We Need Strength and Wellness

We live in a day of visual fixation. Instagram and other social media has made stars out of bodies, not people. Adoration keeps these money making machines in the news feed while actual heath and fitness professionals scratch their heads in bewilderment.

In the pre bodybuilding era of the 1930s to 1950s, people exercised to perform feats of strength, for their own entertainment and that of others. Spectators gleamed at their performance not just their physiques. These people lived healthy, balanced lives with real, physical jobs and families. Physical culture was a lifestyle not just a ways to claw at attention from those looking onwards.

You might not see much difference between then and now. Just people showing off their bodies. However, one element is missing today. Wellness.

Here’s something I dug up from the Guardian: link

‘According to a 2008 Journal of Health Psychology study, women reported an increased negative mood, depression and anxiety after only 30 minutes of viewing fitness magazines that promote an “athletic ideal”. Social media means you don’t have to buy a magazine to see these images; they’re in your newsfeed. The BMJ has identified exercise addiction as a growing problem, affecting up to 10% of the exercising population’.

What I’m writing here is not a bang on the modern fitness industry, or social media but it is my observation and that of my peers that something dire has happened in the last number of years. More and more people are turning to these (often unqualified) online, social media darlings for inspiration and exercise motivation. With the label of Personal Trainer I am (was) part of that group. To most people the identity or title of Personal Trainer does for the large part sum up an image of a muscly, loud motivator by means of administering ‘hurt’. But that’s not what I do. Yes, I know there are plenty of trainers who practice healthy exercise promotion, but we are few and far between.

I recently rejoined the instagram world after a 6 month break after finding myself feeling down and miserable, as I compared myself to the war zone of fitness information being broadcast. If it wasn’t another fitpro trying to sell me his or her 6 week program to making 7 figure $$$$ as a gym owner, it was the brigade of muscly dudes and dudettes making me feel physical inferior.

Coming back after my break I’ve blocked those feeds and prefer to share my healthier approach to becoming fitter, stronger and healthier.

And with that, I have rebranded FitStrong Personal Training to FitStrong Strength & Wellness.

FITSTRONG STRENGTH & WELLNESS Banner 2019

This has been a process of plentiful thought but after 22+ as a trainer I want to stick to my guns and promote the healthiest methods and practices to becoming fitter and stronger – just like the banner says!

Of course I’ll still be carrying out personal training, small group training, seniors classes and online training and such, but I will be actively promoting the other vital components that actually allow us to become fitter and stronger. I’ve written about them before but in short… here’s an infographic:

Fitness Map

Over the coming months I intend to write about each of these 5 areas (yellow boxes) in more detail to ‘map’ their position in an optimal lifestyle program of sorts. This will become the overarching drive of business going into the future and I am really excited to start into this new strategy.

My goal as a trainer is to help people. It really is that simple. What I identify as important is that we live well, with strength, agility and resilience, both physically and mentally.

Rather than following the tribe of social media stars I am going to start my own tribe and in the words of coach Dan John, the Goal is the keep the Goal the Goal.

the GOAL is to keep the GOAL the GOAL (1)

 

Got any feedback or questions? Please contact me below or if local to the greater Brisbane area, call me on 0450487237 or hey, get me on Facebook or Instagram .

Yours in Fitness, Strength & Wellness,

Jamie

Best Training When Stressed!!!

I’ll never shy away from sharing my love of my family, especially my daughter. She’s the smart one who will support me in my old age, you know, spotting me when doing handstands.

Anyhow, this morning on our way to school she brought up the subject of stress and asked how people should exercise to manage stress. She’s got exams and homework and is starting to get exposed to the kind of baseline stress we all live with. I went on to explain how there is normal every day stress and then those times when we get too stressed, and then balanced off by anti-stress, the things that make us feel good or relaxed.

This got me thinking afterwards about all the times adults want to exercise out their life stresses – is this really the best way to deal with high stress situations?

Before watching the video, here are a few terms for you to read:

  • Baseline stress is all the average, everyday stress we live with and accept. Bills, work, stuck in traffic, cold, heat, regular exercise, the final moments of your weekly dose of Game of Thrones and the silly argument over who forgot to buy the beetroot and almond dip and stuff like that.
  • Stress and excess stress results in a hormonal response in the body that releases more cortisol and epinephrine – the stress hormones that fuel us for fight or flight. This is referred to the Sympathetic nervous system response.
  • Anti-stress or the opposite of high stress is relaxing, chilled out and happy. This is the Parasympathetic nervous system kicking in.

