3 Dimensional Personal Training: Success through Synergy
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In the field of health and fitness, there are many effective techniques to help us achieve our optimal weight, appearance, and fitness level. When used in isolation, however, many such techniques provide only short-term results and often produce a yo-yo effect (think fad diets). In this article, I would like to show you how such goals can be achieved effectively through a synergistic approach.
A synergy can be described as the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. I firmly believe that the success of an individual’s health and fitness goals depends on a 3 dimensional synergy that includes the right mental approach, physical training, and supportive nutrition and lifestyle.
Effective goal setting is where the road to success begins. It is essential to understand where you are now in terms of your personal goals, and where you want to be to obtain clarity and purpose and be able to visualize your ultimate goal. Your goals need to come alive, so I encourage you to take the time to complete the following exercise and write down the answers.
1. Be bold—What is your ultimate health/fitness dream?
2. Be honest—Why do you want to achieve this? what will this outcome get for you and allow you to do?
3. Be connected—What will you see, hear, and feel when you have it?
4. Be courageous—When will you achieve it?
5. Be realistic—What are you willing to give up to get what you desire?
6. Be creative—How can you enjoy the process while doing what is necessary to achieve this?
The secret to achieving a positive mental approach lies in how often you can be connected and aligned to these thoughts and feelings.
I believe there are three aspects of physical training that need to be addressed:
1. The need for muscle. Muscle is one of your best friends if you want to lose body fat because it is an active tissue that directly increases your rate of metabolism. Unfortunately, around the age of thirty, our muscles begin to shrink, so it is imperative to regularly maintain or build them. When it comes to training, I highly recommend avoiding fixed resistance machines as they allow no freedom for the muscles, literally boring them senseless with the same pattern and decreasing neuromuscular awareness. So choose free weights or cables instead, and try incorporating Swiss balls (also known as Physio Balls) to increase neuromuscular demands. Additionally, think training movements, not muscles: pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, bending, and twisting are the basic movements of day-to-day life, and we should try to mirror these during exercise.
2. Cardio in moderation. It is important not to overdo the cardiovascular exercise (e.g., cross training or jogging) as this can lead to a decrease in muscle mass, which reduces your ability to burn fat. I am by no means suggesting that cardio is bad as it allows nutrients to be transported to the cells via the bloodstream. When fat is released from storage centers (adipose cells), it travels through the bloodstream to be burned as energy. However, if there is a decrease in muscle mass, the body’s ability to burn fat is also decreased. As such, I recommend short-duration, high-intensity cardio to limit the possibility of losing muscle.
3. Flexibility. Not only do our muscles shrink with age, but gravity begins to take its toll as well, drawing us down to earth. Adding to that, our seated culture is a major contributor to the current epidemic of poor posture. Faulty posture can lead to injuries and regular bouts of associated pain. The details can be complex, but suffice to say there are muscles in your body that naturally become short and tight and others that get long and weak by nature. The required response to correct this is to stretch the shorter, tighter muscles and strengthen the longer, weaker muscles. For example, when someone has a posture that resembles the Pink Panther—protruding head and rounded shoulders—the chest is one muscle that needs a good stretch. However, only stretch what is tight as stretching the long and weak muscles will lead to further imbalances.
Supportive Nutrition and Lifestyle
This part of the puzzle is without a doubt the most confusing and neglected. What you eat and drink daily and the amount of rest you have are vital ingredients toward optimal health
1. Eat to boost metabolism. Largely, this means minimizing your intake of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, but consuming frequent meals (no greater than fours hours between each one) consisting of quality proteins (preferably free-range, chemical/hormone-free animals), fibrous carbohydrates (above ground vegetables), starchy carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice), and good fats and oils (seeds, fish, olive oil). When it comes to the specific ratios of each macronutrient (especially the amount of starchy carbohydrates), it’s a case of listening to your body after each meal to account for bioindividuality and stress levels. I recommend using a food diary and recording after each meal (or at the end of the day) what you ate, including proportions and the respective reactions, for example, satisfied, not satisfied, bloated, hungry, mentally focused, and so on.
2. Drink plenty of water. The body is made up of around 75 percent water. Water is crucial when it comes to health by playing a role in nutrient transport, digestion, elimination of waste products, detoxification, and so on. Beware: a dry mouth is not a safe indicator of thirst; it is actually a sign that the body is well into dehydration. How much water should we drink each day? That depends on several factors, including your weight and how active you are. But without complicating it with liters or ounces, my rule is to start the day with two big glasses of filtered water and then take a water bottle everywhere you go, sipping throughout the day.
3. Get sufficient sleep. Sleep is another factor that has huge ramifications on the body. I consider sleep a major tipping point as many times I have personally seen clients who are addressing the above points, but only once they get to bed earlier and sleep a little longer do they achieve significant results.
As human beings, we are 3 dimensional, consisting of body, mind, and spirit. Neglecting any one of these three aspects prevents us from truly experiencing our full potential as human beings.
I wish you all the best in your health and fitness endeavors.
** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health, visit