by Alun Evans
C.H.E.K Exercise Coach
Future Fit Nutrition Advisor
Advanced Personal Trainer.

Many people desire to "get fit", dispense a few kilos, look their best, maybe run a 10k for the first time or undertake a sponsored sporting challenge for charity, often years since participating in exercise. Exercise is also perceived by many as being the definitive undertaking to achieve the level of fitness required to successfully accomplish these goals. As a result, running shoes are purchased, fitness studios visited and a new routine embarked upon. That's fine as long as one's lifestyle in general supports and aids this new routine.
My experience as a Personal Trainer has shown me time and time again that exercise alone is just not enough. At best, results are average and more usually minimal and often injury is the only net acquisition. I therefore suggest that exercise or movement in general is one of five fundamental elements that have to be addressed simultaneously. Each one of these topics will be discussed in upcoming articles. However, I would like to briefly clarify these elements to give an overview.

NUTRITION is our fuel and we are literally what we eat. It is therefore essential to have the right balance of macronutrients depending on our individual requirements. For that reason I strongly recommend metabolic typing and consumption of fresh organic foods for my clients.

SLEEP regenerates the body for physiological and psychological well being. I am an advocate of the Circadian rhythm of sleep pattern. This is derived from the Circadian Clock which is a biological rhythm observed in plants and animals.

EXERCISE is needed to facilitate fitness levels that match our daily needs. We are all sportsmen and women with daily functional requirements in our own arena of life and just as an athlete has to be fit for a specific discipline, we all have to be fit for our personal physical demands. Of course, modifications have to be made for those who do not get the necessary movement they need for health on a daily basis (a large chunk of the population).

RELAXATION or down time, could be meditation or just quiet time. To be considered separate from sleep, the ability to relax is crucial in our world of stress. Stress is linked to immune system compromise and disease. As such, the ability to isolate it and detach oneself from it whilst still getting tasks done, is vital.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT or progression could be spiritual consciousness or general goal setting. The ability to set goals and forge a direction in life helps to promote an environment in which one feels happy. Research has shown that people who write down their goals stand a far greater chance of achieving them. The first task however is to find out what those goals are.

One can see that the above are interlinked, each facilitates or assists the other, physical and mental harmony transpires through balance and respect of all the elements. For example, if you were to exercise strenuously following a personalized program but compromise your diet with poor food choices, chances are you could end up in worse shape. Nutrition becomes even more important when you are training, as the body is being broken down all the time. Similarly, if you are not getting the creative energy that you need from relaxation and the clarity of vision that it promotes it will be very difficult to embark on personal development.

Health was defined by the World Health Organisation in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". This may be dated but is still the most enduring definition. It is fair to say then that going to the Gym or running three times a week is not necessarily going to get you healthy. That applies to elite sports people just as much as the general population, being fit for a particular sport does not carry over by default to general health.

As a Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach I have to address all these issues in order to elevate clients to their full potential, this can provoke people into completely re-evaluating their lives as a whole, including such fundamentals as social acquaintances and friendships, habits, general mindset. This requires real determination and bloody mindedness in many cases. It can be daunting to have to address all these issues but by taking small incremental steps and by showing credence and respect to all the elements, anybody can achieve really fantastic results.

During consultation with potential clients, I talk through the elements and people are often quite shocked at what is involved. Maybe they had a pre conceived idea that they would just have to do some press ups and cardio and that's it, fitness sorted, a quick fix. This is good because it really encourages people to be more honest about where they are and what they need to do. The fundamentals of health are really very simple and most of us know intuitively what we should do but the hardest thing is to actually implement them. That's where a Professional Trainer can help by breaking everything down, compartmentalizing the areas that need addressing, and then setting realistic modifications. Exercise and aesthetic appearance is the icing on the cake, its paramount that a good foundation of general health is laid down first.

I look forward to discussing the five elements with you in upcoming articles, so look out for the The Munich Eye!

Alun is available for consultation; he specializes in the areas of rehabilitation post surgery,
Lifestyle Coaching, Nutrition and General Fitness.
To contact Alun email:
Tel: 0160/ 97048494

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