Equilibrium News masthead
27 June 2013

Do you 'Find' the time to Exercise or do you 'Make' the time to Exercise?

Now you are probably thinking ‘what is really the difference’? Let’s start by looking at the definitions of each.

Find can be defined as to discover, to locate, to observe something.

Make can be defined as to create, to assemble, to manufacture something.

People who try to ‘find’ time to exercise are usually the ones who put everything else first. They will prioritise everything else in their lives and then if they have any time left over, they will do some exercise…maybe. They always say things like ‘I’m too busy’ or “I have to do this first’ or ‘I will start next week’.

People who ‘make’ the time to exercise do exactly that. They see exercise as an important part of their lives and ‘create’ the time to do so. They work their exercise time around other things of equal importance and don’t cancel if because something more important came up. They see the benefits gained from exercise and realise that it is an important part of their whole lifestyle.

Finding time to exercise means exactly that, you create space in your diary and the same as all other important things in life you keep that appointment.

There is a famous story about a professor a jar, some rocks, some sand and some water. Without trying to mess the story up too much, it goes something like this:

A professor stood at the front of his lecture with a glass jar in front of him. One by one he placed all of the large rocks into the jar until he could fit no more in.

He asked the class “Is the jar full?’.

The class answered “Yes.”

He then took some smaller rocks and continued to place these in the jar around all of the gaps. He then asked the same question “Is the jar now full?”

Again the class said “Yes.”

He then took some sand and poured it into the jar and filled in all the gaps around all of the large and small rocks until he could fit now more in.

He then asked the question again “Is the jar full?”

The class looked at the jar again and said “Yes.”

The professor then took a bottle of water and started to fill the jar until is was full with water and then asked the question yet again “Is the jar now full?”

The class this time said “Yes”.

The professor said “Yes, it is now full. And does anyone know what the moral of the story is?”

After a moment of stunned silence one student offered “No matter how busy you are you can always fit in more.”

The professor replied “A good response however the correct answer is, if you don’t put the important things in first, you will never get them in.”

The moral of this story comes back to making time compared to finding time. If you try to do everything else and then try to fit in some exercise you will never achieve it.

Like the rocks in the story, place these in the jar first and then plan other things around them.

Make exercise one of the big rocks in your jar!

Take care,



20 June 2013

Move Better, Perform Better

Have you ever thought about how you move?

Have you ever thought what makes up movement?

When you move, your body moves as one with every muscle working in the optimum way to produce effective and efficient movement. But how do you break this movement down in order to train your body to make it more efficient and more effective.

One way of doing this is by using the Primal Movement Pattern.

The Primal Movement Pattern was developed by Paul Chek at the Chek Institute in San Diego. He said that all movement can be broken down into the following movement patterns:

- Squat
- Lunge
- Push
- Pull
- Bend
- Twist

His basis was that prehistoric man would have used all of these movements in order to hunt and gather, make fire and survive.

Let’s look at the individual movements:

The squat pattern is evident in everything that we do in everyday life. From the moment you get out of bed you stand up from a sitting position on the bed, that’s a squat. You sit down to have breakfast, that’s a squat. Every time you sit down and get back up again, that is a squat pattern.

A lot of people when they come to see me say that they can’t squat. I think that they have this idea in their head that a squat is only a squat if they have a 20lb barbell on their back. When I ask them to sit down on a bench and get back up again they realise that ‘ok, maybe I can squat’.

If you ever want to see a true squat with absolute full range of movement have a look at how a child sits down to play. They will sit with their feet flat on the floor and their bum on their heels with no discomfort that we as adults complain of. Most of us were designed to perform full squats. It is just because of environmental factors that we reduce this ability.

If you want to full squat, then become a kid again.

The lunge pattern can also be seen in everyday life. Unfortunately as adults it is another movement that we try to avoid as we get older. When you reach for something which is low on the ground, chances are you are performing a lunge. Or when you are carrying something heavy and have to step over something on the ground, again it is more than likely you will be lunging. If you then break down lunges you can perform forward lunges, backward lunges, lateral lunges, rotating lunges and a multitude of different combinations. When choosing which lunge will be best for yourself, you need to think about which movement pattern you are trying to strengthen.

If you can’t lunge then chances that you should.

A push pattern is any movement where you are pushing an object or yourself away from any given point. This movement can be broken down in to horizontal pushing (eg push-ups or a bench press) and vertical pushing (eg shoulder press or any overhead pressing).

Real life activities which include this movement pattern are anytime that you lift something over your head, or push a door open. These again must be included in any type of exercise programme.

