There is nothing better than when your eyes fill with sweat. Lying on your back, gasping for breath, utterly exhausted. “Mission accomplished,” exclaims your personal trainer.
There is however, a slight misconception that this is what fitness needs to be and it’s how we achieve the body of our dreams. If you’re a career professional who balances career with wellbeing, your training programming needs to evolve past the old ‘flog and log’ model we constantly see.
Athletes vs Regular Trainers
Athletes and those professionally fit, such as personal trainers and models, have lifestyle priorities that maximise return on their physical performance. Priorities dictate that time be spent on adequate nutrition, rest, mobility and rehabilitation work – all choices geared to enable a high physical output.
For many that inundate social media, they are also in their physical peak, that is, the 18-30-year-old group. Those that are fit as a professional have different priorities and commitments than those of the corporate professional.
As a young gent, competition and physicality is built into our DNA. However, as a young corporate professional, striving to earn more and improve one’s trained abilities, our competitive focus and lifestyle priorities change.
Trappings Of A Corporate Routine
Mental performance day-in-day-out within an office environment, coupled with social lives, means rest, rehab and nutrition often take a back seat to the economics of the office.
Changing our focus from a physical to a mental performance means we need to change the way we see our exercise regime.
Due to the nature of a career lifestyle, be it sitting for 10-plus hours a day, late nights working, social drinking, chronic stress, or skipping meals for meetings, our body reacts differently to exercise.
We don’t recover as quickly. We get tighter through the hips, back and shoulders and our cells use energy differently.
Inevitably professionals must manage an array of degenerative effects caused by office life.
Limited time in the gym, sedentary tightness through hips, back and shoulders, sub-par nutrition and less time spent on rehabilitation from training means the training we are doing is having a much more profound physiological effect, exhausting our bodies.
Failing to match training habits to office life will end in injury or burn out. Commonly we see asymmetry as the biggest cause of injury. Habits such as talking to a colleague on one side, or sitting cross legged tightens the body in one direction.
Trying to lift more with ineffective mobilisation of tight muscles and activation of weak muscles will sacrifice technique and eventually lead to injury.
Further, constantly pushing to get it done at 100% leads to coping or numbing mechanisms which are usually detrimental to our goals, pushing us backward. This could be a sign of gym addiction.
A Smarter Solution
Now whilst the large majority of overweight professionals need to harden up and train more, those of us that do enough activity already, need to listen to our bodies and match our training to how we’re feeling. If you’re feeling tight, do mobility work.
If you’re feeling tired do something routine and less intense. If you’re feeling good then work on your weaknesses and then lift the intensity.
Train within your means and train as a means to improve your health.
Jordan Ponder is the founder of Paramount Recreation Club and Transform Health in Sydney, Australia. Transform Health has been created to inspire habitual health and improve performance. Contact Jordan to arrange a nutrition, fitness and lifestyle consultation.