Play's an integral part of our program at AIM and there's so many reasons why. We all have fond memories of our childhood, growing up playing games, mucking around with our mates, or participating in team sports (for fun or competitive reasons). These activities help to shape us into the people we are today. When I think back to my childhood memories, all the good times revolved around playing… Running around the house with my little brother getting up to mischief (pretty sure we both dreamed we were going to be professional wrestlers at one point). We made friends around the neighbourhood by participating in games of football, cricket or whatever else was happening at the time. It was playing these team sports (rugby in particular), that helped me break down the language barrier, helping me make new friends when I moved to boarding school in the UK. It played such an important part in making connections and developing friendships. Play is in our DNA! It allows us to be creative, help us develop our imagination and dexterity while building physical, cognitive & emotional strength. It’s only through play that we start to learn to engage & interact with the world around us. Sadly, this innate behaviour is being lost and with it all the great stuff play facilitates for us to grow as better humans. It’s easy to sit back and look at some of the reasons behind this loss. For most it could be due to lack of environment. It could be that our culture doesn’t encourage play – it simply isn’t something adults do! Physical benefits are routinely measured by numbers or acquiring certain skills – reps, sets, load/weight, body composition, skills. There is no metric for play, which may be a barrier for some. For few, it could boil down to lack of confidence and/or little to no physical preparedness – unaware or uncoordinated, lack strength or mobility, or the possibility of injury. There’s a saying – "stiff minds lead to stiff bodies." To me, these are the very reasons we all need to PLAY! “You don't stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.” Play in our species has been a vital part of our success. It allows us to better connect with ourselves; to connect, engage & interact with others to develop social & emotional intelligence; to explore, articulate & express ourselves 😊 PLAY is such a powerful tool, it: Drives activity that helps maintain and develop motor skills. We play to develop skills and movement capabilities (speed/agility/athletic performance). Facilitates social bonding and can help with stress management. Research indicates that certain forms of play serve to lower stress hormones and help in developing cognitive and creative skills. There is a large volume of evidence-based research that has found a state of play stimulates the production of our feel good hormones. Play increases endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that … [Read more...] about Play: Use it or lose it!!
We always get asked about AIM's Method to building strength. Turbocharge your gains by getting the basics right with these 8 simple rules. Our quality of life and movement is dictated by our physicality. The benefits of being strong are well known, documented, and understood. Being able to have the strength to physically express ourselves is a right everyone should strive for. We often get asked: How do I build killer strength? What is the best exercise to build strength? Can you write me a strength program? The truth is, there are better questions to ask. I hate to admit the industry is saturated with ‘experts’ boasting a proprietary system and secret formula to achieving killer results who would love to direct you on what to do. At AIM, everyone has a personalised program and we do the basics consistently and with intent. For us, the priority is educating our Tribe and arming them with the knowledge of their own bodies and fundamental movement principles so there's much more ownership and accountability for the work being done. Always supported by great coaching too, of course. So, rather than answer the questions above, I've decided to share the fundamental rules we work to at AIM that are going to help you achieve awesome results in your strength training. If you understand what's needed for you and you apply them consistently. I trust they'll help you in the long term. 1. Understand your structures: If you don’t understand how your body moves then the world's best techniques, programs, methods, and systems are going to be irrelevant from a performance and longevity perspective. 2. Appreciate coordination: You simply can’t strengthen things you can’t coordinate. Understanding your structures helps with this. 3. Time under tension (TUT) and Eccentric (negative) loading: This is the actual strength-building component of any movements that cannot be ignored. 