As with the pushing pattern the pull pattern can be broken down into horizontal pulling (eg any rowing type movement) and vertical pulling (eg any chin up or lat pulldown movements).

The important thing in regards to pushing and pulling is that you must always balance the pushing versus pulling movements out. For example if you are performing any vertical pulling movement you must perform an equal amount of vertical pushing. The same goes for horizontal pulling versus horizontal pushing. The must be evenly matched.

This movement pattern occurs whenever you are picking something off the ground. Unless you can keep yourself perfectly vertical and squat all the way to the ground, you will at some stage and to some degree bend either forward or off to the side to pick up that something from the ground.

A lot of people have lost the ability to bend. When you bend your spine was designed to flex and your pelvis was designed to rotate to help you get to where you need to be. Some people either can’t flex their spines effectively, or their back is either too tight in some areas or too flexible in other areas.

The bend pattern is all about how efficient you are in getting something off the ground and if you have the strength to do so.
Some bend pattern strategies require a straight back (eg heavier loads) or some required a flexed spine (eg lighter loads). So depending upon what you are doing you can determine the correct strategy for yourself.

A twist or rotation pattern makes up the last of the movement patterns. How you rotate can have a huge impact on how you put everything together. Certain parts of your body were designed to rotate more and some a lot less.

If we look at your spine we can see that in the twist pattern most rotation should be coming from your pelvis and thoracic spine. Your lumbar spine and cervical spine is more designed to stabilise and prevent too much rotation. However if your hips are too tight or your thoracic spine is locked up from too many hours at the computer, then the body will start to ‘borrow’ some extra rotation from other areas such as the lower back (lumbar) or neck (cervical). This is where the trouble begins.

So by analysing the movement and determining where the rotation is coming from you can then work out if one area needs more movement or other areas need tightening up.

This Primal Movement Pattern is a great way to look at movement as a whole and to determine how efficient your body moves and where it needs some assistance.

This movement pattern assessment is one component of our Whole Body MOT. By looking at how you move and looking at the specific requirements for your sporting and/or everyday activities you can then determine what movements you need to improve to aid in these activities.

When you improve your movement, you improve your performance in whatever activity you undertake.

If you need any further information or would like one of our team to look at your movement patterns, then just give us a call.

Take care,

Lyndon Littlefair


13 June 2013

Are you the Perfect Personal Training Client?

Most articles look at things from the perspective of what you look for in a Personal Trainer, but I thought I’d write one from a Personal Trainer’s perspective.

Most Personal Trainers are here for one thing, and that is to help you to achieve your goals as fast and as safely as possible. Even if you were training one hour per day, seven days per week there is a lot of time that you are not training. And that is when the damage can be done. After all there are twenty four hours in one day, and 168 hours in one week. Seven hours out of this is under 12% of the week.

So how can you be the best client for your Personal Trainer.

1. Turn up on time
If you have paid for a one hour session, then turn up for the whole hour. As a trainer, there is nothing more frustrating than planning a complete session, then only getting through part of it because the client is late.

2. Arrive early to warm up
Even better than arrive right on time is arriving a few minutes early to complete your warm up. That way you don’t waste any of that valuable time during your session. Speak to your trainer and organise what will be the best warm up for that days session, then get in there and get it done before the hard work begins.

3. Listen to your trainer
When it comes to exercise it seems that everyone is a bit of an expert these days. There is so much information through magazines, the internet and even your mate down the gym. But just remember that for every article that you have read, your trainer has spent hours studying, reading and applying all of this research into a practical situation. You are after all paying for your trainer’s expertise. But on the other hand, if you do know more than your trainer, then find one that knows a lot more than you. After all you are paying for expert advice.

4. Don’t cheat on your nutrition
There is no point doing all of this training if you are eating rubbish. There is a saying that goes ‘junk in = junk out’. If other words if you are putting rubbish food into your system then your physical and mental performance will be rubbish also.

5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is one very under rated requirement for health, fitness and overall performance. You only really recover when you get adequate sleep. The training is only the stress you place on your body. You get stronger and fitter when you start the recovery process.

6. Turn up to train
There is nothing more frustrating than a client that never turns up to train. For some people, they think that if they have a Personal Trainer, then all of the hard work is done. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. You need to work and you need to work hard. Not turning up means that you would have missed another session which would have taken you one step closer to your goals.

7. Give feedback about your sessions
Always be honest with your trainer about how you are finding your sessions. If there is something that you don’t like then say so. If you are not too sure why you are doing something, then ask. The more communication there is between yourself and your trainer, the quicker you can be to get closer towards your goals. It is a team effort.

