This week marks the fourth week of my internship as a fitness coach! However…I have come down with a severe cold! I can’t workout, run or do anything much more productive than binge-watch Gilmore Girls, and I’ve missed most of my training this week. My always philosophical boyfriend likes to say, “when you can’t exercise your body, exercise your mind.” So, this is a good time for me to reflect on what I have learned in this past month as an intern.
The gym that I am interning at is a unique wellness facility that offers semi-private and private personal training, as well as group classes. As of right now, I spend a lot of time just observing, but I’m also getting trained by the other coaches. For the purposes of this post, I won’t go in to a lot of details on specific exercises, but this is a general overview of how things are going right now.
Equipment: This gym is not a typical gym full of weight machines. The equipment that we use is meant for training strength and movement: Kettle bells. Dumbbells. TRX ropes. Monkey bars. Resistance bands. Fitness balls, wheels and sliders.
The gym itself is relatively sparse and roomy, which allows for a lot of movement!
Dynamic warm-up: We begin every training session with a 15 minute dynamic warm-up.
I’m a huge believer in dynamic stretching. In case you are a newbie to the concept, dynamic stretching incorporates motion into a warmup as opposed to static stretching. Pulling on a cold muscle, or performing physical activity without a proper warmup can lead to strain and injury. For those interested, there is a plethora of info on dynamic warm ups on the internets. You can find a quickie intro article on a dynamic warmup from Runner’s World here.
The Workout: The owners vary the workouts from week to week, so there is always something new to learn. One thing I have always been turned off by is a lack of variety in weight-training à la 3 sets/20 reps/X lbs at the weigh machine. Or whatever. But it doesn’t have to be boring! For example, there are a ZILLION ways to do squats with kettle bells-sumo squats, split stance, figure 8s-so strength and conditioning never has to be routine.
Each session is a full-body workout; there are no “arm days” or “leg days”, everyday is training from head to toe. I’m working harder than ever before, and naturally getting stronger too!
I’ve taken in an enormous amount of information in these past few weeks, but there are a few key notes that I think are of utmost importance:
1. Technique supersedes everything. Weight is only added or increased when the proper technique can be applied FIRST. Safety is obviously a huge concern, but the effectiveness of a workout is greatly dependent upon proper technique.
2. Movement and range of motion. Essentially, the goal of training goes beyond the physical. At the gym, we focus on developing cardio and strength to perform the necessary tasks of life: pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, standing, etc…
3. Breath. Who knew I was breathing incorrectly? I tend to breathe into my chest, even when active. But I’ve learned the importance of abdominal breathing, which is more effective at acquiring oxygen, and helps our bodies cope with stress. For my fellow chest-breathing runners, I found another great article on diaphragmic breathing from Runner’s World here.
It’s been quite a journey so far, juggling my bartending job, a morning internship, workouts AND running, but the things I’m learning are invaluable.
Like how important coffee is 😀
I’ve been presented with this opportunity to intern, and I’m going to make the most out of it. One thing I am lacking is a good understanding of anatomy. While I do have a science background from college, I took mostly Micro/General Biology, but I did not have a lot of exposure to human anatomy and physiology. It is going to be up to me to learn as much as I can on my own, so I’m going to have to get an anatomy book; the more I know, the better coach I will be.
Hopefully I can rest up and be ready to come back next week with a vengeance!