How does Exercise Help Our Mental Health?

People who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower rates of mental illness. Exercise is important for people with mental illness – it not only boosts your mood, concentration, and alertness, but improves cardiovascular and overall physical health. Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times. But when we feel depressed, anxious, stressed, or have another mental health problem, it can seem doubly difficult. The link between exercise and mental health is complicated. Inactivity can be both a cause and a consequence of mental illness, for example. But there are lots of ways that exercise can benefit your mental health, such as: The levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones and endorphins, change when you exercise.
  • Regular exercise can help you sleep better. And good sleep helps manage your mood. An interesting fact is, Cortisol, a hormone that reduces stress is only produced when we sleep.
  • Exercise can improve your sense of control, coping ability and self-esteem. People who exercise regularly often report how good achieving a goal makes them feel.
  • Exercise can distract you from negative thoughts and provide opportunities to try new experiences.
  • It offers an opportunity to socialise and get social support if you exercise with others.
  • Exercise increases your energy levels.
  • Physical activity can be an outlet for your frustrations.
Common barriers that get in the way of starting exercise are feeling overwhelmed, feeling helpless, feeling bad about yourself, or feeling pain. If you can begin to think of exercise as a priority and important for your mental health, you may find small amounts of time to fit it in to your schedule. So, start small and start slow doing low impact classes such as Yoga or Pilates. What about a stretch class? It is always helpful to exercise with a friend so invite a friend to exercise with you. Any exercise is better than none, and it doesn’t need to be strenuous or long. Experts recommend adults should be active most days, aiming for a short leisurely walk around the block or on the beach is a good start. You can always speed up as you begin to feel fitter. Lyndy Burt Professional Counsellor, Accredited Supervisor PACFA Reg

A New Way to STOP the Weight Loss Struggle?

As personal trainers we are constantly asked:
  • What is the best diet to lose weight?
  • Which exercises are best to flatten my stomach?
  • What foods are best for me to eat?
  • I’ve been eating fruit for breakfast is that good for me?
And the list goes on. Having been in the fitness industry for 30+ years and worked with many clients whose primary goal is weight loss.  I often wonder if exercise didn’t burn calories, what percentage of exercisers would keep exercising? Over the past 23 years at Personal Best Fitness, we have helped hundreds of members lose thousands of kilos and most importantly keep the kilos off.  We have done this with a dual edged sword of exercise and dietary modification. We’ve always looked for the most effective exercise and dietary changes. Having spent most of my working life in the fitness industry, I have observed and even trained in several approaches to weight loss. If I’m being honest, I am horrified at some of the dietary advise that was given when I started in this industry and other so called well published recommended dietary guidelines prescribe.  However, science has evolved and there are now better and newer approaches to dietary advice. I’m not a dietitian nor a nutritionist, but I have observed the following as great strategies for weight loss.
  • Limit alcohol or cut it out altogether
  • Reduce white and yellow foods from your food intake, start with
    • Bread, cereal, and muesli
    • Rice, pasta, and couscous
    • All fruit apart from a handful of blueberries every other day
    • Avoid cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and lollies
    • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day
    • Priotise protein at each meal and as a snack
    • Eat slowly and put your knife and folk down whilst eating your meal
    • Go to bed slightly hungry
    • Fast . . . have 12 hours where no food is consumed once a day., i.e., if your finishing eating at 7.30pm, then don’t eat until after 7.30am or better still eat when you are hungry!
There would likely be people with a string of formal dietary qualifications that may have different views, however experience has shown that these simple and easy to follow ‘guidelines’ do achieve real weight loss, in fact about .5 kg per week for those with 8 or more kilos to loss. Put bluntly, it’s not fat that is making us fat, but rather sugar… or any food or drink that converts to sugar in your blood…. healthy or not! Weight loss is often made so complex and can be confusing as the recommendations change so often, just have a look at your home library and see how many diet books you have in the bookcase? So, if you are serious about weight loss give these a go for the next 4 weeks and let me know how it goes, I would love to hear about your triumphs and for you to be another Personal Best Fitness success story. Give it a go . . . what have you got to lose, just a few kilos! Or if you would like some support with weight loss, this month we are launching our new dietflex 1 on 1 private online weight loss coaching. If it is time to put yourself first, we are offering a few special ‘6-week kickstart weight loss’ packages right now. We only have space for 12 weight loss clients for our founder member offer. If you’re at your ideal weight but know someone, member or not, who may be interested, just forward this email to them. Would you like some more information on how it works? Text Yes to 0419 337 397. I’ll then organise a Zoom session to show you exactly how it works. Amanda Coombe Master Personal Trainer Dietflex Weight Loss Coach

Why the TRX?

