Engaging the active ageing population in your fitness business is easier than you think. Ken Baldwin explains.

Many ask the question: “What is the next big thing and how do we create it?” The answer lies in the Active Ageing demographic, which is an area that is increasing by over 34 per cent annually (compared to the average growth of around seven to nine percent of other programs). In a podcast episode with Mel Tempest, Jonathan Freeman, the founder of Club Active, talks of his vision to create a club specifically for those aged over 50. Jonathon started with one club in 2017 on the Gold Coast, and now has 14 clubs Australia-wide with plans to expand overseas.

Here are eight tips to help you engage with this ever-growing population:

Tip # 1

Create a safe, welcoming and non-intimidating environment where the clients feel at home, relaxed and welcome. When designing an area for the Active Ageing, the key is to have equipment well spaced out and simplistic in its look and ease of use. Use open spaces with minimal mirrors, and ensure that any music playing is likely to be familiar to them, and is done so at an appropriate volume (i.e., not too loud). Offer multi-purpose equipment such as resistance bands, hand weights, steps, kettlebells.

Tip # 2

Programming is incredibly important! You need to be able to offer programs that don’t just target muscles or use isolation exercises. The Active Ageing want programming for life and longevity, that will assist them in completing everyday life skills more easily. Your programming should also be highly personalised, so it can be adapted to those who don’t have good strength or ranges of motion (for example). Small group training is an absolute must too, as socialisation is one of the biggest reasons they will attend; they want to exercise and chat with friends. For this reason, a coffee machine or meeting area where they can gather together after workouts, is also highly recommended.

Tip # 3

It’s essential to understand their unique needs. For example, the Active Ageing will not be coming to see you for fitness. Rather, they will come to you to receive the benefits of what fitness can do for them! Not weight loss or strength or getting Lt or looking better; for them, it’s all about feeling good, living longer, and having less injuries, more energy, and being able to do the activities they love for life – like keeping up with the grandkids, travelling, hiking, or playing golf without getting sore

Tip # 4

Understand the key differences when training the Active Ageing, compared to when working with other demographics. This includes dosage response, order of programming, underlying conditions, coaching versus training, and explaining the reasons why before actioning something. You also need to focus on providing variety and fun, far more than specificity.

Tip # 5

Focus on the physiological just as much as the physical. There are many underlying issues with the Active Ageing that need to be addressed, even before looking at physical programming. This includes mindset, health history, family history, training history, medications and pre-existing conditions. Create a priority order for what you address first, and the area that will generate the most benefits and results. This can be your starting point, which will lead to improvements in other areas as they progress.

Tip # 6

Function and movement are the two most important elements of your programming. When these are successfully addressed, they will lead to many more benefits including improvements in strength, balance, confidence and longevity.

These last two tips are the MOST IMPORTANT!

The truth is, we can give them HIIT training, heavy weights and endurance training. We just need to structure things differently and really individualise each program in order to do so.

Tip # 7

Genuine passion: You really have to love what you do, and genuinely want to make a difference and help those who are quite often ignored. There is quite a misconception when it comes to the Active Ageing demographic. They are traditionally thought of as old and frail; that they can’t do much exercise; or that we should take it easy on them by training them lightly. Magazines, movies and attitudes shape this societal ‘ageisim’ in how we consider the Active Ageing. The truth is, we can give them HIIT training, heavy weights and endurance training. We just need to structure things differently and really individualise each program in order to do so. Share your passion with them and they will return it ten-fold. It’s essential that you show genuine care so you can build relationships, rather than sessions or ‘clients’.

Tip # 8

Education: You cannot work in this area without becoming educated and learning all you can about the Active Ageing demographic. Treat them as you would a beloved family member, and understand their needs and what you can and cannot do with them. They are regarded as a ‘special population’ so it’s important you know as much as you can to be able to safely help them achieve their goals. You can’t stop the ageing process, but you can prolong it by creating healthy programming that will help them enjoy greater independence, fun and longevity.

If you have the thirst for knowledge and a genuine passion for this special population, then right now is a great time to kickstart your involvement in this readymade market, which is continually growing, and desperately in need of more trainers.

Written By: Ken Baldwin

Ken is the Founder of the Healthy Ageing Institute and the Training and Education Manager for Perform Better Australia, which both specialise in providing trainers with up-to-date courses and practical information that will help you excel in working with the Active Ageing Demographic. They also offer business mentorships and marketing advice for those wanting business skills and training to help become an authority in this area.

