Hello to Fit’s Fitness Commandments
The term “fitness commandments” can be daunting, especially if someone is new to exercise and the ever-evolving fitness world. The media is saturated with rules about when to workout, how often we should exercise, and movements we should avoid at all costs. Eye-catching magazine article titles can be catchy, but they don’t always contribute to our long-term health and fitness goals.
As a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer, I’ve learned a lot in the past ten years: how to manage/recover from injury, how to set people up for success in goal setting, and how to push the limits safely and effectively.
I’m not going to say I know it all when it comes to success in health and fitness. That would be 100% false. I won’t tell you that this post is basically the secret juice you need to make it big in 2016. I’m DEFINITELY not saying that my fitness commandments are YOUR fitness commandments. But I’m willing to share five commandments that I’ve grown to cherish during my journey as a trainer – rules that I share with my clients and try to uphold on my own.
Real talk right here, you guys.
Hello to Fit’s Fitness Commandments
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
I dare you to try this wall plank (click here to read my guest post on Cass’s site)!
One of the most challenging things to do if when working out by my lonesome is to get out of my comfort zone. It’s easy and comforting to lift the same dumbbells, do the same exercises, and work at a lower intensity than I would if someone were coaching me. And I’ll just go out on a limb and say that the majority of gym-goers are the same. My clients are routinely told that they’re stronger than they think! It’s rare (but it happens) to see someone pushing him/herself to the limit – safely but effectively.
By doing our best to stick to this rule of thumb, we can be sure that our bodies will progress and improve the way we want them to. The result? A healthier, fitter you!
Know When to Modify
By the same token, we must learn to listen to our bodies and know when to modify. These first two commandments sound like opposites, but your body will thank you when you start to realize the threshold – when to push and when to either back off or stop.
It was a close call for me a couple of months ago when I strained my hamstring. Not long after writing up this post about proximal hamstring tears in yoga, my right hamstring started to feel touchy and irritated. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have most likely pushed through it in yoga and actually tear it! *Whew*
As we practice not only getting out of our comfort zones but know when to modify, we’ll begin to find that sweet spot of workout intensity. Basically striving for that Goldilocks life.
Become BFFs with Planks
You knew I was going to include this as a commandment, didn’t you? One of the big things about this blog is my emphasis on core strength and gettin’ real close to those planks. We do them to not only FEEL stronger, but BE stronger. Stronger core muscles (abs, back, chest, shoulders, hips) contribute to more stable bodies and more aligned spines. Planks can also help to set up the foundation for multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc.
Know Basic Lifting Form
Quick question: did anyone else cringe after seeing the first photo of a very incorrect deadlift?
Every trainer’s pet peeve is seeing poor form on the fitness floor. I do my best to coach correct form with my clients, and wouldn’t be able to live with myself if this wasn’t a fitness commandment. If you guessed that poor form can lead to injury, ding! you are right!
Performing an exercise correctly is easier on the eyes AND the body . If we can take the time to learn basic form cues for common exercises (squats, deadlifts, push-ups), we will not only avoid injury but lift more efficiently.
Commit to this as a LIFESTYLE, not as a Quick-Fix
But you already knew that, too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t visit this blog so often, right? If planks and core strength are one of the defining topics of Hello to Fit, “quick fixes” are most certainly NOT.
As soon as we realize that “fitness” is not looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, we can commit to fitness as a lifestyle. When we realize that being “healthy” can include eating real, creamy, sugary ice cream, we can live without guilt and a rollercoaster relationship with food. We we acknowledge that improved fitness is not gained overnight – or possibly even six weeks – we can sleep at night, knowing that it’s a journey, not a destination.
Sorry, but I’m not sorry for that corny statement.
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Let’s hear it:
- Tell me your fitness commandments!
- Do you strive for any of the above commandments?
- How do you like to plank?
- Do you have any goals for 2016?