We need to have exposure to both of these to develop as fully capable humans. Indeed, without exercise stress we would not be able to progress, to get fitter, stronger and more intelligent. As a species we have thrived on a finely tuned balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

However, when we expose ourselves to too much stress, things go wrong. We get sick. High stress exercise is the last thing we need to add to our lives when we are stressed. Whilst carrying out the basics of our normal exercise routine is fine, adding more exercise stress in the form of high intensity intervals can be a ticking time bomb on our physiology.

Adding relaxing, resetting practices to our exercise schedule is a must during periods of above baseline stress.

We choose the Original Strength movement system as a way to reset our bodies prior to training in the gym and on recovery days but if you like the idea of yoga, gentle walking or listening to your chilliest of your music collection, do that.

That’ll do me for today. I look forward to my daughters next question but if you have any questions or wonders, please do ask.

Jamie

New Year Promise

I was talking to a client this morning who mentioned that her local park run event (5km recreational running events held weekly) broke its attendance record and we dully laughed knowing that attendance will most likely drop within the next few weeks.

This will be the same observation in gyms, other recreational sporting events, slimming groups and other dieting support groups.

Why?

Dreams built off of lofty goals. Goals that are unreasonable, unmeasured, unhealthy and based on poor knowledge of how to achieve the goals. If you’ve had the new year resolution conversation, I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of, “I want to lose 5kg”, or “I want to get fitter”, whatever that means. I bet you’ll rarely hear, “I am promising to myself to get healthier”.

And that, ultimately is why anyone should start to exercise – to improve ones health.

Health goals could include:

  1. Losing fat.
  2. Lowering stress.
  3. Sleeping better.
  4. Lowering blood pressure.
  5. Lower risk factors associated with heart disease and cancers.
  6. Rebalancing hormones.

Here’s one interesting fact. Aerobic exercise carried out daily has repetitively shown to help ease or remedy all of the above. Additionally, addressing any one of the above items has been shown to help with the others on the list.

Wanting to exercise to improve your 5km run time or increase your deadlift should be queued behind having great health first.

So let’s clear up what great health is and what does that mean in relation to the above list.

If you are overweight, your health is at risk. It doesn’t matter how happy you are if you are overweight, the facts of the matter are that carrying around excess weight be it from extra fat or muscle (now that’ll rattle a few people) is or will negatively affect your health.

A simple way to measure if you are overweight apart from the obvious, is this guide.

If your waist is more than twice you height or BMI is over 25 then you are overweight.

Stress is pretty much self determined and heavily influenced by the the things we do onto ourselves. Not always of course, but the way we react to day to day stresses varies from person to person.

Some signs of stress:

If you are getting angry at people around you or at yourself, you are stressed.

If your sleep is affected by not being able to let go of your day to day difficulties, you are stressed.

If you are experiencing negative feelings or emotions about yourself, you are stressed.

If you are getting frequent headaches, chances are you are unduly stressed.

If you are experiencing stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, then your body is under stress.

If your blood pressure is higher than healthy thresholds, then your body is under stress.

If you’ve just increased your weekly high intensity exercise by more than 20%, you are stressing your body unduly.

If you only perform high intensity exercise, you are putting your body under excess stress.

If you drink more than the recommended units of alcohol per day, you are stressing your body.

… The list could go on. For many of these, talking to your doctor is vital.

The presence of ill-health is a clear indicator too that hard exercise has no place in your routine.

The point is, if your body is not operating as it normally should, it is under stress. Taking on extra and ‘intensive activities’ has no place in your weekly routine until good health is restored. Hard exercise is a stressor on the body so adding more stress to an already stressed system should clearly be seen as unwise.

The picture being painted here so far is that hard exercise has no place in the life of an unhealthy person that includes one who is overweight, overstressed and under sleeping.

If you are a beginner and overweight and maybe exhibiting some other health issues and you want to improve your health and fitness, going out for a run, carrying out some random HIIT workout from Youtube is NOT what you should be prioritising.

Remember at the start I mentioned the health benefits of aerobic activities? That is where you should start. It might not be the most exciting or stimulating, but you know what, getting injured, having a heart attack or stressing your body to throw up after your run is not much fun either.

Every new endeavour must start with reasonable actions that are repeatable for the rest of your life. Yep, you’re in that body for a very long time and it is your choice whether you thrive or barely just survive.

How about starting with a 30 minute walk, every day. You don’t need a membership or even fancy workout clothing. Just stick on your shoes, open the door and go walk. Do close the door behind you of course 😉

Over a week of walking you’ll expose yourself to a bit of sun, increase your Vit D, breathe and stimulate your heart and lungs and start to switch on some muscles that have been inactive for a while all with a low intensity form of exercise that you were born to do.