As a Personal Trainer we have several tools that occupy our ‘toolbox’ and what often differentiates good from outstanding personal trainers is their ability to prescribe the most appropriate exercises for each client.  The TRX is one such tool. The TRX suspension trainer stands for ‘Total Resistance Exercise’ and it is essentially 2 straps anchored to a ceiling, back of a door or high on a wall. The TRX helps you to improve mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and power whereby your bodyweight becomes your machine and gravity your resistance. Arguably, the TRX is one of the most functional pieces of equipment as you must engage all muscles simultaneously rather than isolating smaller ones.  You attach yourself to the TRX by gripping the handles with your hands or placing your feet in the foot straps. Suspension training works by challenging your body in a somewhat unstable environment. This forces you to constantly engage your core to perform each exercise and to also improve your balance.  Adjusting the level of difficulty for each exercise on the TRX is as easy as moving your hands or feet and like all exercises, you can regress and progress with the TRX. For those new to functional exercise, it is best to start with small body angles and after 4 to 6 weeks, increase the degree of difficulty by increasing the angle you are working with.  For beginners, performing exercises like rows, it is helpful to have the straps short. This reduces the degree of instability which a longer strap would provide.
Left to Right: Beginner TRX Row and Intermediate TRX Row
When performing a pushing movement using the TRX it is beneficial to have the straps fully lengthened.  This is because it too reduces the degree of difficulty as the angle you are on is less. Sometimes changing the position of your feet before changing the position of the straps can alter the degree of difficulty of the exercise. When you are performing exercises with a foot or your feet in the foot strap’s, it is helpful to have the straps set at mid-calf length.  This is because it again reduces the degree of difficulty by keeping your feet close to the floor and your body streamlined.
Left To Right: TRX Lunge Starting Position and Bottom Position
Using the TRX is ideal for varying the level of instability, from beginners through to advanced. I recommend asking your personal trainer or having a personal training session to learn more about the benefits of the TRX for you and developing some challenging, but exercises that will add variety to your program. Frances Sullivan Master Personal Trainer

Improving Quality of Life and Brain Function

Improving Quality of Life and Brain Function One of our goals at Personal Best Fitness is to encourage everybody to look and feel better and function in a more optimal way. Robert is certainly a ‘shining’ example of that.  Diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) over the last 3 years. FTD is characterized by the nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain being lost. It can impact behaviour, personality, language and movement. Robert’s wife Heather has been a regular at Personal Best for some 10 years and is well aware of both the physical and mental benefits of exercise and knew that Robert was eligible for the Home Care Package that included funding for personal training. Prior to starting personal training with Fran, Robert had difficulty getting into and out of a chair due to his posture and lack of strength. He had put on weight due to his brain wanting him to be sedentary. Since Robert has started personal training with Fran, Heather can see many positive changes.

‘He is learning new motor patterns and movements and when he comes home from Personal Best Fitness, he is more engaged with the world around him and is more vibrant. Robert even now notices weeds in the garden and pulls them out, which is a great help to me.’

Robert’s carer Sandy brings him to Personal Best Fitness in a taxi and recently Robert gave the driver directions to the gym from the Eastern Shore! Heather feels that going to the gym is the most stimulating part of Robert’s week as it extends his brain function and it is significantly slowing down the rate of deterioration in brain function. Six months ago, when Robert started on the exercise bike, he could pedal for 3 minutes on resistance 4, now he has progressed to 2 x 5 minutes on resistance 7. Robert’s walking gait has also improved, and he is able to co-ordinate his opposite arm and leg. ‘It is so rewarding to work with Robert, he has a wonderful sense of humour, and he has started to ask why we are doing specific exercises. His posture, balance and strength have improved greatly, and he has lost weight’. Fran Robert now moves with more confidence and feels a great sense of achievement when mastering new exercises. If you know of someone who is eligible for the Home Care Funding Program and could enjoy a better quality of life, please have a chat with our front desk team.

