Crawlebration

Celebrating and Exploring Crawling during December.

If you have difficulty with general movement, coordination, restrictions and perhaps some nagging pains and recurring injuries, maybe uneasy undertaking some tasks, it may be down to an out of use reflexive strength aka your original strength. 

Not to worry, reflexive strength can be restored with some practice, especially with one movement! 

‘Crawling can help you restore your original strength you were meant to have and unlock strength in many areas of your life.’

Not only will your physical strength and movement improve, your acuity will improve, your mood will boost and you’ll feel more capable and resilient to other physical demands of day-to-day life. 

‘It feels good to feel good’. 

Throughout December I’d like to celebrate what crawling can give us with a festival of daily crawling. 

Each day I’ll share a short video blog or a ‘crawl vlog’ to demonstrate various crawling methods and levels to offer something for everyone, because e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e can benefit from crawling. 

If you’d be so kind, I’ll ask you to share the daily crawlvlog on social media, perhaps with the following hashtags for good measure, plus your own of course 😉

#crawlvlog #crawlebration#albanycreeksbestgym #originalstrength #crawlforhealth #crawlstrong #fitstrongbrisbane #merrychristmas 


Bonus…

Adults tend to have quite stiff wrists. A lifestyle of convenience, technology and less than optimal mobility, can lead to wrists being a little overwhelmed by working with the hands on the ground. So here are a few wrist care movements that feel great on the wrist.

Like the minimalist approach? The Mobility page is packed full of various minimalist strength and mobility exercises.

Got Feedback?

The Results Magic Bullet

Whether it’s flossing your teeth, preparing meals, daily movement or gym time… consistency is the magic bullet. #timanderson #originalstrength #movewellmoveoften #movingisliving

Are you future proofing yourself?

Heading to the gym to lift weights, run on a treadmill or cycle on a stationary is all fine and grand – good entertainment while getting your pump on or raising your pulse rate.

But, is it really natural physical development as per our design? If all you care about is burning calories – go for it. But if you’re invested in personal physical development to enhance your life and into the future, it probably isn’t hitting the mark.

What day to day tasks do you struggle at?

I used to struggle with jumping, more specifically the landing. Feet would hurt, knees weren’t sure what was happening and my back wanted to disown me.

Walking in the countryside entails a bit of leaping and what about those days when the heavy rain turns every curb-side into a river? You need to learn how to leap, jump and especially stick the landing.

So, are you future proofing yourself?

Sticking the landing

Who is Strength training really for?

It’s a funny truism that I am about to tell you that I myself only really saw in the past couple of years. It’s about how some people perceive strength training and what trainers do in the gym and indeed, this perception even drives common beliefs amongst many would-be clients of well intended trainers.

Mention strength training in a conversation and you’ll probably get one of these responses:

  1. “Ah yeah, like Crossfit?”
  2. “Ah, like bodybuilding”, whilst striking a bicep pose.
  3. “Ooh, be careful you don’t hurt yourself with heaving all those big weights!”
  4. “Ugh, I don’t like barbells!”

Okay, you might get some other feedback based on individual experiences but in most cases, people think of the equipment, a popular gym or building bulging muscles like a bodybuilder.

But what about the system of getting stronger? People rarely consider what it is to be stronger, how it may apply to them, what’s involved, the benefits beyond an image and the smart systems used to help people get stronger.

So let’s jump into defining these as I promote them, starting with the health benefits.

Strength and Health 

For most exercisers, hitting the gym is their weapon to kill calories and for others it’s their tool to carve out a physique. However, the connections between strength training and health grow stronger (no pun intended) with the expanding findings of research. Strength training health benefits include prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetesheart diseasearthritisback paindepression and obesity. In addition, strength training aids in the prevention or slowing down of osteoarthritis, sarcopenia (age related loss of muscle mass) and osteopenia (loss of bone). None of us want to retire from our working years frail and weak so it should make sense to get stronger.

What does ‘strong’ mean?

