Category

Movement

Sit Fit Training Ideas

By | Movement

By Kathleen Trotter, PTS

A small and lightweight tool that can give your clients more practical results for their balance and foot proprioception.

About Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter holds a masters in Exercise Science, is the author of two books including the new book Your Fittest Future Self, and is a Personal trainer, Nutritionist, Pilates Specialist and Life Coach. Visit her at KathleenTrotter.com

Twitter: @FITbyKathleenT

Instagram: @fitbykathleent

Facebook:  FIT by Kathleen Trotter

Movement of the Month: Gluteal 3-Way Roll and Activate

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

2020 has absolutely proven to be extremely challenging for our industry, no doubt, but that said have WE been resilient through-out the entire ordeal!

Like our previous edition of the Movement of the Month, this month I also wanted to provide you with a combination of movements to help address one of the most problematic areas of the human system, the hips – more specifically the gluteal muscles.

When we consider the enormous amounts of sitting, driving, and standing it’s no wonder we haven’t had more issues. COVID only added to the issue of being static and with the holidays around the corner we’ll all be doing more sitting on our butts, no doubt.

Let me begin by first clarifying the functions of the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles. Glute max extends and externally rotates the hip, while the Glute med extends, flexes, internally and externally rotates the hip. You heard correct; it has fibers that allow it to do this. As you can see, if these muscles aren’t operating correctly, they will have a HUGE impact on the hips. They affect your gait, how we absorb and transfer forces, movement, and posture to name a few.

Prior to movement we begin with tissue work (foam rolling) in order to prep tissue and muscles for movement. When performed correctly, this process allows fluid to run between the tissues and fibers allowing for more efficient sliding. Sticky tissue creates heat, hence adhesions, leading to impaired movement and possible injury. But that’s not the only reason to apply tissue work! All this work leads to better performance, creates more awareness within the body, increases blood flow through the area, in turn helping it heal and recover faster, pre and post workout. Get rolling!

Lastly, activation. This is performed in order to bring those muscles back “online” for them to fire at the appropriate times. Sequential Muscle Firing is the term we use to describe this. Remember; What Fires Together/ Wires Together. If muscles are not firing sequentially, then this is an indication that the workload is being off loaded to other muscles…as in being over worked. This means decreased performance and increased chance of injury.

Exercise Execution:

Watch the videos provided. As a note, please remember that intention does change the outcome. Like all movement and exercise we should ALWAYS be in the moment, in the NOW. for best results.

Exercise Protocol:

3-way Glute Activation: Hold each movement for 10 seconds, repeat twice.

Glute tissue work: Perform any “rolling” technique for approximately 30 to 60 seconds per side.

Perform any cross-friction four to five times per side.

Perform any rotations two to three times in each direction.

Perform hip and knee flexions two to three times per side. Details also provided in the video.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how? Connect with me at: quantumhealthcoach@coachkennedyonline.ca.

About Coach Kennedy Lodato

Coach Kennedy Lodato is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro.

Coach Kennedy has occupied the positions of personal trainer, sport conditioning coach, and personal training manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year, and the recipient of the canfitpro Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year 2019.

Coach Kennedy is also the founder of Quantumhealthcoachkennedy, co-founder of QHI-Quantum Health Institute & Quantum Training Systems (more to come on that) and is currently doing his BHS- Bachelors in Holistic Sciences to become a board-certified Holistic Health Practitioner as well as currently practicing Bioenergetic medicine. Next steps: complete his Masters and PHD at Quantum University in Natural Medicine.

Movement of the Month: Child’s Pose with Under/Over Reach

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

This month I’m going to jump straight into it, but just before I do let me just remind you of a few things:  texting, social media scrolling, computer work, sitting or standing for long periods of time, driving, and the list goes on, are all positions that contribute to that hunched over, forward head position, shoulders rolled in, traps elevated type of posture. That Kyphotic spine. Functional Kyphosis.

This month it’s a two-part movement: Child’s pose with single arm alternating reach AND quadruped position with alternating under-over-reach. Both are excellent movements to help initiate movement in key areas. Our focus here is thoracic, but also benefits the hip and ankle complex. Other benefits include full body integration, spatial awareness, and nervous system preparation.

