page contents

When it comes to Fitness, be a Jack of all Trades

I didn't know how to start this blog so I will be blunt and straight to the point: I joined a local Pilates/Yoga studio for a month. 

But my social media and advice tend to be about strength training and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Even when I do core work in my classes, they know it's only a matter of minutes before the intensity increases once again. 

So why did I join the classes? 

Long term goals. I love training. I love working out. I like doing core work... if it has some sort of external strength component. But I find it incredibly difficult to sit still for 50 minutes to 1 hour and working on the core (if I'm making it sound like pilates/yoga are easy, they're not). 

I know that my weaknesses are inner core strength and flexibility and that I need to make it more of a priority than I currently do. Plus it is nice to get to switch off for an hour and let someone else take over a session. 

Do I think Pilates or Yoga is the best way to train? Maybe - although it absolutely sucks for the WhatsApp Fitbit group challenge (6 lousy points for 50 minutes work!) Actually, for me and my personality, it's far from the best way to train. However, for you, it all depends on what your overall goals and what you enjoy doing. I know how they fit into mine at the moment. I doubt it will be a long term thing. As someone who has suffered from lower back and flexibility issues (click here for exercises you should be incorporating in your training if you do suffer from pain in your lower back), I know how this type of training can help me with my own personal goals that I have laid out for this year (more on that in a future newsletter). 

Having spent the past 10 years qualified as a Personal Trainer, constantly learning and travelling to learn more about the benefits of strength/resistance fitness and training and putting those principles into practice, I know they work. I've seen them work on countless others over the years. But it doesn't mean that they are the only method. 

To have a true fit and active lifestyle, I believe your training should involve elements of all the different types of training. A little bit of cardio (running, cycling and/or swimming). Definitely resistance training of some sort (gym, bodyweight exercises). And movement, core and flexibility training (yoga and pilates). 

In my 6-week Personal Training Challenge, I incorporate all of these elements into the training. In the first week, most struggle with the single leg deadlift exercise. Over time, their core works more and in conjunction with their leg strength to maintain stability. The exercise is also the cause for the most frustration during my warm-ups. It helps people to switch on and prepare for what is ahead, in my opinion. 

Try to incorporate all the elements of fitness into your training and you'll feel much better for it. From there, aim towards your fitness goals.

If you are in the gym. Start with your full body warm up and then do the bigger muscle group exercises first such as your squats/leg press (they require more energy and effort) They are usually referred to as compound movements, which means they involve more than one joint. From there, work on your small muscles and have some core and flexibility training in there too. I like to add a bit of cardio at the end with a HIIT finisher to get the heart rate up and finish strong. Don't forget to include the breathing we talked about in last week's newsletter at the end.

I break down the type of exercises to include in a weekly programme a little more in a previous episode of 'Fixing Pops'.  

Here's a sample Full Body workout from that if you wanted to do it all in one session:

Squat: Kettlebell Goblet Squats 
Hinge: Hip Bridge (Or Single Leg, if too easy) Extension 
Lunge: Walking Lunges
Pull: Any Row exercise - Bench Single Arm Dumbbell Row would be a favourite of mine
Push: Any Push Ups variations or Dumbbell Presses.
Carry: Farmers Walks (Grab two heavy dumbbells and walk slowly with shoulder blades pulled back).

You’re never going to be the strongest person, the fastest person, the leanest, the most mobile etc. If you think this sounds like a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, just know that you’re forgetting the most important part of the quote:

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”