All the latest Read PT news and helpful info.

Get the Horse Behind the Cart

Imagine your body as a race car. When tuned up and treated right it is capable of amazing feats. But, when the tires are bald, the brakes are bad and the chassis is twisted it will barely go in a straight line let alone go with any speed.

The modern fitness world is filled with ways to make your body seem capable of extraordinary feats while simultaneously removing any hope of actual performance. Any exercise machine will destroy performance because they work in a fixed plane and often from a seated position. This removes any real need for the body to develop a sense of movement awareness – essential for athletic success.

Along with machines most training plans push being strong first. This is despite all the top authorities in the world pointing out that on the training continuum the order should be – mobility/ stability – > endurance -> strength/ power. So why do these trainers advocate getting stronger above all else?

The answer is simple – strength is a very easy target. If your client lifted more today than yesterday you proved your worth as a trainer. Clients like feeling that kind of progress and that’s how you stay in a job. But when someone comes to you and they don’t stand up straight, or they walk with pain – won’t it make far more difference to their lives getting them out of that pain?

Let’s go back to that analogy about the car – how useful is it to put a bigger engine in a car that won’t even go in a straight line? That’s the equivalent to what goes on when you walk into the gym with a sore back and the trainers sit you down on a machine and start trying to make you stronger without fixing those underlying alignment issues.

When it comes to mobility and stability training there are two things that stand head and shoulders above the rest – FMS and Primal Move. The FMS system was designed by Gray Cook to be a thorough assessment of your movement ability. When the NFL, Marines and the AFL and Australian Federal Police start to use this system you know there’s huge benefit to it.

Primal Move is an interesting new addition to our work at Read Performance Training. As the national director here I have spent more time with this training method than anyone and what I’ve seen is nothing short of amazing. Primal Move attacks the deficiencies most commonly seen in the FMS and does so in a way that almost tricks the body into better movement.

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Setting Fitness Goals

Sooner or later one of the question you need to ask yourself when it comes to your training is what you’re training for.

Many initially go to the gym or a trainer to lose some weight. If you’re trainer is actually one of the rare competent ones in Australia then within six months you’ll have lost that weight and that’s where the trouble starts.

Most people are very good at short term goals like weight loss. They’re able to focus intensely and change their bad habits for better ones. However, what usually happens is that as soon as they reach their weight loss goal it becomes evident that they haven’t really changed their behaviour at all, just avoided them for a short period. If you were a glutton before you started training, unless you modify your thought process during the training period, you’ll remain a glutton meaning that whatever weight you lost will come straight back.

And this is why many struggle. To them the idea of fitness and health is merely one of fat loss. That same Western needy mindset that has developed the rampant consumerism of our world. The thinking is that “If/ when I am a certain weight, then my life will be better” is no different to “If I have an iPhone 5 I’ll be happier”.

Just like new technology though the buzz of achieving a goal weight is short lived. Worse, in many cases because the diets used to get people there are starvation-dependant and carb-depleted; when people return straight back to normal eating they blow up like balloons and the cycle has to start all over again. Although this time it has an additional negative vibe as yet another failure to achieve this goal weight has occurred.

The biggest problem most people have is they think don’t enjoy exercise. This started during their school years when they were press ganged into playing sports they found neither enjoyable or entertaining. As relative beginners to all these games they were led to believe that they weren’t sporty – as if coordination is an inbuilt genetic gift rather than a learned skill. With this self-fulfilling prophecy in place they remained on the sidelines of games, and of life.

Fast forward to their late thirties when most realize they need to do something to get back in shape and seek out a trainer. Most trainers are simply awful and can’t get results with personal training. Others have never realized that their own prejudices are actually holding their clients back. But maybe this person strikes it lucky and finds one of the few good personal trainers in their area. They lose some weight, but then what?

A good personal trainer will know how to challenge and inspire you to new heights of physical ability. The training you should have been involved in won’t have just been to lose some weight but to make you a better human athlete. This is the definition of functional fitness. Tire flipping and standing on a ball doing circus tricks isn’t functional necessarily. It only counts as functional if it helps you perform other tasks.

Good training allows you to enjoy many different physical activities from rock climbing to swimming to running to events like Tough Mudder. That’s what our program is all about – develop really high levels of general physical preparation so that you can go out and have some fun. But we’re not Crossfit – we haven’t tried to turn working out into a sport. We just train hard so that we can enjoy life outside the walls of the gym. And because we train hard and eat well we have bodies that match, without killing ourselves starving on a diet.

So set a goal that has nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with enjoying being fit. Whether it is a game of tennis, a fun run, Tough Mudder, the RKC or a trekking holiday, setting this type of goal will ensure long term success with your health and fitness goals.

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