Comfort, Fear and Growth Zones.

Comfort, Fear and Growth Zones What do these 4 zones mean when we are thinking about lifestyle change? In the current climate, we are finding ourselves in many situations that are requiring us to simply find another way. It is likely that many of you have had to make some sort of life change recently.  Below is a very simple way of looking at the why’s of these processes, tips to help you be successful in making this change and in turn enabling you to reduce the stress and anxiety surrounding such choices. Change can be challenging but not changing is harder the longer you leave it.  We are not saying you need to make changes, but it is likely that we all can improve some aspect of our lives.  Whether this is building muscle, modifying weaknesses, or developing an entirely new facet of yourself, it is always good to re-evaluate your health and fitness goals and allow change and understand that this, although scary at times, is all OK! Below is a diagram from the “Coaching Institute”.  It is useful as it helps to breakdown and understand the process we go through when facing change or situations that we may fear.  Do we immediately look at the situation as a red light and jump back to the comfort zone or do we break down and understand the situation and grab it with both hands to use for personal and professional learning and growth? We are all capable of change.  It takes a bit of work and a willingness to face our fears head on. Lifestyle change is one of the hardest changes to make.  It takes approximately 21 days to build a habit and to have it feel like a normal occurrence.  Lifestyle change should encourage positive change in our lives.  Too often we think a lifestyle change is removing something unhealthy from our lives instead of adding something that is healthy or good for us.  For example, instead of worrying about the snacks you have during the day, why not add in some avocado or boiled egg into your morning tea break? This focus is on the positive aspect rather than the negative. Below are some tools to help you succeed.
  1. Before starting your “change” write down where you are currently in your life. Are you happy with how it is going?  Write down why you want to make the change and then write down the benefits it is going to have for you.  This will help you to reach your “Growth Zone.”
  2. Create structured daily activities that lead you towards your overall goal. Structured daily activities can remove the excuses.  Moreover, if you are focused on the activities you won’t worry about any external factors that may creep into your though process and shift you back to your comfort zone.  
  1. Start to be aware of how you react in any given situation. Do you fold your arms often when talking to people about what you have done or doing, or do you stand tall and in a strong posture?  When you are aware of these different mannerisms you can expand your comfort zone by not being so reactive or affected by others’ opinions. Can you respond rather than react?
 
  1. Track your progress so you can see your new healthy habits. This helps you to find purpose and conquer objectives.  I suggest celebrating your new healthy habits, not by going back to the ‘bad’ habit just once, but by doing something new.
A change can be a reinvention of yourself.  How exciting would it be for you to find that side of you that lifts weights, light or heavy, that person that can get up every morning and go for a walk before the day truly starts?  Imagine reinventing yourself to the place where there are no barriers…because your body can keep up with you. All the best. Fran Sullivan Master Personal Trainer

