I have been educated on the body, the movements, the way it should be. Yet, everyday, I am reminded that exercising the body is something that is constantly overlooked. The question I keeping asking myself is “Is there really a “best” way to do things?”. Any educated person in strength and conditioning would say absolutely. However, when I watch someone who knows very little about angular force of pull or the length-tension relationship, they still seem to do alright. Yes, knowing the length-tension relationship definitely gives us an edge or a faster route to gains and progress. The fact that the football style bootcamp type of neighborhood fitness guru still gets returning customers and somehow gets results points to the idea that progress can be made simply from taking action. Even the most unscientific ways of working the body will cause change. And for those people that are stuck in a 9-5 job with no way of mustering up enough energy to possibly go walk after work, that is good news. It shows me that the body will react positively even if you jump around and do a one-handed one-leg squat pushup 3-ball juggle exercise that the neighborhood guru tells you burns fat off of you. As long as he doesn’t manage to hurt multiple parts on your body, chances are you are burning calories. Heck, Tony Little had a business for years from yelling at you in your living room because he got you to burn more calories than you would’ve without him yelling at you in your living room.
Burning calories is the key to a healthier lifestyle. So why do you need the personal trainer over the neighborhood guy? Because we only have so many days in the year. And what that neighborhood guru masters in is motivation. But it will be very difficult to motivate you out of the sling you’re in. It will be extremely difficult to motivate you when the injuries pile up and his lack of understanding about the body’s adaptive properties kick in. You see, the body is one of the most miraculous things that can be studied. The body will literally adapt to anything you do to ensure that it has found the most efficient way to do that. In the athletic world, this is known as a “compensation”. In the everyday world, this can be explained by the terrible soreness in your hip flexors located on the front of your hips. Why do they always ache in combination with your lower back. Is it a lack of stretching? Sure, let’s try that. But chances are the yoga classes you religiously attend won’t change the fact you spend the better part of the day cramped into an office chair explaining to your body “this is what I want you to make me efficient at”. So what does the body do? Say yes. Hip flexors located at the front of the body shorten as a result of bent knee position a chair puts you in as an acute response to make the body more efficient at sitting. Sitting there long enough, with enough practice, and your hip flexors become chronically shorter. Good luck fixing that with the neighborhood drill sergeant.
What we need is a program that targets the issues that have resulted from your life. Someone who says “what do you do all day?”, and when they hear “Sit in my office chair” they know right away “lower back strength, core strength, hip flexor flexibility, hip mobility” as the things that are most important things you can gain from a workout. 1000 pushups, the 7 minute ab challenge, the squat burpee 3-ball juggle 1-handed cartwheel exercise done on a bosu ball won’t get this done. And that’s why the education is important. Could you shed some pounds doing it on your own? No doubt. But can you be honest from the start and realize you are the reason that you are in the position you are in now? Ouch. It is tough, because rarely are people able to look at themselves in the mirror when they need to. When do you really need to get it done? Now? 10 years from now? Can it wait? Can your family wait? That is up to you. But we will be here when you’re ready.