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April 26, 2004 | by  | in Opinion |
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Look Gound Feel Good

For students like ourselves, paying a personal trainer every week just isn’t a financially viable solution, so we decided to get the inside goss on exactly what a personal trainer does, and spread the word so everyone can achieve optimum results for minimum cash! We found the crème de la crème (and spunkiest) training talent in Welly – Callum ‘muscles’ Jones, joint owner of Symmetry Training and Rehabilitation and James Zimmerman, body building champ – then paid them a visit.

It seems that in the training industry there is a tendency to regard the body as singular muscles rather than a complete system. In our visit to Symmetry at 163 The Terrace, the thing that immediately set Callum apart from the rest (aside from his hot arse) was his attention to holistic health. Before progressing to more dynamic exercises, Callum recommends that his clients fix their strength position. For those not in the know, this is the posture the body falls into under stress when doing anything from walking to lifting a weight to running. The problem is that people generally get poor posture from what their body gets used to doing. This means that for us students, who spend prolonged periods studying at desks (supposedly), our body learns to recognise this posture and so we develop an incorrect strength position. It’s important to be aware of this because muscles all work in unison and chains and if you have bad strength position some muscles can be inhibited. If this is the case, your body will start to manipulate other muscles to do their task, eventually leading to injury. To change this, Callum uses ‘static holds’, where he decreases the amount of stress in the body and holds it for a length of time. Once strengthened you will find that instead of falling into bad posture under stress, the body will come up into good posture. If you train without fixing your strength position, you will exacerbate your bad posture. Oh no!

But wait; it’s not enough to focus solely on your external physique. To achieve holistic health you must also take a look at your nutritional habits. According to Muscles, you need to find your metabolic type because “just as individual as we are on the outside, we are inside, so different foods affect us differently.” You can do this by answering a questionnaire that reflects cravings. This will indicate whether you are a carbo, mixed or protein type allowing you to identify the right foods to satisfy your bodies needs. A number of books, such as How to Eat, Move and be Healthy! by Paul Chek contain the information to do this assessment.

Even if you never visit them again, a session or three with a personal trainer is a good idea to ensure that you set out on the training track in good form. Watch out though – if you don’t find a trainer who will assess you as an individual and rushes straight to a muscle building plan, you’re wasting your time. So, when checking out the trainer range there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Ask them straight whether they can guide you on nutrition and strength positions and make sure their specialties suit your needs. Also a good trainer will be up to date with what’s changing and new in the industry. Oh, and beware: James let us in on the fact that some qualifications obtained by trainers even at leading gyms can be gained in just two weeks. We could have become trainers over the break! To ensure you don’t experience trainer wannabes look for exercise science qualifications. It’s also a bonus if they’re as spunky as James!

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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