This week, I am back in the classroom. Or, at least, sitting on the floor of a dance studio with my notebook and pen, watching Powerpoint presentations (and LOTS of live physical demonstrations). It’s a weird feeling – in a good way.
You see, I’m taking four days of classes with Personal Trainer/Yoga Trainer/Pilates Trainer Claire Norgate, from Australia. [When I lived in the US, I had no idea how much fitness “stuff” came out of Australia. Turns out, a lot!] This particular workshop set is focused on Postural Analysis/Movement Analysis/Trigger Point and Remedial/Rehabilitation Pilates (and some other, non-Pilates exercises). I am not a trained Pilates instructor and, to be honest, I went in fairly skeptical of Pilates, based on the smattering of group classes I’ve taken. And although my thoughts on it are changing somewhat thanks to this course, some of the finer, Pilates-centric points of the workshop have been lost on me.
Still, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything I’ve learned (or hopefully learned!) over the last few days. This is a good kind of overwhelmed, though – and I am very excited to start incorporating some of these techniques and approaches into my coaching programs and into my one-on-one work with clients on posture/stride/gait. I also plan to share more details about certain topics on the blog, once I’ve had time to process, integrate, and test some of them. But for now, I have to leave for class pretty soon – so I will leave you with a list. [I love lists. Also, I’m considering this to be Monday’s “Coach’s Corner” post, kind of – especially since I started it at the beginning of the week.]
10 Tidbits of Learnin’
(from two Claire Norgate workshops)
1. Spending the day with other folks who are just as interested in fitness/movement as I am is pretty darn cool. I’m a bit of an anomaly – I’m trained as a running coach, but am far less formally trained in other areas of fitness (yoga, Pilates, personal training) than many of the other participants. There is so much that I can learn in that room – and only some of it comes from Claire.
2. Nothing beats wearing your workout gear to class. Bonus? I need only change my shoes to be dressed for my run when I get home! [It’s like going to class in your PJs when you were in college – only cuter, more efficient, and socially acceptable.]
3. There is contradictory evidence about pretty much everything. You thought that the barefoot running controversy was bad? That is merely the TIP of the iceberg. Should you “roll” your spine up and down (as in “From standing, drop your chin to your chest and ROLL down, one vertebrae at a time.”)? Is it safe to squat with knees extending past toes? What sorts of exercises are “safe” for folks with knee injuries? back injuries? Also, this year’s recommendation may change next year. Or in five years. Then, it’ll probably change back. It’s enough to make you crazy. Instead, I use it as a reminder of the importance of respecting the differences in individuals, and encouraging everyone to listen to his/her own body.
4. I need a pack mule, or a car. Carrying course materials, food, workout apparel, and shoes for the day (sometimes 7 AM – 7 PM) makes me not the favorite person on crowded morning buses.
5. Teaching group exercise classes well is really, really hard. This goes hand-in-hand with observations I’m making during the Team Teaching for RPM. In every class, there are folks of all levels and body types, with unique strengths/weaknesses. Teaching in a way that properly directs each of them is extraordinarily challenging, and I didn’t appreciate this until very recently.
6. Other people have dorky “favorite things”, too! I have a favorite science word (pseudopod) and a favorite piece of laboratory equipment (one of the BioRad PCR machines in the Bi lab). Apparently, exercise/physiology folks have favorite bones (I decided yesterday that mine is the xyphoid process), and favorite muscles to look at (gastrocnemeus/soleus?).
7. We ALL have some postural and movement patterns that fall within “normal” range – and we all have some that fall outside what is considered “normal”. The goal for those of us in the fitness industry – and the folks I/we work with – is to start moving people toward normal, to allow for safer, more pain-free, and more effective movement and exercise.
8. As the only Caucasian in a room full of Asians, I was the one who asked, “Well, who decided what “NORMAL” is, anyway?”
9. “Lamb Cupcakery” is a very strange name. But their chocolate peanut butter cupcake is a pretty amazing way to end a day of learnin’.
10. I need (want?) to learn more. And more. And more. It’s really fantastic to be learning things that I will actually use!!! Take that, formalized American education system!
OK, that’s it for today, folks. As I said – I hope to be blogging about more specific information I learned – and how I’m applying it to my coaching – over time. But for now, keep on eye out here – the Thursday “Stretch of the Day” will be debuting in less than 24 hours!!
If you work in the health/fitness industry: What is the most useful class/course/workshop you’ve ever taken?
EVERYONE: I’m in ‘learning mode’, so teach me some interesting morsel of information!!!