This is a topic that I have wanted to write for years now. But something has always stopped me. Mostly it was fear of it being interpreted wrongly by others.
I talk a lot about nutrition, hormones, the gut, stress management, and the importance of sleep. What I have purposely neglected to post/promote/educate about is movement.
The biggest reason for avoiding it was out of respect for my very own talented, Husband. But what I realised is that I am doing actually doing him and others a disservice by not acknowledging the impact that movement and he has had on my overall health.
*** He doesn’t know I am writing this and in no way is this a plug for our services***
My other main concern with posting about my training is that I don’t want to influence girls/women in negative way. What I mean is I don’t want to “show off” my body or create comparison for other females.
I am very conscious and passionate about this as I think we are all so critical of ourselves and others and I have worked really hard personally to get better with this. Hence, I have tried to stay away from the whole training arena and leave it on Jan. However, in doing so I do feel a bit selfish as it is a HUGE positive in my life that has helped me so much with my mental, emotional and physical health.
Most peoples perception of health is usually associated with “being fit” or “exercising a lot” or “training hard”. But what they don’t realise that excessive exercise such as marathons, ultra-marathons, very long distance bicycle rides, is associated with damage to the heart, muscles, soft tissues and joints. I am often assumed or associated with training a lot, training everyday, training hard, running, being strict or being disciplined.
I know I do spend a lot of time in my gym gear but the true reason for that is it’s most comfortable for me – light weight shorts and a tank top is so much more me than a tight dress.
So if I appear to always be in my training clothes please don’t confuse that with me exercising all day everyday – as this is certainly not the case nor do I think it is healthy. I am not an athlete and it may surprise you but most athletes aren’t exactly healthy. I am someone looking to look good, feel good, age well, be energised and move well so I can enjoy everyday of my life with my loved ones for a long time.
I too have a life to manage. I work long shifts, I sit and read and study on my days off, I make most of our meals from scratch everyday and need to prepare food for my work days, I get tired, I get sore feet and legs from standing for 12 hours, people drain me, and some days or weeks I don’t feel to go to the studio and train.
However, what I have not given enough acknowledgement and credit to is Jan and his amazing ability as a coach and an educator. I knew exercise = better health outcomes (especially physical) before I met Jan but what I didn’t appreciate was what intelligent, purposeful movement/program design does for vitality and longevity. Expecting your body to perform the same repetitive exercise(s) week in, week out or year in or year out at the same level or better is not doing your body any favours.
In my Pre-Jan days, I would work long hours, set my alarm to go to the gym, train hard/heavy for an hour. Feel good from the adrenalin, cortisol, serotonin release. Then crash and be more tired and exhausted over the day. Sometimes I would have a nap. Then go back in the afternoon when I got a second wind and train again for an hour. Then be totally wrecked. I would wake up sore thinking that was a good indicator of the hard work I had done and that meant my muscles were working (Anyones who mantra is NO PAIN NO GAIN seriously shouldn’t be working in the fitness industry) .
If I had a second day off I would repeat this. Only to find I couldn’t sit on the toilet because of my sore quads. But hey, that was ok as I had to work the next day so it meant I wouldn’t make it back to the gym until 2-3 days. My head said cram as much in as you can on your days off. Now when I think back to this I just feel sorry for my body.
This was and is totally unsustainable, a sure fire way to end up with an injury, hormone disruption, become less motivated, and honestly it does’t even bring good outcomes for body composition or appearance. The body adapts to an imposed demand based on its environment. If you have inadequate recovery, poor program design, poor nutrition, you are not going to achieve the much desired outcome you are trying to achieve.
When it comes to exercise MORE OR HARDER doesn’t necessarily equate to BETTER.
The more I have learnt about the human body and how it is a vehicle for movement and the influence movement has on all our internal structures from bone, to skin , to connective tissue to cells, to hormones, to metabolic pathways you begin to appreciate and embrace the concept of intelligent movement so much more than exercise. I am grateful everyday to know that my action in and out of the studio is benefiting my body so that my body can benefit me for life.
Fast forward to 3 years ago to current date – I am never sore to the point of discomfort EVER. I have not had one injury. I am stronger as a whole. My skin appearance is more youthful. I am energised more when I leave the studio. I don’t wake up to train. I have a trainer who knows how to adapt a program based on how I feel. If I am tired I do a recovery session that still involves load and movement without high intensity or heavy load that would bring me down more OR I rest. When I feel well I train hard – but never to exhaustion and never at the sacrifice of poor form. I lift, I do cardio, I do restful/yoga like poses and breathing and I do loaded movement training.