4. Mobility is ability: You can’t build strength in the range of motion you don’t have. “Sadly the industry is saturated with 'experts' boasting a proprietary system and secret formula to achieving killer results. At AIM, we do the basics consistently and with intent.” – Vik Hawksley 5. Less is more: Adding more variables, making things more complex, chasing bigger numbers… this isn’t always best idea. Strip it back. 6. Stop copying others: They don’t have your structures, you don’t have their coordination, awareness or mobility… This is only going to get you so far (normally ends with disappointment and/or injuries). 7. You are never good enough to skip the fundamentals: The world’s best movers, athletes and performers still do their basics, so should you! Warm up, prepare, refine and keep developing your techniques to your movement vocabulary. 8. Listen to your body: Pay attention to that niggle! Learn to slow down. Missing a session, resting for a week or more is not the end of the world! I'd love to hear from you if you have any questions or … [Read more...] about The 8 Rules of Strength
Einstein said, “doing the same thing but expecting different results is insanity.” I’ve learned the hard way that there is never a perfect time to start. Today is as good as any other day… We should always aim to be better than yesterday. Remember that progress is success. Success in anything takes time, commitment, dedication, hard work, and most importantly patience. To set myself and AIM Tribe for success, we revert to 18 Simple Rules… These rules have fueled our development physically, plus mentally and emotionally too. They have been refined and evolving for over 10 years. Have yielded quality results. They're rules that are simple but often not easy… Follow and implement these rules to set yourself up to be the best version of you, today! Start with WHY – be honest and clear on why you want to train Mobility is ability – you can’t get strong in range you don’t have! Have FUN – if it isn’t fun then you’re not going to be doing it for long! Consistency over intensity – Stop thinking about how hard you can go this week… start thinking long term. Get coached – don’t be scared or afraid to seek and ask for help Move well first then Move often – understand and lay a solid foundation before jumping to higher-level work Eat – stop paying attention to the newest diet… start with eating real and quality food Get tribal – be in an environment of like-minded people who support and challenge you Patience – Rome wasn’t built in one day. Be patient and consistent. What gets measured gets managed – keep a journal, do/redo tests, track you progress and know your numbers Variety is spice of life – try new things, learn new things and challenge yourself Too easy – if your training isn’t making you uncomfortable every so often then it’s not right for you! Breathe – you can stretch, strengthen or condition yourself but learn to breathe Play more – it’s the highest form of research Paralysis by analysis – stop over thinking and start taking action Stretch – do more of it! Take responsibility – you only have one body and you’re in charge of it! Step into the cave of fear – Expose yourself and your weaknesses to grow yourself. If you have any questions or need any help, get in touch! Exercise is optional, movement is essential, Vik. Want free play sessions and exclusive invites to events? Enter your details below and we'll send them straight to your inbox. Follow Facebook Instagram Youtube … [Read more...] about The 18 Modern Principles for Strength, Mobility & Longevity
5 non-negotiable questions to consider when looking at group training options to set you up to achieve killer results. Not all group training is equal! These days most people invest time and energy in their health and fitness to look after themselves. We dedicate time to get and keep the body composition at the desired state, get strong, improve our cardiovascular fitness, maybe try to make mobility gains and perhaps use exercise as a mindset tool to keep us sane 😉. But here’s the problem; everyone’s short on time. Trainers can qualify in two weeks with what seems like a diploma from the back of a cereal box in some instances. Plus, there are shedloads of information available on social media on what to do (most rubbish, some good!). Going to the gym can be intimidating, full of big egos and everyone looks like they know what they’re doing, although I’m not convinced they all do! Enter group training 😊. Training in a group can be so much better than by yourself – right? You have the convenience of choosing from allocated times where the workout is planned for you, there is a trainer to guide you, plus more people means extra support, push, and motivation to do better. Often you get to be part of an awesome community and it can be cheaper than working one on one with a coach. With so many group options available, how do you choose? To help those who are committed to being the best version of themselves here are 5 non-negotiable questions to ask: 1. Quality – what is the quality of information and work? Ensure the information provided is good, the trainer explains the movements and feedback is provided. We recommend no more than 12 people per trainer to ensure the information is not diluted due to large group sizes. Ensure the focus is also on form and not just counting reps and sets and keeping you moving. 