Welcome to the Online Video Portal of your initial assessment. There are various videos below that will show you the movements I would like you to record and the angles I would like you to record them from. The amount of reps you should do for each video will be written in the description
Basic Movement Assessment
Standing Hip Flexion
- Do this one bilaterally
- Stand with feet together
- Shoulder blades should be brought back but they shouldn’t be pinched.
- While standing tall, lift one leg all the way till the hips are bent at least 90 degrees. Hold this position for 5 second before bring the leg down
- Do 3 reps on each side
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes touching the wall
- Have your palms facing the wall with your thumbs inline with your shoulder. While keeping this distance, try and slide your hands against the wall as high as you can go without shrugging your shoulders
- If possible – show how high the hands go in the video as well
- Do 3 repetitions
Squat Front View
Squat Assessment (Overhead & Arms In front)
- Stand with feet slightly shoulder width apart and toes rotated about 10 degrees outwards. Have your hands in front of you, shoulder width apart and palms facing each other.
- Drive your hips back as if you were about to sit on a chair behind you
- While doing this, make sure you keep your torso tall and go just till 90 degrees of hip flexion before coming back up. If you are having a hard time with this one – you can do the modification below
- Do 3 reps of each squat from the front and side angles
- If you are not able to do this squat due to pain or injury – do the modification below
***only to be done if the above versions cannot be done
- Stand with feet slightly shoulder width apart and toes rotated about 10 degrees outwards. Have your hands in front of you, shoulder width apart and palms facing each other.
- Drive your hips back to sit on a chair or stool set behind you
- While doing this, make sure to keep your torso tall and do not just relax into the chair
- Try and stand back up without using momentum. Dig your heels into the ground to push yourself back up
Instructions are provided in the video
- 10 second hold for each pose
- These should be continuous and it should be a smooth transition from one pose to the other.
Easy Landing Assessment
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
- Drop your hips back and have your arms behind you.
- Jump up – while doing that, swing your hands forward so they go over your head.
- When you land back down, make sure that your hands end behind you like they did during your starting position
- Do not bring your knees together when your are jumping or when you are landing
- Do 3 continuous reps taken from both angles, if you do not feel pain or discomfort – you may progress to the advanced level below
Advanced Landing Assessment
- Start standing on a box that is about 8-12 inches off the floor – if you do not have a box, stairs would work as well.
- You are going to be jumping from the box to about a foot in front of you. Once you land from the initial jump, jump straight up and land back into a squat.
- Make sure that your knees do not touch when you are jumping or when you are landing
- Try and keep your torso from collapsing into your quads each time you land
- Remember to start with your hands behind you, palms facing in when you’re at the bottom of your jump and swing your hands overhead when taking off
- Do two reps of each from each angle
The videos and pictures should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once these have been received – an assessment will be done and you will receive a breakdown of your movements along with training/exercise goals.
So, now that January is done, most people start reassessing their new years resolutions. Some are doing great at it and have managed to have self control and discipline as the year has been progressing while others are struggling to get into a routine. One of the most common goals people have going into the new year is they want to lose weight, be healthier, or they want to go to the gym more regularly. As a personal trainer, “Where do I start?” is the most common questions I get asked when people are considering going to the gym, whether it is their first time stepping into one or if they were there before but fell off the wagon. The gym can seem like a pretty intimidating place because everyone seems so intense, they’re all in there with their headphones in, lifting weights and drinking from their protein shakers. No one seems to be lost as they navigate from one machine to another effortlessly setting it up and going through reps like they’ve been doing it forever.
The funny thing about that concept is that, its all about perception. As a fitness and health professional, I can tell you for a fact that the majority of people have no idea what they’re doing at the gym and those that do, are so proud that you’ve made the conscious decision to join a gym that we would love to help you out if you felt lost. About the earphones/headphones that I mentioned earlier, most of the people who you see with their headphones on would not be there if they had forgotten them at home. They’re a means to shut off the world whether it is because we want to hide the distractions around the gym – which in that case, you would not be noticed, or its because we want to hide how awkward we feel being in the gym – even though we’re a regular goer.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way and hopefully you’re feeling more at ease with the idea of going to a gym, where do you start? I mean, you’ve made it through the entrance, water bottle in hand, new workout shoes – now what?
Well, lets start with the reason you went to the gym. Was it to lose weight? Was it because you wanted to be active again? Was it because you want to rehab an injury? Get better at a certain exercise and/or lift? These exercises will help you determine what kind of gym you’re joining. If you are looking at being active again, maybe a rec center might be a good start. Somewhere where you can play various sports at a recreational level – one that has a basketball court or a tennis court or a pool. Something that gets you moving and it’s not always the same thing. Joining a coed recreational team is always a good start if you’re not sure where the various rec centres are at. There are many different leagues and sports in Calgary – for more information on the Calgary Sport and Social Club, click here.
