After many years of working with clients who want to focus on weight loss/bikini beach body as their training goal (actually pretty easy if you know how)… I am finding a new love , for training clients who come to me for ‘non atheistic’ reasons. In fact with modern day life as it is, (postural imbalances, back pain, inactive muscles, less rest and increased stress) training for LIFE (as opposed to a dress or a holiday) is actually on the increase.
Now I can appreciate confidence gains found when watching those who want to fit into a new pair of trousers, achieve their goal, and of course there are many health benefits associated with losing excess fat (if indeed you have it). However along with monitoring calories and a focus on the loss of a part of you in line with an ongoing scale measurement, I also observe obsessional thoughts, increased body dysmorphia and a roller coaster of emotions as part of this process, which for me doesn’t fit with my strive to help people become happier and healthier human beings.
Swaggering around a gym in your new sparkly gym top on is only going to provide a sense of confidence for so long, especially if that swagger turns into a limp when your body can’t take the battering your giving it with HIIT workouts every day. Fast forward a period spent in ‘injury mode’ and the ‘f++k it mentality soon comes back and client x is (in their head) …back to square one. Now this is not me making any kind of judgement here. This is my observation in practice.
For me – the fat loss bikini body goal is old hat. We should strive for something new. We should strive for strength for LIFE. It wont get me the ‘google rankings or the hashtag hits maybe …but it will always give me more satisfaction as a trainer.
There is nothing greater than watching a client progress in terms of their ability to move well and increase their strength in movement of day to day tasks.
Take- Loren- my 61 year old female client. She came to me with severe back pain. She’s been seeing an osteopath for years with little results. She had very little core stability and (as is super common) very tight hips, and inactive glutes. All of these factors can have a huge impact not only on posture, but also on the body’s ability to cope or benefit from many higher or intensive training methods (which ironically are very commonly used in the fitness industry on people who are not physically capable of reaping the benefits).
Loren just wanted to get on with her life without a bad back
Fast forward 3 months and Loren reports of
-being PAIN FREE in her back.
-she describes being able to ‘get up easily off the floor without having to hold onto things.
-she describes being able to tie her shoe lace standing on one leg, without falling over.
She has IMPROVED her day to day LIFE through training.
She has developed
-strength in her hamstrings
-strength in her glutes
-improved mobility in her hips.
Today Loren nailed her first ever kettlebell swing. So maybe thats not so impressive for some who may have been training for a while, but what I can tell you is her movement was absolutely solid (a lot of people train with kettlebells with very poor movement, which inevitably leads to injury).
ALL of this has been achieved through her own consistency. Seeking help. Getting a plan and sticking to it. Outside of sessions she stuck to mobility drills, foam rolling and activation exercises week in week out.
Now I am confident in Loren’s ability and we can work on improving in leaps and bounds to help in other areas of her strength. This base line of strength will provide the foundation for any other goals.
What can we learn from this?
Training consistently is what works and what gets results. YES
But training consistently for a benefit to GENERAL HEALTH AND LIFE for me should be the starting point for ALL CLIENTS. Then goals can be worked and adapted around this.
Physical activity shouldn’t be about ‘burning off a biscuit’….’getting rid of this bit here or this bit there’.
It should be about putting yourself in the BEST POSSIBLE POSITION to deal with LIFE. The best possible POSITION to help you achieve any future goals (whether this be getting in a bikini, facing an illness or running a marathon)
LIFE will throw many unexpected challenges at you no matter who you are and no matter how ‘fit’ you perceive (or others perceive) you to be.
Striving to make yourself ‘resilient’ both physically and mentally comes as a huge part of strength training and the journey you will go through to achieve this.
Training yourself to be in the best possible position for LIFE may sometimes mean accepting that this is PART of your LIFE now and for ever, it should be made as a habitual practice.
The 6 weeks you have given yourself to ‘get fit for a bikini’ MAY NOT BE REALISTIC (this type of goal is for me THE EASY WAY OUT -drink shakes for six weeks, ditch some carbs and you’ll soon get there).
what I can assure you is once you have adapted your goal, adapted your mindset and train for LIFE, when you do eventually strut your stuff in your bikini this time next year you’ll feel confident, athletic and of course be able to jump in the sea too and fight the sharks off …..
*I write this piece with a full awareness I may well be doing myself out of work here- or cutting out a possible market ….for me- in an industry based on appearance I feel it is imperative to stay as close to your morals as you possibly can ….. Bikinis don’t last forever. Health and strength if you are fortunate enough to be able to progress with it, hopefully will last you a lifetime.
STAY TUNED for PART 2
EATING for LIFE (NUTRITION based lifestyle tips)