8. Be realistic about your training goals
This is about managing expectations. You may have a good idea about what exercise and fitness goals you are aiming for. This needs to be clearly communicated to your trainer with an expected timeframe for each goal. It is your trainer’s job to work out a realistic schedule in order to achieve these and to use their professional knowledge to determine whether your goals are realistic in the timeframe. Don’t necessarily go for the trainer who can promised the world by next week.

9. Be clear about your requirements and goals
The more clear and precise you goals are the more likely you are to achieve them. If your goals are vague and unclear, then you won’t really know when you have achieved them. Be very specific and precise about every goal, with an exact date of when they are to be achieved. The more information you can give your trainer the better.

10. Be consistent
I’ve listed this last of all, but it is really the most important one of all. With all of the above points, just be consistent. Be consistent with your training. Be consistent with your nutrition, your sleep and be consistent with yourself for yourself. The more consistent you are, the quicker you will get to achieve your goals

If you think that you are going to be the ideal client, then why not give a call.
Ideal clients apply here……

Take care,



7 June 2013

Why Runners NEED to Lift Weights

It is not just a case of runners should lift weights, but a distinct case of they need to. Whether you run to improve your body shape or run for performance, if you are not including weight training into your regular routine you are definitely missing out.

If we look at the action of running we can see that between five and seven times your bodyweight is placed on the ground each time you take a footstep. So every time your foot makes contact with the ground there are huge forces that travel right through your body. This requires a huge amount of stability and eccentric strength to firstly absorb the impact and then transfer this impact into a motion which will drive you forward. In other words if your ankle, knee and hip complex does not have enough stability and strength to do this you will get injured at some point. It is just a matter of when.

The correct form of weight training will train the body to absorb this impact and dissipate these forces equally throughout the rest of your body. Therefore weight training for injury reduction becomes a big part of the training philosophy. In fact injury prevention should be number one priority on your list of training goals. If you can’t train, you can’t progress and you can’t do what you love doing. Whether it be training for a specific sport or training for other specific goals.

Once you have the injury prevention goals established, with most runners, you want to run faster or further I assume. Weight training will increase strength and contractile force of your muscles. In simple terms, the stronger you are the faster you can run. With running the formula for making you run faster is increasing the amount of force, or power, you can produce to propel you forward in the least amount of time possible. Power can be broken down into Strength x Speed = Power. Most runners work on the speed side of the formula but very rarely work on the strength side. With exception to track athletes who complement the strength element to their training nicely.

Speaking of track athletes, lets have a closer look at these athletes, starting with the 100m sprinter. These athletes generally have a lot of muscle mass developed from the weight training that they carry out, as well as performing the short explosive demands of their event. As we then look at the athletes as the distance gets greater, from the 200m to the 800m events their bodies generally get leaner and they carry less body mass. Once we get passed these distances from the 1500m to 5km and 10km the bodies start to get even less muscle mass. When we get to the marathon runners we can see that their bodies contain very little muscle mass and they look quite gaunt.

How long you run for has a huge impact of your body shape. The track athletes are generally in a metabolic state for a lot of the time as if they decrease their muscle mass they will decrease their power and subsequence speed for their event. A metabolic state generally means that they are in a muscle building state and the body is constantly rebuilding itself.

The long distance runners are generally going into a catabolic state with most of their training that they are doing. In other words, they are using up so much energy and they have such little body fat, that the body then starts to break down muscle to produce energy. The body starts to break itself down and places a lot of stress on the vital functions. This in itself has a huge health impact on the body and can cause many health issues.

Weight training for long distance runners can help to decrease this catabolic state and help to maintain some degree of muscle mass. It will help to keep the body in a constantly rebuilding state and keep you healthy.

Also weight training is not just about the muscles. Most people when they think about weight training think about just sitting on a leg extension machine and lifting as heavy as you can. The great think is that the whole fitness industry has progressed since the 1980’s and most people realise that there is a broader more scientific approach to exercise being used. If you are at a gym that is still in the 1980’s, then it is time to find another gym.

Weight training can also improve the strength of tendons, ligaments and improve the stability of all of the joints. This in itself will help you to prevent injuries in running and all other sports.

So if you are a runner that just runs and wondering why you are not getting faster, or not losing body fat, or not getting the body you really want, then it is time to hit the gym. If you are not too sure of where to start, or just need any further information then why not give us a call. We will be more than happy to help.

Take care,