2. Personalised – are the movements progressive and personalised to your current abilities? Is their periodic testing to track your progress? We all have different body types, move differently, and are at different levels. Why would we rock up to a group fitness class and do the exact same workout as 20 other people? If so, you’re not maximising the results from your efforts. Yes, it’s a group session but just because you’re training with others doesn’t mean your progress should not be measured and tracked. Look for training options that program progression options during the workouts and track your strength, mobility, and body composition progress. 3. Education – Are you being taught how and why you are being trained rather than just being shown what exercises to do? Understand the why behind your training to help you keep the quality of your training super high. Also it’s becoming more common for training facilities to offer much more holistic health and lifestyle education as part of your training. Nutrition, stress management, time management and relaxation techniques can all help you achieve not only your training … [Read more...] about 5 Quick Questions to Achieve Life Changing Results In Group Training
Why Strength and Movement are key elements of the AIM Method.. At AIM, we do not conform to the typical fitness industry regimes and we are passionate about education. We set meaningful intentions. We teach our TRIBE the WHY before showing them strategic steps to reach these intentions. We use conventional ways to train but apply unconventional ways to teach, empower, practice and move. We do this through the AIM METHOD which has strength and movement as the foundation of our training methods. So what do strength and movement mean to AIM and why it is such a vital part of our method?... Read on 😊 Strength Strength is and always will be an integral part of our method for a number of reasons: Performance: Your size, speed, power, and endurance are all dictated by your strength, and more importantly your ability to perform everyday tasks. Health: An improvement to health increases the function of your immune system, boosts your metabolism while lowering blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stress, anxiety and so much more. Body composition: – We all want to look good naked! How about prolonging aging or illness associated with ageing? Do you want to have a good quality of life in your golden years?! Building, maintaining, and sustaining muscle mass while keeping healthy levels of body fat is the key! We are upfront about strength – our objective is not to be the strongest or the biggest. We do not claim or train to break records. Here at AIM, it is more important to be able to transfer or express the strength gains in a variety of ways rather than just saying I can lift X amount of weight. This does not mean we do not challenge ourselves or lift heavy!! We use a number of creative bodyweight weight and strength work drills – imagine pulling or pushing yourself on gymnastic rings, doing handstands, levers, etc. We do not simply use a barbell (hands down the best strengthening tool for the lower body) to slap more weights on to see how much we can lift or to show how strong our clients may be. At AIM, we focus on how well we can move under or with an external load. “We believe you have to implement strength when movement is the focus and you have to implement movement when strength is the focus – they are equally a priority for us” Movement Due to modern technology, environment, stress, and poor habits we have limited ourselves in being able to express ourselves through movement. It is a common occurrence for people to walk around very restricted or in pain. Doing simple tasks like hanging, squatting, or touching your toes are difficult and painful. Basic abilities like coordination, reaction, and balance are being diminished due to a lack of complex and skilled movements. People are so out of tune with themselves that something as instinctual as breathing is restricted causing a whole host of issues. We observe many in the community who are not happy with their quality of life right now – … [Read more...] about STRENGTH & MOVEMENT: A Winning Recipe
A lot of people, especially women but lots of men too, find the chin up or pull up elusive in training. Vik shares how the AIM Method simplifies the process and makes it in reach... Being able to pull up or chin up your own body weight is considered a standard benchmark of upper body strength. It shows you are strong and able to handle your own body above the bar or rings. You look and feel powerful when you get up there, who wouldn't want to defy gravity!? 