If you are looking at rehabbing an injury, knowing the ins and outs of the injury is going to help you determine what exercises you can do and which ones you might need more help and guidance for. For this one, talk to a qualified professional when it comes to injury rehab, they can be an athletic therapist, a physio, or your surgeon. Make sure they’re someone who has in depth knowledge of your injury and they can guide you to your recovery. Example: If you sprained your ankle two weeks ago, maybe single leg power exercise might not be the best exercise to return to because it is too painful to go on your toes – maybe focusing on the balance and strength on the ankle might be better. Unfortunately, not all injuries are as “straight forward” as an ankle injury. Some of them mask and appear as something completely different. In cases like this, knowing what is the main cause of the pain/discomfort is a great asset. A qualified coach, trainer, or athletic therapist would be a great place to start.
If it was to lose weight, the most basic concept is that you want to spend/burn more calories than what you are consuming. This means that your exercises have to be ones that spend a lot of energy. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is always a good place to start. These are where timed exercise come into play with minimal rest time. This is where you see a work to rest ratio – 30 seconds on: 30 second off and etc. These exercises keep your heart rate at a higher level and you are working your anaerobic metabolism which requires a lot of energy as it is not as efficient as your aerobic metabolism (slow, steady exercise – ie: riding a bike). These are great for people who like different exercises as they get bored or if they have only a short amount of time to get a workout in. They don’t require lots of equipment – most times body weight exercises can do the trick. As you get more confident with the body weight exercises, you can start adding weight or speed to them. There are various really good HIIT classes across Calgary (I’ll tag some of my favorite classes/studios for HIIT at the bottom) and some boot camp instructors are very good at making sure that they pick the right exercises for you. Now on to the next question, “How do you know if an exercise is good for you or not?” This question can only be answered with another question. How do you feel while doing the exercise? Meaning, do you know what you are trying to achieve? Are you doing the exercise pain free? Are you able to do it pretty close to how the instructor/trainer/coach is doing it? If the answer to any of those questions is “No” then probably the exercise is not the right one for you – it might be “not the right one yet”, or “not the right one at all” and that only time will tell.
If you’re trying to get better at a certain exercise – having a professional that knows how to break down the movement and rebuild it back with you is the best way to go. So many people expect a simple video on Youtube or Instagram to help teach them complex movements and I’m sorry to burst your bubble but sometimes that is not enough. Unless your body is exactly the same as the person you saw doing the video, you’re going to have to tweak a couple things with the form. You won’t know what to tweak unless there is someone there that knows how to watch your movement pattern and compare it with the “proper form’. This is why even professional coaches/athletes work with someone else to help them get better at their craft.
Some of my favourite HIIT studios/classes in Calgary are found below
- Not only do they do group classes but they also have qualified kickboxing coaches, classes just for women, mobility classes & etc
- They have also created this amazing community where everyone feels welcomed and accepted.
- Voted as one of “Calgary’s Top Boutique Studio” by Calgary’s Top Fitness Awards because they have created a community that encourages you to give the best of yourself while sweating
- They have qualified trainers who are at the top of the industry ready to help you achieve any of the goals that were mentioned above.
- Right2Roam was created by Anna Levy because she wanted to share her love for the outdoors along with fitness.
- Anna is not only a certified personal trainer, she also specializes in pre/post natal fitness (so all you mama’s and mama’s to be, check her out!) but she also has her level II FST (Fascial Stretch Training) which she uses to make sure that her clients are moving to the best of their abilities.
Do you guys have any favourite studios to check out? I am always looking for more welcoming and fun workout environments.
Till next time,
As you come to an end, I can’t help but reflect on all that have or haven’t happened in the last 10 years. I have learnt so much about myself not just as a woman, and as a Christian, but as the complexity of the soul that is called Whitney. You taught me how to be strong, you taught me how to be fearless, you taught me that words hurt but that at the end of the day, they mean very little. As 2019 comes to an end today, I find myself being extremely grateful for how far I’ve come, all the highs and lows. Funny enough, all the lows – because – whew chile – they were some moments but God brought me this far.
You taught me so much, some things I didnt want to learn but it kept me from being too naive. You were my first decade as an adult and as messy as some of the years were, now I look back at them and I see how they made me who I am.
I am part of the millennial generation and I find you taught me that I had an awesome childhood. You taught me to appreciate being able to play outside for hours without any care in the world. As I grow older, I find I am nostalgic for the games my friends and I used to come up with. I’m nostalgic of the TV shows I used to watch as a kid (Lizzie Mcguire, Phil from the Future, That’s so Raven, Floricienta, & so many more) and rewatching them as adult is my favourite way to destress, not only because it makes me feel happy again but because I also get to catch all these jokes that went over my head as a child.