In the 80’s and 90’s the fitness industry in its infinite wisdom thought the best way to train the body was to work in a very isolated muscle centric manner. We were quite often seated on a machine that controlled our range of motion and had very little freedom to adjust any movements.

The theory being that if we can get the isolated muscles stronger, then as a whole we will function better. As our understanding of the body increased most would agree that this wasn’t wrong but maybe incomplete when considering optimal human capacity.

Looking at how we move in the real world, There is a constant flow of loading and unloading where the body uses gravity, ground reaction and momentum to complete the task as efficiently as possible.

The body looks to mitigate the stress throughout the whole system and this minimises risk of injury due to the same tissue not being continually stressed. It also helps keep the metabolic cost to a minimum helping with performance.

This constant symphony of muscles turning on and off is controlled by the nervous system. Increasing neural sensitivity results in the increase of quality of movement. So now the question needs to be asked – If movement quality is controlled by muscles that are reliant on neural sensitivity, how do we increase neural sensitivity?

Enter the Fascial System. Thomas Myers describes this process beautifully. “Muscles perform the movement while fascia organises it”.

Muscles rely on neural sensitivity while nerves rely on fascial sensitivity. Increase fascial sensitivity and you increase neural sensitivity.

Bingo! You take a big step towards achieving rhythmical efficient pain- free flowing motion.

Fascia is the three dimensional matrix that separates the body into its various parts. With out this extraordinary structure we would be a bag of jelly like substance with no form. It is densely populated with proprioceptors and fortified through mechanical loading. So to build a sensitive resilient fascial matrix you need to move.

Here are a couple of tips for up regulating fascial sensitivity.

  • Train Whole Body Movements –
    Whole body movements that engage long fascial chains as opposed to isolated muscle centric training enhances communication within the system. Building this efficiency fine tunes the switching on and off of muscles.
  • Train With Variety – 
    Change load, tempo, range and planes of movement. This alters the lines of force going through the system helping to build a resilient architecture. By increasing vector variability we see an increase in positional and shape stability.
  • Cheat –
    If you’re looking to get the most out of your fascial system training you want to use elastic recoil. Allow counter-movements to load the system and then bounce back in a rhythmical fashion moving with flow and not trying to muscle the movement. Avoid jerky abrupt changes of direction.

One thing I should mention is that the fascial system takes a long time to adapt. Up to 6-24 months. So progress slowly. Always bring mindfulness to your training. How do you feel?

When you consider that all soft tissues injuries are connective tissue related, I’m sure you would agree that a little bit of time and effort could be well worth it.
That’s not to say we forget everything we have been doing and jump on the Fascia band wagon.
But instead look to question what you have been doing and adjust this depending on your clients goals, likes and needs.

Ask is there a place to add a little bit of fascial sensitivity training in??? Interested in knowing more?
Consider doing some IOM education courses.

Written by
Aaron Callaghan – After playing professional rugby in England, Aaron turned his knowledge to fitness and studied extensively under industry greats Cook and Gray, Chuck Wolf, PTA Global and two mentorships with Michol Dalcourt and the Institute of Motion. Aaron has just recently moved back to New Zealand in Wanaka, establishing Peak 40, helping people move and function better and getting them to live his motto – “Vitality for modern living”. For more information contact Aaron at www.peak40.co.nz.

Hey kids, say NO to drugs!

Unless, of course, that drug comes in a brightly coloured can that can be legally purchased at every store in the nation. Did you know that about 75% of our youth age 5-12 years old are saying “yes” to the most widely used stimulant in the world, Caffeine.

Caffeine affects the body by being absorbed directly through the stomach lining. At the brain it binds to receptors that usually bind to a chemical that calms you down. This interference sets off an alarm in the body. Appropriately enough, this alarm is the same one that sounds if you are actually being chased by a red bull. Adrenaline is released, your heart beats faster, extra sugar is released into the blood from the liver, and your kidneys get rid of extra water. Add in a few “feel good” chemicals that are released to numb the pain your body thinks it may incur if the bull catches you, and who-la, you’re ready for your drive to work.

The body learns to depend on this process so when you don’t have your caffeine, you experience withdrawal effects such as irritability and headache. The above is true whether you’re 6 or 66.

