Normally when somebody approaches me for personal training, 9 out of 10 times the person has one of the following requests: gain muscle, lose fat, or just simply ‘become more fit’. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with any of these. At the end of the day personal training is part of the service industry, and therefore the trainer should always do his or her best to deliver the results that the client wishes for. However, especially since I’ve been working in Kuala Lumpur, I have realised that most people who would like to improve their fitness are hardly ever aware that there are so many other exciting and useful goals that they can work towards. Here are 3 of my favourite not so common fitness goals that you may want to consider:
1. Improving your balance
Nearly all everyday activities, not to mention physical training, requires balance. Balance is all about having the ability to maintain the body’s centre of gravity within its base of support. Think about when you’re running or hiking outdoors on uneven surfaces, every time you take a step you need to balance your body, and if you have a rucksack on your back it can be even more challenging. Other typical examples are kicking a pad during your Muay Thai training, or even just executing a standing biceps curl in the gym. In both exercises you will need balance to maintain your upright posture. As falling related accidents can often become a serious issue when growing older, training your balance early on can not only improve your athletic performance, but it will also help you to stay safe later in life.
2. Developing better motor control
'Motor control’ may sound like a complex term, but it is perhaps the most intuitive function our body possesses. Arguably the most important use of our motor control is our reflexes – our basic, natural response to that which happens around us. Do you play ball games or badminton? In many of these kinds of sports your body will need to react to incoming stimuli fast and effectively (often from an awkward position). Sometimes you just won’t have time to think what to do when you’re out jogging in one of the parks in Kuala Lumpur, and suddenly you see an animal or a trip hazard right in front of you. You’ll need to react rapidly and change direction immediately to avoid stepping on or tripping over something that could land you with a nasty injury. By implementing speed, agility and quickness training into your workout you’ll train your nervous system to have better motor control, and your reaction time will improve as well.
3. Staying injury free
Okay, so this is common sense, right? Nobody wants to get injured during their workout, however, there are still many avoidable injuries that occur during all kinds of exercise. In my opinion many of these injuries happen when people don’t think consciously about staying injury free during their workout, and therefore don’t prioritise their safety. However, after an injury does happen, the thought probably occurs to most people that had they not pushed themselves as hard, they perhaps would have avoided getting hurt. It can sometimes feel like injuries can be chalked up to nothing more than bad luck, but I think most of the time injuries have little to do with luck, and are largely completely avoidable. The signs are there most of the time and it’s much better for you if you learn how to read them. Exercise can do as much harm as benefit and if you want to train for a long time and stay healthy, then avoiding injuries is probably the most important part of your training strategy.