Conversations with my clients often get me thinking and inspire me to write something that I believe can help others. I had a client recently who came and said, in her words, “everything hurt.” This wasn’t typical for her. She said that she had done a popular online training video. I won’t say the name, but the title leads you to believe that you’ll be able to comfortably and confidently hang out on the beach showing off your new body after doing their videos. Too obvious?
My average clients are a lot like me. Women in their 40s to 60s who care about their health and do their best, but life gets in the way, and we aren’t as totally fit as we’d like to be, but we try hard. The idea of donning a bikini and going to the beach looking like a 20-year-old? Not gonna happen. It doesn’t mean I won’t be able to don a swimming suit and have the time of my life on the beach. I will just look different from when I was in my 20s. That is just a fact. I can get super fit if I eat right and move well, but I will still look different. (I can thank my 9 lb baby son for that!)
These super popular glamorous videos attract our attention with super-fit men and women leading the exercises, which is nice to watch but is misleading. They make us think that doing what they are doing will make us look like them. You probably won’t. I’m not saying my client thought this, but those videos are popular enough that she trusted them to help her workout and create a fitter body. Instead, she hurt everywhere. What she said next prompted me to write this post: “but it was a beginner workout.”
What is a beginner workout? That really depends on a lot. She said the training included burpees. Uh, burpees in a beginner workout for a woman in her 40s with a desk job? If you don’t know what a burpee is, check this out. *This is not the company she was using, by the way, but they show a beginner version of a burpee and then show the advanced. They do not include some information that is very important to teach a true beginner.
If you are truly a beginner, you need to warm up before doing something like a burpee. People who work desk jobs get very stiff in the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, etc., basically everywhere. Videos like this also often fail to mention how exactly your body should be positioned when doing certain moves. For example, they don’t mention where the shoulder blades should be during the plank phase. After talking with my client, she said she couldn’t move her neck the next day. When I showed her where the shoulder blades should be, she reacted with an “oooooh, yaaaa, that’s not what I was doing.”
Here’s the kicker (haha, pun intended). Even worse than practicing poor alignment is using momentum when doing an exercise like this or any exercise if you are a beginner. Momentum often leads to injury in people who are out of alignment, weak in certain areas of their body, especially the core or don’t really know how to do the exercise and are just trying to keep up with the video or the class. To avoid situations like this, make your movement mindful.
What is mindful movement during exercise? When I lead a class, which is usually full of beginners, you will often hear me say to find your stability before moving. That is often followed by the cue to use your muscles to move you, not momentum. This should be true in yoga, natural movement, and any other fitness class. (Except maybe this.)
Mindful movement doesn’t mean you can’t work out, sweat, and get stronger and more fit. It means you do it at your true level: working on your body alignment, then your mobility, then your strength. If you are out of alignment and have limited mobility, you can hurt yourself by asking your body to do something that requires a lot of strength and momentum. That’s when people get frustrated and just quit or can’t continue because they are injured.
If you are truly a beginner, work with a fitness teacher or coach that understands your body and your limitations and can help you at a true beginner level.
Use this code to try my Rebuilding Class: BEGINAGAIN.
You’ll find the workout here: https://mayerwellness.offeringtree.com/online_store/rebuilding-a-functionally-fit-body
If this workout matches your true beginner level, you can check out my other classes and packages here: Mayer Wellness & Myofascial Release – Home (offeringtree.com)
My expertise is fascia. The fascia surrounds everything in your body, including your muscles and other body systems. When you move, live, and work out with your fascia in mind, you’ll feel better and function better.
Think fascia first. It’s your move!
Amy Mayer OTD, OTR/L, RYT, MCT