by John Alexander
Instigating change in the body is not always easy; there must be a healthy balance of discipline, consistency and patience. Through exercise, we subscribe our bodies and minds to a new set of rules and challenges to which the body adapts, thus becoming more conditioned and refined. The intensity required to change the body does not come naturally to most and is very dependent on a person’s exercise and athletic history. With this being said, regardless of a person’s fitness background, anyone can make positive and lasting changes to their figure or physique.
Understanding how to train intensely and safely requires constant feedback from an experienced trainer, who is understanding of a client’s personal and physical history while remaining goal-oriented. Simple commands like “breathe”, “maintain good posture”, and “focus” are repeated constantly in a personal training session until these basics become engrained into the unconscious of a client. Until the basics of a movement(s) are mastered, it is nearly impossible for anyone to feel as though they are truly and organically “training”.
As a personal trainer, there is nothing more satisfying than observing a client perform an exercise with repetitions that are smooth, controlled, and confident whilst maintaining a calm intensity and rhythmic breathing. It is at this point when, through practice and repetition, movements begin to feel natural, even instinctive that a trainer is able to gradually increase training intensity.
From a technical training standpoint, increases in intensity come in a variety of ways: increased repetitions, increased weight, decreased rest periods, variations of exercises already well-known to a client, etc… However the real increase in intensity stems internally from the clients themselves. It is when they are practiced and familiar to the discipline of exercise that their bodies begin to align with the goal that they had in mind when they signed up. Most don’t even realize it is happening, and it is subtle, but a trainer notices. Slowly but surely a client will perform a set of an exercise that they have done many times over, but something is different; they are focused and I do not need to over-correct their form, if at all. They tell me they can increase the weight, they tell me they can perform more repetitions; they are finally “tuned in” with their own bodies. That is the time that true physical transformation begins to occur.