’t broken down into smaller, attainable goals, it’s kind of like a shotgun approach to achievement. How do you know you are on the right road without ending up on the wrong one and having to backtrack? Something like a movement screen can tell you what’s going on and where you SHOULD be starting from. If you can’t squat with no weight, why would you ever put weight on your back during a squat? Shouldn’t you start with trying to get into the right position in a squat that is safe, and available for you? If your hips don’t move in line when you step up onto a stair, why would I tell you to hold on to these weights and do the same thing? Part of this is difficult when we are in group workouts and everyone has the same program, and I understand that. Maybe what people should start doing is thinking of themselves before they start that group workout and wondering, “Are all these exercises what I need?”
It’s easy to sign up for group classes, put fitness in this dunk tank where you bob for apples and just pick one and go, but that’s not efficient, nor is it useful. We need to have an understanding of where we are at individually to better help ourselves and figure out which exercises we should be doing in a group class/workout, and which ones we need to regress from, and try a different approach, so we can eventually lead to that movement with no repercussions.