We’ve talked about learning what your body needs as nourishment, but that isn’t the extent of your efforts to truly “know thyself.” Your body is unique in the way that it moves.
As a trainer, I feel as though it’s my job to learn about your body, and teach you how to take care of it. I’m not just an exercise guide. I’ve seen all types of bodies with different pasts, in different stages of life, and at different levels of health. I’ve studied the human body, it’s stages, phases and potential so that you didn’t have to. The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to learn more about you. Let me say that again...
The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to learn more about you.
Mentally, find your triggers, what you genuinely enjoy, where you're weak. Dig deep. (That’s a blog for another time.) Physically, yes, learn to eat the way your body needs and find that place where you feel the best, but also understand that you need to be working out differently than anyone else.
The easiest way to learn more about your specific movement patterns, imbalances, and compensations is to find a trained professional who can watch you and design a program specific to your body. However, if that’s not a possibility for you right now or something you’re simply just not interested in doing, here are a few tips.
•The machines at the gym are adjustable for a reason. If you must use machines over free weights, makes sure the red dots on them are aligned with the working joints. No red dot? Align the point on the machine where the stable part meets the moving part with the point on your body where the stable part meets the moving part.
EX: On a leg extension machine, make sure your knee is aligned with the hinging point of the part of the machine that you’re lifting with your quads.
•Practice your movement patterns such as knee dominant, hinges, horizontal and vertical pushes, and horizontal and vertical pulls from the most basic aspects of them. Find a friend who can show you the correct form, or look it up online (though this should be a last resort- the internet lies 90% of the time when it comes to health and fitness.) From there, FOCUS on the muscles you’re using, the way your joint moves, your bodies alignment, and perfect each aspect until you’ve built up to harder, heavier, faster, and more complex versions of the movement.
•Don’t just follow other folks at the gym. Chances are, they’re doing it wrong, too.
•Keep it simple. A workout doesn’t need to be an extravagant instagram model inspired session to be effective. Most of the time, you don’t need all of that extra stuff. Know the 7 movements of the body, and train them slowly, with a focused mind, while listening to your body and being attentive to how it’s feeling and reacting to how it’s moving.
7 Movements of the Human Body:
-Knee Dominant: squats, step ups, lunges.
-Hip Dominant/Hinge: deadlift, bridge, KB swing.
-Horizontal Push: bench, chest fly, push up.
-Vertical Push: shoulder press, tricep extension, military press.
-Horizontal Pull: any type of row, back flys.
-Vertical Pull: pull up, lat pull down.
-Anti Movement: (CORE) anti-flexion, anti-extension, anti-rotation, anti-lateral flexion, anti-lateral extension.
Not every exercise is effective for everyone. Our bodies will always react differently from others to stimulation, so it’s your job, as the owner of your body, to figure out what your body responds best to. Try to learn something new about yourself every single day. Before you know it, you’re living well and empowering others to do the same.