Sofia’s Journey at Personal Best

Sofia first started at Personal Best as a personal training client of Eidolan’s after being referred by her physiotherapist some 11 years ago.  Sofia was experiencing knee pain from the demands of being an elite junior soccer player. Eidolan was pivotal in Sofia’s learnings of the body and the recovery process as she progressed her way through the Institute of Sport until she ceased her contract in 2013, to focus on her studies. Like most Year 10 students, Sofia was required to complete a week of work experience. “I chose to split my time between a Physio practice and here at Personal Best Fitness. During this time, sport, or specifically soccer was part of my identity, so most of my thought processes revolved around supporting this passion in some way. My plan had been to complete my Certificate III and IV in Fitness during Year 11 & 12 and work as a personal trainer while at Uni and study medicine with the intention of bringing the learnings of movement into my practice as a doctor.” After Sofia’s work experience, we approached Sofia as to whether she would like to be a part of our Front Desk team. Sofia had completed her fitness certification at the beginning of that year, before returning to school. Sofia had been qualified as a personal trainer since 2014 but didn’t think of herself as having practiced as a personal trainer until she made the decision that medicine was not for her in 2017. ‘I decided to refocus on my mental health. As my mental health had suffered, so too had my love for a sport, which was once my identity, football.  I had completely stepped away from football and took up cycling around this time. ‘ For anyone who knew Sofia prior to 2018, they would realise that there was a pretty big shift in not only the way she practised as a personal trainer, but also in the way she walked through life after completing her first activation course in 2018. ‘Having gone to a private school all my life, I don’t think I ever considered personal training as my one and only career option. It was always a steppingstone into what was next, which since I was a child, had always been medicine. In short, activation changed everything for me. From my confidence, stopping my forever frequent panic attacks, to even starting my own cycling tour business. I don’t think I ever considered myself to be a ‘personal trainer’ until sometime after I got back from this course in 2018.’ As a business owner it has given me immense pleasure to see Sofia grow not only as a fitness professional, but more importantly as a wonderful, kind and caring person. ‘Now as a Master Personal Trainer and all-rounder,  I pride myself in being able to assist Amanda in the business with anything from front desk duties, teaching new staff, loving my role as a personal trainer or my favourite, teaching a group of people the concepts and practice of activation!’ Amanda Coombe

Function and Fiction!

I’ve been in the fitness industry for a while, I’l like to think for long enough to recognise the difference between function and fiction. If there’s one thing that really bugs me about what I do, it’s what I call the “cerebral onanism” of human movement. You see human movement isn’t that hard, we all start practicing it long before we learn language, and yet I see you tube videos where the explanation of a movement, takes 10 times longer than the movement itself! I often think, how am I supposed to teach all that instruction, in the time the movement takes? I can label many of the muscles in the human body in Latin, and every good Personal Trainer should know flexors from extensors, but I cringe when I hear people primarily cuing muscles instead of movement. If I can get through my life without ever seeing another fitness video where the trainer instructs participants to “engage your core”, I’ll be happy. Why? Because while human movement is easy, the human body is an incredibly complex system which thankfully is largely automated because without the automation we would all stop breathing the moment we went to sleep. There are many many muscles in the trunk that our body uses to stabilise the spine in response to different force vectors, velocities, and movements, a handful of which someone decided to label “core”. The idea that I need to activate muscles in order to move well raises many questions, that I cannot think of good answers too, here are some examples: I know that there are 3 branches of the thoracodorsal nerve that goes into each of my left and right Latissimus Dorsi, the big muscles in my back I use for pulling actions. But I can’t feel any of them, nor can I point to them without a textbook the way I can point to my big toe. So, If I cannot locate them by feel, how am I supposed calculate how many electrons I need to send to each branch to get the best results based on the angle of my shoulder when I’m pulling? There are 10 muscles that stabilise the sole of my foot, I can’t think of two things at once, how am I supposed to think about 10? Does anyone really think Logan was calculating which of his core muscles he needed to activate and how much, in response to his flipping/ twisting inertia and the rapidly changing direction of the pull of gravity when he was 6 metres off the ground in his freestyle BMX final, or was he just thinking about spotting his landing? I once heard probably the best skateboarder in human history describe a trick as “it’s all in the big toe”, as opposed to saying, “I just activate my Extensor Hallucis Longus”, now if they are both the same thing why does it bug me? Here’s why: Done well, explanations of what is occurring during a movement can be informative, and if the client/athlete believes that activating something helps, it probably does, because belief is a powerful performance enhancer. Athletes that believe in a god outperform those that don’t, regardless of which deity they believe in. Who remembers Power Bands? But what matters is the movement and feeling confident in the movement. I met someone at a function recently, he told me “I’ve been working with my trainer weekly for years, I never go to the gym without him, because I’m afraid of doing something wrong”, I changed the topic so I could avoid telling him that if he continued doing this, he would never be fit, strong or healthy. Similarly, I once overheard someone in the gym saying, “I’d much rather lift light weights with correct form, than trying to lift heavy weights”. These are both examples of an idea becoming a barrier to movement and human movement is rarely, if ever perfect, but it improves with practice, without doing something wrong, you’ll never do it right. Our body responds to stimulus, form follows function, it builds muscle in response to regular movement, it lays down myelin around the nerve sheath in response to repetition, tendons thicken in response to loading, our body produces Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone in response to strenuous lifting (heavy things). Lung capacity increases if we regularly get out of breath. Lean muscle mass, and lung capacity are two of the more reliable predictors of longevity. Some people don’t have the metrics to be great dead lifters, or rowers, me, I am too tall and have to much bulk to be a great hill climber on the bike. But that doesn’t mean I can’t ride my bike up hills, enjoy doing it, get benefit from it and get better at it. When I think of my most ‘successful’ clients, they all have one thing in common. It’s not a great knowledge of anatomy, nor is it the ability to activate many muscles at once while concentrating on the task at hand. It’s consistency, they exercise regularly, with many of them I know when they will be at Personal Best, even if I’m not there, and because of the work we have done together, I know they are safe and building strength and fitness while practicing the movements I have programmed for them. I’ll leave you with a case study. I spent over a decade coaching someone who loved competitive sport and worked very hard at it. During the 15 years we worked together he won state, national and world titles. When we first started working together, he told me “No matter how much I try I can’t activate my glutes”. Glutes are a hip extensor, it quickly became apparent that he couldn’t get good extension from his hips, and because of this, his glutes were doing very little. So, we spent a year stretching his hip flexors, and all of a sudden, his glutes started working, no thought required! On his part anyway. Marc Hand Master Personal Trainer

