Am I the only one who’s ever been jealous of the kinesiology students? As someone so interested and engaged in fitness and physical activity I would love to be able to sit in on those lectures. While that may not be possible, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education does host seminars throughout the year which are open to all students. I stumbled upon one of these online and decided I’d check it out last Tuesday.
The seminar was titled “Learn to Train” and was concentrated on exercise design. It was held in the multipurpose room in the Goldring Centre – as such I was able to discover yet another corner of this beautiful facility – and I was impressed by the 12-or-so person turnout. Leading the seminar were two Goldring trainers. Before the end of the seminar, I spotted two friends in the room – what are the odds?
To start off, we talked about how much exercise we should be getting. We went over the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines which recommend adults 18-64 years old do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week in order to see health benefits. What I liked was that we were reminded that “moderate to vigorous” looks different for everyone. Everyone has their own unique starting point and “moderate to vigorous” reflects their personal experience not any standard of what should be difficult or not. We also learned that the recommendation to incorporate muscle and bone strengthening activities at least twice a week was only recently added to the guidelines, as more and more research came out in support of this habit.
Next we talked about goals and how important it is to have a specific, measurable, action-related, realistic and timely (S.M.A.R.T) goal in mind when designing your exercise regime – in order to make progress toward your goals most efficiently. The trainers also emphasized the importance of having that goal in mind during exercise. If you’re looking to build lower body strength but you’re doing squats and your shoulders can’t take another set, it should be an indication to you that something is wrong.
Which brings us to what exercise means to each individual. We reflected on what is considered “exercise” and how an individual identifies a good workout. For some people, they have to be toppled over exhausted at the end of the workout, for others exercise can be a fun Zumba class or a slow, therapeutic, not-too-difficult lifting session. The trainers reflected on how critical their clients can often be of themselves for not meeting some minimum indication of “exercise.” I’ll be keeping this in mind as I continue to train – feeling sore and being drenched in sweat aren’t necessarily indications of good exercise.
For the remainder of the seminar we talked more specifically about program design for strength, power and endurance goals and I won’t attempt to relay that in a simple blog post, but I do want to mention what was said about “workouts of the day”/”WOD” which are increasingly popular online these days. The problem with these is that everyone has a unique set of limitations, a unique starting point and unique goals, which are probably not going to align perfectly with any universal workout of the day. Training according to these may cause injury, frustration and/or a lack of progress toward one’s individual goals.
Stay tuned for more seminars and events like this one by looking out for flyers within the athletic centres but also checking the calendar online! Maybe I’ll see you there next time!