When reviewing the relatively ‘scant’ research on the affects of frequent caffeine intake in youth, it can be concluded that there are far more negative findings that positive ones. These findings include:

A negative correlation between caffeine ingestion and sleep (More caffeine, less sleep)

  • A negative correlation between prolonged caffeine use and bone density (More caffeine, less bone density)
  • A positive correlation between daytime “sleepiness” and caffeine ingestion (More caffeine consumption, less energy during the day)
  • A positive correlation between consumption of caffeine beverages and greater body mass index. (More caffeine consumption, fatter kids)
  • A positive correlation between caffeine cessation and withdrawal symptoms (Take away caffeine, get withdrawal symptoms)

No findings were available in favor of daily caffeine consumption for kids.

Aside from the direct physiological affects of caffeine as a drug, kids consume caffeine primarily through soft drinks that are high in sugar. These drinks take the place of other nutritiously dense beverages like water, milk, and some fruit juices. This is thought to be one of primary factors behind the decrease in bone mass and increase in body mass index.

While the negative physiological affects of caffeine in youth are of concern, I believe these pale in comparison to the psychological effects as they relate to addiction and future drug use. Caffeine is often a child’s first exposure to “I can take this to feel good”. They draw this conclusion as it is resonated daily in American culture. Coffee wakes us up, alcohol puts us to bed. We don’t use drugs though, not in this house! When one establishes the process of “take THIS to feel THIS way” at a young age, how could it go anywhere good?

There is definitely a difference between having a coffee drink a couple times month as a treat and having a couple energy drinks every day. It’s very dangerous to lose accountability for the way you feel. If you don’t sleep, sit on your butt all day, eat like crap, and have an abysmal outlook on life, you SHOULD feel miserable. Kids should figure this out naturally and learn to make changes accordingly. We as adults have to mentor them. By the way, “M” on the monster can doesn’t stand for “mentor”.

Caffeine is not evil. Small amounts actually can have positive health effects on adults. I take 120 mgs of caffeine every morning. As an adult, however, I am able to evaluate caffeine’s affect on me. I am aware of how much I take in and I don’t rely on it for energy throughout the day. I understand that my energy is going to come from my lifestyle and mindset. I am also able to make this association with my mood and any other available drug. Alcohol can help me relax, but not as much as focusing on rationally dealing with my daily challenges and maintaining perspective. Children are not capable of this. They establish “take more of THIS, feel more of THIS way”. Pretty soon they take something different to make them happy, sad, awake, asleep, focused, not focused, the list goes on.

While moderate caffeine intake (less than 300 mgs/day) has generally been considered “safe” for adult populations, very little research is available on the affects of caffeine in children.

This is alarming considering the above statistic in addition to the fact that children age 12-17 are the fastest growing segment of the population using caffeine on a daily basis. Should we as adults be concerned? Should we intervene? Read on to discover the answer to these, as well as other rhetorical questions.

The association between caffeine dependency at a young age and it’s affect on future drug use has not been effectively researched because of the alarmingly enormous amount of accepted and unregulated caffeine use in youth. Researchers have found it difficult to draw a direct association when an overwhelming majority of youth takes in large amounts of caffeine daily. We must rely on behavioral logic and the current physiological findings to draw our conclusions about children and frequent caffeine ingestion.

While caffeine is not considered overtly dangerous, it can be concluded that the risks of varying severity outweigh any benefit of daily caffeine use in children. We as parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors can help educate our children and lead them on a path of health and wellness. In this way, we can create a future of happy, healthy, pain-free adults!

Written by
Coach Brett Klika is the Director of Athletic Performance at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He specializes in youth fitness and athletic performance, overseeing a staff of 8 strength coaches developing programs for over 300 youth per week, both athletes and non-athletes. In addition to coaching, Brett currently authors for a variety of publications, produces DVD’s on fitness and athletic performance and presents around the world on topics in fitness, wellness, and sports performance. Brett can be reached at brett@fitnessquest10.com or you can go to his website, www.brettklika.com.

Primarily used for balance training, the BOSU Balance Trainer helps to improve your core strength and expand your range of motion. The goal is to make sure your body is able to work as a unit rather than as individual segments. Too often the focus with exercising is on isolated target areas so the core is overlooked.

Yet working on this area of the body will help you to get the most out of the efforts you put into your training and on the other areas of your body. In short, the BOSU Balance Trainer helps to bring your body together for the best possible result.