Freedom is a common definition of strength that I just love. Consider the opposite – weakness. It comes with frailty, inability, fear, lack of confidence, loneliness, misery – I could go on but you get the picture. Physical freedom is the strength and independence to carry out a full life with autonomy. You may be excused for thinking initially that strength training is the domain of athletes, strongmen and muscly olympic lifters snatching big barbells overhead. Yes, they are strong and it’s expressed in a very specific manner. So too is strength expressed by the farmer who tends to her cattle and sheep, heaving bales of hay onto the back of the truck or the nurse who successfully assists patients in and out of bed along with a myriad of other day-to-day physical roles. I wrote ‘successfully’, suggesting they have the strength to endure this daily demand. A weaker associate will not be so successful. Strength is the freedom to do whatever you need to do, will have to do and want to do, successfully.

Strength and You

How does strength fit into a weekly schedule? “What do I need to do?”

Every human is wonderfully made to perform the same categories of movements with strength. We are perfectly suited to perform the following categories of strength:

  • Pushes
  • Pulls
  • Squatting
  • Picking things up
  • Bracing our torsos
  • Carrying things

Let’s back up that strength to-do list with these essentials:

  • Get down to the floor and back up effortlessly
  • Walk
  • Climb
  • Roll and rotate – confused? Here’s a video
  • Move often

The specifics as to how these relate to you personally will vary now and in the future. But essentially this short list of activities are how we live in the gym. I spend time with people to help them figure out the appropriate variations they need and then we practice them with appropriate levels of exertion. It isn’t just flat out in 5th gear!

I mentioned earlier how people often equate strength with barbells etc, however strength training always starts with moving first. Learning good form and technique is vital for obvious safety concerns but as a baseline, how we perform movements without external loading gives us a benchmark to compare to once load is added. Adding load can be as simple as holding a medicine ball, lifting a kettlebell, a barbell or a rock (it’s a thing, seriously). We add load once unloaded becomes easy, safer, better performed.

How to get stronger

How did you learn how to walk? You crawled, scrambled over furniture and traversed around the kitchen until you could walk unaided. It didn’t happen over-night and took lots of practice. Practice is where the magic happens with every single skill. I very much see strength as a skill that takes practice. In my daughters school there’s a poster in one of the class rooms that reads –

Practice Makes Progress. 

‘Practice makes progress’ concerns performing a task with good form until it becomes better and betterer but the timely immersion also allows the body time to adapt to the stresses involved with the new skill practice.

We progress to get stronger in the gym by carrying sub-maximum intensity repetitions. We don’t strain, struggle or stress and in fact aim to avoid failing any repetitions. We want good, clean, repeatable and moderate efforts. There are heaps of workable protocols for carrying out such programs that I’m not going to get into here.

Winding it up…

My goal here in this short piece was to outline how being strong and the process of becoming stronger is achievable by all and cannot and should not be stereotyped by some initial conceptions. Our wee family run gym is frequented by all sorts of people between their mid 20s to early 70s and we all practice and progress in our strength training to add to our health and everyone observes this in their everyday life. Whether it’s just the feeling of increased wellbeing, moving better without groaning or carrying in the shopping with 5 bags hanging off each arm; everyone demonstrates their strength as their life requires.

Your Move

If you’ve been pondering working on your strength, health and fitness for a while, hopefully this short post will offer you some insight into what is required from your time. If you do require any assistance I’d love the opportunity to help you, whether that’s in person or online – yep, I do train online too – don’t you love technology sometimes?

Your in Strength & Wellness,

Jamie

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

Getting Fitter and Stronger the Easy Way

IMG_8186I don’t always lead the way in our strength programs. Giving clients the option to choose their strength movements gives ownership to that move, to making it their move.

In our latest program we chose two main lifts, an upper body strength move and a lower body movement.

We developed these over 8 weeks without straining and stressing and supported the program with other exercises. We simply expanded our comfort zones – no maxing out, crying or vomiting!

‘This was perhaps one of the most relaxed, chilled out programs we’ve ever done.’

Below I’ll demonstrate some of our key chosen movements (not instructional) and then talk briefly about how they were trained and how they tested out this week.

Swing

Elevated Rock

Kettlebell Press

Rocking Push Up

 

The key component of each target movement and indeed, the other movements employed in a training sessions was NOT to max out, not to strain, stress and grind out the reps. This was perhaps one of the most relaxed, chilled out programs we’ve ever done. We put faith in a fresh understanding of high intensity training that I talked about here.

