Proper strength training and creating an adequate stimulus to change body definition and/or lose fat is Outside the Box of what the majority of people who exercise, do. That’s why they are never happy with their results.
If you are new to exercise, or you use cardio exercise, group classes, magazine or free online programs; I guarantee you, that chances are 100 percent that you are not going to get great results.
Read below to discover the necessary components to creating a lifestyle that includes great health, physical performance and strength, and the body composition that you have always dreamed of having.
Whether your goal is to lean out by getting regular aerobic exercise and add muscle definition by lifting weights, or you just want to get more exercise to improve how you feel; good movement is essential.
Good mobility requires motor control. Motor control is the ability to coordinate movement of all joints involved, in a pattern. As we age (this begins to happen way before middle age - think of how easily a four-year old navigates the monkey bar; and if they don’t continue to do it, they can no longer use that playground equipment only a few years later) we lose muscle strength, and the capacity to produce power. It isn’t only because we lose muscle mass at a rate of 5% every decade if we don’t properly and progressively resistance train, but also because the brain loses its ability to talk to the muscles in a pattern-motor neuron death (this is called neuromuscular function). When the function deteriorates, the muscle shrinks away. This is why people lose balance and coordination. Continue to lose this control, and the power needed to push oneself out of a chair also diminishes. Aging without taking care of movement with proper, intense exercise causes a person to be both weak and metabolically inefficient.
Physiology of the human body works on a joint by joint approach. Starting from the foot, there is a system of stability and mobility throughout the kinetic chain. If one joint loses its natural job, the joint above and below will begin to compensate. A sedentary lifestyle, long hours sitting or standing, injury, or activities like jogging and cycling perpetuate poor movement.
A person who takes their natural posture to exercise, typically moves from three centers: The hip flexors, spinal erectors, and neck and upper traps. If a person lifts weights without starting with stability in neutral; then adaptations of strength of these abherrant patterns is caused. Best case scenario is muscle tightness and poor muscle and strength development. Worst case is injury.
It’s a simple as this: if your hips lose stability and/or mobility, you get knee pain. If your foot loses stability and your ankle loses mobility (perhaps because of the above) you get knee pain. If you lose mobility in your t-spine, or lack a good stable and mobile shoulder complex- you get shoulder, neck, and/or lower back pain. (Credit: Mike Boyle, Joint by Joint approach)
Breathing mechanics are crucial to good mobility. Breathing for exchange of gases, and not from all breathing centers will cause mobility restrictions; especially in the shoulders and neck. (Credit: Dean Somerset) Often a person with instability will hold their breath during exercise, to try to create a false stability. This is counter- productive. There is a time for creating intra-abdominal pressure by using Valsalva breathing in lifting heavier loads, but a person must first build robustness of the spine. Poor breathing mechanics will not allow your body to move into full range of motion in exercise. Muscle guarding will occur. That will not produce good results.
Not everyone needs to create more mobility. In fact, those with more natural mobility often end up taxing their joints and connective tissue. They need more stability. This is the value of an assessment; to determine how your body moves, what your natural mobility is, whether you have a bias towards flexion or extension, whether you need more mobility or more stability, what progression level to begin with in an exercise, etc.
The purpose of exercise should be to help your body to move freely, to allow you to do regular tasks with ease, and to be more metabolically efficient. Prehab (exercising with quality of movement) is much more favourable than rehab (fixing the movement issues that we have created from quantity of movement without regard to principles of stability and mobility.
In the photos ...
Top: Single leg deadlift - Balance and coordination come from a balance in strength.
Middle: Lunge with a rotation - Anterior core strength so that the lumbar spine is supported. Good range of motion in the hip comes from better hip extension strength. Good for a warm up to restore upper back and hip mobility/stability.
Bottom: Upward dog - Proper back extension is created with shoulder and anterior core stability. It's the t-spine that does the majority of the extension, not the lower back. Breathing mechanics, stability, and (perhaps) mobility are needed to restore good movement.
There are so many benefits to strength training, but you may not ever have been exposed to what strength training really is.
A woman (barring many years of inactivity plus advanced age, acute injuries, etc.) should be able to lift AT LEAST her body weight in a major lift. For example: a 150-pound woman should be able to deadlift, hip thrust, squat (to depth) 150 pounds; and do at least 1 quality chin up, or 5 quality pushups- minimum. Its highly likely that a woman can do 1 ½ times or even 2 times her body weight in those lifts. If a woman can, for example, do 20 pushups but not some variation of all the major lifts; there is something very wrong in her programming and level of strength balance.
A program that helps you to build strength begins with the foundation. These are foundational:
Your body will not grow muscle until it improves strength in the movements that involve those muscles. If the goal is to add definition (tone) that means adding muscle.
Athletics require a stable base of foundational strength, to build power and speed off of. You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe.
Carrying groceries, gardening, carrying children, not waking up stiff and sore, ability to walk distances. These are all done with ease when a regular program of strength and conditioning is implemented into your lifestyle.
Strength training helps to ward off the loss of muscle mass due to aging. The less muscle mass we have, the weaker we get, the less agile. Loss of strength is also the cause of loss of coordination and balance. A balanced and strong body functions better in daily tasks. Risk of osteoarthritis is also lessened when joints are moving better.
