I received an email the other day that was truly inspirational. It was from a client who recently had her third training session with me. She wanted me to know that she had no pain after her first appointment. She’d been dealing with chronic low back issues for some time. Of course, she wasn’t cured after a one-hour workout. She had become accustomed to bootcamp classes where the approach was more intense and the movements more ballistic. Unfortunately, these group classes were too aggressive and jarring for her body. And when there is repetitive pounding on the body’s joints from various angles, even when properly performed, injuries can occur. On a side note, I believe that plyometric exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees should be incorporated into routines for already well-conditioned individuals or for athletes whose sport requires them to move in that manner. Gymnasts, basketball players, volleyball players and football players are good examples.

So what did she do during her first training session? Instead of focusing on the clock and worrying about how many calories she was burning, I chose exercises and stretches that encouraged both strengthening and lengthening of the muscles. Too often people concern themsleves with contracting, tightening and squeezing the muscles. Did you know that’s only part of it? There’s also the eccentric phase when your muscles lengthen against a resistance. Not only are tight muscles impractical, they can easily get injured when overstretched. Hey, what good are firm thighs and a tight tush if you can barely walk up stairs?

Here’s what she wrote:
“Thanks for the workout today. Did I tell you that after our first session, I walked away without pain? I wasn’t aware of my chronic back pain until it left me. So I have a new mantra this week, Why not great? Why not feel great, have a great workout, select a great breakfast, plan for a great week? You get the picture. Have a great weekend!”

I love her attitude and positive expectations. Because she expects great things, she’s doing the work to make things happen. We’ve all heard the saying “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Second she doesn’t use the word “perfect”. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people talk about the perfect breakfast or a perfect workout. . . there’s no such thing. Aiming for perfection is a set up for failure because you’re trying to achieve the unattainable. It’s about striving and enjoying the journey. Nancy, you’re a real inspiration!!