For many years as a trainer I pursued the most efficient means of making clients stronger. The reasons for pursuing strength were abundant in terms of their benefits: a faster metabolism, better muscle tone and definition, increased circulation, improved bone density, and higher cardiovascular conditioning.
Clients were thrilled to feel stronger and more energetic – not to mention looking better. Our workouts were also incredibly time- efficient: usually one or two workouts a week for no more than 30 minutes at a time. We moved slowly and controlled those movements, and no one got hurt, either. Not much downside.
I practiced what I preached as well, watching the amount of weight I could safely handle grows exponentially over time. I felt lean and strong and frankly kind of smart. Like I had it all figured out.
There was just one little problem. And like many great life-insights, it was actually my kids who brought it to my attention.
You see, I couldn’t sit on the floor.
Whenever it was time to play with my kids on the floor I would have to anchor myself against a wall or a couch. Even then, I would have about 10-15 minutes before I just couldn’t handle it anymore. My back, hips and legs would be screaming. I could leg press well over 500lbs quite handily, but for some reason I couldn’t survive a game of Chutes ‘n’ Ladders with kindergarteners.
My response to this conundrum? Denial, of course. It couldn’t be that I needed to change anything, could it? After all, I was a trainer. I was strong (and smart!). People looked to me as an exemplar of health and fitness. So I just shuffled along doing the same old thing – and avoided the floor like the plague.
After my kids, the other great instructor in my life is my business partner, Paul, who in most matters is generally a few steps ahead of me. He had been quietly seamlessly weaving disciplines such as yoga, gymnastics – and, yes, strength training – for years. In fact he and several friends were practicing yoga on a weekly basis right in the middle of our studio. And I had an open invitation to join them.
After several New Year resolutions to start, I finally made an appearance. That marked the beginning of a journey that I’m still on, a journey that typifies what Transform Fitness —and transformation— is really about. I still help people to get strong, but it’s a more balanced strength. I’ve kept a lot of the strengthening techniques I used before, but I have woven in the best practices that I’ve picked up from yoga, as well as from our resident acrobat Jan Manke. These days my clients are spending more time on the floor, and you can often spot me very comfortably sitting next to them.