Off The Fence & Into The Gym
By Guest Blogger David Snively
I’ve been training clients for more than 25 years now, mostly women, and I’ve heard my fair share of workout goals from the opposite sex. For the most part, they are body part related– the eternal quest for thinner thighs, flatter stomachs, and more toned arms, and that has continued till this day. I have learned to listen to their requests, sympathize with body image discontent, and do my best to deliver results. I combine my own agenda as a trainer with 25 years of experience and constant learning, my life experience as a human being, my clients’ goals, and I deliver the very best workout advice I can.
I feel very blessed that I do something in life that I truly love, and I especially love working with women. Being a gay man, I can relate to this whole body image focus. It’s all about big pecs, washboard abs, and nicely shaped buttocks in the “oh so shallow” party scene of the gay world. And yes I was once a “Bad Boy Dancer” at the Leather Ball Circuit Party, Black and Blue weekend. I have since retired from the party scene, it was really never my thing. I married the love of my life, and we have a beautiful two year old daughter via gestational surrogacy. All this information is unrelated to training tips, but it somewhat connects me to woman and their issues, and let’s face it ladies, no one can appreciate you more, or is going to tell you the truth like a gay man. Enough about me, let’s talk about you.
There are many training modalities these days, and they all offer many benefits and gifts. If you love Yoga, Pilates, Zumba or jogging, my advice to you is “do it!” Your body was meant to move, and if you love any activity and do it regularly, you are way ahead of the game. Sadly, only 20 percent of our population exercise on a regular basis, so if you are one of these exercise enthusiasts, then I give you a big high five.
My topic today relates to strength training, and the importance of this type of training, and how you approach it. Strength or resistance training can take many forms, and can use all types of equipment. Cable columns, rubber tubing, dumbbells, medicine balls, Pilates reformers, weight training machines and your own body weight are just a few types of effective strength training. Your body only knows that it must work hard to oppose a force, and that “overload” can be applied to the musculature of the body in many ways. Ultimately, you want to work at an intensity that is near maximal, while maintaining good form, and this overload is how your muscles become stronger and more toned.
I have heard many reasons why women avoid weight training. The most popular ones are “I don’t want to get big” and “I need to lose weight first, as I don’t want my fat to turn to muscle”.
First of all, woman have 1/10th to 1/20th the amount of testosterone than men, and gaining muscle is tough even for most men (why all the steroid use??). I’m not saying that there is not a variance in the female population, and yes there are some woman that become muscular easier than others, but it’s certainly not the norm, and can be taken into consideration in a well thought out strength training program. Regarding fat turning to muscle, this just does not happen. If anything muscle burns fat, and is your friend, especially with age.
Here’s are five great reasons why you should be strength training:
1. Strength training has been shown to improve/maintain bone mass. The contraction of your muscles during strength training pulls on the bones and ultimately makes them stronger.
2. As we age we lose muscle. After the age of 20 we lose approximately 3-5 lbs. of muscle per decade. This takes place even if we do a lot of cardio and stretching. Regular strength training helps to offset this loss of muscle tissue.
3. As we age our metabolism slows down 3-5% per decade. Muscle tissue is very active tissue and burns calories all day long. When we sleep 25% of the calories we burn is for the maintenance and repair of muscle. If you want to rev up your metabolism, regular strength training is the best way to go.
4. A well thought out strength training program can help prevent injury and make the every day tasks in life easier. This is called “functional strength training,” something I will elaborate on at a later date.
5. An improvement in your physical strength can translate into an improvement in psychological and emotional strength. If you feel stronger, you are stronger, in every aspect of your life.
I was a cardio junkie for years, teaching up to 25 aerobics classes a week, so I have lived the high that all this cardio can bring. I also was an overweight kid, and as a former Canadian Diving Champion and Olympian, I constantly battled my weight. During my “Aerobic Instructor Years,” I ran myself ragged teaching 5 classes a day hoping for a six pack. Things shifted in the fitness industry in the 1990’s with great research on strength training, and I shifted along with it. I have seen far better results with my clients, and my own body, with consistent strength training workouts, at least twice a week, than with multiple cardio workouts alone.
If you would like to have an easier time lifting your kids, carrying your bags, pushing your car out of the snow or cleaning your bathroom, then strength train. If you want a more toned body, stronger bones, a faster metabolism and a stronger mind, then strength train. If you want to maximize your health, avoid injury, improve your posture, and minimize the effects of aging, then strength train. If you want to lose body fat, then strength train.
Training predominantly women over the past 25 years has been a true gift. You’ve made my career, and my life more wonderful than I could have imagined. You packed my aerobic classes for years, and I truly appreciate it. My outfits aren’t as tight and skimpy as they used to be, and you’re still coming to train with me at my studio, so I just wanted to say a big thank you. I love you ladies, and I only want what’s best for your thighs and your health, so get off the fence and get STRONG.
David Snively has been a leader in the fitness industry for over twenty years. A former 7-time Canadian Diving Champion, 1980 Olympic team member, and a member of the 1980 All American Diving Team, David has hosted two successful workout television shows over the past 15 years, “Great Shape” and “Caribbean Workout.” These television shows have been seen in over 15 countries worldwide, and continue to air in Canada and the US.
With over 20 health and fitness certifications and counting, David is one of the premier fitness experts in the world. This “trainer’s trainer” has traveled the world as a fitness consultant and presented at over 100 major conventions and conferences. He is currently certified as a Master Trainer with Gravity®, Twist® and TRX®.
David Snively has been MY personal trainer for the past 11 years.
To learn more, visit www.DavidSnively.com
PS – And for my husband who has loyally followed a team for 35 years that has been embarrassed year after year, he is now celebrating with the entire WHO DAT nation! Congratulations Super Bowl Champions, The New Orleans Saints. Great game!