Monica Zielinski ▪ August 3, 2023
Building a strong body is just like building a house: you need to have a solid foundation first. Many people try to go from couch potato to marathon runner overnight. Or they go from a very sedentary lifestyle to joining a high impact fitness class. Long story short, they get hurt.
Imagine you’re building your dream home. You’ve done it all: the open concept kitchen and living room, the freshly painted walls, the new and stylish furniture… It looks amazing but short lived. As the seasons change, your house structure expands and contracts, causing instabilities that make the building wobble because you forgot to put a foundation! This is what happens to our bodies as well. Your body is an adaptable machine so it can withstand unnatural pressures placed upon it for some time but over time, it breaks down. It starts to weaken and it starts to hurt. This is how you lay a foundation for your body, one that will last you decades!
The first thing you need to do is become more mobile. Not flexible, mobile. Chances are you sit too much, more than 4 hours a day. This has a severe impact on your mobility. Our bodies are designed to move and when they are stuck in the same position throughout the day, you become stiffer. Motion is lotion for the joints. Even if you stand all day, I bet you’re still not moving all of your joints through their range of motion. Mobility is first because without a good range of motion in your joints, it is hard to gain strength.
Second is posture correction. I’m not just talking about pulling your shoulders back and tucking your chin in. I’m talking about full body posture correction: your neck, shoulders, spine, pelvis, knees, ankles, and feet. Posture correction is simply a rebalancing of the muscles. Certain muscles become weak and as a result the opposite muscle tightens up. Weakness first, tightness second. Posture correction can be learned on your own but it has taken me hours of study and years of experience to get really proficient at it. You also have to look at the body as a whole: this is why I always suggest for everyone to work with a personal trainer or corrective exercise specialist at least for a couple of months to learn the basics. Going back to the house example: you would leave the actual building, electrical, and plumbing to the specialists – which ensures your house is safe to live in, and then you can style it and paint the walls as you please. This step also includes building your core strength so that when you go to lift heavier or do more intense exercises, your core is fully supporting your spine. Crucial.
After you’ve activated your weak muscles and worked to rebalance them, it is time to now integrate your newly balanced body into certain movements like squats, deadlifts, pushups, etc.that trains your body to continue working well and balanced but with more complex exercises. Although you would still get a good workout from these exercises, the goal of this step is more so to teach your body how to engage the right muscles in full body movements, how to stay balanced, and how to have proper form.
So there you have it. 3 steps to building your foundation: mobility, posture correction, and integration. Once your muscles have that all down pat, THEN you can throw yourself into a more intense workout. Remember, although we want our results quick, trying to do it quickly will actually make your journey longer because well, you know how long it takes us all to recover from injuries.