Having arrived in Auckland from Canada two years ago, I am just beginning to get a feel for what makes New Zealanders tick, besides rugby that is. It’s evident to me that Kiwis care about being active and staying healthy to enjoy all this beautiful country has to offer. Being an active individual myself, I have chosen this country to complete my physiotherapy training because of the active, outdoors lifestyle that it affords. Being active sometimes results in injuries. I truly feel that I wouldn’t be who or where I am without having sustained numerous injuries throughout my life. The subsequent rehabilitation following those injuries exposed me to not only the profession of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, but the world of strength training, as well. After rehabilitation, I have been devoted to understanding and applying the most effective forms of strength training into my daily lifestyle. Not only as a means of rehabbing and preventing injury but as a way of life. I have been told that I have an addictive personality; when I find something I like I stick to it and rarely deviate from its course. I like to think that staying active and fit is one of my more appealing habits.
Strength training to me is a single important factor involved in complete health and wellbeing. I attempt to balance resistance exercise between free weights, resistance machines, and body weight training. This allows me to encompass aspects of stability vs. instability, pure strength vs. power, and coordination/balance. In rotating through periods of focus in these different areas, I constantly keep my body guessing and adapting. It’s through this principle, along with standard principles like progressive overload, that one is able to continue developing and preventing the plateau effect. It’s also a great way to keep things interesting and fresh.
Along with strength training, other factors such as flexibility, cardiovascular training, and sport specific training are incorporated into my fitness regime. Flexibility is always a tough one for me. By the time I finish a good session of resistance training, sitting on a mat and holding end range positions for extended periods is the last thing I want to do. However, I recently got involved in Bikrams or hot yoga and quite enjoy the challenge it offers. By the end of a session you not only improved your flexibility but you’ve always worked on challenging your muscular endurance and balance systems, among others. I like to get there early and reserve a spot front and centre in front of the yogi and all the others prying eyes, so that all may witness my form. It really gives others a sense of accomplishment to know that they may have once looked that bad.
Cardio training has been on my to-do list since I gave up the running team back in high school. Sure I’ve usually been involved in cardio-intensive sports during the mean time, and have attempted to maintain an adequate level of conditioning by devoting a couple of cardio-specific sessions every couple weeks. The problem is that I just don’t enjoy simply going for a run like I used. I would much rather hits the weights or get my blood pumping through a game of soccer or basketball. There is nothing wrong with this, but the challenge for me is continuing to find interesting ways of doing a cardio workout without actually doing the traditional long bike, run, swim. One of the recent ways I’ve been accomplishing this is by setting circuit type resistance workouts and attempting to best my own time while completing the same number of repetitions. It’s like killing two birds with one stone, by getting a solid strength and cardio workout done at the same time. Even though I usually do this type of workout at home using a bare minimum amount of equipment, the same principle is practiced here at MedStrength with the MedX resistance machines. Set yourself a goal of timing yourself through the circuit of the normal machines that you do and try to reduce your overall time. To do this simply decrease rest breaks between machines, but never sacrifice controlled speed of repetition for quicker sets.