If I was to ask you to describe your idea of an ‘athlete’ I can be pretty certain what the majority of the answers would be:
-Muscular or ‘toned’
If I was then to draw up a list of what the most common goals that my personal training clients come to me looking to achieve are, that list would look remarkably similar. Why then do the two have to be mutually exclusive, and why wouldn’t we use similar training methods to achieve those results? While you may not be a professional footballer or looking to go to the Olympics, is life really not that much more enjoyable with a little athleticism?
If we look at some of the training activities used by athletes – running, jumping, throwing, lifting weights, performing bodyweight movements, stretching – these can be combined to create impressive and rapid results. We can use these actions to create powerful fat loss tools, while simultaneously working on increasing strength. We can increase both aerobic and anaerobic power and endurance, and improve flexibility and body control. We can adjust the plan easily to change our focus and look to strategically add muscle. By treating clients as athletes we can help them to achieve their core objectives while preparing them to be ready for as many different situations as possible.
The biggest element that this can add to training is variety. Something I say to every client is that first and foremost we need to get them enjoying exercise. If someone enjoys exercising the chances of them sticking with it are increased enormously – and consistency is the key to long-term progress. It keeps sessions interesting and exciting – not knowing what to expect while also knowing it won’t just be 3 sets of 10 reps on ‘Machine A’ followed by 3 sets of 10 reps on ‘Machine B’.
While today the focus has been on the impact that approaching exercise like this can have on training sessions and short-term goals, tomorrow's post will focus on the biggest long-term (and maybe even least considered) benefit of this style of training, so stay tuned for part 2!