Category Archives: Fitness Acticle

Will Smith Quote, What-If-ing and Self- Beliefs in the area of fitness, health, exercise and nutrition

“The first step is you have to say that you can.” Will Smith

Have you ever seen guys (or girls) doing freestanding handstands or handstands against a wall and wondered how do they do that? Or wondered about another skill someone has, and you thought “Will I be able to do that?”.

I did exactly that early last year, 2017 after a shoulder injury that dragged on for over three months and didn’t allow me to use any arm/shoulder/upper-body weights-exercises at all. That’s a real challenge for someone who is used to exercise five to six times a week. I wondered “will I be able to do that?”“How do I start a handstand practice routine and do progress over time?”. So off I went, using our beloved Google-Search engine, ending up in various odd corners of the internet from Vimeo, to youtube, other video websites and digging out different manuals from the “experts” around the globe.

There were different logical approaches; some were just ridiculous “you just do handstands” others made more sense, some guys split it into small steps and progression, e.g. building up strength, mobility and balance in the wrists first, then practising what is often called a Yoga Frog stand. Others demoed and explained various practise drills and options. E.g. a wall facing version and a version having your back to the wall, some suggested to start doing pike-push-ups (easier version with your feet on your couch or on the floor) etc. etc..

There were too numerous variations to list them all. So off I went and started my self-created little routine and programme, as every personal fitness trainer and coach would do. After two weeks (two to three practise sessions) I was able to kick reasonably comfortably up against a wall and get into a (what I would now call a “pseudo-handstand” or what others call a “Banana-handstand.”. The “Banana-handstand” is a position where your whole back is excessively arched during the handstand – a no-no (that’s what my Pilates & Core Strength Brain told me).

I decided then that I would demo my “Banana-handstand” in one of my exercises and fitness classes and offered participants to coach them in the various sub-skills. They just looked at me in disbelieve, I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t even consider trying it. Some of the guys were, without doubt, strong and mobile enough, to give it a go. I tried to do a bit more convincing and showed different simple starter drills …. they just didn’t believe or wouldn’t contemplate that they could do it.

It meant they were not giving themselves permission to even try the easy starter hand-stand drills …. then it dawned on me … I have to enable them to change their mindset first, and that is were Will Smith with his quote comes in “The first step is you have to say that you can.”.

You might replace the word “say” with “believe” to “The first step is you have to believe that you can.”. If you believe you can, you are at least more likely to try something new or different, but without a convincing “Yes, I can” or “Yes, I will be able” or “Yes, I am going to” the individual reduced the chances of success dramatically.

That is one of the main reason’s why I meet new personal coaching and training clients initially for a relaxed chat and see what do they believe about themselves and where do they see themselves, where would it help them to alter or even change their thinking and beliefs.

“What if” questions are really good to challenge your beliefs and belief systems. “What if you could easily and in a fun way drop a few pound or stone?” “What if exercising would be fun and exciting?” – “What if eating healthy and nutritious would be easy and gave you lots and lots of energy so you could spend quality time with your partner, friend, spouse, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other people that are close to you?”

So – which “What if ….. questions” could or should you ask yourself:
Here few that you might ponder about:

1. What if I would get up a bit earlier every morning to have a few minutes of me-time (even 5-10mins) before the rest of household gets up? (You might write in your diary, have a relaxed cup of tea, jot down three successes or positive things that happened the day before etc.).
2. What if I would plan my day the night before? (most people find this extremely useful, as it allows them to switch mentally off before going to bed and in a lot of cases enables them to get a better night sleep).
3. What if I would schedule two or three regular 20-30min activity or exercise session into my weekly diary? (Having fixed, regular activity sessions on the same day and time makes it easier for your mind to get into a healthy routine – consider these sessions as important as an appointment with a doctor, your boss or manager, someone you value lots.
4. What if you would do at least one activity or one action (even just for 5-10 minutes) every day that excites you? (Doing positively exciting things generally boosts your energy and makes you feel good).
5. What other “What if …. questions can you come up with?” and ask you and others from time to time … let’s go “What if-ing ….!”

20180511 What iffing Self Beliefs Personal Trainer Coach Martin Luschin South Dublin Ireland Sandyford LeopardstownAfter a detour to Will Smith’s quote, beliefs and “What if – Questions” back to my Handstand story. In the meantime I’m able to hold a “straight” wall-handstand or tree-handstand 🙂 for a good while, can do a few mini-handstand push-ups and occasionally can hold a full freestanding handstand for a few seconds, fair enough for someone in his late 40s, isn’t it?

Action Items for you:
[1] Let’s get a blank piece of paper out and answer at least three of above “What if – Questions”.

[2] Plus think about Will Smith’s quote again “The first step is you have to say that you can.” (or my variation “The first step is you have to believe that you can.”) and ask yourself “What belief about myself might it be worthwhile reconsidering or changing?”

Yours in Health, Fitness & Well Being
_ Martin (Personal Fitness & Health Trainer, Nutrition Coach)

The “No Brain, No Gain” Approach vs. “No Pain, No Gain” Myth to exercising and getting fit in 2018

Yesterday I got talking to one of the corporate gym members in Ulster Bank’s gym in Central Park, Dublin 18 during my work-shift.

