Patients regularly ask us if there are any specific exercises they should be doing in conjunction with treatments. The key message we always convey is that whilst there are no set exercises that you need to be doing, the best thing you can be doing outside of the clinic is staying active. Keeping active in conjunction with ensuring your sleeping, sitting and standing positions (check out our blog on sleeping) are addressed will make sure what you’re doing outside of the clinic is going to maximise your progress.
At Total Balance Chiropractic we are big believers in living by what you say! So on top of regular adjustments it’s vital outside of work we are keeping active. Throughout my teens and 20’s I played soccer and a range of social sports which have kept me in a reasonable condition without ever really getting to the point where I would think of myself as in great shape. Particularly over the past few years I have found that despite their being no big decrease in my overall activity levels I was feeling as though I was slowly putting on fat which when I was younger wouldn’t accumulate.
As a result of this I decided it was time to increase my activity levels and start becoming a more regular gym goer. After looking around for a while I came across Strength Republic in Hamilton North (if you haven’t been there I recommend checking out their awesome facilities). Having a chat with Marco and Nick from PEAK strength and nutrition about getting involved in a more intense workout regime, my timing couldn’t have been better as they were just about to start up a 6 week body transformation challenge which I thought was the perfect way to kick-start my fitness overhaul.
Before starting the challenge I had a DEXA body composition scan done to assess my percentage of body fat, fat and muscle distribution and bone density. This gave me a baseline to work from and quantitatively assess the changes after 6 weeks. Whilst I never would have considered myself overweight to begin with there was definitely a lot of room for improvement to get my Body fat percentage lower and increase my lean muscle mass.
The 6 week challenge consisted of 4 group training sessions a week as well as nutritional advice and above all someone to keep you accountable and guide you through the basics of various workouts into slowly mastering technique to get the most out of your workout. Whilst I had been a sporadic gym goer over the years I had mainly done exercises by copying what others were doing rather than having a trainer demonstrate and then critique my form.
Week 1 of the challenge started off with working on the basics, assessing and then working on things such as squats, deadlifts, dumbbell presses, weighted sled pushes amongst a range of other exercises. Post day 1 my quads were struggling, after day 2 every time I crouched down my legs would be on fire. The last session of the week contained a timed test which consisted of 12 rounds of 5 deadlifts, 12 ball slams and a 150m run, which was painful but I managed to get through it in a fairly respectable time. I got through week 1 though and my legs still had 90 minutes of soccer in them that weekend.
As the weeks progressed my form improved and the weights I was doing gradually increased. One of the big things I was noticing was that my recovery time was improving as my body became more conditioned to the new exercises I was doing. The weeks raced by and all of a sudden I had made it through to week 6. On the Friday of week 6 (the last session of the 6 week cycle) we were doing the exact same test we had done Friday week 1 to gauge if there had been much of a change. I decided to up the amount of weight I was doing on the deadlifts by 25kgs and aimed to get the same time despite adding extra weight. I managed to not only match the time but beat it by almost 2 minutes!
On the following Monday I was booked into get another DEXA scan and was really interested to see what the changes would be. I was definitely feeling slimmer and as though I had more energy but I wanted something I could look at as a direct comparison. When the results came out I had actually put on half a kilo, but when I went through the results more closely they revealed I had lost over 3 kilos in body fat and gained 3.5kgs in lean muscle mass. This meant my overall % of Body fat had dropped by 4% in the space of 6 weeks through consistent training and just doing the basics. During the 6 weeks I hadn’t made any big dietary changes as I generally ate pretty well to begin with so it was great to see the hard work at the gym a few hours a week was having such positive changes!
Since finishing up the challenge I decided to continue training with the PEAK boys as I feel despite the great changes I had already achieved I still have a way to go in terms of overall improvement. Now I am sled pushing 105 kilos in weight and feel great!