What exactly is our Thoracic spine? The thoracic spine is located in your mid-back/mid-spine and consists of 12 thoracic vertebrae. The spine consists of seven cervical, 12 thoracic, five lumbar, five sacral, and finally your coccyx. That vertebra on the back of your neck, look down and feel it, that’s cervical number seven. Next one down is then T1 (thoracic 1), and so on down the line.

What’s it’s function? The thoracic spine can flex, laterally flex, and extend as well as rotate in both directions. For purposes of this article let’s look at lack of flexion and rotation. From a neutral position, we have about 35 degrees of flexion, 25 degrees of extension, and about 36 degrees of rotation based on the fact we get about three degrees of rotation from each vertebra. As a side note, our lower lumbar spine gets about two degrees of rotation, so we could rotate up to about 45 degrees in total. Think about looking over your shoulder, your blind spot when driving.

What can happen when it’s not functioning properly? The obvious is injury, eventually, somewhere along the kinetic chain, the weakest link. Slower recovery, reduced performance, inefficient movement/wasting energy, and of course it will also impact how quickly one can achieve their goals, regardless of what they may be. And finally, also consider it’s affects on walking and running. The thoracic spine needs to rotate in order to help absorb forces as well as express them. If it’s not performing optimally it impacts the entire human system.

How does it affect our movement, breathing, and recovery? Due to the limited range of motion, we loose the ability to perform every day functions optimally; walking, turning, shifting, bending over etc. It’s important to work towards achieving optimal range of motion and that sliding affect of tissue.

As for breathing; kyphosis creates a compression in the diaphragm by restricting  its ability to operate optimally. This creates a “mouth” breathing affect because you’re unable to take in enough oxygen through your nose – also known as “chest” breathers. You see a rise in the chest area as opposed to the mid section, diaphragm. This puts our nervous system into flight or fight, and in this state we DO NOT recover. Why? Your body’s main purpose here is safety, it thinks it’s in fear and needs to fight or flee.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this; it’s not about the movement; it’s about what that movement accomplishes that matters most. In other words, it does not have to be fancy, it has to serve a purpose, not be performed for circus.

Exercise Execution:

Watch the videos provided. As a note, please remember that intention does change the outcome. Like all movement and exercise we should ALWAYS be in the moment, in the NOW. Just going through the motions, unfortunately, just isn’t enough.

Exercise Protocol:

Each movement is performed for 30 seconds per side (if performed individually), or for 60 seconds when performed as alternating movements.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how? Connect with me at: quantumhealthcoach@coachkennedyonline.ca.

About Kennedy Lodato

Coach Kennedy Lodato is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro.

Coach Kennedy has occupied the positions of personal trainer, sport conditioning coach, and personal training manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year, and the recipient of the canfitpro Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year 2019.

Coach Kennedy is also the founder of Quantumhealthcoachkennedy, co-founder of QHI-Quantum Health Institute & Quantum Training Systems (more to come on that) and is currently doing his BHS- Bachelors in Holistic Sciences to become a board certified Holistic Health Practitioner as well as currently practicing Bioenergetic medicine. Next steps: complete his Masters and PHD at Quantum University in Natural Medicine.