Maura (I changed her name in this article) a South Dublin based mom of two active teenagers asked me what classes I’m teaching at the moment in their corporate gym. She was also wondering if I think she will be able to do the exercise classes with the shoulder issue, that she is having for over a year by now. My initial reply was …. it depends on yourself and that I can show her various alternative exercises during the class for movements that she is not keen on doing.

The original reason for her shoulder issue was that she herself or/and a fitness instructor in a class pushed her too much, so she overdid various exercises leading to a longlasting injury.

The "No Brain, No Gain" Approach vs. "No Pain, No Gain" Myth to exercising and getting fit in 2018This was a year ago, and since then she wasn’t able to exercise regularly at all. She finds that very very frustrating, and as a side-effect, she put on a good bit of weight. That weight gain frustrated her even more, plus she just doesn’t feel mentally right if she can’t exercise on a regular basis. She described being physically active and exercising regularly very important to her mental health, as it allows her to switch off and recharge. Plus exercising regularly gives her the energy to face a lot of day to day challenges in work and with her teenage children with a clear and calm head.

I hear similar stories, like Maura’s, disappointingly often from various class participants, personal training clients, friends and neighbours.

A certain amount of exercise and fitness class instructors, as well as the general population, believe they have to push, challenge and exhaust themselves so much during exercise that they have to be in agony and pain the next day or after the class. Following the old and in my opinion outdated phrase “No Pain, No Gain”.

I recommend the following approach “No Brain, No Gain”. Followers of the “No Pain, No Gain” way of doing things – sometimes can’t walk down or up the stairs, can barely raise their arms or their stomach/abs hurt when laughing (due to overworked abs) after one of these extreme classes or training sessions.

To what does the “No Pain, No Gain” way often lead? To injury as in Maura’s case above, to more missed exercise sessions (as you just aren’t able to work-out due to agony and pain), to frustration, sometimes even weight-gain and “fitness loss”, because you just can’t be active after a “No Pain, No Gain Session”.

My approach in working with individuals is to challenge personal training clients and class participants so that they feel and recognize that they have done an exercise session or class. There might be a slight niggle or a small bit tension in certain body parts, but even that shouldn’t be there if you did a proper cool-down, a bit of stretching and loosening at the end of your training.

At the same time the personal training clients or class participants can
(1) work out again and improve their health and fitness the next day or two days afterwards and continue to do so,
(2) even more importantly they can do the things they have to do throughout the next one to two days in work or at home e.g. playing with your kids, going for a social walk with your parent or friend, bring your dog around the block and
(3) they have the energy and enthusiasm to do all those things.

Here – 5 ACTION STEPS – that you can take now, to apply my “No Brain, No Gain” approach:

1. Plan your exercise or physical activity week in advance e.g. on a Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening. Write fixed appointments into your weekly diary e.g. Monday evening 6-7pm Jog / Run for 20mintues in the local park, Wednesday morning 7am do a 30min Body-Weight Training Session at home in the garden or the living room. Tick those activities off – once done and be proud of yourself once you have done your exercise.

2. Think about, choose intentionally with which intensity you do your activity, exercise or group class. Don’t get lured into pushing yourself over your current limits (to avoid unnecessary agony) and stick to your initial plan. Only you know what the right intensity is for you.

3. Pick an exercise environment that allows you to switch off, get mentally and physically away from work or things that are going on at home. This might be a local park, a nearby gym, a relaxing garden, a quiet room in the house.

4. (This is what work for my and various clients for over two years) Try exercising without a headset, music or other distractions and try to focus on your exercise, your intent for exercising e.g. getting fitter, healthier, boosting your energy levels – switching off. I even go so for to put my phone on silent (if I have it with me at all 🙂 ).

5. Always stretch, cooldown for at least five, ideally ten minutes after exercising. This reduced the likely-hood that you are sore and allows you to relax even that small bit more.

6. Pick an activity or type of exercise you enjoy, as you are most likely to stick with it and do it regularly if you enjoy it.

7. Keep a Success and Progress diary in which you keep a record of your exercise intensity, what you do e.g. reps, sets, duration (e.g. bike, jog, run, weight, swim, play tennis, do bodyweight exercises), when you do, maybe even how you feel pre or post exercising. This will allow you to recognize progress and that you are getting better, that you are improving – as you review what you have done and achieved, on a regular basis.

Let’s get going and get
(1) your Success diary and
(2) start planning your next week(s) to get healthier and fitter!
(3) even do a 5-10min exercise session or at least go for a walk, jog or run 🙂

I hope you found this article useful, please like my facebook page to stay up to date with other articles and posts, leave a comment below or send me feedback so I can improve the services and classes that I offer you and others.

Personal Trainer South Sublin Foxrock Deansgrange Cabinteely Leopardstown Sandyford The Gallops Stillorgan Dublin 18 D16 D14 Martin“Your Health Habit Coach”