Structured fitness training, whether geared towards bodybuilding progress, sporting success, or general health improvements, is an indisputable prerequisite to boosting performance and shaping up, fast. To encourage exercise adherence among their clientele and to ensure they are hitting the gym for the right reasons, personal trainers would be well advised to outline and continually reinforce the many specific benefits the training protocols they prescribe may provide. What these trainers may also convey, to establish in their clients a continued incentive to improve, are the multiple flow-on effects of fitness training.
Explaining to their clientele how a given programme may not only promote a specific training adaptation and physical progression but also an all-important series of interrelated health, wellbeing and lifestyle benefits can serve to boost the success rate of any trainer, and enhance the longevity of the trainer/client relationship. Indeed, once a client knows they stand to gain much more from the training process, their willingness to pursue such improvements over the longer term increases. Rather than quitting, or scaling back their training after a specific goal has been reached, such clientele may instead continue to actively seek the overall quality of life to which they have become accustomed. This will often require the ongoing, or periodic, guidance of a qualified fitness professional.
The role of an expert trainer extends far beyond that of coach or exercise consultant; such professionals are also among society’s greatest teachers and healers. In working closely with their clientele, a good trainer will impart the skills and knowledge needed to live a healthy and productive life free- from illness and disease – surely a most prized state from which to achieve one’s full potential and thrive. A fitness lifestyle’s flow-on effects will help us to achieve such a state.
My top three fitness training flow-on effects are:
Increased ability to participate
With improved fitness often stems increased self-confidence, further motivation to do and be more, and a greater willingness to actively engage in additional physical activities. Once positive physical changes and more mental energy begin to manifest through regular exercise, we begin to see the many possibilities available to us and, once hooked into a cycle of regular engagement with our community and with others, we may begin to discover our many previously hidden capabilities and talents. Regular exercise and the results which inevitably follow allow us to more readily explore our full physical potential.
Greater functional strength and endurance
Aside from any specific training benefits to be gained, becoming fitter and stronger will improve our day-to-day performance, to make life a great deal easier. From getting out of bed in the morning, to walking the dog and washing the car, a strong, vital physique will significantly enhance the extent to which we may perform any task. The greater functionality and staying power gained from regular exercise will improve the quality of all that we do. In addition, with our stronger bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, we are less likely to injure ourselves doing it.
Improved mental health
So closely connected are looking and feeling good that exercise could be prescribed as an adjunct or indeed primary treatment for mild depression. The saying ‘sound body, sound mind’ is no truer than when viewed as a major flow-on effect of physical fitness training. Whenever we exercise, endogenous endorphins (which could be likened to naturally produced morphine, albeit a less potent form) are produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland to signal a state of mental relaxation to inhibit training-induced pain. This analgesic effect may extend well beyond the final rep of a grueling workout. In addition, regular exercise bolsters our supply of brain neurotransmitter chemicals serotonin and dopamine, the same compounds that are beneficially modulated through anti depressant medications. Further, looking good and improving our health increases our self-esteem and confidence and gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment, all necessary for sound mental wellbeing. The mind controls our thoughts, feelings and actions – all that we do and all that we are. By strengthening the mind through physical fitness training, we become more resilient and better equipped to meet life’s many challenges.
It’s not all about muscle, strength and shrink-wrapped skin
While the more aesthetic benefits of regular fitness training are a major drawcard for most, the flow-on effects more muscle and strength, lower body fat levels, and greater performance bestow are an excellent selling point to promote the continued adherence to a fitness lifestyle. Many potential trainees are at first reluctant to fully commit to the training process. They may feel that the effort needed to achieve their immediate goals far outweighs any return on investment. However, once they are made aware of the additional benefits a properly structured training program may confer their enthusiasm to persevere is likely to grow in line with their expanding biceps measurement.