My Top Six Outdoor Winter Training Tips

By | Movement

By SGT. Ken Weichert

  1. Find the forecast. Although weather forecasts are never exact, you will at least have a better understanding of what to prepare for by checking the climate conditions before you brave the cold. Consider what temperature it will be, the wind chill factor, and the length of time that you will be outside. Your body is more vulnerable to the potentially perilous effects of cold weather if you happen to get wet in any way. Additionally, any exposed skin is susceptible to frostbite while in critical cold weather conditions.
  2. Dress in layers. Exercise activities produce heat and provide the sense of being warmer than you actually are. Tight or thick clothes hold in heat and will not let your body cool properly. The best defense is to wear thin layers of synthetic materials as your base layer. This will allow you to shed the sweat away from the body. Utilizing thin layers of clothing also provides you the opportunity to gradually pull off what you don’t need in stages. Use a thicker material, such as wool or fleece, as your middle layer for needed insulation. Finally, use a waterproof but breathable fabric as your outer shell. Try to avoid cotton. Cotton fabrics tend to remain wet against the skin during exercise. Most of all, it is always best to experiment with your clothing defense strategy to determine the best type and amount of clothing to use for your future outdoor exercise activities.
  3. Protect your extremities. Cold weather will cause your body to focus on blood flow to the core. This means that your extremities, such as your head, hands, feet and ears, are more vulnerable to cold weather. Be certain to wear dry-wicking materials with insulation for your extremities. You may consider a neck and face covering to defend against possible frostbite.
  4. Stop the sunburn. You can still experience sunburn in the heart of winter. The snow reflects the sunlight, increasing the chances of overexposure to unprotected skin. Personally, I apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 45 to any exposed skin, as well as a lip balm of a 15 or higher SPF.
  5. Hydrate habitually. Winter winds have immense drying power. Drink more fluids than usual. When exercising outdoors, I consume 16 ounces of room-temperature water 30 minutes before exercising, and drink eight ounces of water every 30 minutes. Drinking enough fluids during exercise helps improve heart function, maintain kidney function, and regulates the core temperature of the body. Dehydration can stress the heart and reduce the ability of the kidneys to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes. A good way to determine your level of hydration is to monitor your urine. It should appear to be lighter than lemonade and never dark and cloudy like apple juice. Athletes may want to take mineral supplements such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium to prevent cramping.
  6. Stay on safe surfaces. Know your terrain, wear boots or shoes that include adequate traction, and place your feet solidly with each step you take. Pay careful attention to patches of black ice. You may consider using hiking poles for added balance and support.

Make your days at home an opportunity for you to win the war against winter weight gain!

Get access to other free workouts, training and tips at: waterrowerfitness.com/canfitpro

Hooah!

Warning: Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have prior to commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or short of breath.

About SGT Ken®

Ken Weichert (aka SGT Ken®) is an award-winning international speaker, six-time US Army Soldier of the Year, Master Fitness Trainer, Master Resilience Trainer, Counterintelligence Agent, decorated combat veteran and canfitpro Delegates’ Choice International Presenter of the Year (2017, 2019). Ken’s personal mission is to help people turn stress into strength and obstacles into opportunities through physical and emotional resiliency coaching and leadership training. Ken serves as the Director of Programming and Education for WaterRower®. For more information, visit sgtken.com.

 

Winning at LIIT

By | Movement

By Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

When I gave birth to my first child in 2005, I was looking at different options on how to lose weight. It happened to be around the time that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts were becoming increasingly popular. So I spent 20-40 minutes doing HIIT workouts three times a week. I ended up losing 60 lbs. in six months! It was a game changer. I found something where I didn’t have to spend hours in the gym, but could still burn a crazy number of calories. I now try to incorporate HIIT into my group and private fitness classes as much as I can.

HIIT continues to be one of the most effective training styles used by individuals, personal trainers, and in group fitness programs all over the world. It can be incorporated in a spin class, using a rowing machine, using weights (like dumbbells or kettlebells), or by simply exercising without any equipment at all.

There’s a stigma that HIIT is all about cardio, but it also helps to add muscle and eliminate stubborn fat. The base formula is the harder you work (the higher the intensity) = the higher your oxygen intake = the higher the number of calories you burn. The combination of short bursts of high intensity exercises of 20-90 seconds with rest periods of 10-60 seconds in between help burn more calories both during your workout, but even better, for a period of time after your workout is complete.

For most good things, there’s always a “but” not far behind. As efficient as HIIT is, most of the exercises are usually high impact and include a variety of jumping. This can cause wear and tear on the body, leading to injuries in the muscles and joints. The general rule is “everything in moderation”. That also goes for HIIT. Using my background in Kinesiology and personal training, I have modified HIIT in my classes and training to minimize the risk for external pounding or jarring on the joints. This makes my classes more accessible to clients of all different levels, providing everyone the benefits of boosting their endurance and increasing fat loss. Clients get to grow at their own pace and choose the level their body can manage that day.