When you use the BOSU Balance Trainer you will find your body is encouraged to work as a complete unit to support the exercise throughout the body as opposed to splitting its focus to just particular muscles or muscle groupings. For example, the ankles and the knees have to start working with each other and align with the hips to support and achieve their goals. Such movements will help you not only with every day tasks but for sports and for endurance.

Keep in mind your brain plays a vital role in all of this too. The brain has to send the correct messages to the body in order to make it adapt to the required stimulus. In effect, the BOSU Balance Trainer changes the range of movement through overstimulation of the Neural Pathways which then forces the brain to tell the joints and the muscles to start lining up with each other differently. This helps Create strong postural alignment allowing you to get the position you need for certain functions to be performed to the best of their ability. As your core gets stronger you will find your movements are more defined and enhanced with these improvements showing in ways you never thought possible.

When core strengthening with a BOSU Balance Trainer, the over stimulus teaches the the nerve fibres to respond to your movements in a particular way. The range of motion it will offer you is going to help you to have an edge over the competition with the sports you play. If you aren’t using BOSU Balance Trainer to help you with improving your core strength then you are selling yourself short of the real results your workouts can offer.

BOSU Balance Trainer offers you a complete workout for the core of your body. At the same time the exercises are fun, which really helps keep regular interest at an all time high. This is a balance training program that can revitalise the movements of your body in an enjoyable and positive way. BOSU is also a great companion to any planned expansion to your functional training efforts.

In addition to strengthening your body, the BOSU Balance Trainer system helps you to reshape your mind in connection with the body. That is the difference between your workout and that of other people around you. It is going to be what gives you the edge and that keeps your risk of injuries very low. As your level of strength increases you can move on to more challenging BOSU Balance Trainer exercises. The program is designed for anyone to benefit from regardless of what your current fitness level happens to be. At the same time you are getting stronger and more flexible, you will also be getting an amazing cardio workout. This will help with your endurance as well as assisting in keeping the heart active and healthy.

This is one training tool for overall fitness you don’t want to pass up. BOSU Balance Trainer has been scientifically proven to help enhance core strength. If you want to get stronger, faster, have more coordination, or just be fitter overall, you need to incorporate BOSU Balance Trainer into your daily workout regime. It’s fun, beneficial and a great way to continue to increase your core strength now and into the future.

Written By
Ken Baldwin

Functional Training was originally employed by Physical Therapists and Rehabilitation staff in order to restore strength and response to the body after accidents. However, Functional Training has found a new lease of life in assisting with a variety of different day-to-day activities through increasing the range of motion, strength and ability for the individual through a variety of different tasks. Things such as lifting, bending and back strength benefit enormously from functional training. Whilst most people with a keen interest in fitness are usually quite flexible and fit, even the healthiest person can discover problems or have difficulty participating in these types of activities, especially later in life.

Functional Training therefore is a great way to prevent injury now and into the future, as well as providing a host of benefits to your fitness level. Functional Training can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, in turn decreasing your risk of injury as a result. Focusing on the body’s natural ability to move in multi-directional and multi-planar ranges of motion, Functional Training uses your own body motion to train with, improve on and extend.
Functional Training also shows substantial gain in strength and balance in those who use it on a regular basis and has also proven as a type of exercise which improves joint motion, making it ideal for people in various states of recovery from injury, age or fitness level.

Functional training is a type of exercise which prepares the body for various forms of activity common in our daily lives.  The exercises within Functional Training have a high focus on the strengthening of abdominal muscles and back muscles. Through strengthening these muscles overall, your strength and balance will create more efficient movement patterns which lead to better core strength and less injuries. But strength is not the only benefit.

Coordination improves through training or retraining the muscles to work together and the joints are also stabilised and the range of motion is increased. However, despite the benefits, some common misconceptions deter people from taking up Functional Training. Two of the most common misconceptions are Functional Training leads to a bulking up and a loss of flexibility.

Functional Training does indeed work the muscles, but intrusive or unflattering bulk of your physique will not be a by-product of this process. Nor does this working of the muscles in either men or women lead to a loss of flexibility and in fact, studies show functional training actually improves flexibility overall. For those who like variety, there are plenty of types of exercises you can take part in for functional training. The goal is to offer resistance. The use of dumbbells, kettle bells, ViPR’s and even cable machines are all highly effective. The highly portable and travel friendly resistance tube is also a great friend to functional training.

