|Make Training Personal|
It happens often. Someone walks up to me in a coffee shop and says, “My partner needs a personal trainer, come talk to him.”
By Pete Estabrooks
I wander over. The partner may be a few pounds overweight. “I need a personal trainer,” he says. “I don’t have time for fitness.” I think, “No, you don’t,” if you take time to drive to Phil’s House of Coffee, stand in line for five minutes, sit at a table for 10 and drive home again. You don’t need a personal trainer; you seriously need to get your William Shatner together.
Here’s a coffee shop tip from a trainer: switch from drinking frappes, lattes, mochas, one-pumps or lite anythings to “tall coffee, add espresso shot, splash of cream.” Less spent on coffee and more saved for the first couple of training sessions once you’ve got yourself moving. There’s an urban myth that the entire distance between you and your fitness goals is the span of the right personal trainer. That’s no truer than the only thing standing between you and retirement at 55 is the right financial adviser. Look around. How many fast, ripped, athletic 55 year-olds are leaving your gym heading for their retirement villas most evenings? Probably not many. If it were a matter of hiring the right people, we’d all be there.
Trainers have the ability to point out a fitness direction and create safe and simple shortcuts or efficiencies to your plan, but trainers are not physical alchemists.
It’s not a blame game. It is straight from the last Statistics Canada report on physical activity that shows 41 per cent of British Columbians and 46 per cent of Albertans do nothing at all. Seventy per cent walk in their leisure time and 46 per cent garden. Really? Walking is transportation and gardening is agriculture. Perhaps that’s why Stats Canada data suggests physical inactivity costs the Canadian economy $5.3 billion a year in health costs and lost productivity.
We seem to expect fitness for nothing (or very little), and get upset when our 60 minutes a day, three days a week doesn’t cut it. Rather than amp up our output or change the way we eat, we find a reason it’s not our fault.
Our resistance to exercise is natural. Exercise is work and work is everything our genetic programming tries to make us avoid. Ironically, the conservation-of-energy trait that benefitted us so well as a developing species is the one weighing us down now. We survived because, as hunter-gatherer and early agricultural beings, the more activity we could do with less food, the better we prospered. Now, to maintain our bodies, movement matters more and the need to feed is less. Often the work we are required to do is merely a keyboard away and the food we desire closer than that, meaning it is exceedingly difficult to slow the swing of that genetic pendulum. It’s hard, but hardly an excuse.
We are no more entitled to health and fitness than we are entitled to health care without responsibility. Before you throw in the towel, here’s more free personal training advice.
Do the exercises — push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and sit-ups — and do them a little more often than you are comfortable with. Use our magazine, the gym, the library or the Internet to find a like-minded guide or group that can inspire you.
I am not trying to talk myself out of a job. I’m saying fitness is yours for the making. Make it personal.