Fitness Boxing

“I’d really like to get back to boxing,” she said. “It was my favourite form of cardio. I think if I could do that, then I’d really feel like I’d made some progress.”

I have a strained relationship with what passes as “boxing” in the fitness industry. I almost feel visceral pain when I see inept personal trainers having their clients spaz out on pads or on the bag with horrific technique. When I see them getting their clients to soccer-kick the bottom of the bag, or kick the pads when they’re being held on the wrong side of their body I feel like I die a little inside.

I’ve deliberately moved away from the “fitness boxing” or “women’s kickboxing” scene. While at first I saw it as my “point of difference” and marketed myself as a PT who could hold pads, I quickly became disillusioned by the clientele it attracted. Once upon a time, Muay Thai meant everything to me, and it pained me to whore it out and see it reduced to a calorie burner for people who only saw technical instruction as an impediment to the flailing of limbs that was making their “fat cry” in their quest for the perfect “bikini body.”

But I’ve gotten to the point where I may no longer be able to contain myself. Today, an intelligent, educated, driven, successful client with balanced, healthy, realistic goals asked me to start holding pads for her again because it was something that made her feel strong, healthy and powerful. If I say no to that, I’ve really missed the point.


Why I Do My Job

Nothing makes me happier as a personal trainer than seeing a client make progress. The most meaningful progress can’t be neatly summed up with a before-and-after pic on social media. The most meaningful progress from my perspective is an improvement in quality of life. Today I was privileged to witness a long-term client able to push herself to near-failure on the lat pull-down machine. This is significant because, in the space of a few months, she has gone from being in constant pain due to muscular dysfunction in her upper traps and exercising purely to rehabilitate this dysfunction, to being able to explore the limits of her strength with functional, integrated muscle recruitment. In simple terms, it means no more sleepless nights with headaches and back pain, not needing to see a physio multiple times a week, and being able to consider exercise goals beyond pain management.

Moments like these are the reason I do my job.

Effective Goal-Setting

Are all goals created alike? Setting goals effectively can help you to reach your destination and develop a sense of competence, where setting them ineffectively can set you up to feel overwhelmed.

Part of my work as a specialised exercise trainer requires me to help people to identify their values and define, refine and specify their goals. Here are some basic tips that I often use in this process.


Why Today’s “Women’s Fitness” Industry is not Fit for Women

Said everyone who has spoken to a memberships consultant ever!Those of you who know me or follow my blog will know that I have major issues with the “women’s fitness” industry. Although I love working with women and I love empowering people to discover the benefits of health and fitness, I detest the people and slogans who are intent on telling you, my sisters, all about how insecure and intimidated you are and why you need to hide from your male comrades in pink weight-rooms filled with hydraulic machines. Don’t even get me started on “women’s kick/boxing” classes. (Do you want to know the difference between men’s and women’s combat sports? Being a female combat sports athlete means you need to work twice as hard for half the respect and maintain supreme mental focus and a super-effective strength-training regime just to keep up with everyone else in the gym. Still want to do “women’s kickboxing??”)

I think what irks me most is that competitive sport and even simple recreational physical activity was once a right that was denied to women. Like so many other things that we enjoy today due to the courage and persistence of our fore-mothers, we tend to take this for granted today and even slide back into a sort of complacent inferiority complex because it’s “easier.”


What Muscles Are You Using? Activation, Inhibition, and Why Not All Squats Are Created Equal

Knowing which muscles and movements you want to exercise, and being able to choose the right exercises to do so, are important whether your goals involve sculpting, sporting performance, injury rehabilitation or just general good health. Most people can make common-sense decisions about this – it’s not difficult to conclude that one should do squats to target glutes, quads and hamstrings, for example.

But how do you know that the muscles you are targeting are actually active and functioning in the right way during your exercise?

Although your squat may look the same as anyone else’s in the mirror, it’s possible that your muscles may not be activating correctly, or in the correct sequence, in order for the exercise to be as safe and effective as it needs to be. This can happen in any exercise or movement, but for now let’s use the squat as our example.