I'll be getting back to this page pretty soon.

Meanwhile, here are some appetizers...

Let's start from the beginning.  And as we go through this, bear in mind that it's the proper application of any activity/exercise or concept/idea that makes all the difference.  Knowing the guidelines can only get you so far.  Beyond that, there's no substitute for the sort of understanding that comes not just from experience, but from correct experience.

#1:  Begin from exactly "where you are" -  For example, if you used to be a champion tennis player in college - but it's been 15 years since you were on the court, plus you've been riding a desk for the last 5 years - then no matter how much your body may still remember your tennis days, going out and running 20 gassers and hitting 100 serves isn't a good idea right now.  But, by the same token, your body does remember your tennis days, and the particular muscle memory associated with it (and your training experience) does give us something uniquely specific to start building a program around.

Or, another example might be an old injury that has a tendency to flare-up with activity (such as lower back issues, or rotator cuff issues with your shoulder, etc.).  Again, this presents us with information that allows us to focus appropriately on making sure your training is improving those issues, rather than exacerbating them.

Another way this strategic point can be applied is toward a realistic assessment of a person's aptitudes and potentials, especially when it comes to anyone's goals or aspirations.  For example, someone who has the body type and predispositions of a ballet dancer shouldn't expect that training like a shot putter will make him/her look or perform very much like a shot putter.  There may very well be elements of shot put training that will benefit a ballet dancer body, but only to a limited extent.

Or, another example might be a person predisposed to endurance activity (i.e.: lots of "slow twitch" muscles, etc.) is not going to respond as completely to training for the long jump as another person who's built for speed and explosiveness (i.e.: "fast twitch" muscles, etc.).  However, there is certainly value in, say, utilizing sprint-oriented training for a natural endurance runner.  But the effects of such training will not be the same for, say, Martha Stewart, as they would  for Usain Bolt.  And the extent to which such training elements would be emphasized would also be different for each.

And of course we have to consider the basic, everyday activities and demands placed on each individual.  For example, if someone works in a warehouse, then that requires some different training elements than someone who is a commercial pilot.  Or, a mother juggling 3 kids and keeping a household up-and-running will need a different sort of program than, say, a plumber who plays soccer on the weekends.

Note:  We're just using examples here, in order to illustrate a point.  The way the principles behind this approach end-up being applied to each client can be (and usually are) quite diverse, and, ultimately, are completely dependent on what a client wants.  That said, though, it's often the case that new clients have not fully considered certain physical imbalances that may have manifested in their body over time.  Once such imbalances are recognized and understood by the client, inevitably he or she will absolutely want to address those imbalances.

Also:  Don't be thrown-off by examples and/or statements such as the 'tennis player' example, above.  When I cite how knowing that's in someone's background "does give us something uniquely specific to start building a program around," I'm not saying we're going to structure a program around playing tennis (...unless that's what someone wants).  All I mean by that, essentially, is that it gives me a basic idea of the manner (and at what level) someone has been accustomed to working.  And in most cases, knowing something like that points most often toward a need for complementary activities (that compensate and balance-out effects from an activity done repeatedly over a long period of time).

The way I set-out to structure someone's training program begins with a few broad strokes in terms of activity background.  I'm most interested in exploring what has influenced/shaped their physicality to-date, and the general state of their body (& mind) today, by asking three basic sets of questions:  (1) What activities have you done in the past?  What has your body done before?  This gives me an idea of what may be 'foreign' to you, versus what you might pick-up more easily... as well as how accustomed you are to working out, in general.  (2) What injuries and/or physical conditions have you had?  What injuries/conditions are you currently dealing with?  What are you doing to deal with them?  This helps me to zero-in on some of your particular challenges, as well as what could lead to your biggest potential setbacks, and alerts me/us to always address those things as a top priority.  (3) What's your life like these days?  What activities are you doing?  What demands are being placed on you, in the present?  Answers to those questions provide a reference point for comparing what you're doing now, to what you've done before.  Also, knowing that information helps us determine your all-important entry point into your regimen, so we avoid over- or under-doing things.

Addressing goals and nutrition tend to be the 4th and 5th ingredients that get stirred into your 'fitness stew' (or 'fitness salad,' if you prefer).   And those types of questions tend to get answered (and addressed) naturally, as an outgrowth of considering that initial line of inquiry (and certainly in the course of time).  To start building the foundation of your program, it really comes down to having a clear sense of what your body (including your mind) is familiar with, what it's been doing lately, and what may be considered as challenges to your body-mind's soundness.

#2:  Begin with a "biggest picture" perspective -  There are lots of ways to structure a fitness regimen.  The possibilities are endless, really.  The only thing that limits the possibilities is one's imagination.  And that can be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing.  On the one hand, it's good to allow oneself the freedom to do 'anything' exercise-wise, because it helps keep things interesting.  On the other hand, it's no-so-good to have so many options in front of you that it becomes overwhelming, and/or leads you to wonder whether or not your time is being used effectively.

Fortunately, I've been doing this for a while, and over the years I've practiced and refined my approach to creating fitness programs for all types of people... based on fundamental "laws" of fitness training that are applicable to everyone.  And as I said above, there are countless ways this could be done, so I guess you could say that my clients get, from me, my own special application of fitness fundamentals, applied uniquely to each individual.

The "biggest picture perspective" here involves simply identifying the first "blanks" that need to be filled-in.  We don't need to fill-in the blanks just yet.  We just need to determine what the blanks are.  And, to my mind, there are two questions I need to address before anything else:  (1) what's the framework of this program going to look like?; and (2) what are the features that will be attached to that framework?

In my experience it has worked best to look at these two attributes side-by-side, because sometimes you need to know the sorts of things you'll be doing, in order to know when and how you'll be doing those things.  And sometimes it's vise-versa.  So you'll probably need to look at both, simultaneously.  And you definitely ought to start by contemplating this very basic, underlying aspect, because everything else depends on it.

 

More to come.  Stay tuned...

 

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