Last month, I shared with you a series of conversations that I had with a student. I was pleased that this student was so engaged with the course material, as well as how it can be used in the “real” world, so to speak. This type of conversation is always welcomed in our classrooms. It allows us as teachers to know that students are not just learning the scientific principles necessary to work safely and effectively with patients, clients, and athletes, but that they are beginning to understand the different settings (fitness facilities) that are available, what they have to offer, and how they may (or may not) differ. Here’s the rest of that conversation:
Remember, this student was questioning the relative safety of a popular workout philosophy. Please keep in mind all of the differing programs that are offered, the slew of self-proclaimed experts, as well as fitness professionals who follow new and popular programs because everybody is doing it…
Me: I am not sure what you will do after you graduate. However, please commit to being part of the solution. The best way to do this, I have found, is to use your education as the best possible teaching tool & resource you have. Avoid totally aligning yourself with any one single brand (be it fitness or nutrition). And, always be professional (never bad-mouth anyone, or any brand). There is always common ground. And, you can never go wrong with finding that common ground. Simple, yet challenging advice -as, there are so many self-proclaimed experts who talk about the one thing that you should always do, or never do, or eat, or not . . . AH!
It is all about balance -and the exercise principles you have learned will be the best promotional tool you carry with you.
Student: Thank you so much for the advice and dialogue! What a great conversation this has been!
Being part of the solution is what I aim for. I try, with my current clients, to always err on the side of caution and scale the workouts appropriately but I don’t limit them to new things and always encourage them to step out of their comfort zone. They have been very receptive thus far.
In regards to future plans, I intend to stick around the fitness profession in some way, shape or form. I love teaching Crossfit and would quite honestly love to found and run my own. I am not sure I would stay under Crossfit or not. I seek to offer something that is not currently offered; a tough endeavor for sure. Here are some ideas: Unbalanced Strength Training – I have worked and experimented with this before and it was awesome. The only bad side is time. It simply takes more time. Anyway, take the more traditional approach to bench pressing for instance…now off-set the load on each side maintaining the same overall load. So, if benching 135, instead of placing two 45# plates on either end of a 45# barbell, place 55# on one side and 35# on the other. I found it very difficult in most exercises to exceed a 20# offset. Interesting. So one would perform a set or two, or three of regular bench, then reduce the overall load and work the unbalanced element for only one set each or 10:00 of every minute on the minute perform a set of 5 alternating the heavy side every minute. Heavy right for odd minutes, heavy left for even minutes.
The next idea is odd object training. I know this is out there but the version I have thought of and experimented with exercises that mimic life scenarios as much as possible. Changing a tire for instance…I set two barbells up on low racks; about the height of wheel on a jacked up car. I then loaded each side with 45# plates, or heavier. Of course, most tires/wheels, flat or not, weigh more than 45# but that’s not the point. Anyway, one would cycle through removing and replacing the plates on all four ends as fast as possible for multiple rounds. Picture a NASCAR pit crew. Another one, which you’ll find pretty funny, that we actually did not so long ago, was in honor of the pregnant women who work out, or Crossfit in this instance. We placed 10# medicine balls under our shirts and did a full workout using exercises that a pregnant woman could still safely perform while in her third trimester. It was awesome. Another is carrying a med ball on your hip, or sandbag, or any other oddly shaped object, while carrying a sandbag or kettlebell in the other hand to simulate carrying groceries while carrying your child on your hip.
So, there you have it –one student who is thinking of possibilities and using both classroom and experience as a guide. A good education is a great foundation that helps to build is invaluable in professional practice. Never underestimate this, especially when the newest and latest trend emerges. Our educational foundation, along with the deeper understanding that comes with both professional and life experience, will enable us to explain the scientific principles behind these trends. As such, it is then easy to see that there are many ways to accomplish the goals that our patients, athletes, and clients come to us with.