Think of your grandmother. Your actual grandmother. Now think of the most fit or capable athlete you currently train. Should these two individuals perform the same workout? Of course not—at least not at first. The idea that they could actually perform the same workout is based on the belief that there are movements fundamental to the human experience.
The majority of adults have some issues. They have a bad ankle, a bad, knee, a bad back or a bad attitude. This is the typical client of a health and fitness professional, not the exception. And yet everyone needs appropriate levels of strength, mobility, agility and other fitness parameters to enjoy a high quality of life. If we start correctly and progress properly, almost anyone can make the journey from fragile to agile.
It is easy to make exercises harder, but it is hard to make them easy. It can be challenging to find the right entry point to exercise for someone who is deconditioned and/or presenting with numerous physical challenges. With a population skewing older (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by the year 2030, one in five people in the U.S. will be over age 65), successful health and fitness pros will be the ones who are adept at providing successful programming to this population.
Movement vs. Exercise
Is the squat a movement or an exercise? If we do one rep, we call it “sitting” (a movement). When we do multiple reps, we call it “squatting” (an exercise). The motion, however, is the same, rendering the squat both a movement and an exercise. As ACE Pro Chris McGrath says, “Movement is essential, exercise is optional.” Regardless of whether or not people exercise, they move, which makes movement quality the foundation.
We are faced with people who hire us to get in shape and lose weight, often after they have reached a boiling point of frustration with their current health status. They come to us with a bit of a fire in their bellies and want to work hard. And this is our challenge because improving the quality of a movement can rarely be done during a higher-intensity workout.
We have a responsibility to care for our clients’ bodies outside of the context of a workout, as well. When your clients know you care about how they feel during every minute of their day and that you