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!!
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
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