Due to the choice available, it is a good idea to do plenty of research before you start. That way you can find the right exercises to match and compliment your current fitness regimes and sporting activities. The goal for Functional Training should be to steadily progress during your workouts. Pay attention to the signals you get from your body so you can continue to move forward at a good pace. Be mindful to change your Functional Training routine on a regular basis so as to remain well rounded in your approach and result.

One of the best ways to get the most out of Functional Training is with a coach or a Personal Trainer. As professionals who understand both your level of fitness and what areas for improvement you may have, working with a coach or trainer can really help you understand where your focus should lie and when it is time to transition to different exercises and what is right for you.

Now is the time to make functional training part of your lifestyle. From competitive edge through to long lasting health and fitness benefits received, functional training offers a practical, useful and important type of exercise with a proven track record in improving a person’s quality of life.

Let me begin this blog with a great quote by the great Philosopher Aristotle. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit’.

If you want anything in your life to be better you must also strive to be better. After twenty years of coaching here are five habits that I have found very helpful. Some of these I learnt very early in my career and some that I hate to say I learnt only recently. Maybe that is one of the joys of this job? We are constantly learning and evolving.

Habit # One:

A wise man once told me you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. So shut up and listen! As much as we like to think personal training is about movement it’s not. Movement maybe the initial catalyst but after that it’s all about building a relationship. Any successful relationship comes down to communication. During that initial consult when you ask a question, listen listen and listen.

  • Don’t interrupt them half way through there answer.
  • Don’t start planning out there next three months of training in your head.
  • Listen intently and take note of everything that was said.

When they’re finished ask another question and you guessed it listen. Not that tough you would think. But unfortunately an art we are quickly losing as a society today. With so much time and content on electronic devices, we are losing our ability for face to face interaction

Habit # Two:

Take the time to understand your clients training style. Just because you enjoy doing Olympic lifts doesn’t mean everyone you train will like Olympic lifts. Make the program specific to your clients’ needs and wants as well ensuring it helps them achieve their goals. Ask questions about what has worked in the past, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy and you guessed it. Listen!

Take your ego out of the equation and let your client create their environment for learning and change. Just because a certain style of training works for you doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. A great example of this is nutrition. One style of eating and serving size does not fit all.

Habit # Three:

As a coach your role is to act as a guide. Yes give answers, suggestions and direction when asked but not before. It is an honor and a privilege to be asked for help in achieving a person’s life long goal. So don’t abuse it. Guess what? You won’t have all the answers and it is only with open communication that happens between you both that the success will be possible. You’re that all important guide on stand-by to provide guidance, not the expert that holds all the power and answers.

Habit # Four:

Become a life longer learner. Our industry is constantly changing and we should also evolve. Remain up to date and learn from sources that are endorsed with references and studies. Anyone who says that they know everything or is a “GURU” has stopped learning or is living on their ego and closed off from other views and opinions. Enough said.

Habit # Five:

Bring your ‘A’ game every session. Sure some days are harder than others. That’s when you put on a brave face and suck it up. As they say fake till you make it. You want that time the client spends with you to be the highlight of their day. Coaching is about getting the best from your client. To do that you must devote 100% of your time to them when you are with them. The small things matter.

Turning up on time.

  • Look the part and dress professionally (not covered in sweat)
  • Smile and be grateful they have given up their time to spend time with you.
  • Ask how they’re doing, have an empathetic ear and be prepared to change the session around how they are feeling.

It’s not about how tired or hung over you are or if you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend. They don’t want to know you’ve got another ten sessions to go.

I Hope this helps you and your business. I have made all of these mistakes at some time in my career but I have been fortunate enough to have some great mentors who in turn listened to me and helped me learn.

Written by

Aaron Callaghan – After playing professional rugby in England, Aaron turned his knowledge to fitness and studied extensively under industry greats Cook and Gray, Chuck Wolf, PTA Global and two mentorships with Michol Dalcourt and the Institute of Motion. Aaron has just recently moved back to New Zealand in Wanaka, establishing Peak 40, helping people move and function better and getting them to live his motto – “Vitality for modern living”. For more information contact Aaron at www.peak40.co.nz.