Forget the high intensity stressors. Feed and love your body and promise to yourself to do so every day of your life.

 

Nothing Wrong With Taking It Easy!

We get bombarded with messages from commercial fitness that we need to hit the gym and hit if hard or, like, what’s the point?

Now, before you start to think I’m wimping out in my old-age, I’m not saying to take every exercise session as a doddle in the park. Yes, sometimes you have to get a little bit uncomfortable, but not every time you exercise.

Today I’ll share a routine where I start with our simple daily mobility movements and then move onto just a little bit of waking up for the big body parts. As I explain, I could move onto more strength focussed moves afterwards, or I could just get on with my day. Stick to your plan. Oh, you do have a plan don’t you? If not, see me after class!

Follow along with the video to get your day off to a good start.

 


 

IN OTHER NEWS

I am looking for people who want to avoid the gym and exercise from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Save your precious time, listen to music you want to listen to and follow specialised programs for busy people. Members of FitStrong Online follow what they can when they can. From as little as 10 mins to as much as 4 blocks of 10 mins. It’s your choice… and it’s just $1 a day!
FitStrong Online Membership offers: 

👉🏻Ongoing training programs
👉🏻Bodyweight and Kettlebell focus
👉🏻Teaching videos for all the major exercises
👉🏻Live training sessions 😀
👉🏻Efficient 10 minute workouts
👉🏻Currently 28 different programs – potentially 42 months worth!!!!
👉🏻6 – 12 Week Challenges
👉🏻NO CONTRACTS. Try a month and cancel if it’s not for you
👉🏻Mobility tips to get less stiff and achy
👉🏻Access to the most successful special programs we’ve delivered
👉🏻Q&A opportunities at the tap of a button
👉🏻Nutrition and Lifestyle guidance
👉🏻Accountability Calls

Interested? 

To check out the membership site, click below.

click here

 

20 Minute Freestyle Challenge

Hey ya’ll. photo-output

So, it’s a sunny Brisbane afternoon, the pool is glistening under a late spring sub-tropical sun and the glass of Johnnie Walker Swing scotch is tasting mighty tasty, but… I must interrupt my moment of bliss with a quick mention of the workout I like to throw out when I want to get stuff done in between actual planned days.

It’s a kind of snack between meals that serves as a great opportunity to practice whatever the heck I want to practice.

So here’s the game plan rules.

  1. Choose a light weight, an 18kg kettlebell in my case.
  2. Pick it up and keep ‘er lit for 20 minutes non-stop.

That’s it folks!

With no particular plan of attack or whiteboard emblazoned with exercises, just move non-stop for 20 minutes between each exercise, any exercises you know and want to work on.

The caveat; weight must not rest on the floor at any time.

I typically rotate between left and right arm and work through a list of:

  • Swings
  • Cleans
  • Snatches
  • Windmills
  • Turkish Get Up ‘downs’
  • Floor Presses
  • Presses
  • Push Presses
  • Jerks
  • The Bent Press
  • Rows
  • Bottom Up carries
  • Other Carries
  • Halo
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Single Leg Deadlift variations
  • Prying Goblet Squats

Darn, the list could go on.

This is just a workout but serves as a great opportunity to put in a practice session with a nice strength endurance outcome.

You could use a sandbag, a barbell, a medicine ball, bodyweight movements (which is actually the hardest option) and you can even use a concrete block or a sledge hammer too!

Have a go sometime you feel the urge to workout and let me know what you did.

Thrive to your Final Day

What a title – how dramatic! But if I had to sum up my message with just 5 words, that’ll do it.

Today I want to touch on a subject many cry away from completely or conversely, drive headlong straight into but crash and burn!

Toughness

In a time when we can utilise tech to do lots of the hard for us, when we can have food delivered to our doors within 15 to 30 minutes, when we can outsource many of the mundane physical tasks to others and again, technology, you can see how it could be easy to say it’s not our fault – the system allows us to become lazy.

So much of modern living has done away with having to deal with discomfort. Physical occupations and past times that we had to do up until the 1970s and 80s have now largely been made redundant. You can easily spend a week, a month or many months not having to undertake anything remotely physically demanding or causing discomfort.

You think that’s a good thing? Think again.

For the most-part, most people for most of the time want to avoid physical discomfort. What happens then when a situation arrises that demands just that from us…. gulp!

I am not implying that you should go out of your way to make everything difficult. Don’t. Enjoy the luxury of modern living but at the same time, practice toughening up a little bit.

How?

