Wellness Tips

Fitness guru speaks on wellness advice for 2023

We caught up with Brendan Knickelbein, the former Body 3.0 operations manager and current strength and conditioning coach at Grens High School, to discuss fitness tips for the rest of 2023.

What benefits are there to setting fitness goals at the start of the year?

Goals are important because they give us a sense of direction with our training. Doing anything in life without purpose or direction will usually leave us feeling unfulfilled and always looking for more rather than appreciating what we’re presently doing.

When setting fitness/exercise  goals what should one consider?

The first thing is to be realistic with your goals. We often set unobtainable goals that leave us demotivated when we can’t seem to reach them. This causes us to be overly harsh with ourselves and causes unnecessary stress. The stress becomes linked with your fitness goals and we end up avoiding the gym entirely. Second, if you’re new to the gym, your goal should be to have fun while getting to know how the machines work. If you’re having fun, there’s a good chance you’ll stick to your fitness journey. Psychologically, we want to tap into our “inner child”. By doing so, I can guarantee you’ll see most things in a more positive light and you’ll enjoy the process more. If you’re a seasoned gym goer and you’ve stagnated or you just aren’t feeling the love for training, I suggest broadening your skill set by doing yoga, pilates, crossfit or step classes. The body likes to adapt to new movements and can combine the new movements you’ve learned with your already existing movement foundation.

What are the best methods of keeping track of one’s fitness goals?

The easiest way would be to keep a diary. Writing your workouts down allows you to make sure you’re progressing. It’s difficult to always remember what weight you did, how many sets you’ve done, what your heart rate was etc so you’re able to use your previous workouts as a reference point. You can also make notes with regards to how you felt doing the exercises, whether or not you felt you did it correctly or if you could pick up any pain during the exercises. The more scientific approach would be to use an InBody machine. This machine picks up everything you need to know about your body including body fat, visceral fat (fat between your organs that causes diabetes and other health problems), mineral contents, limb discrepancies, muscular imbalances and a whole heap more. It keeps record of all your stats and allows you to see your progress week by week. Contact Louis Bessinger (079-141-7214) if you’d like to make a booking.

What are common exercise and fitness mistakes people make early in the year?

Doing too much too soon and not giving ourselves enough time to get into the swing of things. We’re always so eager to hit the ground running when we’ve barely gotten into our strides. This is essentially a life style change that doesn’t happen over night.

Don’t jump into a strict diet straight away. Yes, diet is a massive component but if we start chopping and changing too much too soon the body won’t respond well to the drastic changes and you’ll end up binge eating in a few days. I suggest, start by eliminating one food group that you’ve deemed bad for your body and stick to that for a week or two. Once you’re able to stick to those minor restrictions, then you can eliminate more. The next thing is to make sure you’re eating enough whole food. You’d be surprised by how many people undereat and end up gaining fat and losing muscle as a result of the stress caused. Your body needs fuel to exercise. So if you’re feeling lethargic on your new diet, maybe add in a few calories and see how your body responds.

During 2022 what were some significant fitness and exercise goals you achieved and what did you discover along the way that could benefit others?

It has always been a dream of mine to work with professional athletes and last year that dream came true. I was able to be part of Zolani Tete’s (world No 1 in boxing in his weight class) and Nomeva Xolisani. My job was to make sure we increased their power, speed and reaction time. I was able to use reaction and agility lights (Blazepods) to do most of this. I was able to pick up a few issues, with their movements, we corrected them and both athletes won their fights with KO’s so needless to say I’m happy with the results. Something I’ve learnt is that you can never know enough when it comes to fitness. Everybody is different and will react differently to exercise programmes. Just because your buddy is doing well on a programme, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. So, take the time to find what works for you.

Don’t be shy to ask for help, regardless of whether you’re new to the gym or not. I’ll use myself as an example here. My first day at Active Attitude I jumped onto the ab crunch machine thinking it was a chest press machine. Luckily Everett Hand, who was working there at the time, was nice enough to correct me and show me around. Chances are, the person who helps you was in the exact same position as you once upon a time. Moral of the story – we all start somewhere, just make sure you start.

What are some goals you intend to achieve this year?

I’m starting this year off in a new position. I’m fortunate enough to be working at Grens High school with my colleague, Candice Karelse, as the strength and conditioning coach.  My goal is to give the learners a competitive edge when it comes to health and fitness whether it be psychological or physical. We tend to focus solely on the physical aspects of training but tend to forget that sport and fitness is very mental. To get to your goals, you need to strong willed, you need to be able stick to your commitment and have the guts to get back up if you stumble and fall. I’m looking forward to having the chance to mould our young athletes into our future superstars.

HEALTHY LIVING: Brendan Knickelbein seen here performing weight training movements. Picture: SUPPLIED

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