The modifications I’ve incorporated include low impact exercises or LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training), which has been proven to have a positive effect on clients. Don’t underestimate the acronym. These exercises can still achieve a high calorie burn workout. Examples of low impact exercises I use include the inchworm, modified power jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, and knee drives. Clients often associate low impact training as a “light day”, which is far from the truth. You can still reap the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting benefits of a HIIT workout with low impact exercises. If the intensity of your work-to-rest ratio is right, and the intensity of your workout is high enough, you can burn an equal number of calories. Just keep moving!

I believe part of the responsibility about being a personal trainer is to bring all possible solutions and methods to our clients, educating them and breaking stigmas. This includes meeting them where they are and leading them through their own path of progress, not to perfection.

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve included a quick 20-minute LIIT workout you can share with your clients or try for yourself.

Instructions: Do each exercise listed below, performing each move at maximum intensity for 45 seconds and follow with 15 seconds of rest by stepping side-to-side or walking around the room to catch your breath. Complete four total rounds.

Inchworm

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at sides.
  2. Hinge forward from your hips and place palms on the mat, bending knees as needed to reach hands to the floor.
  3. Walk hands forward to a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  4. Walk hands back to feet and hinge from hips back up to stand.

Modified Standing Jacks

  1. Stand straight with feet together, hands at sides.
  2. Step to the right and bring both hands above the head.
  3. Bring right leg in, lower arms and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the left leg, alternating sides.

Modified Mountain Climbers

  1. Start in a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  2. Step left knee in towards chest then step it back.
  3. Repeat with right knee, alternating back and forth.

Skaters

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides.
  2. Step back with left leg into a diagonal lunge.
  3. For added momentum, swing left arm in front of front knee.
  4. Come back to start position, repeating on the other side.


Squats

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward.
  2. Keep weight in heels and hinge at the hips, bend the knees, and sit down and back, keep head and chest up.
  3. Push through heels to come back to the start position.

About Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

Adenike (Nike) Charles is the owner of JUST2SWEAT studio where faith and fitness transform lives! She holds a BSc in Kinesiology and a Minor in Sports Medicine and is a canfitpro PTS. Nike thrives on seeing people living healthy and active lives. Connect with her @just2sweat on all social media platforms.

Movement of the Month: Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

It’s no secret that COVID has caused much stress, put many into mental states of “fight or flight”, affecting our breathing patterns and our health. So, in light of this, I thought it would be appropriate to offer up something this month that could assist everyone with their health and wellness.

What is Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing? Simply put, using your diaphragm to breathe, not your chest (more details in the video).  And, as the name suggests, it’s performed in a supine position.

Why perform it? Where do I even begin!  I could take you down a long crazy rabbit hole, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything, so I’m going to give you an analogy to put things into perspective. Please note that this does not apply to high intensity exercise. Why? Because we expect to see the chest moving to assist with breathing during recovery after high intensity exercise.

Consider this; breathing from our mouth or chest breathing is more indicative of being in “fight or flight”, or more representative of hyperventilating. In this state, the body – your nervous system more specifically – has one purpose, to protect you, PERIOD! What’s the issue? The issue is that in “fight or flight” your body will NOT heal, systemically or physically. Ever wonder why an injury or illness never seems to get better? Consider their state. Consider how you breathe. Consider what part of the nervous system it’s in.

And, just to pique your interest, when we’re in fight or flight our gut also stops producing HCL- hydrochloric acid. Why does this matter? You won’t be able to properly digest your food, which can lead to digestion and gut issues. We have a nerve called the Vagus nerve that runs from your gut (hence that “gut feeling” we get, it’s real) to our brain.

EXERCISE EXECUTION:

STEP #1: In order to provide you with the best possible execution for Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing, I’ve given full instructions in the video provided.

KEY POINTS: Diaphragmatic Breathing can be executed anywhere, but I highly recommend it’s done in a quite place with minimal noise and eyes closed. Visualization, concentration, and focus are KEY factors in making this as affective as possible. Remember, just going through the motions does not work. VISUALIZE, CONCENTRATE, AND FOCUS.