Going to the gym or having a personal trainer is not for everyone. There are some healthy, fit and active people who prefer to gain their fitness through competing in actual sporting events. Whether you are a regular competitor in weekly local sporting events, an elite athlete or just someone who loves the thrill of playing and competition associated with organized sports, Sports Conditioning Drills can really add an extra layer of challenge and fitness to your performance and help you get the most out of the sporting activities you love to do.

Sports Conditioning Drills allows us to perform the sporting activity better and more fluently through training the body at a slower pace and replicating and repeating the these movements until we become proficient and are able to carry them out at the speed we do them in the competition or game. This gives us that sense of effortless grace and expertise we often see from our sporting heroes on TV. As they too practice these Sports Conditioning drills relative to their sport.

Sports conditioning drills rely on a combination of improving mainstays such as your strengths, agility, speed, and balance whilst choosing various skills associated with your sport to practice and master as individual tasks outside of regular training and game play. The process is as easily employed and rewarding as it is for beginners to experts and is a fantastic alternative to sports people who find the gym, exercise regimes or personal trainers not to their liking. When you begin to master a variety of skills for the sport of your focus, then you can see how it all fits together. Combined with a workout focused on improving your overall fitness, the benefits can start to show in a matter of weeks.

The key to using sports conditioning drills to improve your overall level of fitness is to take a realistic look at where you are right now. Take some time to think about the movements needed in your sport of choice for a moment. Visualize the components which make up your sport, whether they be running, kicking, equipment control or areas of movement and identify ways in which you could strengthen these key areas to your benefit. Then develop a workout plan designed to help you to address any weak spots you may have, as well as focusing strengths in such a way as to support other areas of your game.
For those of you who find exercise regimes and circuits tedious, the Sports Conditioning Drills can really help provide a positive and exciting way of building up your fitness level. If you are involved in a sport such as soccer for example which requires great ball control, setting yourself targets and goals in terms of holding and moving the ball from foot to knee to chest and back again as a self competition can be really addictive a challenge and help during the all important time when you need to protect the ball from attack on the field.

Or if you are looking to improve your headers, practicing squats as your landing position as you jump as a regular drill will satiate the competitive spirit as your start to learn and master the technique, and ignite interest quickly in the drill through seeing marked improvement in your leg strength, speed and stamina on the field. By combining self challenge with a useful skill which translate into improvement in your game play, sports conditioning drills answer the prayers of countless sports people looking to better their abilities through seeing a measurable and tangible result for their efforts beyond simple improved fitness levels. Everything you do on a daily basis including lifting, bending, or twisting will be easier for you to do plus the time and energy spent doing the drills will directly relate to your chosen sport. Your chance of injury is also reduced. Injuries can occur both while playing sports and doing regular daily activities.

By combining self challenge with a useful skill which translate into improvement in your game play, sports conditioning drills answer the prayers of countless sports people looking to better their abilities through seeing a measurable and tangible result for their efforts beyond simple improved fitness levels.
Everything you do on a daily basis including lifting, bending, or twisting will be easier for you to do plus the time and energy spent doing the drills will directly relate to your chosen sport. Your chance of injury is also reduced. Injuries can occur both while playing sports and doing regular daily activities.
By employing sports conditioning drills, you increase your muscle fitness, stamina and range of motion, which directly lowers your chance of hurting yourself through accidentally making use of a muscle in play which doesn’t see regular or extensive exercise. This makes sports conditioning drills the perfect addition to a sport lovers health and exercise routine.

The other day I was lucky enough to be part of and experience interacting with some of the world’s best Rugby League players as they went through their paces whilst in training camp preparing to battle and come back from their first series loss in eight years. Eight years in a row is incredible in today’s age of professional team sport where so many things change on a daily basis let alone year in and year out. Part of the day was being able to hear from their team doctor who was going to give us an insight into what it takes to keep them playing at their optimum level and how to manage their injuries.

After this session I realised that we have a lot in common with elite athletes. Nearly everything that the doctor told us was things that we should apply in everyday life and in our own training. The only difference was that the athletes have stringent guidelines and everything is monitored with nothing left to chance.

So from a personal perspective here’s what we have in common and need to perform:

  • Sleep — we need plenty of it to balance out our hard work
  • Nutrition — the most important thing for performance. We have to balance our exercise and rest and ensure we fuel our bodies appropriately.
  • Timing — you can’t go hard all of the time. Workouts need to be periodised so we can peak when we have to
  • Balance — in everything we do! The amount of exercise, the amount of rest the amount of food we eat and the type of food we eat.
  • Downtime – What we do in our down time is more important than our actual workouts and this strongly influences our results.
  • Mindset! – Positive all the time, learning not to cut corners, take responsibility and work to find solutions to whatever is in the way.
  • Never give up – stay hungry and always have the desire to do more and not rest on your prior results.

