This week’s episode of The Apprentice focused around setting the contestants the task of inventing a new innovative fitness class. My question is? Is the balance in danger of shifting from health and fitness rewards to people jumping on the financial bandwagon?
Is it right to devise a class based upon a socially constricted image of how people should look without getting to the grips of what most people actually need. Yes having fancy marketing campaigns where they use models to sell the new campaign can act as inspirational but in reality these models have trained for years to be in this physical condition and have done the basics first.
The promotional video sums it all up. People dressed in silly outfits leading with the phrase “Do you want to keep fit but most importantly have fun. And Burn up to 300 calories” Surely keeping fit and getting results is more important than having fun to people attending a fitness class.
“The funky squat” an exercise they devised certainly won’t be featuring in my boot camps or personal training sessions. They combined doing a squat with a Saturday night fever roll of the hands into a point above your head. Yes this maybe great fun but it’s a classic example of detracting from the actual point of the exercise by jazzing it up with additional movements, which have limited benefit to you at the detriment of the core exercise.
As they put it “lets work those hamstrings” This takes a very simple view of a key exercise, the squat, which the majority of the population who take part in exercise cannot perform correctly.
I use the overhead squat with clients to assess dynamic flexibility, core strength, balance, and overall neuromuscular control. Here are just some of the common problems people have when performing this movement. Knees move inwards as they have probable underactive muscles including the Med.Hamstring, Med Gastocnemius, Gluteus Medius/ Maximus, Vastus Medialis, Anterior Tibiallis and posterior Tibialiis. This can lead to Patellar tendinopathy, ACL injury, IT Band tendonitis to name just a few.
Another common problem is arching of the lower back which could be due to overactive muscles in the hip flexor complex, Erector Spinae and Latissimus Dorsi or underactive muscles including Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings and intrinsic core stabalisers. This is likely to eventually result in lower back pain which you want to try and avoid at all costs.
This is just a small element of what can be observed when performing a squat but as you can see a simple exercise actually tells you a lot and needs to be mastered by most on a one to one level.
In my view the industry is wrongly moving away from the basics, ‘The 5 pillars of movement’ which are essential to get right in order to live life to the full, look good and avoid injury. To put it in perspective if you have watched the film 300 the Spartans had fantastic physiques not because they went to fun fitness classes but because their diet was clean and lean and they performed the “The 5 pillars of movement’ day in day out in their daily work and leisure activities.
I’m a big believer in telling people straight and devising plans that will work for them. Getting fit and keeping fit is hard work and people should understand that to get results isn’t always fun but takes determination and discipline but everyone can do it if they master techniques and are dedicated.
A classic example when my clients want to skip the basic movements before mastering them is if you were too learn how to play Tennis you would approach a tennis coach. They would not begin teaching shots such as the backhand volley until you could hit a forehand correctly. This would then take years to actually master. This is why I find it strange that people believe they can teach themselves how to perform exercises without being taught one on one and dedicating time to perfecting each one. Only then will you truly get all round fitness and the body you desire.