I've been working with a new student, *E*, for just over a month now. She's a yoga teacher & aspiring trainer, and she's absolutely crushing it. She's proof positive that when you put your body in the right context, you can see big changes in a short amount of time. I want to share with you exactly how she achieved her success. But first you gotta know the backstory. I get a little emotional when I think about her amazing process & progress, so I'll turn it over to her:"I had hit a wall with my kettlebell training. I was working hard, but I couldn’t get stronger. Couldn’t add more weight or volume. I was about to give up. I thought maybe I’m just not made to be conditioned in the way I want to be. I was also getting down on my yoga practice. After years of stretching, releasing and opening, I still had such limited mobility in certain areas of my body. I couldn’t understand why, after years of stretching and rolling out my glutes, I still had constant trigger point pain back there, not to mention a chronic tendonitis-type feeling in one of my hamstrings. I figured I’d overstretched from all the yoga, and I felt a little betrayed by my practice. Anyways, I couldn’t see how I was going to continue on with kettelbell training, let alone become a trainer, which has been my dream since I started working out a few years ago.As you know, I had always struggled with my posture, my body-image, my endurance. As a teenager, I cried the day I found out I wouldn’t be getting out of PE at my new school. I never loved the way I looked as a young woman, and spent too much energy wishing this part of my body was thinner or that part was curvier. As a new mom, I struggled with back pain lifting my babies and pushing the stroller all over Brooklyn. Then as a cancer survivor, I experienced profound suffering in my body; while I finally regained strength and learned to love my body again, I still had trouble with my mind/body connection, still had weaknesses in my chain, limitations I’d couldn’t figure out how to transcend.Basically working with you made me fall in love all over again with my work with both yoga and kettlebells! I will probably even be training in a gym sooner than I thought!I have so much more confidence in myself as a yoga teacher and personal trainer now. Now I get it--that there were plenty of places in my body where I didn’t even have neural pathways established! For example, I didn’t know how important foot strength was until I began to experience the difference myself. Here I was thinking I had this amazing foundation because of all the one-legged balance poses and all the barefoot kettlebell swinging. Little did I know, I couldn’t even lift my big toe by itself! In just one month’s time, I’ve learned so much about how joints should actually work, what kind of control you should expect to have when you are moving your muscles through joint ranges of motion. My sensitivity to certain parts of my body has been heightened. Whereas I used to not be able to exactly feel or describe what was going on, now I can begin to feel more individual muscles, ligaments and tendons moving. I can isolate more than just the major movers.Another huge breakthrough for me was figuring out how to unravel my spine. Here I was thinking my problem was that I needed less curvature there, more bracing, more tension, when what I really needed was to explore a fuller range of motion! Now I feel like I truly get the spine! I don’t have all this anxiety about working with spinal movement. I was letting my knowledge of contraindications involved with spinal movement and certain at-risk populations dictate my relationship with my spine. I had been over-cautiously projecting those on myself, thinking I would do more damage than good by exploring and challenging the range of motion between the vertebrae.Your program is definitely unlike anything I’ve ever done, and I’ve worked with quite a few trainers and yoga teachers in the past. I like to think of it as the prequel to my yoga/strength training. It’s the prehabilitation that I should have had before getting in over my head and dealing subsequently with chronic pain and the frustration of feeling stuck on a plateau. It feels like I’ve discovered the missing pieces in my experience with my body and my trainings as a yoga teacher and CPT."
She's a powerful gal, and a huge inspiration. But she isn't just lucky. She committed to a proven process, one you can take advantage of too:
1. Assess Your Weak Links
We've talked before about the dangers of guessing, and this stuff never goes away. If you don't have an accurate assessment of where you're starting from, you'll be spinning your wheels, building on dysfunction, and limiting your progress. There are numerous ways to assess your starting point. My students go through a comprehensive 4-part assessment of joint function, postural health, movement screening, and interoceptive awareness.
This allows us to take a focused look at the body's hardware AND software to develop a well-rounded program. This is by no means the only way to do it. What matters is getting it done.
2. Get Your Hardware & Software In Check
Healthy movement is a two-part equation. We need to make sure that our musculoskeletal system is free of dysfunction, and then ensure that our nervous system can communicate with it.
Want the best bang for your buck?
Focus on body awareness & joint mobility (check out my breakdown of this process on Breaking Muscle for the full scoop).
When your joints work like joints should, and your brain has a comprehensive map of your body, your movement automatically improves.
3. Embrace Variety
Here's the thing: you aren't a robot. Why would you train like one? Once you've established competency through the prior steps, it's time to shake things up. Challenge yourself with novel movements, and explore variety in familiar ones. Try this game out for some inspiration:
- Start out on all fours at Point A. The goal is to get to Point B across the ground.
- Begin to move one limb at a time. Your "last limb" (furthest back) needs to become your "first limb" (out in front).
- Tie yourself in knots, and sort out how to untie afterwards.
Your body is a complex system, built to move in complex ways through complex environments. When you only move in 4 walls on flat floors, you start to think that way too. Unbox your movement, and life takes on a whole new vibrancy.
Where do you want to be in 3 months? 6 months? A year? What's holding you back? Learn how you can make the most of your movement with a complimentary Strategy Session. Together you & I will talk over your goals and the limitations that are keeping you from success. Click here to apply now.