😊 Pull ups are used in training to build a strong and sexy back however the benefits they have on your health and quality of life outside of the gym are far greater (and in my opinion more important) than having great looking shoulders and back! A lot of people, especially females struggle with this movement because of lack of strength, mobility, poor functioning + de-conditioned shoulders, lack of grip strength and/or poor connective tissue (tendons/ligaments/muscle) health. Now there are a lot of Tom, Dick and Harrys out there who’ve graduated from ‘YouTube University’ who claim to know various secrets or have the latest short cuts to getting you stronger! We at AIM don’t have any secrets or magic sauce… just the knowledge and experience to break it down to simple progressions and help everyday people hit their chin and pull up goals. We get clients over the bar not only for the first time but building up to reps and sets. Once you attain that first chin or pull up, we progress to higher-level work like the archers pull up or muscle up. With that in mind, I'd like to introduce Gail in the video below, her goal has been to defy gravity! Gail started her journey by simply developing grip strength; her connective tissues and the overall health + function of the shoulders improved leaps and bounds because of this. Laying solid foundation takes time but pays huge dividends as it has been easier to build strength and the result within 9 months she got her first chin up. This feat didn’t happen overnight and is still a work in progress. Below in the vid is where is now + one of the phases from her strength training sessions last year. I want to share 6 key components of building a chin up we’ve used with her (and with all of our clients) in the hope it gives you the inspiration to start your journey to defy gravity, build/maintain a healthy shoulder, or for it to be helpful to get over any plateaus you may be going through with you quest to get that first chin up 😊. 6 key components to build to a chin-up 1. Hang out One of the first steps to your first pull/chin-up is getting comfortable just hanging from a bar/rings. Not only is this great for shoulder health and to decompress your spine, but it will build up your grip and forearm strength. Ensure the shoulders are fully relaxed with the chin resting on the top of the chest (a passive hang). Initially, this may be really uncomfortable for people with really tight shoulders. Target: Build to 3-5 comfortable sets of … [Read more...] about The Secret to Defying Gravity
Strength training is simple, but why do we find it challenging to build strength? Vik shares his thoughts and experience... The notion of being strong appeals to most people, even my grandma 😊. There are many reasons why someone may aspire to grow stronger. Typically, this is because of physique and/or performance aspirations that we have. AKA to look good naked or to optimise how we perform given tasks whether that be in a sporting environment or day-to-day living. Getting strong is simple. So why isn’t everyone walking around a super-strong man or woman? Here’s what I’ve come across are the 7 most common reasons why people aren’t getting stronger: 1. Lack of clear intention and unrealistic expectation Saying you want to get strong is a good start but you need to have clear objectives and a plan or method in place to achieve this. Be clear on which movements you wish to gain strength in and in what time frame. Then you can map out other movements which can be worked on to supplement your priority movements. E.g. Wanting 3 pull ups by December 2021 is measurable VS wanting to get stronger in pull ups is not!! Just because you’ve printed a strength program off the internet (I’ve been guilty of this when I was younger) that some jacked up dude has used isn’t going to make you stronger! Have you factored in that you can’t train 10-20 hours each week? Be realistic; you may go away on holiday, work or family life can get in the way. All these variables have to be taken into account to set yourself a realistic expectation of your journey to getting stronger. 2. Moving poorly There could be a number of reasons you’re moving inefficiently; lack of mobility, poor technique/incorrect mechanics or muscle weakness and/or imbalance. This is where 90% of us have trouble! Lots of people get stronger initially by just powering through a movement but there is no hiding from technique in the long run if you want to keep progressing. More importantly, if you don’t address these issues early on you will suffer with muscle imbalance which with increased load and volume over time, results in pain and an injury. E.g. Squats are a great strength builder but majority of people don’t squat correctly. They lack mobility in their ankles and hips and most also have weak glutes which means adding weights or continuing doing just squats is a recipe for disaster! Focus on learning and work on fundamental movements to move freely, strongly and pain-free. “Building strength is more than just training pull-ups, squats, or deadlifts...think more holistically about your training and how your training fits into your everyday life. Consistency is king (or queen!). Have good awareness of your weaknesses, program to those weaknesses and leave your ego in front of the mirror at home.” 3. Doing what you love and not what you need to be doing! Yes…everyone has their favourite movements that they love doing so they tend towards these in the gym. BUT this … [Read more...] about 7 Common Mistakes in Strength Training