EXERCISE PROTOCOL:

Supine Diaphragmatic breathing is performed for approximately one minute, but of course can be performed for up to 2-3 minutes. Each breath is 11 seconds in length. We perform a 5 second inhale, 1 second pause, and finally a 5 second release. Five rounds of breath are about one minute.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how? Connect with me at: kennedy@coachkennedyonline.ca.

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one-on- one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops, and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy.

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year Award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute.  www.KennedyLodato.com and www.quantumhealthcollective.com

 

Producing Results with Resistance Bands

By | Movement

By Sam Hurley

Are you looking for a fun, safe, and accessible way to produce phenomenal results for your personal training clients? Adding resistance bands to your arsenal is exactly what you need to give their training program a big boost.

In this post, you’re going to learn how to correctly add resistance bands to your workouts so you can produce astonishing results for your clients and add value to your training programs.

Do Resistance Band Workouts Really Work?

You may be wondering whether or not resistance bands are useful for building muscle. It’s okay to be skeptical because how can a few oversized rubber bands do this? The truth is, resistance bands are not only great for improving athletic performance and aesthetics, but they also help with rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Resistance bands are lightweight, multifunctional, and suitable for beginners. People suffering from muscle injuries tend to use resistance bands to regain strength without causing more damage.

Since they are light and easy to carry around, resistance bands are perfect for home and gym workouts. By adding resistance bands to your training program, your clients will have a more diverse workout routine and ultimately get better results.

Choosing the Right Resistance Band

Adding resistance band workouts to your training routine is surprisingly simple. There are a few different kinds of bands, which all have their uses and benefits. For therapy, you’ll want to choose a simple, flat band. If you’re using resistance bands for your strength program, go with ones with handles, as they are more user-friendly.

After deciding which kind of bands are right for your clients, choose a set with various tension levels. Typically, companies sort their resistance bands by color. Darker colors usually have higher tension than light, but make sure to check the band itself.

The right tension depends on the workout. For example, if you’re having your client do a chest press, they’ll need more tension than for a bicep curl. Too much tension isn’t ideal because it limits their range of motion. The goal is to challenge your clients without sacrificing good form.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common resistance bands.

Loop Bands

Power resistance bands, or loop bands, are one of the most versatile bands you’ll find. These bands are especially great for bodyweight exercises such as dips, pull-ups, etc. You can also use them for full-body circuits and physical therapy.

Key benefits of loop bands:

  • Low impact
  • Increased mobility
  • Hypertrophy
  • Agility and coordination
  • Explosiveness
  • Muscular strength and endurance

Tube Bands with Handles

Colorful resistance bands isolated on the white background.

If free weight exercises dominate your training program and you want to spice it up, tube bands are the way to go. One fantastic feature of tube bands is you can practically hit every muscle group. If your clients don’t have access to a full gym or want to train at home, these are the ideal bands to go with.

Key benefits of tube bands with handles:

  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Burning fat
  • Increased range of motion
  • Low impact

Mini Bands

Like loop bands, mini resistance bands are thin, flat, and carry a lot of resistance. Mini bands do great work for the lower body. You can use them for a plethora of leg workouts, including lateral band walks, clamshells, standing glute kicks, etc.

If your clients want to improve their calisthenics, mini bands work well for assisting with things like push-ups, handstands, and muscle-ups.

Key benefits of mini bands:

  • Toning legs
  • Balance and stability
  • Hip activation
  • Flexibility
  • Low impact

Are Resistance Bands Better Than Weights?

Any good trainer knows that it’s all about diversity. While both free weights and resistance bands have their advantages, incorporating them both into your training program will maximize your client’s results.

If your clients are completely new to exercise or have any injuries, perhaps resistance bands are a better way to start. However, even advanced athletes can benefit from resistance bands.

Final Thoughts

Resistance bands are a safe and inexpensive tool for improving your clients’ strength, mobility, and aesthetics. Whether it’s a pull up band or booty band, getting your clients to burn some rubber is going to make you a better trainer.

About Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a fitness writer, personal trainer, and marketer based in Boston, Massachusetts.

