So here’s 5 things that I will be doing in 2016 to make sure I move forward and progress in areas that I feel are important. They won’t create a “new me”, they won’t bring a resolution to third world poverty, but by doing them hopefully I'll better myself in some way.
1Start a blog
Blogging is something that I have been thinking about doing for a while but haven’t managed to get round to doing yet for a number of reasons. Trying to set up your own business is difficult, stressful and time consuming and for me there were more important things to focus on last year than sharing my very limited and somewhat untested knowledge!
I by no means consider myself an expert yet and if I’m honest feel that I should concentrate on building a successful PT business and putting as much effort into each and every one of my clients’ success as possible for at least the first 4 or 5 years.
Having said that, I enjoy writing and going small to begin with will allow me to test the blogosphere waters and see if this is something that is worth investing my time in. That’s why I’m going to try to stick to a maximum of 2 blogs per week for this year.
2Become more bendy
Last year I found myself becoming more injury prone, particularly in my back and neck. There are probably a few reasons this was happening; the massive increase in intensity and regularity of my training, the lack of total physical exertion for 6 months whilst I was travelling prior to last year, a few past injuries catching up with me. But by my reckoning, most importantly, I wasn’t taking the time to look after my body properly.
Despite knowing better, I would often skip stretching or using techniques such as foam rolling or SMR (self myofascial release), in an effort to save time and get in and out of my own workouts as quickly as possible. So, in an effort to force myself to stretch more regularly and also take part in some regular low impact training which can also help with injury prevention, I am going to start attending a yoga class. I am still going to try to do more developmental stretching post workout but having a class to go to at a set time where I have made a commitment will push me and help me turn this into a habit.
3Dig out the Speedo’s and get back in the water
Swimming is something I have always massively enjoyed doing and something I used to be fairly good at. However, I became more and more focused on my gym training and learning what was going to be my craft, so much so that I realised mid way through last year, I genuinely can’t remember the last time I swam for exercise!
Apart from it being something I enjoy, there are a number of benefits from swimming that transfer directly into the gym;
Improved muscle tone – water is 12 times as dense as air, so whilst you’re getting your cardio workout in, you are also getting an even amount of total body resistance, which is relative to the force you are pushing with in the water. No need to count reps, just dive in and go ‘til it burns!
Improved flexibility – in keeping with my #2 goal, swimming can help with the elongation of muscles in the body. When using strokes such as front crawl or breast stroke, you are stretching out with every movement and using muscles that you would normally fail to hit during more isolated movements at the gym.
Improved breath control – this might sound like a strange benefit to the newer gym goer, but if you talk to any experienced lifter or runner for that matter, breath control is absolutely vital to your form and overall performance. I could talk about this for a while but I’ll save that for a separate blog...*HINT HINT*
4Get out of my comfort zone
During the last year I have really focused on learning the ins and outs of effective fat loss and muscle gain through certain nutritional advice and methods in the gym. Being so invested in this for my clients' benefit meant that I was practicing an awful lot of this myself (as any good trainer should!).
However, I’m now in the dreaded comfort zone with these methodologies. It feels like being friend zoned by your latest crush, except your crush is the gym. You’re stuck in this predicament where you’ve got to a certain point but things are comfortable, you’re good at it so you won’t go backwards, but you’re sorta beating a dead horse and you aren’t going to progress any time soon either!
I want to keep learning and progressing with fitness as much as possible and this means being open minded and using your peers, colleagues and even clients to your advantage. So with this in mind I’m going to try to take 1 class per week at my gym, and take part in at least one training session with one of my clients per week (Yes, this means real pay back time for some of you!). I am also going to find as many different training partners as possible and make sure I let them take the lead on what we’re doing (providing they know what they’re talking about!).
5Start playing competitive sport again
OK, so I’m finishing off with something completely self indulgent. This has nothing to do with my fitness goals, learning something new, or furthering my career. But I really miss turning up in the park on a wet, muddy Saturday/Sunday afternoon, and kicking seven bells out of a stranger! They might be 20 years older than me and not be able to escape, they might be 10 years younger and be running rings round me, but one thing we will have in common is the love of the great british weather and running at/kicking/throwing/tackling things!
Personally I think competition is what drives us and we all have some sort of innate need to compete. Satisfy that however you need to; just make sure you enjoy it at the same time!
By sharing these with you I’m making myself more accountable for backing these up, but also drafting you in for moral support so you can kick me back on course if you see me drifting!
I'm also hoping that knowing my goals and how I think they will benefit me, it might just inspire you to add a couple of things to your 2016 “to do” list.