Why Spin?

Why Spin? Have you recently woken up from a comfortable night’s sleep and opened your curtain, only to be greeted by an ever-darkening morning sky, the feeling of cold coming through the glass window against your face and thought to yourself, “Going out there for my morning walk just doesn’t look too enjoyable today.”? Despite this, you go anyway. Happy that you’ve stayed true to yourself and your fitness goals. But all the while wondering if there’s an easier and more comfortable way of doing this at such a time of year. Fortunately, I have a solution for you! Indoor cycling classes can go by many different names. Spin, Spinning and Spin class are frequently used and what you may have heard your friends, family or other gym members speak of. Spin classes are typically 30 – 60 minutes long and simulate riding a bike outside by increasing and decreasing the “spin bike” resistance dial. Up hills, down hills, flat roads, standing or seated. You name it, a qualified indoor cycling instructor can put it into a Spin class! Whether you’re a novice gym goer, aspiring athlete or somewhere in between, spin classes can be of huge benefit to your mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing. In addition to these benefits, here are some reasons to make it a part of your weekly routine at Personal Best Fitness.
  • The cycling action offers a low impact form of huff n puff exercise. Spin classes are perfect if you’re recovering from an injury, starring down the barrel of knee surgery or just feel as if you need to take things a little more gently on your joints. Regardless of your fitness goals, you will still achieve a great workout. A well-designed class by an experienced instructor will allow you to go at your own pace. Afterall, fitness and physical activity is about improving the way you look, feel and function.
  • Whether you’re looking to increase your huff n puff fitness, lose weight or increase leg and core strength, spin classes can offer it all in a single workout. The action of pedalling with resistance will help your body deal with any instability as a result of weaker muscles. Increasing your heart rate will help you burn calories and increase your metabolic rate. You can burn up to 600 calories in a spin class. That’s the equivalent of 6 glasses of wine.
  • Increasing heart rate for prolonged periods like you will experience in a spin class will help to increase your bodies tolerance to other physical activities such as weight training, bush walking or hanging out the washing.
  • Beyond the physical benefits you gain from a spin class, you will not find a single person arguing about the benefits exercise can have on mental health. Increasing your heart rate and moving your body is scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety. This partly occurs as a result of the body producing endorphins, sometimes known as the “feel good” hormone. Spin classes are a great way to do this, along with the added social benefits of being in a room with like-minded people and the affect it can have on your mental well-being.
Here at Personal Best Fitness, we currently offer two spin classes per week. Both are 45 minutes in duration. This gives you enough time to properly warm your body up, enjoy a good workout and finally a cool down and stretch to aid the bodies recovery process. I invite you to join me for Spin on Wednesday at 6.15am or Saturday morning a 8am.  We will help with your bike set up and teach you all you need to know. Tristan North Certified Spin Instructor  
Personal Trainer Hobart

How much is too much?

