Hey team, this is Nicole here from the Pretty & Powerful Channel. I hope you're enjoying our podcasts. I’ve had a lot of fun giving you information and sort of delving into my fitness journey a little bit.
Today we’re sort of going into how it is to be a little lost when you first start your fitness journey. I remember when I first started lifting weights, and I touched on it on my first podcast; I talked about how bodybuilding was everything to me. I would sit on Bodybuilding.com and I’d be watching videos, and I’d look at pictures, and I’d read all the stuff that they wrote about. Whilst it did teach me a lot, I had no idea of how that ended, the rest of the story.
It had its place but I kind of fell into the track of relying on weight training. You know all those scenarios: bodybuilders don’t do kayak, bodybuilders don’t do this, bodybuilders don’t do that… I enjoyed what bodybuilding had to offer and what it does to the body but I got so caught up in that and that sort of wasn’t able to see what else was on my horizon. It wasn’t until years down the track that I tried different things and sort of realized, hey, it’s not right or wrong.
It doesn’t matter - do what you love, do what you feel like doing. If squatting today is what you want to do, and then if tomorrow you want to go and swim, do that. Because while some people may say don’t do cardio, don’t do this, don’t do that, it doesn’t matter - it’s your journey. It’s really easy to get stuck on other people’s journeys; you start kind of watching all those things or think this person does this so I’m going to do that and you sometimes forget why you started your journey. So, just be true to yourself and do what makes you happy.
Another important tip that I heard…I’ve known a bodybuilder called Danielle and I loved her, I loved her when I started my fitness journey. I think it was because she was a chick. Bodybuilding was kind of a guy sport and she was killing it and she didn’t care about what anyone else was doing…. she wasn’t girlish, she never went and got fake boobs when all of the others girls did. She is so stuck to her values and I was like “This is me and this is who I am.” One of the tips she had was that if you don’t feel any exercise, don’t do it. Just because someone said that if you want to have good quads you have to do squats for instance. If you don’t feel them, if for some reason your quads don’t want you doing that exercise and you really can’t feel that mind-muscle connection during that exercise, then don’t do it. You know maybe you’ll feel something else more than somebody else does.
So, you just have to get to know your body. I sort of touch on this mind-muscle connection and it’s super-hot when you first start. I remember working with a trainer that was laughing at me because she would tell me to squeeze a muscle that I didn’t even know existed. Squeeze my what? You know I didn’t know what she was talking about. So, that’s another cool thing that lifting weights teaches you, it gives you that mind-muscle connection and the more you train, the more you develop it. This is why I often advocate scaling the weight back and just really concentrating on technique - doing that correct and proper. Again, that’s why in all of my videos that I am doing for Pretty & Powerful Channel we’re taking those big lifts – your squat, your bench and your deadlift - and we are learning that proper technique. How my body should feel and how we need to always stay tight and our chest should always be up. Things like that are so important because they will carry over in every other exercise that you do. If you can start to understand those fundamentals of lifting you will be able to do all those other exercises, those other accessory exercises are so much better and if you can do the exercises as well then, you’re going to get the maximum benefit from them.
Like we said, just stick on your journey, decide what is it that you want to do. I mean far out I’ve gone from home classes to bodybuilding training, doing fitness shows, to powerlifting to be back in group fitness. I always lived my life in a full circle. It was because, at that time of my life, that was what got me to the gym and got me to do my workouts. So, if life is stressful and that is what it takes to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do, and that you’re still getting to your goals, then do it. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says, it’s all on you. Going back to technique, there are things that you can even practice at home or in everyday life. For instance, you should be practising even when you’re sitting on a dining chair having your chest up. Your chest should always be up, back nice and straight - it’s going to be so much better for your back.
I see so many people in the gym since I manage gyms and I talk to a lot of people every single day, and everything is always about fitness because that’s where we are. People say they have these pains in their backs, and knees are so common also, and it’s just through having poor technique and not ever having anyone there to teach them.
I think sometimes maybe people’s pride gets in the way and obviously, sometimes money can be an issue and that’s fine but that’s why Personal Trainers are here - we’re trained to teach that proper technique. I suggest getting one at least to learn those basics.
Some tips on how to find a good PT. Firstly, I would watch them. What I do in my gyms to make sure I stay on top with our PTs is to make sure that they are being the best coaches to our members as much as possible by just sitting back and watching. While you’re doing your training session, watch how they interact with people. You know, are they drinking a coffee while they are training a client, are they texting when they are supposed to be training a client? They are all red flags you don’t want to be giving that person your money. The other thing is you could find someone that matches your personality. We all know you we get along with some people and we don’t get along with others. They need to really understand your goals and that can be quite difficult sometimes. You need to speak up. Question everything, question why do I need to be doing that, or why should I pull like that, or why should my hips move that way? Understand it yourself because education is key - if you can educate yourself, you’re self-sufficient.
Another thing I would look at is their training background. I think that’s super important because that’s what you want with your goals. If you’re working with a trainer that comes from a background of sprinting but you want to become a powerlifter he is probably not the right trainer for you. You want to learn the technique like we’ve been doing in our videos, going back to basics and stripping back and getting to the technique of the lifts. If lifting is part of your goals then make sure your trainer comes from the lifting background. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a powerlifter, it might be an Olympic lifter, like someone that is focused solely on those lifts, he is going to be the best person for you. Most PTs will offer a free consultation. Have a consult with them and make sure that they understand your goals and maybe what your budget is and any constraints and that will help to get you on the right path.
I think for me, my style of training changed and my perception of training changed when I did powerlifting. It made me focus on technique, understanding the muscle, warming up the muscle and getting your foundations right. I’d never really done many bodyweight exercises but they come into play a lot with powerlifting.
I learned to appreciate those sorts of exercises and doing things without any weight. If you go back and think about it, your foundation is keeping you standing upright; if the stance is really strong, imagine how much weight we can deadlift or bench or squat. And if you can lift more weight, we’re putting our muscles under more load so we are going to do more damage to muscles, then we are going to build more. It’s all a flow-on-effect.