LOOKING BEYOND THE 6 PACKS

Back in the 90s, being skinny was the thing. We have anorexic looking models telling us how healthy should look like. In 2000s, being lean was the new skinny. Everyone wants to get 6 packs, lean arms and thighs. Looking ripped was the new way of being healthy. Today, the trend has changed from looking ripped to being functional. In other words, people are exercising to run half marathon, finish an obstacle course or being a triathlete, regardless how we look like.

Whether you’re skinny, ripped or in whatever shape you are at, they are have one thing in common. It is just a trend. Who knows, God forbid, being obese would be the next trend in the future? What I am trying to say here is, let us look beyond the 6 packs. Seeing someone with 6 packs, lean arms and thighs is like judging a book by its cover. They are not necessarily the gold standards of being healthy. The same saying goes to someone who just completed a 100 mile race. They too are not the main definition of healthy. Lance Armstrong won many races but with drugs. He too is not a symbol of health. So what is?

Being healthy is a state of full strength and vigor, as well as absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction. Being healthy is also implies appearance and behavior indicating soundness and balance.

Wow.. being healthy sounds tiring!

All of us are created differently. Some are born with perfect health while others inherit cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease and so on. Does this automatically make us unhealthy? Thankfully, not because we still have a choice to avoid or at least delay diseases from affecting our life. How? By eating and exercising RIGHT according to your body.

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I am not a medical doctor so I am in no position to talk about your medical health, but I know a thing or two about physical health. Being physically strong and healthy doesn’t mean that you can bench 100KGs, do 20 pull ups, run a marathon at a sub 4 min pace, do Crossfit and so on. Instead, being physically healthy should be balanced, wholesome and holistic. It doesn’t matter if you’re super lean, massively huge, super fit or an average Joe, you should at least try to have all 5 tools of life.

The following are the TOOLS OF LIFE, taken from the American Council of Exercise (ACE):

Agility: The ability to move in any direction anytime, anywhere

Endurance: The ability to remain active for a long period of time

Balance: The ability to support yourself when and how you want

Coordination: The ability to move in a harmonious way

Strength: The ability to overcome resistance

For more on this, visit http://www.kewynnpt.com/5-tools-of-life/

We all know that we need to exercise to stay healthy. Gyms are sprouting all over to provide opportunities for people to exercise in style and in comfort. Group classes were created to make things fun and convenient for the masses. People get excited after signing up for gym or class membership in hopes of some form of transformation. They start lifting, running and doing all sorts of moves they see and learn from magazines, Internet or from their friends. There is no doubt that being physically active outweighs the benefits of being inactive. In other words, doing something is better than doing nothing. But as we progress, we want to get better. And without proper technique and advice, unpleasant things start to happen (a.k.a. injuries).

There’s a saying that says we first need to crawl before we learn to walk. Most of us assume that we don’t need to crawl because we think that we are walking perfectly fine.

“I’ve been squatting with 80KG load so I have strong legs”, “I can do 50 push ups so I think I am pretty fit”, “I can hold a plank for 5 minutes. My core is perfectly fine”.

Ever so often when I am in the gym, I always see gym-goers’ body compensate when they try to lift a weight that is beyond their capability. I also see dysfunctional movements when people squat and lunge during group classes. I also see awkward posture when they stand or walk. And the irony is, they are fit looking individuals with 6 packs (by the way it is not healthy to be very lean – 3-5% body fat for males and 8-10% for female). They may not be doing it in purpose. Chances are, they are not aware if and why they have dysfunctional movement. Most of the time, the root cause of this problem is because they did not learn how to “crawl properly before they start to walk”.

As someone who specializes in corrective exercise and injury prevention, most injuries and dysfunctional movements can be addressed if we start from the basics, no matter what your goals are. I have a Fitness System for all of my clients and it mainly consists of 4 phases. We first need to assess and systematically address the following:

Phase 1:
MOBILITY – Good range of motion on joints
POSTURE – Good general posture
BALANCE – Ability to support yourself when and how you want

Phase 2 & 3:
MOVEMENT – Minimal presence of dysfunctional movements and the ability to master basic functional movements

Phase 4:
SKILLS – The ability to perform skill specific movements for sports or an activity

For more information on our Fitness System, visit www.kewynnpt.com. To determine which phase to begin in, an assessment is first conducted.

As you progress through the phases, you can integrate the 5 TOOLS OF LIFE mentioned earlier to become physically bigger, better, stronger and faster – safely and effectively,

WHAT IF MY GOAL IS JUST TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. As long as the word “exercise” is in the picture, it is pretty important that you don’t get injured while doing it, because that could jeopardize your weight loss plan. So yea, it still makes sense to go back to basics first although you may not need to excel in every area. Most certified trainers should know when to progress you whenever you’re ready.

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THE FITNESS PARADIGM

The paradigm of the fitness industry has evolved from – throwing a barrage of generic difficult exercises in hopes to impress (or punish) the client, to building fitness through orthopedic exercises and injury prevention principles to ensure that they are getting the suitable exercises needed for optimum functionality and performance. In other words, first build a strong foundation then work on performance, not the other way round.

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In summary, aim to acheive a suitable weight and body fat percentage for your body and not just focus on getting your 6 packs. Focus on eating and exercising right for health, functionality and sustainability.

If you’re serious about being at your best shape and on top of your physical health, do drop me a note and see how we can work out a safe and challenging program for you.

PS: Being as lean as you can is good. But trying to be lean by over training, consuming questionable supplements or starving is bad.

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