How often have you made it to the end of the week and thought ‘thank god it’s the weekend’? Or not wanted to do a workout only to finish it and feel a whole lot better? High intensity exercise has been a prevailing force in the fitness industry for the past 10 years. We get this big endorphin rush, it makes you sweat, feel good and forget your problems. Movement is anti-inflammatory, hydrating and energising. It creates resilient tissues, hydrates, efficient mitochondria and cellular function, and is vital for the brain, mood and self confidence. However, we have seen a massive boom of exercise programs such as P90x, Crossfit and F45. All of which are types of HIIT training and are great programs when implemented at the right intensity, with the right recovery and with the correct frequency. Gym Hobart Unfortunately, a lot of these training methods aren’t true ‘HIIT’ sessions. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is designed to get your heart rate up or above 90% of its max, followed by an equal or longer period of time in your recovery zone, the ‘interval’ aspect of HIIT. It can help with fat loss, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and results in an increased metabolic rate. The often misconception is that going harder means going for longer periods and resting for shorter periods. I’d definitely agree that these types of sessions are tough, but are they productive? A better description of the types of workouts listed above would be High Intensity Steady State Training, or fatigue sessions! I.e. you’re likely getting your heart rate into a moderate zone (not as high as a true HIIT workout), while not allowing yourself sufficient recovery. It can take up to 48hrs for our body to recover after a high intensity training session. We create a high level of acidosis, resulting in the breakdown of muscle cells and the decrease in immune function.  So by completing multiple of these sessions within a week, you are not only creating muscle breakdown, but you are releasing higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline into the body. The thing is, our body doesn’t differentiate between physical and mental stress. So what are the repercussions of this constant cycle of our stressful, sedentary working life, interspersed with many bouts of high intensity training? Just like any form of stress, exercise releases cortisol and adrenaline into the body. In the right doses our body is able to adapt to this release and create positive changes, however if we’re not giving our body adequate time to recover (i.e. completing HIIT sessions often), this becomes detrimental to the system. Being super fit and punishing yourself at the gym doesn’t equate to longevity. In fact it can do the opposite. Over training, under recovering, repetitive movement, too much muscle mass, and chronic cardio, are all examples of how movement can hurt you. There is no denying that people who chose to practice one sport are highly competitive in their chosen sport, however they’re rarely able to adequately replicate this ‘fitness’ across other sports. They’re often missing one key component; variability. When it comes to longevity, the key component in training is variability. This means being strong and resilient for whatever comes your way. It means you can go fast, or slow, lift heavy, or light, move and adapt to awkward and challenge angles, etc. Variability means your tissue has the strength, tension and elasticity to respond to different speeds, loads, positions and vectors. Our heart rate is a great responder to variability. It is important to have the ability to get your heart rate high (above 90% of heart rate max), for SHORT periods of time and it is just, if not more, important to have the ability to get your heart rate back down quickly and keep it there for sustained periods of time. We have looked at one form of heart rate variability training (HIIT), however we will have to save the full discussion for another time. For the time being, I want you to have a think about whether all of your training sessions are ‘smash fests’ in the gym or whether you are incorporating variability into your training and in fact aiming for wellness and longevity. Signs you need to switch up your exercise and focus on wellness and longevity are:
  • Chronic stiffness and pain
  • Lack of mobility and strength in varied positions
  • Lack of heart rate variability – HR stays high, won’t go up, or takes longer to recover!
  • Unable to get down to the ground and up again with ease
  • Coordination and balance challenges
  • Are you struggling with complex movement sequences?
If any of these signs ring true in your ears, think about changing up your exercise routine or book in a personal training session with us to move and exercise more effectively and efficiently. Sofia Tsamassiros Senior Personal Trainer
Personal Trainer Hobart

What does ‘Getting Fit’, actually mean?