As you’d expect, my response as a trainer is, well, ‘exercise’. Whilst a lot of our time in the FitStrong gym is dedicated to learning and practicing great technique, there are times too when we program pushing the boundaries of comfort, expanding our comfort zones. This in fact forms the premise of how we progress. We have a session of light stress, a session of medium stress, then a session where we stretch the comfort zone.

Here’s a quick story of member, Michael, who is a champion of toughening up and thriving.

 

Final thought. If we spend our lives wrapping up in proverbial bubble wrap to avoid discomfort and physical effort we will end up frail, weak and feeble in our later years. If we spend a little time every week getting a little out of breath, lifting some weights and moving around to develop better mobility and agility, we will thrive to our final days.

Got any thoughts?

10 Minute Circuit

Let’s be honest, many of us claim to to have very little time to exercise.

I get it. I’m a parent, a stressed out business owner who’s job it is to exercise and lead by example but here’s the thing. Life happens.

IMG_4798

Cute and guilty!

We might start the day with good intentions but then it happens. The upsetting email, the unexpected tax bill, the dog eats your daughters school hat on the last term in her current school (yes, that happened this week) and the last thing we want to do is exercise – “where’s the wine”?

But, if we’re pressuring ourselves into the notion that we’ve got to go to the gym and do a 45 to 60 minutes training session, guess again.

Let’s consider exercise as life credits. Every moment we carry out intentional and even non-intentional exercise, we are adding to our bank of health and vitality.

If all you have is 10 minutes, use it.

If all you have is 5 minutes twice a day, take it and use it.

Don’t have a kettlebell, dumbbell or a gym at hand – who cares. Just grab whatever you have that you could consider a weight.

Let’s get creative. Here’s a list of potential makeshift workout equipment:

  • heavy ball
  • backpack
  • a wooden log
  • a kids toy-box
  • a toddler, preferably your own
  • a big stone, or brick
  • a sledge hammer!
  • just your body weight.

Here’s a demonstration that actually targets all the essential movements.

 

Final thought. Ten minutes is not a long time that most of us can find during the day. Some people even report that once they get going, they actually find more time… who’d have thought.

A whole training program can actually be built upon the premise of 10 minute blocks, in fact, I’ve made one.

If you are ready to jump into a plan that’s made of a menu of 10 minutes sections, check out this first program I’ve just released. Now, this program is a fusion of kettlebell and bodyweight training, but a purely ‘household’ program will follow soon. If you are interested in that idea, just get back to me with the contact form below.

2018 Spring Program

Just click the image

Thanks for reading.

Jamie

 

Pre Christmas Strength and Fitness Program

We don’t offer cheap Personal Training (but keep reading haha) but we do offer Great Personal Training in shared sessions. Yep, you get all the personal attention you need just sharing the training session with 1 or 2 other people AND at a reduced cost.

We currently have openings in morning sessions on:

  • Tuesday @ 5:30am
  • Thursday @ 5:30am
  • Saturday @ 7:45am

(Other mornings are available too for new groups)

If you want to get all strong and fit for Summer, get in touch in time for our morning Spring Program kicking off Saturday 13th October 7:45am. (There will be an-board session in the week leading up to the Saturday)

Want More Info – get in touch below

 

The Program is set up as a starter program for 8 weeks, after which you can opt to stay on for the summer program.

So, what is the program?

At FitStrong we build our programs around helping people to move better and build real world, practical strength. This Spring program has an emphasis on:

  • Upper Body Pushing strength (who doesn’t want strong arms and shoulders this coming Summer?)
  • Squat movement variations to keep our knees and hips healthy and strong
  • A focus on explosive strength with kettlebell swings. Cant Swing? Well, I’ll teach you how to swing with a simple 4 step process. Don’t want to swing? Well, that’s fine too. There are options for other activities. This is still personal training but in a small group setting.
  • Abs – got to keep those abs strong!
  • In addition, we’ll take a look at nutrition with a simple challenge.

I can’t give too much away as programs hold $$$ value and releasing full details to the world would be fool-hardy.

How often must I train per week?

Great question. I’d love it if everyone could come along at least twice a week but I totally understand if this isn’t an option for you. If once a week is all you can commit to I can offer some homework to squeeze in at home. This can be customised for blocks of 10 minute sections.

As a bonus incentive and reward for reading this far (well done) I’ll gift you a great ebook all about getting you abs into kickass shape  – in fact, here it is.

The Top 3 Abdominal Exercises You_re Not Doing! (1)

FINAL NOTE:

If coming to our gym doesn’t work for you, this same program will be released as an online program that you can follow along to at home, in you own time. This of course will be a fraction of the cost of face-to-face training.