Going into University, you taught me that the world was bigger than I thought and knew it to be. You showed me that even if I was dropped somewhere without anyone or thing to hold on to, I’d survive. I’d carve a path of my own and survive. That first year was a breeze compared to what came after but you showed me that I had perseverance. You taught me that it was ok to not be the smartest person in the room and how to always seek to learn from them. You taught me the delicacy that is coffee and that even though there were days that never seemed to end, it would always add a pep to my step. You taught me to test my boundaries with it and now that I am older, I wish my body could drink 3-4 cups like it did when I was younger without any consequences. You taught me that I work better under pressure than I do with lots of time on my hands – it was all part of the time management skills I had to learn (late nights, freaking out about papers due the next day that I swore I would’ve started weeks ago). You taught me that it is more than ok to have a small circle of close friends and that those who want to stay will make the effort – something that I have to admit I still struggle with. You taught me that bad days didn’t mean a thing when compared to the grand scheme of things. Bad days would happen but so would great days and so would mediocre days – its all a part of life. I thought I had these lessons pretty down pack until the final that was the last half of the decade.
2015-2019 -Phew were do I start with the roller coaster that you guys have been? Life post university hasn’t been a breeze but it has sure had some epic and unbelievable moments. 2015 had me getting into the work force as a personal trainer while still chasing the ultimate goal of being an certified athletic therapist. Those first two years after graduating were like going to university all over again but this time, the transition was a little smoother. I had half of my friends going through the same predicament of not completely knowing what they were doing while the other half seemed to have a cheat code on how to start carving their professional life. 2015 taught me that I’d land on my own two legs even when things didn’t go as planned. However, I took that landing on my own two legs a little too literally and did nothing but work because I was always trying to catch up to those who had the cheat code not realizing that my life was designed for something completely different. By the time I would realize that, a new wave of lessons would come my way.
2016 – you have to branch out, if you’re waiting for life to happen before you do anything, you’ll miss all the living you’re currently doing. People come and go and that’s ok, you’ll survive each time( Like I said, its a lesson, I’m constantly trying to learn.
2017 – Take care of yourself otherwise you won’t be able to take care of those around you. Fight for the life/work balance with everything that you’ve got. Forgive and forget means forgive and forget – not forgive and go back to the past. Being forgiving doesn’t mean that you try and walk across a bridge that’s already burnt down.
2018 – Oh, the places you’ll go. Travelling shows you how open you adventurous you truly are from discovering a new culture to trying new foods. You brought friends into my life that I felt like I have known forever even though it has only been a year. You have to be one of my favourite ones to date. You taught me to have faith and to stand up for myself no matter how terrifying that would be. You saw me switch jobs and that process has been one I am ever grateful for. You saw me trying football for the first time and even though I was terrified – I did it.
2019 – You taught me perseverance. You taught me to trust myself and not to lose focus on what my goals where even when everything seemed uncertain. You taught me that it was ok to be vulnerable and it was ok to not constantly have it together. You taught me to trust that God’s got this and that eventually things will work out. That last part has been the official theme of the last couple of months but we’re here so it works out.
As 2020 enters, I am not sure what the lessons will be or where I’ll be when 2029 hits but I am excited to see where it takes me. If you had asked 17 year old Whitney where she wanted to be in 10 years, she wouldn’t have dreamt of all this. Her plans were smaller in scale to where she is now and the path is completely different but so much more rewarding.
To anyone reading this, give yourself time. Life isn’t meant to be figured out in a year or in a decade – especially when the average human life span is about 8-10 decades. Your goals will change, life will throw curve balls your way, you will lose interest in things you’ve loved forever, and gain interest in things you never thought you would. You’ll be heartbroken, mentally broken, sometimes even physically broken but you’ll make it through. Stick to your core values, don’t change yourself to please those around you – make sure that you can look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and be completely at peace with that. You’re meant to be so much more than someone who checks boxes or moves through squares in the “Game of Life”. You were made for so much more so give yourself time to figure out what that so much more is. I’m right there with you – and no, the journey is not always easy or happy but we’ll get to the destination eventually and it will be bigger than any dreams you have right now.
Happy New Year!!
Not all who wonder are lost…
It might seem like another cliché saying and to be fair enough, I used to think of it that way until summer 2k17 hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit before. Those who know me might say I am independent or even at times a little stubborn. But being independent was and is my way of survival, not because I had to claw hard at life – thank God, my parents have always been there for me and the battles that they’ve fought are ones my siblings and I will never have to fight. But being independent was my way of building my confidence and shaking things off when they got a little too close to home. It was my way of getting back up after every disappointment/failure in life. I didn’t have to depend on much. If I didn’t expect much from others, I wouldn’t be disappointed when they didn’t or couldn’t do what I needed them to do at my point of weakness. If I failed, I couldn’t cheap out and blame anyone else because it was me. As a Christian, that’s a lonely life to live and one that involuntarily shut a lot of people out of my life. For which, I apologize.
