I’m at home all the time now. I’ve learned how to navigate my circle of friends virtually. Hell, I’ve even learned how to virtually navigate doctors’ appointments and clothes shopping (okay okay, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t really new to buying clothes online and you probably weren’t either). What has been relatively new in the world of online life is virtually meeting with a personal trainer.
In the early days of my own quarantine (which started three years ago following a pretty nasty injury), I turned to apps and online programs for fitness inspiration because I wasn’t physically able to get myself to a gym or spin studio, where before my accident I used to spend all my free time. In particular, when I was first stuck at home, I really got into doing online yoga classes. It was what I was capable of doing while I recovered. I did online yoga classes in my bathroom, so I could hang on to the tub with one hand, and the vanity with the other, for balance. Being a professional fitness instructor, I knew how to modify the material I was seeing on the screen to suit my own (at the time, extremely limited) abilities and I wasn’t afraid to do things differently if the cueing in the class wasn’t something that was within my capabilities. I also was never worried about my form, because it was something that wasn’t that new to me.
As I meet and chat with people who are now working out virtually for the first time, it has dawned on me that my own professional fitness experience made for a safe at-home fitness environment for me. That isn’t necessarily true for everyone. You may have been in a fitness class where the instructor has given you a form correction, or maybe said something to the class generally (“lift your chin, straighten your leg”) that you knew was an adjustment either for you or, for someone else who was also doing it incorrectly, like you. The app isn’t watching you. A squat isn’t just a squat. There are ways to do it correctly, ways to do it incorrectly, and ways to do it that could actually get you hurt.
One of my clients told me today that before using a trainer she was never sure if she was doing the right things with her arms. We talk about this stuff while she’s working out. It’s a conversation. I listen to her ask me important questions about movement, things that she wants to know to suit her own body and her own fitness goals. Now she knows what to do, she knows where she was previously making mistakes, and I’m watching her get stronger every day.
In my last blog post I talked about the people (maybe you) who picked up a bunch of fitness equipment to have at home, and then either didn’t use it because the world didn’t actually shut down, or didn’t know how to use it, or were intimidated by it, or a combination of all of these. That doesn’t have to be the case. A personal trainer is different than using an app or an online program, because we can look at what you have. We can give you concrete exercises to do that will work for you, we can watch you to correct for form and function so that you get an efficient work out that suits you and your needs, but most importantly, so that you don’t injure yourself unnecessarily. The best part? You learn to use the stuff you have in your own house.
Sometimes it is as simple as following a YouTube video. Sometimes it isn’t. Something to chew on anyway. Go dust off those hand weights and consider giving a trainer a call.