Something of a rant here as I have had this conversation now twice in the last ten days, once with a client and once with a friend. They asked the same question “you work out five days a week don”t you?” When I said “no I am happy if I get three workouts a week in” they both had exactly the same reply which was “thank goodness, there is hope for me!”
How sad is that! This is the message the fitness industry is sending to people? That unless you are a hardcore, exercise fanatic, willing to dedicate an hour a more a day five to six days a week, don’t bother because your efforts are not good enough? The constant message is that they should never give up, that pain is good, the only good workout is the one where you workout till you vomit or are so weak you can barely move and it goes on and on and on, we have all seen the endless social media posts like this. We are supposed to be celebrating our clients acheivements not telling them they are not good enough because it does not fit some preconceived notion of what we think they should be doing , or how we or some professional athlete works out or that they don’t look like a picture of a hyper ripped fitness model. In a nation where over 50% of the population is overweight we need to get people moving in any way we (safely!) can not terrorize them with workouts beyond their initial abilities and unrealistic expectations of results.
The health benefits of just getting people moving consistently are very well researched and aquatic exercise is particularly well placed to get people going, many exercises not available to deconditioned or sedentary people on land can be achieved in the water, not to mention all the new research on the beneficial effects of water on dementia, Alzheimers, arthritis and rehab clients. We build strength, increase flexibility and improve cardiovascular fitness in the pool.
So lets get real, let’s tailor our programs to suit our client’s abilities, let’s celebrate the small successes on the way to the major ones. Let’s believe our clients when they tell us they don’t have an hour a day five days a week and design programs to suit them and their ultimate goals. Our clients do not have to be exceptional to be successful, they need to keep moving and regard movement as fundamental to a healthy and successful life and we are in the unique position of being able to encourage them to follow this path.