If you’d like to be put on the application list for this 8 week program, reply below.

 

 

Getting Back to Old Fashioned Health Values

Attaining optimal physical health in the year 2018 is probably a little bit confusing. Do short-cuts exist? Can you hack a boost with a magical coffee and fasting for 3 days? Is there a wonder food? Is there one exercise that’ll do the job and is strength training all you need to lead a wonderful and fulfilling life allowing you to thrive into old age with grace and all your human facets in place?

If anyone tells you ‘just need ____’, they are most likely full of cr@p!

To get a grasp of how and what is means to lead an optimally, healthy life as a human, you need to grasp what it means to be an optimally, healthy human. What is our system designed to do?

Thankfully the impartial and unbiased side of the medical and sports science world has outlined this for us on numerous occasions. We’ll delve into this later on.

For the purposes of physical health, strength, wellbeing and seeing results from training, I like to focus on the following areas:

  • Recovery
  • Nutrition
  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Resistance exercise
  • Movement practice

Here’s a wee infographic I’m working on. Eventually it will have links to resources for each area.

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.04.21 pm

For a very long time (until recently) people have included the above ‘agenda’ in their lives out of lifestyle necessity.

Until the 1950s and 1960s people had lifestyles that promoted:

  • moving more than sitting,
  • activities that kept them strong,
  • eating mostly unprocessed foods,
  • sleeping a good 7 to 8 hours rather than binge watching TV until they fell asleep.

Standards and values of basic human performance have dropped dramatically. Waist inches have climbed and even though we are living longer, we are just delaying death rather than prolonging life. Let’s read that last sentence again.

Waist inches have climbed and even though we are living longer, we are just delaying death rather than prolonging life.

There is no doubt that we will never return to a lifestyle that demands more physical living unless war and famine dictates it!

If you value old fashioned physical standards of health, attaining a good balance of physical living, what do you need to do?

At the start of the blog I mentioned that medical and sport science has informed us what we need to do. Let’s recap on what is promoted:

Sleep: 7 – 8 hours is optimal despite the fact that some people tell you that 5 hours is all they need.

Nutrition: No diets are required. Just aim to gradually reduce processed foods and meals and snacks and instead target fruits and vegetables that are in season NOW. Three to four fist sized portions a day. Eat unprocessed sources of protein, roughly the same size of 2 to 3 palm sizes. Eat unprocessed (read – natural) sources of carbohydrates like rice, potatoes and other root vegetables. Roughly 2 to 3 palm fulls a day. More information from Precision Nutrition. 

Cardiovascular: The targets have been made clear. Walk 30 to 90 minutes a day. You do not have to get seriously out breath, just get up and walk for at least 30 accumulated minutes a day. Simple really. Once this standard is met, then an additional 2 higher intensity sessions can be added a week – 30 minutes of effort that take you pulse to 180 – your age. Not flat-out death chasing stuff! Read more here.

Resistance Training: Two to three times a week undertake a strength training program that includes all the essential human movements. These are the most common physical movements we are required to perform and designed to perform frequently. These can be labelled as Squatting, Pushing, Pulling, Bracing (our torso), Hinging / Bending at the hips and Carrying weight. A well structured plan can be simple and undertaken in as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Need a hand, just ask.

Movement Practice: This is probably one area that should increase compared to strength training as we age. As a goal now, if you spend 30 minutes strength training, you should spend up to an hour on a movement practice. What do I mean movement practice? Yoga, Animal Flow, Original Strength, whatever flexibility techniques you like but in any case, you gotta get looser. As we age our hips, biceps, chest, hamstrings and other areas develop and hold onto more tension due to fatigue, posture, lifestyle. Stretch, move – get all loosey-goosey.

Building this into a week as a beginner

  • Walk every day for 30 minutes (3.5 hours a week)
  • Strength Train twice a week for 30 minutes (1 hour a week)
  • Stretch / Get Mobile 4 times a week for 30 minutes (2 hours a week)
  • Start a habit of eating mostly natural foods
  • Sleep every day for 7 to 8 hours

Yes, you read that right. Exercising for 6 ½ hours is essential for a beginner. Any less and you really are leaving a lot on the table. Any less and your lifestyle will be underpowered to assist you into old age.

It’s a serious matter but think of it this way. Do you want to spend the final years of your life in assisted aged care, unable to clean your own bum or do you want to thrive until your dying day.

To quote Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner, ‘Live Long, Be Strong, Die Mighty’! 

I know I’ve laid out a handful of information here. If you want to start to thrive now and you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and I will happily steer you in the right direction. Not a sales pitch, I just want to help.