I don’t subscribe to only one thing as all of these things impose a different demand on the body and have different benefits. I want all the benefits. I am conscious of my movement during any given day. I try to walk more, change positions, get up and down if I sit. If I stand too long my body tells me I want to sit and change positions.
My typical week looks something like this– (I am a person who likes some structure and I am naturally disciplined so this works effortlessly for me).
Monday. Work 8.00am – 8.15pm
- Morning routine. Water on verandah, golf ball under foot, foam rolling to help improve hydration and feel good.
- Some reaching with scapula, some sit and reach. Some hip drive. Whatever just some gentle movement to unglue the tissue and hydrate the tissues and move the joints. Remember, you have been lying with minimal movement and no water for 8 hours, there is a reason you feel stiff .This helps to wake me up and allows be to see how my body feels.
- Walk to work – 15- 20 mins. I am consciously walking at a casual pace. Taking in my surroundings and appreciating the sun and the nature as I know I will be in air conditioning for the next 12 hours and will not see the outside world. SIGH.
- I consciously try to keep good posture at work, not slumped over whilst on the computer, not favouring a standing leg. I sit down when and if I can throughout the day.
Tuesday. DAY OFF
- Wake up naturally.
- Morning routine. Water on verandah, golf ball under foot, foam roll. Some reaching with scapula. This helps to wake me up and allows be to see how my body feels.
- Decide. Do I want to do some movement today ? Most of the time YES.
- Go to see Jan. He asks how I feel. Decide on a program. I have 2 programs prepared for me that I do over 6 weeks or sometimes we come up with something new depending on how I feel.
- Never longer than 20-30 minutes in work. Usually more movement oriented with sub-maximal load as my legs are still saw from long day at work and brain is a little more fried. Followed by restful poses, breathing, hip de-couple, play. The other day we played soccer:).
- Day is spent studying. I get up and down from the chair to get water. I may change from the chair to the ground and sit in different positions that challenge my ankle, hips.
- Go for a walk to get out of the house and clear my head at around 5-6pm and chat with Jan before dinner.
Wednesday. Usually DAY OFF
- Morning routine.
- Decide if I feel to go to studio today.
- Usually do more strength orientated session. With weights, ViPR, cable. Some traditional linear movements, some 3D movements, usually depends on my goal ! Like becoming a surfer chick/a soccer player/or whatever else I throw at Jan.
Thursday. Sometimes OFF , sometimes work
- If work, same as Monday.
- If no work, sometimes just stay home and study or go to our studio and do less structured program. Usually shorter in duration.
Friday – WORK 8-8.15pm
- Morning routine or ViPR Beach session with has been flow and swim in the ocean before work. My favourite way to start the day.
- Walk to work if no session/Jan drops me on a Friday to save time in we have gone to beach.
- Be conscious at work.
- Dive into the been bag when I get home from work.
Saturday – DAY OFF
- Morning Routine.
- Market Day
- Train with one of Jan’s Client. Usually recovery or strength depending on the week and his client’s disruptors sheet. I like to train with another person who is similar to me. Sometimes I need the support of another person.
- House work.
- Swim in the afternoon, a little beach tennis.
- Relax in the afternoon
Sunday – DAY OF REST
- Morning routine
- Walk to local Fat Frog Cafe for a coffee
- Cooking day, doing something we enjoy and together
- Maybe afternoon walk/beach swim
- Try not to study or think of work or training.
At the moment this is my “Goldilocks” regime FOR ME – I am getting enough but not too much physical activity. My training this week looks different to this time last year and I dare say it will look different to next year. But I give full credit to Jan and his execution and knowledge gained from Institute of Motion Team to adapt my program based on where I am at a given time in life. I feel like we have been given a special toolbox to effectively fight back the ageing process AND stay strong for life. What greater gift could I hope for.
Movement and training has helped me to recover from stressful events, improve mood, improve strength, improve ageing, improve tissue quality and appearance, improve confidence, increase body awareness, prevent injury, be present, and probably the biggest for me appreciate my body for more than aesthetics. To give it the respect it deserves. To rest it, to move it well and often and ultimately to love it.
As Jan always says to, “It’s important to not get crazy”. Love the simplicity of a man’s world!
You aren’t fat, you aren’t good legs or nice but. You have those things but they do not define you. That is not why somebody loves you. So please don;t let those things get in the road of loving yourself. Your body is a vehicle to carry you to experience life. Most people only appreciate this once their body starts getting in the road of their experiences. Then they wish it back.
“Those who think they have no time for movement will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” ~Edward Stanley