MOVE BETTER, LIVE MORE, and survive the Zombie Apocalypse (or how I came up with my fitness philosophy)

While being interviewed for my first position as a personal trainer I  was asked what my fitness philosophy was. At the time… I remember being stumped.

I had grown up always being active and fitness was a part of my life. As a child I was a competitive gymnast, later I would go on to study dance… I surfed, rock climbed, hiked… for me, movement was an integrated part of my lifestyle, and I knew no other way.

So when I was posed with the question, “what is your fitness philosophy?”, I realized at that moment, that I had never really given it much thought. I did know that I believed in movement and I thought being able to move and move comfortably was important to me, so I’m sure I answered with something like, “I think people should stay active to be fit, so that they can get the most out of life”.

I was hired for that job and I began my career as a personal trainer.

As I started training, I continued to think about that question I was asked “what is your fitness philosophy?”.  What was it that I wanted for my clients? What did I believe in and what was my motivation?

I had come to the fitness industry because… well, I had been encouraged to do so. My years of being a gymnast had given me a strong and sturdy build, and I was often asked by random strangers if I was a personal trainer. Friends of mine would also try to get me to work out with them, so I guess that I heard this frequently enough, that the idea was planted into my brain, and eventually those small thoughts manifested into a career.

Before I worked in the fitness industry I waited tables. On more than one occasion, I was a asked by a customer  if worked out, or where I worked out. Often times I was asked by a young male… who I suspected had other questions on his mind that went along with that… and not just his curiosity as to how I got so strong. Hmmm. So, out of my own amusement I began to answer this question with a very straight face and serious monotone voice… “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m just trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.”(zombies were all the rage that year). The person who asked the question typically did not know how to respond to this (unless of course they were awesome and shared my hilarious sense of humor), and I always got a kick out of it.

Point of this story is… when I really did start to work as a trainer, I thought about the fitness level that it would take to actually survive the zombie apocalypse and decided that this was an excellent measure of fitness! If I could get my clients to be able to run away (cardiovascular endurance), climb a fence, lift their own body weight up (pull up), be strong enough to catch themselves from a fall (push up) or pick up a fallen comrade (dead lift)… then we would have achieved this great goal!

However, once I had a little more experience working with people, a variety of people,  from the elderly, very overweight, pregnant women, and those recovering from injuries, I began to come up with a new philosophy.

Though I still liked the idea of being able to survive the zombies, what I now really wanted was to just improve the lives of my clients. For many of my clients… performing the tasks in an apocalyptic world, were just too out of context or at the time unrealistic and unnecessary.

My senior clients needed to work on balance, flexibility and coordination… to ensure that they would have many more years of being self-sufficient. My clients who were overweight, needed to start moving in ways that eliminated pain, to get to the place where they could begin to move better and then move more.

In addition to working with my own clients, I witnessed poor form amongst many other gym goers and sometimes would hear stories about how they had suffered injuries due to their poor form.

I became aware of how important form and body awareness were for everyone. I recognized how nit-picky I was about form with each of my clients. I understood  that for most of my clients, a goal more relevant than surviving the zombie apocalypse, was just surviving their daily activities. I became increasingly passionate about working with my clients, and taking them from where they were… to where they wanted to be… a place where they weren’t hindered by their movements. A place where they could be victorious and look forward toward the next goal.

feeling strong today!

feeling strong today!

So… this is how my fitness philosophy actually came to be. Not only did I just want people to move, but to move better with the best quality.. to provide a lifetime of movement. Because when we can move… we can be self-sufficient, we can be strong, we can enjoy life to the fullest and not be limited by our bodies. And if we so choose, we can climb… heck, we could even move mountains (or larger boulders at least?).

So live your life to the fullest, thrive not survive…. unless of course there is a zombie apocalypse… in which case, survive that!!

MOVE BETTER. LIVE MORE. (do it now. don’t wait)