We are taught to depend of Christ for everything, whether it’s good or bad, whether our prayers are answered or not. I contained my faith in a little box because I was scared of the disappointment that I would feel when God didn’t answer my prayers or when He didn’t answer them the way I had imagined it in my head. I’ve spent the last 3 years or so, scared to pray for what I really want or need because I was scared that God would turn that around into a punching lesson cause what I want isn’t what He wants for me so all my desires where deemed wrong. I prayed for jobs that I didn’t get, I prayed for relationships that I didn’t get, I prayed for exams that I didn’t pass, I prayed for healing for friends and family that aren’t here anymore – the typical Christian response would be “God had a reason” but for that period in my life, it seemed like I had to hang on to a ledge and wait for the negative response because that’s probably what I was going to get. I’ve heard about grace and mercy and unconditional love but there are times that those concepts don’t speak to me as loud and as clear as they do after a Sunday service or a good conversation with a friend over coffee. The worst thing was in between this negative waves, there was no one to talk to that would make things better because I felt like no one could understand that didn’t already have a preprogramed response in their head (Christian or not). This closed my heart so much, it tightened it to the extent that there were times when I would have anxiety attacks and I would hide it behind beautiful pictures because they would take my mind away from the noose that was tightening around my neck.
Summer 2k17 showed me that as much as I tried not to depend a lot of others, I had laid my foundation on pillars unbeknownst to me that came crushing down one after another. I depended on the fact that I had a job that would motivate me when I woke up in the morning but would still give me the flexibility to be creative and I loved my coworkers. They became an extended part of me and I could not imagine my life without them. I made friends that came to mean the world to me and even though I am a person who doesn’t open up, I brought down my walls and they made me feel safe and welcome, I knew beyond a doubt what I wanted to do in the world – what my calling was and for the first time, I thought I could see it. One by one, they all fell apart and when I would try to cling on to the others for support, they came crushing down as well, a real life little practical example of the parable of the man who built his house on sand. I had said before this year started that I felt lost but I do not think I completely understood the extent of that word until this year. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my world was crumbling. I felt scared to pray because as much as God loved me, surely He would have a bit to say about how He told me so. Also, I wanted to skip to 5 years down the road when the pain wouldn’t be as fresh as it was right now and that is certainly not the case. The anxiety attacks came back full force; the mental breakdowns that I hadn’t dealt with since my athletic therapy year were back. My skin never breaks but it went through a rough patch in May/June. I couldn’t sleep – I felt tired all the time. I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted to escape. Then enough was enough and I realized that I had to do something otherwise I would hate myself for the rest of my life.
One, I realized that I was burnt out. Being that person that everyone seems to rely on but not relying on anyone can be exhausting. There are things in my life that I am going to have to drop whether I like it or not. It’s like I’ve reached a fork in the road and one road leads to a life where I can be someone I can only dream to be and the other is a road where there is some security but I know it doesn’t fulfill me. I hate failure to the point that I will not try new things and that fear is what has been holding me behind.
Two, failure is ok. As terrifying as it might seem to a perfectionist, you’ll survive. The tears will flow, the pain will be unbearable but you’ll survive because the alternative is not one you could live with.
Three, dreaming is nothing if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. I love my comfort zone. I stepped out of it a little this year but now that extension became part of my comfort zone as well. Now, I need to step out even more. I need to actually reach out and get things done instead of just sitting in a corner wishing because that will not get me anywhere.
Four, it’s not about how you feel, it’s a decision. Every day with Christ is not a walk in the park, they’ll be hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslide, nuclear bombs, and any other disaster this world has to offer to disrupt the relationship but it’s about standing by that decision that I believe in Christ and even though it might not seem like it, I am doing this for something bigger and the popular checkmarks on this earth. God still loves me and as much as I like to give him human attributes, He is above it all. His love is not conditional, its not earned, it just is and even in the storms that shape my life, I might feel like I’m a punching bag but it doesn’t change His love for me.
Five, take care of yourself. You’re no use to anyone if you’re cranky, unmotivated, bitter, or just simply exhausted. If you need to take a break, take it. If you need to scream, scream. If you need to talk, talk – you can send me an email if you like but talk. If you need to cry and just have someone hold you without any questions, do that. Just don’t ignore yourself because you are trying to be so much for everyone else.
I’m not saying that I won’t struggle with opening up my heart and loving unconditionally or showing those around me my vulnerability – God knows that it’s a self-defense mechanism now, but I’ll put my identity in the fact that I was created to be in this world and a lot of things had to work exactly the way they did for me to be here today and that can’t be taken for granted.
So now, I’m not lost. I wander because I know where the road is but I’m just looking for the starting line.
P.S. If you can travel, travel – blog post coming up soon about Mexico! 🙂 🙂