At the start of the program, session one was used to identify baselines for the two main movements. What weights were considered light, medium and heavy for the swing, how many push ups / elevated rocks were considered moderate and what was considered a medium weight to press.

This was all based on trialling sets with progressive intensity until medium was felt. I’ll not go into details about how we conducted this as it’s not the purpose of the post but needless to say, we identified medium.

From here we backed off to 70-75% of medium on the pressing movements and gradually waved the volume of the sets from just 1 rep to ladder of 1,2,3,4,5 over the 6 weeks and the swings and elevated rocks we kept at 10 seconds per minute for 10 minutes per session. We gradually used heavier kettlebells in the swings. Really quite simple stuff.

Anyway, the good stuff – the results.

The Swing was tested with the 100 swings test – the goal, to swing 100 times in under 5 minutes. Even though we never encountered 100 swings in that kind of intensity (the most we would do over 5 minutes was 35 swings) everyone has tested out with 100 swings in well under 5 minutes and interestedly, finished fresh and not huffing and puffing! We have carried out swing tests like this in the past, but for everyone, they used much bigger weights.

The elevated rock goal was maximum reps in 5 minutes. Probably tougher than the swing 100.

The elevated rock tested out with a total of 70 in 5 minutes. This is quite a feat – I dare you to try this one!

Pressing. On testing the single arm press, everyone finished with a personal record weight for reps.

The overarching goal of the program was to demonstrate how we can indeed increase our work capacity or fitness if you want to call it that and increase strength too but without ever working ‘hard’. Maybe it also demonstrates that you could still accomplish training goals when feeling kind of tired some days. If all you have to do is turn up, do the stuff and go home.

Turn Up, do the ‘Stuff’, go home, repeat. Simple!

Getting Back Up

In a 2002 Brazilian study, men and women between the ages of 51 to 80 were followed for an average of 6.3 years. Those who had to rely on their hands and knees to get up and down to the ground regardless of age were almost seven times more likely to die within six years than those who could get up unsupported. Those individuals with poor overall muscular strength and mobility were the the ones who had to rely on using their hands to awkwardly get down and up.

Clearly being stronger has more implications than just being able to carry the shopping in after a grocery shop.

In part 1 we looked at other statistics that looked at mortality and affects on quality of life from falls but in part 2, let’s consider prevention measures.

Getting to the floor should happen in any training session regardless of whether or not it’s an intended exercise but if getting down to terra firma proves a tad troublesome, where do you start?

Even if you’re an experienced strength athlete / trainee, some the drills below will give your body an added edge in being more resilient. How often do you see muscular people moving rather stiff ? Yes, a bit too often. If you move like a robot, some mobility training should be in your life.

Below I’ll demonstrate the strength exercises that give us the ability to move down to the floor and also the mobility exercises to practice that allow us to more smoothly navigate to the floor and up. After that, we’ll take a look at the drills that we practice to move down and up and prepare the body further.

None of these exercises should ever be taken to muscular fatigue or muscle failure but you should feel the muscles doing their jobs. Always stop a set knowing you could do a few more repetitions.

General Strength

Progressing Strength

Practice?

Don’t worry if you haven’t got heaps of time, you can spend as little as 3-5 minutes every couple of days ‘playing’ with these movements. A couple of sets of each move will be enough initially to get you moving and stronger. As the moves in the first video get easier, move to video 2 and play with the moves there. I use the word play to suggest you don’t count repetitions, instead practice each move to make it better. Not sore and fatiguing, just getting better at each.

Imagine lying in a hospital bed with a broken hip, stressing over lost work, medical expenses and rehab afterwards. Not so pleasant…

Now consider just spending 3-5 minutes every couple of days practicing getting yourself stronger. No medical bills or rehab, just getting down to the floor and back up.

I know which I prefer and to be honest, longevity is the number one key objective of FitStrong  – to help people find longevity.

If you’re interested in investing your time further, please check out my FREE 5 Day Morning Routine

What do you think? Got any suggestions, thoughts, opinions or stories to share? Please do get in touch.

