A new client arrives and has done some reading, they may have even started working out on their own before they meet with you. The first hurdle is to make sure you speak the same language; do you both use the same words that mean totally different things?
Here are my top three:
1. “I want to activate/strengthen my core”
This tops the list for most trainer I know. Books, DVDs, magazines, blogs all tell us we have to strengthen, squeeze, activate our core. Immediately we think of abdominal region (we all want chiselled abs). In reality, the core is so much more. In fact, I would say that the core is your entire body.
Here are some tips on what works your core and what doesn’t:
- Sucking in your tummy and holding your breath is NOT activating strengthening your core.
- Tucking your pelvis is NOT tightening your core or activating your pelvic floor.
- Deep breathing and variations in breathing turns on your core.
See Dr. Weil Website for detail instructions.
- Planks, side planks, modified planks, chair planks, all kind of planks work your core.
- Kettlebell swings activate your core (not to mention give you killer abs).
- Deadlifts strengthen your core.
Take time to talk to a movement specialist to find your areas of deficit and how to best create a program that fits your body and maximizes the efficiency of your movement patterns.
2. “I want to eat clean”
When food scientists and marketers got their hands on our food supply life got very complicated. When an excited new client starts with me I get them to take photos of their food and text me so that there is no misunderstanding of what either one of us means or ingests.
- An organic gluten-free, vegan cupcake whose first ingredient is sugar is not clean eating.
- You want to have meat free Monday because you think it will be better for you and you grab some veggie hotdogs that contain syrup and highly processed protein isolates. This is not clean eating.
You want foods that are real. Preferably they do not need packaging or an ingredient list that you need to Google and then discovered that it is a synthesized chemical structure.
Playing around with new ingredients will help you discover what you like and what you don’t like. If you don’t like arugula it doesn’t mean you cannot use a recipe that calls for a aruglar; just swap it out for something else that you do like. Finding a local store that has fresh produce at a very reasonable price is a great starting point. In San Francisco Bay Area we’re spoiled for choice; The Milk Pail in Mountain View, Foothill Produce in Los Altos, Felipe’s Market in Sunnyvale.
3. “I have tight IT bands”
You have religiously foam rolled your IT band for weeks. You get temporary relief and then it is quickly over. Yes, your IT band may be tight, but what does the rest of your kinetic chain look like?
When you move, do your glutes (maximus and medius) turn “on” and “off” appropriately?
When you walk/run, which part of the foot are you landing on? Do you land “hard” because your biomechanics are not optimized? Is your foot and ankle complex flexible and strong? Are you using your hip flexors properly? What about your back?
Is it never a localized issue. Your body is a singular unit that needs to move and be cared for accordingly.
Find a movement specialist who can assess your real life movement patterns (I use SparkMotion) to find out what is going on and then you can start looking to correct it.
I ask my clients to be open to learning, to be ready to connect with their bodies and learn about themselves. We work as a team to find the correct mix of things that work to find holistic wellness.