Learn from Your Body

All my knowledge from certifications and continuing education is nothing if I don’t pay attention to the body of my clients. I believe that’s true in every situation where a professional is working with a patient. Whether its medical help, mental health or personal training the professional must listen to the client/patient before jumping in to assign treatment. I’m training some old clients — or former clients from before my move to Atlanta. It’s amazing to me how their bodies have changed significantly in the last year. Some of them had continued to work out with other trainers, and others have done nothing for the last 18 months. So, what clues do I get from the body? They’re actually the same clues you can get from your own body.


Begin in the same way every health care professional does. Your doctor and personal trainer always listens to what you have to say — and watches for what you don’t tell them.

  • Take note if you notice your hips, knees or even ankles freezing while you walk.
  • Do you have increased back pain?
  • Are you out of breath even after a walk to the mailbox?
  • Is it hard to sleep because your muscles cramp or throb?

If you’ve agreed to any of these things you should have already gone to see your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical reason. Once cleared by the Doc you can begin to give some thought to what your body is telling you. The symptoms are probably from how you’ve used (or not used) your body.

Be Honest and Move

This is the most difficult part to explain to a client. Understand that not every body is built the same, right? Think about shoe shopping. When you buy a new pair of shoes you try them on. That’s because you need to be sure the shoe fits in the length and width as well as the arch. Your good fit is not necessarily going to be my best fit. The same is true of exercises. Gyms and Boot Camp classes have donned the plank and burpees as their favorite “go-to” exercise. The Holy Grail of Fitness. In truth those exercises are more appropriate for performance athletes, not the average gym goer. I know I’ve talked about this before, but three new clients this last week have come to me with back, and shoulder issues. So I’m a little frustrated.

In April of 2015 Lisa Brinkworth, a 25 year veteran of the Pilates Classroom — certainly no couch potato — wrote about her

Photos of Lisa Brinkworth pics David Poole.

Photos of Lisa Brinkworth pics David Poole. Click on the picture to see the whole article.

personal experience with the plank. I know from teaching Pilates that a plank is NOT in the lesson plan. Pilates is about movement, but her instructors jumped on the plank bandwagon and encouraged their clients to plank — for two minutes. Brinkworth’s article in Daily Mail is well worth your time. Don’t take my word for it take the time to read it please.

“‘Planks are for the super-fit and athletes, not for soft, desk types to go bananas with once a week,’ Dr Michael Durtnall, founder of the Sayer Chiropractic Clinics in London, told me. ‘Planks put a searing pressure into the costochondral joint as you lift up. As you hold the body from the floor, there is tremendous pressure on all the rib joints as well as the shoulder joint. ‘Patients with loose ligaments or joint instability will find this a potentially upsetting exercise, as it can inflame joints quickly.”

I encourage you to listen to the symptoms your body may be giving you. Your pain doesn’t have to be severe to be a concern. As a matter of fact I encourage you to make changes before you get to the point where an emergency room visit is necessary.

I don’t care if the exercise is something EVERYBODY does — it may not be for you! Here’s another fact — you haven’t done anything wrong.

Please Love Yourself

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