The Answer is for everybody and every body. But what does this even mean? Great question, and I have The Answer.
After several decades of working out with and training thousands of people from all ages and in all stages, I have come to the conclusion that everybody and every body are unique, and everybody and every body has unique wants, needs, and desires.
My data pool extends across 27 years, high school strength and conditioning, collegiate athletics, 30,000-plus hours of cumulative personal training sessions, and more than 1,000 different clients.
Here’s a closer look at what I have learned in my lifelong study of health and fitness.
Let’s look at the first “everybody.” Who is that? It is you, it is me, it is literally everybody. Some of my friends are working toward performing on a professional stage, some of my friends are working on rehabilitating a body part, some of my friends are working on living their best lives, and some of my friends just want to be able to get down on the ground to play with their grandchildren.
All of these goals are perfect, just like all of my friends. This just begins to scratch the surface of the unique nature of my friends. Each one of us has also had a unique upbringing, from where we were born, what year we were born in, to whom we were born to. All of these factors contribute to the unique nature of who we are and what we want, need, and desire to get out of this life.
Define: Every Body
Now let’s look at the second “every body,” with a huge emphasis on the “body.” Each friend of mine has a unique height, weight, bone density, skin tone, hair color, eye color, flexibility, blood type, metabolic rate, and hormone level. This amazing fact is one thing that makes life such a beautiful experience and working out a completely unique experience. Variety is the spice of life.
For many years I operated under a belief system that there was “a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something.” I tried to conform all my friends’ exercises to look the same, be done at the same tempo, and with the same range of motion. At first this seemed to make sense — there would be a standard to a movement— until I started becoming aware that each person I worked with had a unique range of motion that was a factor of their unique body. This factor could come from the flexibility of the muscles, the mobility of the ligaments and tendons, the length of the bones, or any past experience that they may have had that has affected their body in an individual way.
To go along with this, there are many different ways to train the muscles based on the goals each person has. Some exercises are better to be done slowly and concentrated, while other exercises are designed to be fast and powerful. The right option is the one that is designed for the way someone wants to perform, which can change from day to day, month to month, and year to year.
Through the thousands of hours, I have been blessed to train my friends. I have been asked hundreds of times, “Am I doing this right?” Over that time, my answer has evolved to what I believe today: Everybody and every body are unique, and everybody and every body has unique wants, needs, and desires, so please do what is true, genuine, and authentic to you.
There are some standard things that I encourage all of my friends to do through each movement, such as having length through the spine, keeping the head and neck in a neutral alignment, and going through a range of motion that feels good in their body. Then, I ask them how it feels in their body and what are their objectives for that day’s session.
Ultimately, my goal as a trainer is to help each one of my friends create an intimate relationship with their body. The human body is a barometer for feelings. It is incredibly intelligent, and it can help guide each one of us through life. The more intimacy that I create with my body, the more joy and fulfilment I receive in each aspect of my life.
By setting an intention going into each workout, I am able to identify what my body wants, needs, and desires to get out of the training session. Sometimes it is fast and heavy. Sometimes it is slow and steady.
A Common Ground
Now that we have covered how each one of us is unique, let’s shine some light on how each one of us is the same. We can all benefit from a healthy mind and body.
A strong core and lower body strength is valuable in all aspects of life. The professional athlete needs it to perform the quick, explosive moments that are often asked of the body, and the grandma or grandpa need the lower body and core strength to work in the garden or pursue anything in their life with ease.
This is why I love to utilize The Answer Movement in all of my training programs. The Answer Movement lengthens the spine, strengthens the core, and empowers the quads and glutes, all while allowing me and my friends to “stand up for greatness” — something everybody and every body can benefit from.