“The fact is that I would like to be in shape, yes. But every time I try to do it something goes wrong and prevents me from doing it. For clarity: every time I try to get in shape I get injured,” acknowledges the American writer Nora Ephron in her book I don’t like my neck: and other reflections on being a woman. There is a classic comedy, full of entanglements, that is reminiscent of this time of year: When September comes (1961). The plot takes place on the Italian Riviera where Robert (Rock Hudson), a New York businessman, only goes to the gym in September. There he meets Lisa (Gina Lollobrigida), with whom he has a relationship and they only meet one month a year. For many, the same thing happens with the gym: they only see each other in September.
It seems that, with the beginning of the course, the time comes to make an effort, try, crowd the reception of sports centers, search for information on the Internet, sign up for classes, start plans and hire services to improve physical fitness, but A large part of the users who start do not make it to the following June. Remember this: for the gym, the best customer is the one who pays and doesn’t go. That is why it would be important to manage your impulses for change so that this does not happen.
When September arrives, you may think about resolutions and repeat the following phrases to yourself: “I’m starting to train now” or “today won’t happen.” But in front of this start, a counterpoint: “I don’t enjoy exercise”, “I know very well everything that sport can give me, but I hate it”, “I don’t have time” or, as in the case of the writer Nora Ephron , “I spend time getting in shape, until I get injured.” This is reality and turning our backs on it would be telling a fantasy story.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 60% of the world’s population does not do enough physical activity, which can cause serious health consequences. Each year, between four and five million deaths could be avoided if everyone was more active. There is no strict definition of what constitutes a sedentary lifestyle, but researchers have some metrics to measure it. Spending four to six hours sitting or lying down (awake) would be considered sedentary, studies show. If this is your case, the challenge would be to enjoy exercise, to make it part of a daily habit and, for this to happen, you can start by analyzing the main reasons for abandonment:
- Activities inappropriate for sedentary people are chosen. Someone who begins training without proper individualization and planning will likely end up exhausted, sore, or injured. How are you going to want to continue?
- The false expectations. What many people imagine does not correspond to the results. There are those who think that they will train and achieve a certain state of fitness. When he fails to do so, he becomes frustrated and gives up. Before and after photos are not usually a good reference, although they are often used as a lure to get clients. Each user is different and, depending on their characteristics and conditions, they will obtain some results or others.
- The dangerous search for shortcuts. “Miracle” methods, those that promise quick results with little effort, proliferate like mushrooms in the fall. In training there are no methods with their own name, only science; To apply loads correctly, obtain results and for the body to generate adaptations (for example, improve strength, resistance or body composition) it takes time.
Choose a personal trainer
“So far, in terms of injuries, I have achieved the following: a strain in my lower back from doing squats; a dislocation of the right hip from running on the treadmill; a tibial periostitis from going for a run,” Ephron describes in his book. Why could this happen to him when he started training?
If you want to solve a stomach problem, go to a doctor who specializes in the digestive system; If you want to learn how to eat in a healthier way, you will make an appointment with a nutritionist dietitian. The question is, what if you want to start doing physical exercise? Ask a professional in the field for advice. An Instagram or YouTube video is unable to assess your joint health in detail, analyze your health history and adapt your training to your life circumstances (and not the other way around).
Studies admit that individual personal training would be an effective method to change attitudes and therefore increase the amount of physical activity. Imagine that you want to buy a suit: You buy one in a large store and another is custom-made. Which one will suit you best? Personal training would represent that tailored suit. The best exercise is the one you do, to do it well and maintain it beyond September you could count on professional help. You could pay attention to some aspects, such as, for example, that a personal trainer must be authorized by law and, if possible, certified. Each autonomous community has its own regulation, but in all cases it is necessary to have an official qualification, and in practically all the autonomies said qualification is the Degree in Sports Sciences, without prejudice to the deadlines and moratoriums that these regulations establish for the competency accreditation processes through professional experience.
In fact, the figure of the personal trainer is conceptualized in these regional regulations as a specialty of the professional figure of the physical trainer, with its dual orientation towards health/recreation or towards sports performance.
For your health and safety, you must have your liability insurance and professional training up to date. If a personal trainer does not meet the legal requirements of his or her autonomous community for the exercise of the profession, in the event of an accident, civil liability insurance could be waived. Training a person requires knowledge in physiology, biomechanics, and training methodology. Not everything goes. If you have any pathology, try to turn to a professional specialized in it. If in doubt, consult your professional association.
- Look at your training, how you work, and your sources of information. Look at how you treat your customers. Visit your facility and pay attention to your room. Your work desk can tell you a lot: What are you reading or studying? What books do you have? Is it tidy and clean? All of this can help you in your choice.
- Social networks are just the tip of the iceberg. A striking Instagram profile is no longer a mere showcase. Look for your membership number, degree and resume. In person or online, conduct an interview with the professional and see how he or she performs nearby. Look for people who inspire you (more than influencers) or professional companies – with a good reputation -, not characters.
- Beware of free services All work should be paid. If you offer a free service, you are the product.
- The personal trainer should be a traveling companion, not a superior being that you should imitate. A professional who takes care of him in each of his vital stages, without blaming him or judging him. People’s lives are not flat. You will adapt the exercise to you and not the other way around, so you will be able to maintain it, whether you are on the crest of the wave or at ground level, through healthy expectations: flexible, realistic, without a calendar or comparative photos.
- Network effect. Teamwork is essential. Pay attention to the network of professionals around you and to whom you can be referred: cardiologists, physiotherapists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists… Be wary of those who know and cover all disciplines.
“Now I’m back to exercising. I have a coach. I have my treadmill. I have a TV on top of the treadmill. “I exercise almost four hours a week,” continues author Nora Ephron in her work I don’t like my neck. If you know the health benefits of physical activity (cardiovascular, body composition, strength, autonomy, prevention of different types of cancer, diabetes, mental pathologies…) and you would like to obtain them; Give it the opportunity, count on a physical activity professional. Together they will find a way so that it doesn’t happen to him like in Hudson’s movie and he only visits the gym when September comes.
From the theory to the practice
- Bet on safety and avoid injuries. Before purchasing the latest model of sportswear, undergo a fitness examination by a doctor in a clinical setting (not a gym). This should be the first step before practicing any physical activity.
- A person, a context, a training. Without assessment, there is no prescription. Playing sports for someone who is just starting out can seem like a world to them. It is not simple, each individual has different needs: pathologies, preferences (there are people who do not find moving interesting). Avoid comparing yourself to anyone. Prior to prescribing exercise, an objective assessment should be carried out (using a test) on the state of your joint health, your habits, preferences, context and needs in order to design a sustainable program over time.
- Prioritize yourself and put order in your agenda. Find a space for your self-care. If you don’t find room for health, you will have room for illness.
- At home, outdoors or at a sports facility. Find your site. Where can you train best? What is most comfortable for you? If you decide to train at home, ask for advice on what equipment you need and find a “healthy corner” to store it. We are used to having a space in our home for books, clothes, kitchen utensils… Why not set aside a place to store your exercise equipment?
- Better accompanied. Invest in your health, ask for professional advice. You will achieve efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability in your training. You will begin an educational process, you will learn how to take care of yourself, you will enjoy moving more and better. You will acquire judgment.
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Source: EL PAIS