7 Tips to Avoid Injury When Returning to Exercise

By | Movement

By Claudiu Popa, PTS

After a period of inactivity, or simply when following an entirely different routine, the absolute last thing you want to do is to invite injury by being too ambitious. As with anything else, planning matters:

  1. Give it time.
    Plan to give yourself six workouts (or a week) to get back into the groove. That way you spread out your ‘comeback tour’ and defuse all that pent up ambition.
  2. Jot it down.
    Whether doing it for yourself or creating a program for others, sketch it. Write down the story arc of your next two weeks of workouts and distribute the progressive intensity across that span of time.
  3. Manage expectations.
    Whether you plan your workout the night before or immediately preceding an exercise, visualization is an important tool in seeing yourself ‘do the thing’. The only difference is that instead of the traditional imagery that helps to ‘pump you up’, this is intended to keep you thinking about form, breathing, and careful execution.
  4. Just go through the motions.
    Do the opposite. That careful execution is your spatial awareness of muscles and joints, contraction and extension, balance and imbalance.
  5. Check your status.
    As you progress through a workout, stretch key body parts and recover between sets, keeping an eye on your pain levels and any tightness you might be experiencing. A quick self-check can help prevent the need for a lengthy recovery.
  6. Add tension and intensity.
    Set your sights low, but aim high. Gradually ramp up your performance as you warm up and regain confidence. Just take it easy.
  7. Stick to the compound exercises.
    We won’t be going for our one-rep max anytime soon, but that’s no reason not to recruit as many friendly muscles as you can muster. Avoid isolation exercises, at least for the first couple of workouts.

Keeping these simple tips in mind will help you to successfully regain your strength, free of injuries and preventable setbacks.

For more tips, check out my article on managing a safe return to the gym, planning and performance.

About Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS

Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS, enjoys strength training and fitness conditioning, specializes in older adult fitness, appreciates working with exceptional clients and collaborating with outstanding professionals. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at Claudiu@WorkoutSmart.ca.  Be sure to follow him at twitter.com and on www.WorkoutSmart.ca.

Creating Fitness Spaces that Support Gender Inclusion and Gender Inclusive Language

By | Movement

By Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed.

Over the years, I have worked with PT clients who shared some of the challenges they navigate when entering fitness spaces. Individuals who are Transgender* or Non-Binary** have shared challenges accessing gendered*** spaces, like change rooms or washrooms. There is also frustration when fitness professionals use gendered language, more specifically, when instructors and trainers default to using masculine language like “guys” as a term to refer to mixed gendered groups.

Our society can make this process of gendering seem normal, primarily for individuals that fit, or closely resemble traditional gender norms. For those that do not, or choose not to fit traditional gender norms, the process of gendering people, places, and things can be alienating. The process of gendering also perpetuates gender stereotypes and biases, which in turn can lead to gender discrimination and harassment.

Society’s perceptions on gender are always shifting. More recently, these shifting perceptions have resulted in a movement – first away from the use of masculine terminology as a universal descriptor, to the inclusion of masculine and feminine terms; and more recently away from binary masculine and feminine terms towards the use of gender inclusive language.

According to the United Nations, “gender inclusive language” means “speaking and writing in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, using gender-inclusive language is a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias.”

Many are aware that gender inclusion includes respecting chosen pronouns. The concept of gender inclusion also envisions environments where individuals are free to express their gender without prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. In Canada, the Federal Government and all provinces recognize Gender Identity as a protected social category. Gender inclusion also requires fitness professions to deconstruct the ways in which they view gender and how these biases are communicated.

Check your gender bias and say what you mean

I facilitate a workshop activity where participants are invited to share the words and thoughts that come to mind when they think of the words “masculine” and “feminine”. Some of the words participants share (like masculine = home; feminine = strong) consciously challenge traditional ideas of masculine and feminine. However, other words (masculine = strong, tough, aggressive; women = soft, delicate, gentle) reveal how unconscious gender bias has invaded our thoughts.

Unconscious gender biases also filter into how we work as fitness professionals. We use gendered language to describe objects – for example, we may encourage a female client to grab one of the “women kettlebells”. Or, we gender gym equipment – for example, viewing the hip adductors or glute machine as being “for women” and the bench press as being “for men”. We modify our expectations based on gender – for example, pushing men to lift heavier weights while providing modifications to women. This type of thinking is a disservice to our clients, by limiting potential and increasing risk.

