Tired of not seeing the results you want? Let me help you.
I am a Fitness and Health Coach. I have been physically active for over 20 years and have spent the last 10 years living in, working in, and learning about the fitness world.
I have seen many new and old fads in training come and go, from Goat Yoga to CrossFit to Zumba and even classes that allow consumption of alcohol while exercising; I have seen it and tried it for myself.
One thing is certain that results speak for themselves. You can’t fake fitness.
When you see that man deadlift 405lbs, that woman do 15 unbroken pull-ups, or those cheerleaders practice their backflips and landing into the splits you begin to realize that you may still have a long way to go before achieving anything near that level of fitness.
This should not discourage, but rather motivate you to get started; everyone has that moment when they decided it was their turn. This can be your moment.
At one point or another, that man could not do more than 200lbs on a single deadlift, and that woman had to struggle to learn to do 1 pullup. It was only after hours and hours of training and repetition that they began to master their challenges.
That is the beautiful thing in fitness, it is the great equalizer amongst man and woman of all ages, shapes, and sizes.
It challenges you physically and mentally to focus all your energy so you can keep going and forces you to push past any of your limitations, and this happens continuously; in turn, this builds your character, strengthens the mind, and helps your body mold into whatever you want it to be.
I have learned, after training clients for more than 10 000 hours of 1 on 1 personal training as well as having coached over 800 hours of group classes, that it does not matter where you are in your fitness journey, or when you started.
Instead, what matters is how much effort and consistency you bring to your training. The more well-rounded you are, the fitter you become.
What Is Fitness?
This always gets a wide variety of responses, sometimes biased by what that individual likes to do. Simply put, fitness is your ability to perform a given task.
The better you are at running, climbing, lifting, and moving, the fitter you become. There are a couple of main areas to consider focusing to achieve a stable and balanced level of fitness.
Your training should always be focused on improving* and maintaining the primary components of fitness: cardiovascular capacity, flexibility, muscular capacity, and body-fat composition.
Most people will spend plenty of time on strength training or cardiovascular activity and completely neglect the one area that could allow them to perform better at everything else – they neglect flexibility training.
This can be a very big factor in the kind of results you can achieve from your training, and therefore I decided to offer some insight on the matter.
Flexibility – The range of movement that a joint can perform safely before the tension of the movement becomes painful. Each joint has its own range of motion that can be maintained, or Flexibility can be improved* by stretching.
What Is Stretching?
Stretching is when you perform any gentle reaching, bending, and lengthening/shortening movements that will help keep the muscles relaxed and the joints mobile.
Who Will Benefit From Stretching?
Stretching is for EVERYBODY. The main purpose of stretching is to maintain your overall mobility. As we age, our bodies get tired, tight, and worn down.
Flexibility and mobility training are great ways to keep the body moving and feeling its best.
Stretching is such an important part of our lives that it is our basic instinct to stretch when you are tight or stiff. Think of when you first get out of bed, most people extend their arms or legs and reach for a few second to help loosen up and wake up.
Mother nature shows us the importance of stretching in animals as well; any dog or cat owners out there have likely seen their pets do nice downward dog stretch at some point or another.
Why Should You Stretch Daily?
There are so many great reasons to stretch regularly, even if you only have 5-10 minutes at a time, you will notice a significant change.
Stretching: Primes your muscles for exercise, improves* your posture, eases back pain, improves* your exercise form, prevents injury, boosts* your joint health, lowers your stress, helps you sleep better, improves* cognitive function, strengthens your muscles, improves* your flexibility, and helps reduce* the delayed onset of muscles soreness.
The more stretching you incorporate into your daily routine, the more positive changes you will start to notice and feel.
When Is The Best Time To Stretch?
NOW! The next best “time” is any time you want to. Daily! As you get deeper into your fitness journey and become more aware of your body, you will be able to be more in tune with where you should feel pain during and/or after a workout.
I always encourage my clients to get a good warm-up and gentle stretch at the beginning of each workout targeting the muscles that will be getting worked. Doing so will reduce* your risk of injury as well as increase* your ability to perform your exercise more effectively through your muscles’ range of motion.
Where Is The Best Environment To Stretch?
One of the best things about mobility training, as opposed to most other methods of training, is that you do not require any equipment or need to be in a fitness-specific environment.
When it comes to stretching and mobility training, it is as simple as:
- Pick an area to stretch.
- Get into position.
- Apply gentle pressure during the stretch for about 3-5 deep breaths.
There are so many different methods and options to stretching, how do I know which is the best one?
I would suggest trying more than one approach and incorporating them into your fitness routines. As you get more experience, you will start to find what works best for you.
How Should I Stretch?
There are many categories of stretches for you to pick from and start to practice with, the following are some of the most common practices out there: Static Stretching, Ballistic Stretching, Passive Stretching, Dynamic Stretching, Active Stretching, Partner Stretching, Assisted Stretching, Isometric Stretching, PNF Stretching.
Regardless of which technique you prefer it is the consistent effort daily that will yield the greatest improvements.
Just like with weightlifting or cardiovascular activity, the more time you spend on this training, the better it will assist you with other aspects of your fitness. Stretching for a minimum of 10-15 minutes daily will be one of the best investments of your time.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you of the main primary components of fitness; cardiovascular and muscular capacity are just as important for achieving optimal body-composition as well as your flexibility training.
It is ideal to work on all areas of fitness regularly and to implement a balanced nutritional plan to maximize the results you achieve. Continuously challenge yourself to improve* on all areas of fitness, and you will achieve great things.
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