In this blog I want to cover a few things about what actually happens when you start training and why a few recent conversations have led me to believe that people might have the wrong idea.

If you lift heavy things quite consistently your body will have to adapt to this, structures like ligaments and tendons break down and become stronger and more durable and muscle gets broken down and often increases in size or just the ability to cope with the load. I mention this as two comments last week caught my attention “It’s easy for him as he lifts weights” “She has pain from years of lifting weights” It struck me that both of these comments are part of the same issue, as humans we look for easy ways to understand the world and we find a simple solution and attach the effect to a cause.

I have taken up swimming as I am currently injured, I can’t say I enjoy it yet but it’s a good thing to try and learn a new skill and as I was going to Arisaig for a week on holiday, I could get into swimming in the lochs or sea for a new challenge. I came home with a dodgy stomach and a general feeling of unwell. To a man, nearly everyone I spoke to attributed it to the swimming, despite there being numerous different possible reasons. No one gave it a second thought and off we went with our lives, it made me think about all the other times we do this.

In our first few weeks training people here, our number 1 goal is to not injure them. We are exposing them to different movements, different stimulus’ and intensities. If unfortunately someone does pick up an injury we always look at the 1 movement or exercise that caused it, not the years of inactivity or the day to day sitting down/weakening of certain areas. This makes it easier for people to comprehend but can be a major hurdle to convince people to start exercising. Statistically lower back pain is going to affect most of us and following a moderate exercise routine regularly is the best preventive measure but yet trying to explain to new clients that lower back soreness from exercise is a good thing is a hard point to get across.

Would you rather take your chance of having a higher risk of osteoporosis/lower back pain/ etc from not doing exercise or risk injuring yourself trying to prevent these things? It’s pretty similar to climate change, there is only two options really – Do Nothing or Do Something. The worst that can happen if you do something is that it was no help at all but surely that is better than doing something and having the worst happen?

Back to the initial comments that started this over thinking on my part, one of the great things about this job is how the body never lies. If someone is not losing weight, they are somewhere overeating calories, if the body is unable to squat or do a push up then that person probably hasn’t spent much time doing either, the body becomes fit for purpose and adapts to whatever situations you put it in.

My grandad is about to turn 85, he owns a farm and is a well built man from years of farming work, he picks up a few knocks and he ingrained in me the belief that if he wasn’t doing farming work he would be in much worse state, in a recent phone call he said he would have to call me back as he was on top of a bale. He has two fake knee and a fake hip but on top of the bale he was.

The comments are fairly common, when I mention my knee to certain groups of people they like to say things like “that’s what trying to keep healthy gets you” “or sport is dangerous” Most mean it in a jokey way but for some people that is the story that they tell themselves and it fits neatly, I might be wrong but surely how bad a situation would I be in if I didn’t try to stay healthy? How susceptible to injury would I be if I didn’t play sport? I used to joke that I was training my clients to prepare for the zombies coming, I was only half joking.

If you are reading this and thinking “I have a sore knee” “I need to be fitter before I start exercising” they are totally understandable but they are rarely going to be improved by doing nothing and if you do fail at first and hurt something, just think it’s probably not because of your attempt to do something about it. If you are over 60 and have some niggles, want to become stronger, gain confidence and learn more about nutrition then our Active 8 programme is for you.