 

 

Why Getting Down to the Floor is So Important

I love questions in the gym or from peoples in the interweb facebook world. I even love the questions I can’t immediately answer. If I need to really think a subject matter through, I will and if I need to refer to a smarter associate, I will. I’m actually very lucky to be within a network of some of the smartest thinkers in the health and fitness world. Note the word ‘health’. The fitness world alone is awash with unnecessarily sweaty, nonsense – you know the ‘stuff’ you see on social media with all the pouting, posing, flexing, ‘look at me’ distractions. I’ll not even get into the exercise things that they share – that is a story for another time.

Talking of smart people, I am very blessed to be attending a weekend workshop with world renowned strength and conditioning coach Dan John. We’ll be spending the weekend covering some content from his latest book, 40 Years with a Whistle along with sections looking at the economics of strength training. Overall, it is going to an awesome weekend with gold nuggets of information bouncing off the walls. I will be sure to blog about the workshop next week when I’ve calmed down!

Dan John ties in nicely with todays post and a question I get often from new-comers to the gym.

‘Why do we get down to the floor so much during a training session’? 

Let’s read a few statistics, a somewhat scary tale of the current day for you.

  1. Deaths from falls are increasing by 3% per year, or 30% between 2007 and 2016. Link
  2. In Queensland, ambulance services attended near 60% of falls in private residences and 24% in nursing homes.
  3. In Australia, 30% of adults over 65 experience at least one fall per year.
  4. Falls account for 40% of injury-related deaths in Australia. Link
  5. The most common injuries involve hip, leg, arm, neck fractures, with hip injuries having the greatest impact on patients.

I’ll stop at 5 but for more information please do click on the last link above.

Whilst the falls alone are traumatic the post-fall life of a fall patient is greatly impacted by a reduction in willingness to partake in physical activity for fear of falling again. Even in younger patients, they too will most likely seize to exercise as much. This reduction of quality in life simply snow-balls the inactivity and allows frailty to set in, in turn increasing risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes. One study has shown that the two year survival rate of cancer survivors is greater than that of falls patients.

If you’re not seeing why we get to the floor and back up again often in a gym session, maybe you need to read the same statement from one of the worlds greatest strength and conditioning coaches.

‘It’s one of the strongest statements I have made in my career. I feel like no one is listening, but…please…do some work on getting to the ground and getting back up. Practice falling before you need to!’ Dan John

A bit more information from Dan perhaps?

So, how do we get to the floor? Well, we get down to the floor silly. Simply practicing the many methods of getting onto the floor and whilst down there we practice some purposeful trunk exercises. Any action that’s purposeful and mindful, repeated often will develop muscular and joint strength as well as developing the reactive or reflexive strength in the movements. If we’re stronger in practicing getting down to the floor, we will be more resilient if and when a slip or fall occurs.

For general strength and conditioning, we practice the following:

  • Lunges in all directions to get closer to the floor or onto the floor.
  • Squats in all shapes and forms to get closer to the floor.
  • Hip hinges both two legged and single legged to get closer to the floor or onto the floor.
  • The wonderful Turkish Get Up is another quite specific multi-planar movement that teaches the skill of getting to the floor and back up.
  • Single leg balance to assess and develop the ability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds. Test that yourself. If you struggle to balance for 10 seconds, there’s you next most important goal to work on.

We also have a great drill I call the Flamingo. This drill I developed to address multi-planar movements of the legs. Really, it’s just a tease for the legs, hips, ankles and trunk to maintain balance over a range of moves. Here’s a video I’ll share now.

In part two, I will share a video containing the other list of moves I mentioned above.

Action point?

Can you stand on one leg for 10 seconds?

How to make your exercise Fun

Not everyone wakes up every morning to enthusiastically ready themselves for the gym. For most, it’s a chore and something they feel they have to squeeze into the week somehow.

One limiting factor aka excuse, is that exercise is deemed to be hard work, uncomfortable and not much fun.

Maybe the problem is the overwhelming compulsion to make every exercise session hard work and uncomfortable just because that’s what everyone seems to be doing and what the media champions.

I have recently talked about how we don’t actually need to spend anywhere near as much time on high intensity training to find benefits from exercise, but today, let look at how to make exercise fun.

