Your body may be your temple, but for personal trainers, it’s also your income! Learn to give it the respect it deserves so that you will have a happy and healthy career for years to come. Here are a few tips regarding self-care that you might want to take on board…
Think about what your body is doing throughout the day
Standing or sitting for a prolonged periods of time is not a good idea. Where possible, try to ensure that there is variation between the two positions throughout your teaching day.
Avoid repetitively bending over
Try to get your clients to pick up after themselves. If you are forever bending over and picking up weights and mats off the floor, you could find yourself forward-flexing more than 100 times a day, placing unnecessary strain on your back. If you need to talk to a client who is lying down, kneel down or sit down, rather than getting into the habit of always flexing forward.
Are you right hand dominant?
Or do you find yourself demonstrating everything on the left hand side? Do you always stand on one side of your clients? Have a think about this and see if you can balance out the workload between the right and left hand sides of your body.
Don’t exercise too much
One of the perks of being a fitness instructor is that, generally speaking, you get to stay quite fit due to the nature of the work. Sometimes it’s important – and even fun – to be able to join in with your clients, but if you’re teaching exercise all day every day, it’s important to make sure you aren’t overloading your body. Learn when it’s a sensible time to sit back and simply instruct your clients. Think about purchasing a small foldable stool that you can rest on from time to time.
Schedule weekend getaways, proper holidays, or even just the odd day off. Also, think about micro-breaks throughout the day. Stop and take a few minutes to sit out in the sunshine to do nothing! Everyone needs a break, even really fit personal trainers.
For some, the idea of a massage may seem like an indulgence, but frankly, when you are working professionally as a personal trainer you have to treat your body as though you are an athlete. Regular massage is great for injury prevention, circulation, reducing muscle stiffness and stress relief. Try to book a regular appointment.
Take an honest look at your own exercise regime
The workload personal trainers take on varies greatly. Some trainers do lots of cardio and never stretch, while others are more sedentary, sitting and observing while taking one-to-one sessions. Have a look at your regime over the course of a week. Is your workout routine balanced? Are you getting enough cardio? Are you making time to stretch? Check also for over-flexing (bending forward) which is a common problem among trainers. If this is a problem, you may want to think about incorporating some extension exercises into your weekly workout routine.
Rest and recovery time
We all know that working out requires recovery time, but sometimes we forget that teaching in itself requires time to recover. Be sensible and factor this time in. And as always, make sure you get plenty of sleep. Even just one hour of sleep deprivation can have amazingly detrimental effects on your ability to function throughout the day.
Take care of your voice
No one wants to end up with a permanently hoarse voice. Vocal nodules are lumps on the vocal cords that can be caused by speaking loudly or coaching over long periods. Be wary of regular training outside if you are having to project your voice in group situations. Use of a microphone headset indoors is also useful. If you are concerned about your voice, it may pay to speak to a speech therapist or singing teacher to pick up a couple of tips as to how to look after the health of your vocal cords. In addition, when teaching outside remember to keep your throat and body warm.
Our bodies can do amazing things, and providing you take care of your health, don’t overtrain and pay attention to your alignment and ergonomics, your body should serve you well for many years to come.
Sage Institute of Fitness – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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