Working out – what’s my balance?
Working at Fitness First has thrown me into the world of freestyle, functional training. I have rapidly become acquainted with ViPRs (Vitality, Performance, Reconditioning), TRX bands, Kettlebells, Steelbells, Power Bags, Medicine balls and Bosu balls. Some I knew of but others were completely new to me. After the Kettlebell Complete Trainer course I did this weekend (complete being the operative word – I think I need a lot of practice to truly master the skill and have the bruises to prove it, but nonetheless feel much more confident including its use in mine, and other’s, workouts) my naïve self learned that Kettlebells have been around for a LONG time!
The idea of ‘functional’ training has been around for a while too. Exercising to prepare us better for day-to-day activities such as carrying shopping/children, lifting, twisting and bending. Even when training for certain sports, such as skiing, we practise skills and movements that are required, such as balance and moving dynamically without being on skis. What’s more, the amount of people stuck behind a desk all day, means the importance of exercising our body in the way it was intended to move, has never been more necessary.
I lead FGT (Freestyle Group Training) classes at work. These are divided into 5 classes: Basics, H.I.I.T, Strength, Power and Core. Every 12 weeks these classes change, and today we were taught the new ones (I am going to hurt tomorrow!) They make the body use all the planes of movement and include resistance/weights to increase that desired fat burn and turn us into lean,(and mean?) fitness machines. Using a variety of equipment make the classes interesting and challenging, and above all, adaptable to all levels of fitness and ability. It also results in 30 minutes of fun! Some members (and myself!) never knew they could achieve such a satisfying workout in such a short period of time.
Besides functional training, I have tried out ‘Tabata’ – 20s of exercise working out at your maximum with 10s rest, repeated 8 times = total 4mins – and promised to burn A LOT of calories. Done, properly, I believe it does! I still don’t think I have quite found my maximum speed on the treadmill (a fear of flying off the back and hurting/embarrassing myself is holding me back) but I have made it to roughly 18km/hr. I also believe that it has helped me run faster over longer distances (10k is now under 50 mins, and 6k under 30 mins – I do accept there are no mountains involved…) as well as doing interval training on the bike and treadmill. Obviously, if you are new to exercising, launching into Tabata is not advised as it is important to build up a basic level of fitness first. (I hit the maximum on the treadmill today – about 20km/hr – and suffered with ‘jelly legs’. Technical term.)
I am also trying to include some specific weight training to a) strengthen my forever feeble, hypermobile and injury prone shoulders and b) because I want to learn and get my technique right and, c) I suppose, ultimately get stronger!
Part of my qualifications include core and circuit courses, which I completed in July. Circuits are a great way to structure any kind of workout (again, been around for a long time!) and can be done as a team or individually. Circuit training truly strikes a good balance for whatever you need – whole body, resistance and cardio, lower body and upper body, front and back.
Trying to balance all the above in order to get a variety of exercise throughout the week is my goal to keep my body on its toes. It requires planning, organisation and motivation. Having a goal is the most important thing – a reason to get you moving. Mine is to primarily stay in shape and be healthy, and then to see if I can go faster, lift heavier or do more repetitions.
Yeah . . and of course, to burn those calories so I can eat more!