One of the first questions we ask those who are new to Personal Best Fitness is “What would you like to achieve?” Often the response is “I want to get fit.” Sounds quite straight forward doesn’t it, but what does it actually mean? Getting fit means different things to different people. A common definition is, “To be physically fit means to be in a state of health and well-being. Physical fitness is defined as the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist disease and to react to emergency situations. Helping a client “become fit” can take a variety of approaches and avenues and can be very different for ‘everybody and mind’.

There are 3 or 4 aspects of “Being Fit” that we may focus on with you at Personal Best:

  • Improving your cardiovascular/aerobic fitness/ huff and puff.
  • Help you increase your range of motion or flexibility.
  • Improve your strength.
  And we will program this in such a way that is functional to your needs. The aspects that we focus on will depend upon your goals and how your body is currently functioning. It is important to recognise that different approaches and focuses will result in different outcomes and will facilitate significant improvements in both your health and fitness. Cardiovascular fitness or endurance can be improved with exercise that is performed at a medium level, greater than 20 minutes in duration. This helps improve the health of your heart and lungs. Running, walking, rowing, swimming and bike riding are all activities that help enhance your cardiovascular or aerobic capacity. The formula used to decipher what your exercise training zone is 220 – age =? divided by 65% and 85%. Below are some examples for a 40 and 60-year-old who is looking to work at either training zone. If you are age 40 years a ‘starting’ exercise zone would be a heart rate of 117 beats per minute (bpm) and the high-end intensity would be 153bpm. If you are aged 60 years a ‘starting’ zone would be a rate of 104 bpm and a high-end zone would be 136bpm.  

When getting started at Personal Best your personal trainer will direct you to the appropriate zone for you, taking into consideration the following:

  • Your health
  • If you have done vigorous exercise recently
  • Any aches and pains that you may have
  • And what goals you have
These zones should be viewed as a guide and individual advice should be sort. Flexibility refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Flexibility varies between individuals, particularly in terms of differences in muscle length of multi-joint muscles. Some examples of multi joint muscles are the hamstrings, which cross both the hip and knee joints. Flexibility in some joints can improve their range of movement. Stretching being a common medium to maintain or improve this range of movement. Stretch receptors have two parts: Spindle cells and Golgi tendons. Spindle cells, located in the centre of a muscle, send messages for the muscle to contract. On the other hand, golgi tendon receptors are located near the end of a muscle fibre and send messages for the muscle to relax. As these receptors are trained through continual use, stretching becomes easier. When reflexes that inhibit flexibility are released joints are then able to have greater range of movement. There are a number of reasons why strength training is important. Some of these reasons are to maintain muscle tissue to protect your joints, build and maintain strong bones, control body fat, and decrease the risk of injury. Depending on what your goals are, your personal trainer will set your program accordingly.
  • If it is hypertrophy that you are after then 4 reps at 90% of your maximum load to 10 reps at 75% of your maximum load is required. Hypertrophy is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.
  • If muscular endurance is what you are after approximately 15 to 20 reps at 70% is required. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. Some of the activities that require muscular endurance are, sustained walking or running, cycling, swimming, circuit training, aerobics and of course resistance training.
Functional exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, work or in sports. For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles that you use when you stand up and sit down from a chair or pick up objects off the ground. When rehabilitating a client from injury, or building function back into their daily life, exercises are ‘regressed’ so that the client can move with confidence again and trust their bodies as they perform these movements. Understanding how the body moves is part of the rehabilitation process and the personal trainers at Personal Best are able to deliver this knowledge with skill and professionalism. Some of the exercises personal trainers prescribe their clients may be walking along a plank of wood on the ground heel to toe to improve balance, reaching up the wall with one hand while in a staggered stance, to improve posture. These types of exercises then lead to more complex forms of movement and with weights and or resistance. “Being fit” has so many different meanings. Ask the question, fit for what? Fit to wash the car, run a fun run, pick the grandkids up, play netball, or fit to walk 15000 steps each day on holidays. All of these things are important as long as they are gradually progressed and applied in an individual manner. Remember, not everything fits the same person and we all require different approaches. Your goals over time will evolve as you progress along the continuum that is your fitness. If you are unsure what is ‘best’ for you, ask us about booking a personal training session. Fran Sullivan Master Personal Trainer