These types of actions also reinforce stereotypical gender biases (men = strong, women = delicate). These types of gender biases also exclude gender diverse individuals by reinforcing a rigid male/female binary. Fitness professionals that are unaware of the experiences of gender diverse people can unconsciously say or do things that could be considered harassment on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression.

Some possible suggestions include:

  • Instead of assuming someone’s abilities based on gender, try checking in with the individual
  • Instead of providing options by gender (“Men should be using XX weight and women should be using YY weight), try providing options by other criteria – by the participants’ weight, by intensity level, by experience level, etc.).
  • Instead of using pictures and videos of men demonstrating exercises, use images/videos featuring individuals from all genders.

Language matters to individuals that are transgender or gender non-binary; but it also matters to women, men, and other individuals. Using Gender inclusive language and becoming gender inclusive benefits everyone.

Focus on using the language that reflects the ability level of the individuals and expanding your gender framework, and you have taken an important first step towards becoming more gender inclusive.

Key terms

*Transgender describes individuals who are not comfortable with, or who reject, in whole or in part, their birth assigned gender identities. The word transgender is generally viewed as an umbrella term that unifies people who identify as transsexual, transgenderist, intersex, transvestite or as a cross-dresser.

** Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary people may identify as having two or more genders (being bigender or trigender); having no gender (agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois); moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); being third gender or other-gendered (a category that includes those who do not place a name to their gender).

***Gendering is the assigning or attributing of a gender to someone or something; division, classification, or differentiation according to gender.

About Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed.

Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed., is an experienced facilitator, educator, and certified personal trainer. Adam has over 10 years of experience in personal training, education, and community healthcare. Adam has wide and ranging experience working with diverse populations with unique needs, and supporting individuals and groups to create inclusive environments.

 

Movement of the Month: Lateral Push-Up

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

There is a saying that I am sure most of us have heard: Necessity is the Mother of invention.  If you have not heard it before, it simply suggests that when something becomes necessary we find a way to adapt. We find a way to create new patterns, methods, and tools in order to fit our needs. Pretty smart!

For example, if we look at the change in the fitness industry since March, clubs, personal trainers, group-x instructors, suppliers, and consumers have had to change, pivot, and adapt to the current situation. No gyms, no studios, social distancing, etc. We have all had to figure out new ways to train our clients and ourselves.

And truth be told, I think it’s a great thing! It has forced EVERYONE to become uncomfortable and really find better ways to accommodate clients.  The industry, you, and I have had to become EXTRA creative due to the limited resources and world circumstances.

This leads me into our Movement of the Month: the LATERAL Push-Up. Why? It is remarkably effective, it is DIFFERENT, and it is easy to perform anywhere – indoor and outdoor – and it offers core benefits because of the constant isometric contraction held while shifting.  We all know that proximal stability offers distal mobility. If we are stable in the center, then our bodies and our nervous system allows us greater freedom with our range of motion. It also means we can put more force through the body…greater strength gains, better endurance gains, better weight loss outcomes, and decreased chances of injury.

Enjoy the LATERAL Push-Up in the provided video.

EXERCISE EXECUTION:

STEP #1: Position yourself by lying prone, long neutral spine, hands in a wide stance push-up position, legs hip width apart, and your toes dorsiflexed into the ground. From a birds eye view you would look like a “CROSS” or a “T”.

STEP #2: Begin by lifting your body about one inch off the ground, and once that position is reached, you can now start shifting side to side in your lateral push-up. Be sure to maintain the same distance from the ground as you shift side to side and maintain your breathing – do not hold your breath.

EXERCISE PROTOCOL:

Repetitions: 3 to 10 repetitions per side depending on your goal outcome and physical abilities.

Time based: Begin with 15 seconds and work your way up to 30-60 seconds total.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how?  With this movement consider the following: coupling time, strength bands, advanced toners, weighted vests, unstable surfaces, and pause holds.  Need more help? Connect with me at: kennedy@coachkennedyonline.ca.

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one-on- one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops, and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy.

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year Award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute.  www.KennedyLodato.com and www.quantumhealthcollective.com