The Benefits of Building Strength for women in New Orleans

September 17, 2010


The Benefits of getting Strong and Building Strength for Women in New Orleans

A Fitness Blog Post by: Mark Thonn ( New Orleans Boot Camp Instructor in Metairie)

I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the time I have spent leading the New Orleans Adventure Bootcamp in Jefferson Parish. During that time, it has been a privilege to have been involved with so many successful endeavors to lose so many pounds and inches.

Often the primary goal of a “camper” is to get to a particular size or to get back into those “skinny” jeans at the back of the closet.

While these are noble endeavors, and often quite impressive, I feel that some of the participants, especially some of the newer folks, may not place as much emphasis on an equally, if not more important benefit of the program; that benefit is pure, functional strength.

Now, I have had female clients who have told me, “I don’t need to be strong. I just want to get rid of “this.” (Insert appropriate body part) The customer is always right, but please allow me to explain some of my philosophy and how it developed.

Before I ever even considered training others, I worked out avidly. The exercise was for stress relief as well as to stay strong because, being in the security/safety field, I was often called upon to respond to various emergency situations. In many of those situations physical strength and endurance made the difference in the outcome. Please believe me. I am not bragging. Many people, both male and female, are way stronger than I am. But, it was good to know that in a given situation, I would probably have the ability to hold out until help could arrive.

Fast forward to my next, and present, career. I was fortunate to have, as one of my first clients, a woman who was in her seventies. She was thin but stronger than most of the women in their thirties and still moved like a dancer. In conversations during her sessions, she related how, during her entire life, she had intentionally kept herself stronger than what was considered normal for most women of her generation.

She owned a duplex with the units split between the first and second floors and had always lived on the second. As the years mounted, her children repeatedly tried to get her to move into the first floor for her convenience.

She realized that she had been fortunate in that she had never had any chronic, debilitating injuries or conditions, but knew that if she ever stopped using the stairs on a daily basis, she would quickly lose the ability.

To her, that was not an option.
She once told me of a trip to the grocery, during which a young man had seen her headed to her car with a huge watermelon. He had asked if she needed help to get it in her car. When she thanked him and told him she would be fine, he said, “Maam, that’s an awfully big watermelon.”

She told him, “Well, if I can’t get it in my car, how am I going to get it in my house, Darlin’?

He watched from a distance as she lifted it out of her basket and put it in the trunk without difficulty. The funny thing is, she was probably in less jeopardy of injury than he would have been.

Another of my clients was in her sixties and had had a more than mild case of Scoliosis for most of her life.

She had stayed in her condominium during one of the hurricanes prior to Katrina and, because of her daily exercise, was able to help load and haul sandbags to protect her building.

In case you’ve never handled any, sandbags are HEAVY. That didn’t stop her from pitching in to get a hard job done.

My point is that the visible benefits of fat loss and a more toned physique that come with hard work, good form and smart dietary habits should be coupled with the knowledge that the increased performance will allow not only a more satisfying daily lifestyle but also the strength and confidence to execute feats that an untrained person might never attempt, or possibly injure themselves attempting.

I guess I have always admired physical strength in women, especially since so many get to be grown but still have the annoying “I can’t do that. I’m a girl” mentality. Most people can increase their strength by a great deal over time. Some of my proudest moments are when a camper or client tells me about something they did over a weekend that they never would have had the capacity to do before.

One lady proudly told me about how, on an out of state flight, she realized she had just lifted her bag into the overhead for the first time, on her own, without even thinking about it. I congratulated her and reminded her of all the dirty looks she had hurled at me during all those shoulder presses. Luckily, I don’t get offended or scare easily.

One of the regular campers made my day when she told me of how she had spent an entire weekend landscaping her yard. When she wasn’t squatting she was hauling soil and large rocks.

What amazed her was that, while tired and somewhat sore, she had been able to finish the job. She was also there on Monday morning, ready to work out.

I knew she had been on an exercise program with a women’s gym before joining our boot camp.

When I asked her if she thought she would have been able to pull it off before the boot camp her answer was immediate. “No way.” She said she would not have finished and would probably have been laid up recovering for days.

My goal is for every one of the people I work with to have similar experiences to the ones I have related. If you work hard and smart, you can be stronger than you probably think.

So, on those mornings that the program I have for you seems to have been designed for the Inquisition, please note that I have the utmost faith in your ability to transcend the fatigue and reach beyond even the goals you might have set for yourself. And remember, there is no extra charge for dirty looks. I can take it.

Stay stronger. Mark Thonn –  Metairie Boot Camp Instructor

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Comments on The Benefits of Building Strength for women in New Orleans »

September 20, 2010

Lady Z @ 10:45 am

I love strength training. “Strong” is the new “Skinny”.

September 22, 2010

jonas @ 4:40 pm

I love that! “strong is the new “Skinny”

Thanks Lady Z

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