  1. Find exercise methods you enjoy and align with. There are many ways to get stronger from bodyweight, kettlebells, barbells, parallel bars and much more.
  2. Music. Yup, music of your choice makes everything better. Whether it lifts your spirits or acts as a distraction-it works.
  3. Slow it down.
  4. Gamify. You could make a game out of your routine. Have fun accumulating the repetitions you’ve set out in your plan (you do have a have don’t you?) Here’s a simple routine we employ for squats and presses. We do 10 squats followed by 1 press, the 9 squats and 2 presses and continue this reduction and addition of 1 rep until we’re 1 squat and 10 presses. Simple but quite fun. You can substitute your own favourite two movements.
  5. Focus on quality. Make your exercise techniques better, then betterer.
  6. Get a training buddy. I might be biased here but I do see better results in people who train with other people.
  7. Get outside. Whilst it might get hot in summer, exercise outdoors is great. Fresh air, greenery, birds and no stale, sweat saturated air in a box gym.
  8. Play with movement. We do tend to live in a very linear world and that is reflected too in the gym. We move things up, down, then perhaps out and in and maybe side to side. But how about going ain all the other directions?? Systems like Animal Flow and GMB have routines and practice that incorporate multi-planar moves. So much more fun in my opinion.
  9. Hit the playground. If it’s good enough for the kids it’s good enough for us adults, just don’t push the kids out of your eager way as you sprint headlong towards the swings and monkey bars.
  10. Celebrate your victories. It can be easy to dwell on the hard stuff we try to do but heck, if you managed to walk an extra km power to you and your awesome self. Whether it’s that extra km or one extra press with your fav kettlebell, it’s a victory worth marking with fist pump, yeehaw or a smile.
  11. Stop the maximum efforts. If you haven’t read them yet – go here.
  12. Reflect. Journalling might seem like a time vampire to some but, can you imagine looking back in 6 months to a year at your training and seeing how far you’ve come?
  13. Set challenges. Be realistic and set yourself a challenge or two that’s within your sights. Want to get your first 10 push ups. Start with 1, repeat 7 to 10 times and gradually increase that 1 rep to 2 over the sets and so on. Do not max out, but expand your comfort zone.
  14. Plan. Just like #13, make a plan. Look at your end goal and design your program backwards from that point to your starting point. Make lots of tiny changes in the right direction including sessions that are easier, others more hard and some just medium. It can be tricky but great fun watching your own progress especially if you follow #12.
  15. KISS. No, not the band unless that’s your #2. Keep It Simple Stupid! Don’t try to do everything, random stuff or do heaps of something you’re not sure about. Get tuition, focus on the important stuff. Sleep 7-8 hours, eat mostly great, walk daily and strength train 2 to 3 times a week. Read more about this point here.

I’ll stop at 15 tips.

Got any how to keep exercise fun tips yourself? Let me know. I’ll add them to this list and credit you if you like 🙂

 


Are you interested in learning how start Reboot Your Body to say goodbye to aches and pains? I’ll be running a series of workshops in the coming months here in Albany Creek.

Read more here.

Exercise is not a punishment for enjoying food and drink

Monday is always a great day to ….

You can fill in the blank word or words but how often does this happen? A big weekend followed by a big Monday plan that goes – well, I’m sure you know how that story turns out.

Here are a few thoughts floating around my head after some chit-chats with different people over the last week.

  • Exercise is for developing better movement, getting stronger and fitter, having fun and feeling great afterwards.
  • Exercise will help you live longer with more physical independence and wellbeing.
  • Don’t confuse exercising with weight loss.
  • More is not more in most cases.
  • Make exercise fun but safe.
  • How much food you eat is the only factor that will help you lose body fat or build muscle.
  • Better sleep and stress management will make it easier to manage your eating.
  • In any combination, variation or cultural persuasion, eat vegetables, proteins, natural fats and enough carbohydrates with a sprinkling of flavoursome herbs and spices as preferred.
  • Experiment to see what works best for you.
  • Make eating fun but in limitation.
  • Be a reasonable adult.
  • If you miss a training session or have a big splurge on a Saturday – don’t compensate by ‘smashing out’ a gym session or ‘hard dieting’. Just pick up where you left on and continue life.

Got any thoughts to add to this? Let me know.

Need to book in for more details chat about this? Get me below.

Jamie