The key to successful change is learning how to do things differently, while adapting new behaviors into lifestyle.
Our system is based on life-changing, habit based nutrition coaching. This system has helped over 45,000 clients lose over 900,000 pounds of weight. (Source: Precision Nutrition)
It is an integration of psychology, metabolic physiology, and nutrient biochemistry. The result is drastic improvements in health, performance, and body composition. It is these three markers, in balance, that create lasting overall positive results.
There is a distinct method employed, that ensures that you are not overwhelmed. A series of behaviours, done overtime, create long term success. It is this approach that guides you every step of the way. We begin with the fundamentals, and then build on them. We also reiterate the most important habits, such as; Eat only whole foods. This is a fairly difficult habit to achieve. Therefore, the approach of systematically “stretching” it into your lifestyle, delivers a greater opportunity to succeed with it.
Also, because we are all highly individual, it is important that we engrain the “stretch” habits, but also uncover which “experimental’ habits work for you. This is the beauty of the individualized approach.
This entails all of the above, plus:
Daily - delivered, interactive lessons that support change towards completion of goal
Weekly - measures based on assessments, such as body measurements, energy level gauges, and adherence monitoring. We ensure that the behaviors we set for you, are the right ones to keep you progressing towards your goal
Bi-monthly – addition of habit and adherence practices. Habits and lessons are cumulative; they build onto each other to assure that they become engrained.
This is a stepped up service, including all of the above, plus, us working together hands on; to help you to build the skills necessary for success.
Both levels of service support you to:
Progress is a collaboration. Any change requires regular attention and consistent focus. I’m here to support your transformation by supporting you as you create successful habits and turn them into a regular routine.
It is a research backed, evidence based system of training all the joints in the body to operate as they were intended to. This improves the ability to move freely, and to get the best results out of exercise. I am now a certified provider of this system. Read on to learn how this system will benefit you.
Do you answer YES to any of the following?
These are all indications that you would benefit from improving your ability to control your body.
Put simply, we no longer use our body as it was intended to be used. Lifestyles that do not include purposeful exercise involve long hours of either sitting or standing. These both deliver a lot of stress to our systems. Our bodies need daily stress to be able to adapt to and grow tissue. Unfortunately, most people don’t deliver the right kind of stress to their bodies.
We’ve been sold fitness for health, but the way that it is delivered is not always beneficial. Some people find this out immediately, by sustaining injury. For others, it takes a while for muscle tightness, wearing out of joints, and arthritis to occur. However, these are all effects of one thing. Poor movement control.
Truth is, people cannot handle external load stress before they have good control over their internal environment. This external load stress is applied by lifting weights, running, fitness classes, dancing, gymnastics, golfing, yoga, Pilates … every exercise modality you can think of.
What does it mean to control your internal environment? Simply put, it means learning to involve the nervous system while conditioning the joints to move safely and efficiently. This prepares the body for both the chaos of exercise, as well as the insult that it is put through with daily living. Tissues undergo stress, and our bodies adapt. This teaches your body to adapt favorably.
Exercise programs that promise a “stronger core”, “better flexibility” all miss the boat on this one essential ingredient. That is gaining functional mobility. This is mobility that stays (without the need to stretch, massage, roll, etc.) because it is an active pursuit. This causes a change to strength and nervous system output. It gives you an increased capacity for your joints to be able to support a load which keeps you safe from injury. It also reduces the chance of needing a joint replacement, or developing arthritis. This happens when you learn how to mindfully and purposefully take each joint to its full range of motion, and then cement it in with strength.
When a person learns to take each individual joint to its range of motion, under control, while increasing flexibility, that extra range of motion is accessible with control should a person be caught in a potential situation of injury.
These are performance goals. Improving the articular functioning of each joint that makes up the movement in an exercise, is going to improve the exercise. Exercises are movements. Practicing good movement corrects movement. Take the squat for example. If a person’s ankle and hip mobility are reduced, some tissues are going to constantly be over stressed and other tissues will not be stressed at all. If a person has not been taught how to create tension, then the nervous system is not alerted as to what is the most efficient way to be doing the exercise. Improving the ability of all the joint’s that play a role in that exercise will ensure that during the variance that happens in a movement, they will know what to do.
Conditioning of the nervous system to maximize active ranges of joint motion. When you pay attention to creating appropriate tension, improved neurological functioning is developed. In essence, you learn to own your range of motion, strengthen it, and protect it against loads.
You create movement fluidity by practicing progressively more complex sequential articular patterning. This law of progressive overload, is essential to creating any change. There must be an adequate stimulus presented to create long term change.
Not only do you gain flexibility, but you maintain that flexibility by simultaneously increasing range of motion and strengthening that new range of motion.
If you have experienced an injury, this will reestablish the joints ability to move as intended. It will also improve articular health and promote longevity.
The idea of purposeful exercise was created to improve the health of a person. This system improves athletic function. Restoring the ability to control our bodies throughout all ranges of motion, strengthening the body to be more resilient to the stresses we impose on it only makes sense.
Fitness should make a person move better, not tear a person down. Functionally conditioning all aspects of the body does this.