Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy!
My Online Personal Training Journey with Fitness Coach Steve Llewellyn
We’re coming to the end of January, a time when traditional intentions of fitness are put to one side as one realises that it’s cold, wet and cake makes things better (or, as with my running a thousand miles you realise exactly what you let yourself in for) but not me, not yet at least. I’m coming to the end of my second month of properly trained and focused calisthenic exercise under the watchful eye of Trainer Steve and I’m still here and still doing it.
I don’t feel up to posting progress pictures to be honest, though I may do in some future update but that’s more to do with the fact that I’m still shedding Christmas weight than anything else. It’s been a funny month. The first month was just painful to be honest although it brought home to me how much time I had been wasting on doing exercises with an incorrect focus (just on hitting an arbitrary number of reps). This month, in addition to WhatsApp based coaching and support I’ve had a Zoom training session with Steve to focus in on technique and I certainly feel I have learned a lot.
With that in mind, you might expect that I’d have moved forward within the various progressions of the 4 key exercises I’m doing (push ups, squats, pulls and leg raises) but the opposite is true. Having spent time with Steve appraising my technique the opposite is, in fact, the case. On the two main upper body exercises, push ups and rows, I have moved into a less taxing exercise and, in some cases, reduced the amount of repetitions per set. The reason for this is that Steve has a strict focus on excellent form. In my push ups I was flexing in my core and I was having a similar issue with pulls. On Steve’s advice I switched from pulls to rows and increased the height on my inclined push ups. It felt like a hard pill to swallow at first as I was moving backwards, not forwards, but it worked. Firstly I feel happy with the form now, I can see there’s no flexing in my core and I know I’m getting full benefit as I can feel the strain on the muscles in a way I did not before.
So, there’s a long road ahead but I’m making progress, perversely by going backwards. The net result is that, despite a persistent cold I can’t shake, I feel like that I’m in the best shape I have ever been at 43. I’m trying to remember that I don’t have to do these things, I get to them. It’s a privilege.