“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.”
Hey, Michelle Cederberg here with your weekly Work-Life Recharge. In the last Work-Life Recharge video (episode 37), I went on a bit of a rant and suggested that we’re going a bit overboard on this wellness thing… and I initiated a Wellness Wake-Up Call to encourage you to skip the quick fitness fix and get back to basics with health – through strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, healthy eating and quality sleep. This week I had a conversation with my very own personal trainer Nick Braham about why strength training is so damn important, why you shouldn’t be afraid of it (no matter your age), and how you can get the most out of your workouts. The video below shares our conversation. Or you can read the transcript that follows.
Michelle: I have a love-hate relationship with my personal trainer. I hate the torture he puts me through in our workouts but I LOVE how I feel when I’m done. WELCOME!
Let’s jump right in. It’s seems that when people talk about exercise for health and weight management it’s all cardio, cardio, cardio, but why is weight training so damn important?
Nick: Well, tell me something in your day-to-day life that being a little bit stronger isn’t going to help.
Nick: Lifting stuff in your backyard, getting out of bed, opening a jar, carrying your kids around. Anything really. I mean, there are so many different applications for strength that it makes no sense to not chase that as a goal.
Michelle: But we don’t usually think about strength in that way. We usually go to the gym, lift heavy things to look better maybe, and we don’t put the application to real life.
Nick: Right. And a lot of that, is people are afraid, they’re afraid they’re gonna get too big, they’re gonna turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger (FYI, you’re NOT going to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
Michelle: He might turn into Arnold…
Nick: I’m trying to, and I’m not there yet. I’ve been at it for ten years.
Michelle: Yeah, so that’s a good point. If I ask what holds people back from weight training I hear you say “fear.”
Nick: Yeah fear.
Michelle: Fear of not knowing what to do, fear of getting big and bulky, fear of looking stupid…
Nick: Fear of hurting themselves… And I mean, they’re all valid to a point, but not to the point where they should stop you from picking up the weights and pushing yourself.
Michelle: Pushing yourself a little bit, I want to talk about that in a minute because the weight training thing does get pushed aside, yet I almost think it’s more important than cardio, or definitely a vital part of your health regime. Everybody should be doing weights.
Nick: Yeah, so exactly that! Without working on your muscle mass, without working on the muscles that move your bones, and keep your joints healthy, and at the end of the day really regulate your metabolism, you’re not going to make progress towards your goals whether it’s to get stronger, lose weight, get ready for summer, get ready for your wedding, it doesn’t matter. If you’re not working on your muscles first and foremost, you’re not going to see progress.
Michelle: And I’ve also heard that weight training is a better way to offset osteoporosis overall.
Nick: so, absolutely! Anything that’s loaded, anything where you’re carrying something that’s heavy, anytime you’re getting a bunch of impact on your joints, those are all things that are going to contribute to increasing your bones’ density. So ladies that’s really important for you. Pick up some weights, please do some dead lifts, do some squats, load your bones.
Michelle: And not just the bones in your legs from walking. Variety! So here’s a question I have. You spend a lot of time in the gym. What are some of the biggest mistakes you witness when people are lifting weights?
Nick: Either doing too much, or really not doing enough. There’s not really any consistent middle ground. A lot of the times, I’ll see ladies in the gym using 5 pound dumbbells, doing bicep curls, standing on a BOSU ball. None of that is effective if you’re looking to get more trim, or more slim, or whatever. Pick up some heavy weights. Pick it up off the floor, stand up straight with it and perform good technique.
Michelle: Now this is the thing I’m finding so empowering about training with Nick. I am lifting heavier weights. I’ve always been quite strong, but I’m lifting way more than I ever thought I was capable of, I’m doing it with great technique, cause he’s “tech Nick,” and we’re working hard, harder than I ever would on my own. I think for a lot of us the bigger challenge is not lifting enough weights, you’ll see people who are lifting too much and whose technique is not good – don’t go there, but for most of my viewers, I’m gonna guess you’re not lifting enough.
So in our sessions together, you’re definitely not a one trick pony. We’re lifting weights, we’re using kettlebells, we’re using tubes, we’re using all sorts of things like that. Why’s that so important?
Nick: It all comes together to make a complete package. Whether it’s a barbell implementation or kettlebell or band, it’s all going to work together for whatever your goals are. And you have some things you’re looking to address from a structural standpoint, you want to get stronger, so we’re going to use all of the tools at our disposal and we’re going to make that as efficient for you as possible.
Michelle: Now, see, that’s a scientific answer, and for me, as a client, it just makes it more fun and interesting because I get to do different things and I’m not always struggling with big heavy weights. It’s not always about big big heavy weights…
Nick: But it is a little bit about big big heavy weights. Those are important.
Michelle: So, what’s your health mantra?
Nick: Progress over everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re using the bands, you’re using the barbell, you’re using the kettlebell, you want to be making progress in some way. And it doesn’t have to be the weight. It could be last week I did 20 reps of this, this week I did 21. Or last week I did 50 pounds of this, this week I did 55.
Nick: Just pushing the envelope constantly because that’s what’s going to give you the stimulus to continue to pursue your goals.
Michelle: So that is valuable because a lot of people will pick up weights and they’ll continue lifting the same weights over and over again, and even if it gets easier, they don’t lift heavier. So lift more, lift heavy weights, do a little more intensity, whatever it may be. Progress.
Michelle: So your business name is “One ingredient body” which I always thought was quite interesting. So how does that fit into all of this? What does “One ingredient body” mean to you?
Nick: When I sat down to brainstorm it with a buddy of mine, he had just come off of a program that worked really well for him, and the thing that we found common ground on was the fact that he stuck with it, and that’s my thing. If you have some dedication to a goal, and you can stick with something, that is the only thing you need. Because the tools are out there for everything else. But if you have that dedication, you can get it done.
Michelle: To do the freakin’ work…
Nick: It means do the work
Michelle: Do the work. I find that to be one of the biggest differences between the people who are going to find success, and people who aren’t. One ingredient. And, a personal trainer to help you. I feel very strongly about this. And I have my Masters in Kinesiology, 25 years experience in the fitness industry and yet I’ve hired a personal trainer because I don’t always push myself as hard as I could, I don’t always have my finger on the pulse of the latest and the greatest. And this guy holds me accountable, teaches me how to do it right, sees things in my balance and muscle strength that I miss. I’m doing it right, doing it with good technique, getting the confidence to do it on my own, that’s why I think that everybody should start off by hiring a personal trainer, at least for a few sessions.
Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg, helping your transform your work and life, one workout and one recharge at a time.
Michelle Cederberg, MKin, BA Psyc
Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)
ORSC Trained Team Coach
Live Energetically ~ Do Work You Love ~ Get the Most Out of Life