Peter Hirsh is a nationally certified personal trainer and kettlebell instructor who has been teaching and training with kettlebells for over ten years. Peter has dedicated his life to the enrichment and well being of others and currently teaches classes and trains students one on one in San Diego, California. Wanting to reach a larger number of people with his teachings, Peter started Kettlebell Movement, a website dedicated to maintaining the authentic teachings of kettlebell training and promoting a simple and effective holistic lifestyle anyone can follow. Kettlebell Movement posts free weekly kettlebell workout videos. You can also find Peter on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.
My life is dedicated to helping people become healthier, stronger and more confident through diet and exercise coaching. For over ten years I have observed the obstacles that many people face, some of which seem insurmountable to the person at first. I believe that in order to provide the best service possible, I must be ready to observe and assist in any area that is causing someone struggle with their goals. Whether this is a physical, mental or even emotional barrier. For most people, the kind of exercise or exact foods you eat aren’t what separate you from your goals, it is your mindset going in and as you walk the path to better health.
1. Train for your goal
If your goal is to play tennis, seek out a great tennis coach, if your goal is to become more healthy, then find someone that studies health. When I began my career as a fitness professional, the industry was dominated by people teaching muscle isolation and machine based resistance training as a means to greater health. While there may be health benefits to machine based and/or muscle isolation training, there are also many things about it that are detrimental to your health. The goal of the modern day body builder isn’t health after all, it is appearance. To be more specific, it is maximum muscle size with minimal body fat. The same goes for running, while it can have health benefits, it can also be very hard on your joints and cause postural deviations, tight muscles and an overactive sympathetic nervous system. In my experience, countless people have wasted countless hours performing muscle isolation training and hour-long cardio sessions at the gym in effort to reach a goal that is much more abundantly available through much less painstaking methods. Buying in to the low quality protein and energy supplements that are sold as health foods has compounded the problem, wasting countless people countless dollars.
Fortunately, we now have a revolution of functional training that was probably long overdue. This training aims to assist people with health, allowing the muscles to build naturally as opposed to being the sole focus. With this method, real world motor patterns can be learned and deep core strength is an integral part of almost every exercise. However, even in the world of functional training we still see people missing their goal, training for athletic performance before they have even fixed postural deviations. Most people have muscles that are a little tight, achy joints, improper motor patterns and poor posture somewhere in their kinetic chain. These should be fixed and constantly maintained before beginning to train with a high performance mindset and administering even a conservative dose of cookie cutter or high intensity training. When done right, this training will not only provide you the most benefit, but also be some of the most enjoyable parts of your journey to health.
2. Build habits slowly
I began by cutting grain out about ten years ago. I saw a lecture given by Paul Chek at the Price-Pottenger foundation about the quality of our soil. I was astounded that someone could articulate what I felt so clearly and do it in such a brash manner. I studied more about the works of Paul Chek, Weston Price and Mary Ann Pottenger and quickly found out that they were in good company with a considerable number of great minds. Out of their teaching spawned the Paleo diet and many lives have been changed for the better. When I cut grain out of my diet I felt great and leaned out quickly, this motivated me to cut out sugar, alcohol and unhealthy fats.
For most people, exercise is the best first step because it does something magical. Taking control is one of the most important steps to greater health and exercise will make you feel in charge of your destiny faster than almost anything else. There are also countless benefits to moving your body, most of the real health promoting ones are never even considered. People are obsessed with how many calories they burned not realizing that the shift in hormones alone from exercise is a much greater benefit to their goals.
3. Be process oriented
Goal oriented people use the scales as motivation, they set a goal weight and put a plan in motion to achieve it. If they gain a pound they know it on their regularly scheduled weigh in, adjust accordingly and hope that the advice that they are following is sound. While this may work for a while, it is usually a recipe for long term disaster. When it comes to exercise and diet, ditch the notion that you are trying to lose ten pounds, gain ten pounds or even tone up. When it comes to long term results and making a real impact on your own life, you must embrace the process, not a goal. After all, once you have reached your goal, where do you go from there? The means used to achieve the goal are usually unsustainable and therefore staying at the goal you have arrived at is usually very short lived. Embrace the idea that you are taking control of your health, a journey of continuing education, effort and reward. When your focus is on the process, one day you will catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize you have surpassed any expectation you had initially had as to what your results should be.
4. Your solution must be your own
Many people think that the Paleo diet is all about eating meat, when in reality, it is about doing what is ancient in your biology. For some people, a vegetarian diet is highly agreeable to their body, for others it might make you lethargic and eventually, ill. Regardless of the ratio of meat to vegetables, we know that the foods we eat must still be ancient in our biology in order to guarantee proper digestion, metabolization and elimination. Exercise should be seen the same way, what works for someone else may not work for you. This might simply be because you don’t enjoy it, or because it is more or less challenging than the things you wish to do when being active. Try to stay active, whatever that means to you. Team sports or family bike rides can be a wonderful way of exercising without the teeth pulling feeling that some people might get when considering driving to the gym. While it is true that some kinds of exercise are generally better for you than others, the one that puts you in a good mood and relieves stress may be the best regardless of what that activity is. I recommend taking many different classes or finding different ways of moving your body, this will keep it fun and also help you to better determine what activities motivate you to keep coming back the most. For me, strength training always keeps me motivated because I can see improvement with every practice. It carries over to my recreational sports and even playing with my family. If you find yoga, dance, gymnastics or martial arts are your thing then let that inspire you to keep moving and stay healthy.
I hope this helps you to approach your health with a no stress attitude, and not put any pressure on yourself as you walk the path.