As a fitness trainer I need to understand you, your strengths and weaknesses, how to motivate and keep you on course and how best to move you forward towards a better quality of life. One size does not fit all. I need to be flexible and adaptable.
As part of my flexible and adaptive approach and in my endeavours to reach out to all, I also train clients with special training needs. The cornerstone of such training is:
- knowledge and understanding
- safety and injury prevention
- a positive outlook
All the above working towards good outcomes such as energy, fitness levels, muscle strength, balance and improved confidence.
Special training needs include:
Autism ‘Superhero” Training
Boxing is a lot more than most people give it credit for. It is repetitive movement training patterns aimed at developing precision and awareness. People with autism tend to favour routine and repetition, and martial arts or boxing can be so structured. Furthermore, boxing relies on visual learning and learning complex patterns of repetitive movement (from hand wrapping to the repetition of punches) which falls within the sphere of autistic characteristics. In a way we are fighting for autism. From a parenting perspective the boxing training could become a father-son/daughter or mother-son/daughter ritual. The emphasis isn’t on fighting. The training willfocus on timing, spacial awareness, breath control, mental focus and physical endurance. We will be training for a new and better quality of life.
Autistic people generally have slower reaction times and can suffer from stress and anxiety in social or group situations such as team sports. The beauty of boxing training is the 1-on-1 training situation. Less-stressful and individualised, person to person attention can provide a platform to reach out and truly connect with the client.
Additionally, many autistic children have physical issues as well as behavioural so boxing can help with making eye contact, posture, balance and co-ordination. Boxing can break down the barrier that nothing bad is going to happen when you look at someone. And if your child likes ninjas or superheros then we call it ninja or superhero training.
The diversity in autism means it can present very differently in different individuals. So every autistic client can have different needs. I will look to build a positive partnership with your child with an approach that is individualised, safe and supportive. The end goal is to help your child live a healthier life through enhancing motor skills, building confidence and improving fitness. Sure, some consider boxing as a violent and even barbaric sport whereas I see it as a vehicle that blends skill, talent and can transform lives.
Diabetes is now a huge concern with around 1.7 million Australians living with the disease and a further 280 developing diabetes every day! That’s 1 person every 5 minutes.
- Leading cause of blindness
- Leading cause of impotence
- Doubles the risk of heart disease
- Doubles the risk of dementia
- Amputations (more than 4440 amputations every year in Australia as a result of diabetes)
What we can we do? Collectively, we need to move more and lose weight.
There is golden way to train people with diabetes, but it is important to understand how exercise or activity affects our blood sugar levels. Exercise is insulin-like and what this means is that it mirrors the action of insulin on our blood sugar levels during and after a training session.
When a diabetic exercises or participates in strenuous physical activity, his/her blood glucose levels can drop and this can increase the possibility of negative short term reactions such as hypoglycaemia.
Symptoms and signs of hypoglycaemia may include:
Shaking, trembling or weakness
- Excessive sweating
- Light headedness
- Pins and needles around mouth
- Mood change
It is good practice to test blood glucose before and after a session, to help establish responses to the exercise. And keep carbohydrate snacks on hand for a post-exercise eat. Then follow up about 45 minutes to an hour later with something more substantial.
Hypertension can be managed through healthy lifestyle behaviours and choices that includes regular physical exercise, sensible eating and medication. If you’re hypertensive, a regular exercise regime is recommended but caution is necessary.
(1) Have clearance from your doctor
(2) Progress slowly
(3) Breathe, breathe, breathe. This may seem obvious, but so many clients need to be constantly reminded to breathe properly. The golden rule for breathing when training is to exhale during the hard bit and inhale during the easy part. Typically, exhale when you execute a punch / kick or lift a weight and inhale when returning to starting position
(4) When in boxing / Muay Thai stance don’t over-clench your fists. Relax, relax, relax.
(5) Lifting maximum weights, performing isometric contractions (a static exercise such as pushing against a wall) and holding your breath can all result in an elevated blood pressure response and should be avoided.
Chronic kidney disease is a major public health corner that effects an estimated 1.7 million Australians but it should not hold you back from living life fully. For people with kidney disease, therapeutic lifestyle changes can make a big difference to how you feel and quality of life. Diabetes and blood pressure can worsen when kidneys are damaged and exercising regularly can help ease these conditions. For the cardio exercise to be beneficial but not damaging (we don’t want to build excessive lactates , it should be low to moderate and nor strenuous ( we want to avoid lactic acidosis). Additionally, low-level strengthening exercises are advised but heavy lifting is to be avoided.
Boxing is super for moving all the major muscle groups and Muay Thai is even more effective in working those large muscles of the lower body without the heavy lifting component.
MS is an inflammatory scaring of the nervous system that interferes with nerve impulses and signals. MS affects over 23,000 Australians. There is no known cure for MS, however regular exercise can help you deal more effectively with the physical activities of everyday living.
Commonly, the aspects of the disease that I consider are balance, flexibility and thermosensitivity.
Impaired balance is common in those who have MS. The key consideration here is that individual should not change direction quickly.
Muscle spasms, which can result in muscle fibre shortening and pain, are not uncommon in MS. As such, a stretching program is recommended to help ease any pain and lengthen out fibres.
Heat sensitivity can be problematic and must be considered when scheduling the time of day to exercise. Other considerations are maintaining adequate hydration and wearing loose-fitting clothing and breathable fabrics.
Boxing is fantastic for developing good balance. When in boxing stance, weight should be evenly distributed on both feet such that the centre of gravity passes through the belly button. Doing such can help to realign one’s sense of balance. Without good balance, a boxer cannot strike and defend effectively.
We know that physiotherapy and medication can slow the progression of MS and it’s my hope that boxing training via the concept of neuroplasticity will do likewise. In order words, this type of training may help to maintain old connections and create new connections in the brain. Boxing really forces your brain to think and react in concert with your body. There’s an art to it that most people don’t realise. And hopefully, each punch and combination will force or induce the brain to “talk” just that little bit more to the nerves and this will keep the lines of nervous transmission and communication open for just that little bit longer and act as defense against an inner enemy that is attacking and assaulting the nerves. Surely, anything we can do to potentially slow down the course of the disease has to be a good thing.
Wheeling day in and day out is a workout in itself. But if you’re looking to up the intensity and introduce variety why not try a session on the pads. That’s right, wheelchair boxing! You can work up a sweat and reap the enormous rewards of the mental benefits and satisfy that fighting spirit.
Wikihow says it so well…
“People who use wheelchairs have the same needs as everyone else. They need social interaction, rigorous physical activity, and a healthy sense of self-worth. The sport of boxing can help satisfy those needs. With the right training, a person who uses a wheelchair can get the exercise their bodies require and the confidence they need to succeed in all aspects of life.”
Give yourself or your son or daugher a whole new lease of life.