4. Get stable, then strong
We work from the inside out, building basic trunk stability first, then work on the basic compound movements of Squat-Hinge-Lunge-Push-Pull-Press-Carry. Building or awakening basic stability can happen in 1st session, or it may take 5. It really depends on the individual. In this time though we can still work on the technical side of the compound movements learning to squat and hinge in less demanding more technique based situations. While it might be seen as dynamic or athletic development I find the use of med balls very useful here. The Wall Ball and Shot Toss and staples. The effect they seem to have on lowly trained individuals is significant. To the point where you see people squatting better at the end of a wall ball set on their very first attempt ever. The task and the movement seem to tell the body “this is ok, you can go further”.
5. Improve Aerobic Fitness
It’s important to develop a baseline level of aerobic fitness because of its relationship to longevity.
Our approach is to combine basic strength training into long 5-10 circuit exercise circuits that improves general movement, build general strength
but also get us training in a decent aerobic zone between 130/150 HR bpm.
Cardiac Output Circuits work really well as a development of good movement and aerobic development. These are self controlled circuits set up to keep HR in that 130-150 zone again. You need a heart rate monitor though, and you simply work away at a variety of exercises to stay in that zone. Start with 10-15 mins and work up to 45. You may spend longer at some than others, it really does not matter.
Of course once a base level is found we can build on that and really dive into the rabbit hole of full energy system conditioning.
In Part 5 we will discuss our how we might Program all this.
There are a number of approaches for helping people improve their lifelong health in modern world.
1. Reduce inflammation
Inflammation is the 1st major cycle we need to attack. Reduce inflammatory foods and stimulants while targeting maintenance calories. It’s always best to attack one habit at a time to establish a lifestyle.
Many of the common country vegetables and huge parts of the Mediterranean diet have anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation comes in many ways however, mental stress can be a massive obstacle as well. Not that training can solve all that life stress it can when loaded properly balance it somewhat. However many strategies are needed to counteract excessive stress and that may sometimes need other professionals help also.
2. Learning to relax
More and more as the years have gone on I realize what I help people with that’s away from the gym is by far the most important work we do. I try to teach specific approaches and techniques to reduce and manage stress. These strategies can include:
Periodic therapies (massage or similar, whatever works for them)
It is important to find the strategy that works best for each person and write it into the weekly schedule.
3. Have goals
Always set realistic goals for yourself and clients. It is common for clients to have unrealistic ideas what they can achieve in a certain time frame. With athletes there is a much less of an improvement ceiling
than with most general population people.
Setting realistic goals at the start will help eliminate the negative feedback of failing to meet unrealistic goals.
Set lifestyle goals in addition to training goals and body composition will change as a secondary result.
When we train general population folk we need to have an underpinning philosophy and decent scientific understanding of the process that develops stress resilience. They need more than just a training program.
The most telling elements that contribute to health and wellness are:
These 4 factors help mitigate the stress of daily life.
Research suggests that chronic inflammation is at the heart of most destructive, deadly diseases, including cardiovascular disease, strokes, and diabetes.
This is due to the vicious fat cycle: • Fat cells release pro-inflammatory cytokines • More fat cells lead to the more inflammation; the result is chronic inflammation • Diseases associated with chronic inflammation drive additional fat storage
As a coach or trainer, it’s your job to break this chronic inflammatory cycle without contributing to it.
Most of the time, people fail in their diet and exercise efforts because of two reasons: 1 Not eating enough (caloric deficit) 2 Training too much/life stress
Both of these reasons lead to chronic inflammation and sympathetic overload. We now know that this chronic inflammation results in fat storage instead of fat loss.
Psychological stress activates the sympathetic system the same way as physical stress, but not using energy the way we want a positive stress response.
Remember we do want to stress the body. That’s what makes us fitter and more resilient. But we need to do it in a layered and systematic fashion.
When psychological stress reduces, the body activates the parasympathetic system. This system drives energy storage, so the body craves food.
This is why it’s so easy to gain weight under high levels of mental stress: energy is mobilized, consumed, and stored without ever being utilized. Thus, the excess energy accumulates as fat.
The only way to shut off the sympathetically-driven stress response is to develop the parasympathetic nervous system. This can be accomplished through conditioning.
Improving aerobic fitness and stress tolerance along with building strength
As a coach we will get asked to train a client who just wants to look and feel good while improving overall health and wellness. These are usually great clients. They are also the clients I have with me the longest. Some may come in with certain physical or body composition goals but soon enough they start to see that they are just nice by-products of the training. The real gold in in the de-stressing and the ability to perform better at work, be fresher for friends and family and sleep better. Conditioning has a lot to do with this. This is measured conditioning for high performing regular individuals. But for regular people we are conditioning them for life. Sometimes the conditioning we do is quite easy. Sometimes it’s very hard with longer rests.
With medical professionals now being told to prescribe exercise for recovery or serious disease or simply for health reasons there is a real need for professionals who know what conditioning really means and how to apply it safely.
Step up Strength & Conditioning Coaches
We know statistically 1/3 of the US population will die from a preventable disease. Now that may be the US but as someone who lived and worked there I can tell Irish people we are becoming more and more American in our lifestyle, but only in the negative ways. For this end Conditioning can have a huge preventive impact on staving off cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases.
General conditioning is about preparing the body for the sympathetically-driven stress of life. This promotes health, wellness, and longevity. Achieving these benefits is the result of an entire lifestyle, not just what happens in the gym.
This means going for walks, spending time with family and friends, not starving yourself and then in turn binging. We have got it wrong. Very very wrong.
In part 2 we will talk about the needs of the general population. And it’s not just the gym.