Edward, the September 2020 client of the month has again achieved the client of the month honours 13 months later.
The October 2021 client of the month has been awarded due to his impressive increases in strength over the past 8 weeks.
In the beginning
In 2017, Edward weighed 94kgs and at 186cm (6 feet 1 inch), was heavy for a cyclist. He managed to complete his first LEJOG (Land’s End to John O’Groats) but it wasn’t comfortable, especially on inclines.
In 2018, his weight increased to 97kgs after spending 11 weeks in New Zealand and despite increases in mileage, his weight didn’t budge. It was after recuperation from a cycling accident in 2018 that Edward read ‘Racing Weight‘, a book by Matt Fitzgerald about weight management for endurance athletes that the penny dropped. The emphasis on reduced sugary processed foods and saturated fats worked. However, Edward’s body fat was still at the top end of his age group despite losing weight.
Beginning of 2020
At the end of January 2020, Edward started lifting with emphasis on body composition and strength improvements.
The first session outlined mobility issues from squatting and lack of upper body strength. Initially, lifting started with some technically easier exercises including dumbbell thrusters and TRX squats to enable mobility and strength.
Over the winter, a wider range of exercises were introduced including split jerk and deadlift. Edward was improving. Consistency of training was responsible for improvements in Edward’s strength and mobility.
Covid-19 put a stop to Edward’s strength and mobility improvements. With lockdown came the closures of gyms. This meant no heavy lifting. When lockdown restrictions eased, Edward resumed his strength programme in the park but some of his mobility issues had returned.
After buying a van and purchasing a few hundred kilograms of weight lifting and functional fitness equipment, I established myself as an outdoors personal trainer. This enabled Edward and my other clients to resume lifting in the parks and gardens around Bath.
So we began the process of strength and mobility training again.
Towards the end of 2020, Edward increased strength training from once a week to twice a week. This produced an immediate improvement in strength but a set back happened at the beginning of January 2021 when an old back injury resurfaced.
After three months with no lifting, Edward returned. He resumed a new programme eliminating exercises that aggravated his back. New exercises were introduced to help strengthen the injured area.
Edward was absent for 2 months of training over the summer due to cycling and family commitments. However, since August, Edward has consistently strength trained twice every week whilst keeping up his cycling.
And the result. Improvements in all of the big lifts. Edward has achieved personal bests on his squat, bench press, rows, deadlift and shoulder press averaging a 10% improvement over the range of lifts since August.
Consistency is arguably the most important component when working to accomplish goals, in or out of the gym. Without consistency, programs are unorganised, the body has a harder time adapting, and forming habits may be more challenging.
We are creatures of habit. The more we practice, the more natural it becomes. We experience this when we learn to walk as infants, when we learn to drive, and when we exercise. It’s normal to feel out of your comfort zone when you try something new, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you feel.
Current research suggests that to make a habit stick it must be performed for 68 consecutive days. The idea of sticking with something for 68 days may feel overwhelming. When taking on a new challenge, focus on each session. This will help your mindset. Aiming to create a lifelong exercise habit can be daunting; however, start by doing it for one day, and then two, and then three, and so on.
Once you feel comfortable with one small change, add another small change, and so on. Small changes are more sustainable over the long term and add up to big improvements. There will likely be days that your plan doesn’t work out how it was supposed to, but that doesn’t mean all progress is lost.
And to quote the 31st President of the United States, “Persistence Prevails When All Else Fails” – Herbert Hoover
Congratulations Edward on another client of the month award.