So that’s it from a personal perspective. There are a few other things that we need to have in common with elite athletes if we are to be successful in our business.

  • Have good systems in place – being systematic results in less errors and more efficiency
  • Be accountable – have checks and balances in place for everything. Know why you pull up short and know how to fix it!
    Successful athletes have a great team behind them. Make sure you invest in your staff both from an educational and financial standpoint. Don’t try to do everyone’s job just to cut corners and costs.
  • Lead by example – knowing boundaries and being able to follow you helps them to invest “themselves” in the business\
  • Good communication – this goes both ways. Have the ability to listen as well as keep everyone informed on what is going on. Elite athletes can work alone or be able to communicate with the team to get the best outcomes.

So do you have these things in common with elite athletes and where can you grow and succeed?

Written By – Ken Baldwin

Back and core strength are at the heart of bodily fitness. The Stability Ball can be used to strengthen your back muscles and your core fitness in a variety of different ways. When working with dumbbells or machines, you can use a Stability Ball as a bench substitute. By doing so, you are able to isolate the specific muscle groups that will be worked and focus on areas which need improvement in order to gain a more rounded approach to your muscular exercise. In addition to working traditionally exercised groups of muscles, you can even target muscle groups which you simply cannot with the same workout when using the bench. By changing the angle of your movements, you will get a better overall workout. Your overall muscle strength will also improve quicker when using the stability ball in preference to the bench style of work out.

The general consensus has been stability balls are just for rolling around on. Our eyes may have been opened a little by their use in physical therapy, however, experimentation and regular use of the stability ball to date has been fairly limited. As part of an active and full fitness regime, the stability ball can have a multitude of benefits. Here are some terrific uses for the stability ball which could add diversity, difference and extra levels of performance to your work outs!
When choosing to include a stability ball in your workout, you change your routine of exercise. Muscles which may not receive as much opportunity to be worked then others will be included when you use a stability ball. At the same time your level of balance, flexibility, and coordination will improve.

Any athlete or fitness professional knows improving these three basic foundations of body control and fitness will have a significant impact on how well you are able to perform. Another benefit is also found in reducing the chance of a serious injury occurring while you are practicing or playing the sport by employing better techniques and a higher level of sustained fitness and muscle preparation.

Stability balls can also be used in warm-ups and warm downs. The all important stretch before and after your workout will really benefit from some very simply inclusions of the stability ball. For example, balancing on it with your abdominals is a great way to stretch various muscles all at once.
If you are looking for new ways to tone and shape your gluts, the stability ball will also happily join in, and intensify the effects of traditional butt exercises. People who suffer from knee or thigh problems, or wishing to strengthen these areas can also make use of a stability ball when doing a host of different exercises including knee folds and even Pilates.

Like any change to an existing fitness regime, the inclusion of a stability ball should be done with a good level of understanding of your new piece of equipment. Even the most seasoned of athlete or fittest of people takes time to get used to the stability ball and controlling it, so do not allow yourself to be discouraged when you first begin incorporating it into your fitness regime.
Conversely, it’s important not to skip preliminary tests of your new product and incorporate it straight ahead to avoid injury. Give yourself some time to adjust to the stability ball and how it moves before you use any types of exercise equipment in conjunction with it. Once you feel confident and have mastered basic control of your stability ball, then go about introducing it to your workout routine. A little patience in the beginning will certainly be rewarded with positive results!

Stability balls offer a variety of positive reasons for including them in your workout. They help increase the intensity of your traditional exercises on the usual muscle groups, as well as reaching others which have not previously gained benefit with the same work out. They increase strength in balance and core fitness and add efficiency to your fitness regime. All sorts of exercises including warm ups and warm downs are improved when including this flexible, multi-purpose piece of equipment to your work out.

The stability ball also enjoys a long life cycle as it is adaptable to your fitness level. Through time saving, a new addition to your workout and something which will continue to challenge you, a stability balls is a fantastic edition to anyone who wishes to increase their own fitness, or see genuine results in benefits in clients to gyms, Personal Training and all kinds of coaching.


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