Sport TrainingAthletic FoundationsPersonal Training

Amy Baumen Personal Training

Fit News - July 2009
· Real People · Real Life · Real training

Train with purpose - Train for Life

Aside from looking good, most of us want a body that functions optimally regardless of what we throw at it – the spontaneous water ski, the last run of the day – whatever it might be, we want our muscles to go ‘hey…I know what to do…’  and then do it – without getting injured!

But so often without training our bodies have forgotten just how to link movements together in order to perform when asked.

For movements to be smooth and reflexive, muscles need to learn, re-learn, and be trained to coordinate with the core – your power center.  It is a complex series of linked movements that make up that awesome golf swing – tennis serve – hockey slap shot – or even an injury free run on the trial…

At ab personal training and fitness we are all about real life, functional, useful training.


Because, frankly, we don’t know why you would train your body for something that wasn’t useful for everyday movements and life.

A fit, strong and healthy body will see you through daily life and will leave you better prepared and enabled for whatever comes your way – be it the next break out play, the next road race, the next par 5, or the next bike ride with your family and friends. No matter what it is, you want to be - in the best shape ever, highly mobile and injury free - ready to enjoy life and all it has to offer.

Make Your Training Useful
Rarely is life one dimensional, static and controlled…
Therefore, why would you want to train your body this way for life, sport, and for all of the activities you love to do?
Multi-dimensional real life training ensures that you train your body the way it moves everyday.  Real life training will leave your body better prepared and strong for the little things ‘that just happen’ – the uneven ground of life and sport.

Your Core is your Power Center
Just like with Yoga and meditation it is important to center yourself and connect to your core – the essence of who you are. With centering comes balance and strength, and in movement power.  Regardless of your age and whatever your choice of sport or recreational activity, a strong core not only means fewer injuries, but even more exciting, it means an increase in speed, strength, endurance, control and power.

Build useful Muscles
Strong muscles on the outside don’t necessarily reflect a body’s true strength.  A huge bulked up, ripped and cut body builder may look impressive – like they could push a school bus down the road – but ask that same person to use that strength in a dynamic and functional way – to actually push the school bus down the road WITHOUT hurting themselves – and you will discover that most of that muscle just looks good…it isn’t really all that useful. 

Unless you train your muscles to work in unison with each other – like that beautiful golf swing – they won’t know what to do when you (your brain) ask them to do it.  For example, a bicep muscle that knows how to  do a bicep curl still needs to know how to link with the ankle, knee, hip, core, back and shoulder girdle for an excellent well timed throw or volleyball spike.  Training and harnessing the power of your muscles through a linked chain of flexion, extension and full range of motion will ensure that your muscles understand how to work together – for real useful power and strength.

Are you training for Real Life?
I have already dropped a few hints on what functional real life training might look like and why you would want to train your body this way.

If you are like most of us – living and moving in a multi-dimensional world and multi-tasking throughout your days then why would you sit down to train your biceps or your legs muscles? 

Amy Baumen TrainingThink about it.

Is there any real life application to these exercises?

If you can say yes, then by all means continue to train this way.

If you say no, then consider training your body for the way it was designed to move and perform.

Now you ask, “Doesn’t our body already know how to move and link movements together, why would it need training?”

The simple answer is yes…your body can figure out how to do things…that is exactly why you would train this way -  because training your body in the way it naturally puts things together is tremendously beneficial. 

Our bodies are a myriad of complex systems that do not function independent of each other.  They, in fact, are always working in amazing cooperation with each other.  If we train our muscles in the coordinated actions we perform everyday, those tasks are made easier.  We are helping our bodies overcome imbalances that have accumulated over the years or that may exist due to inactivity or injury.

Train From the Inside Out
Your body is very resourceful!  If there is a strength imbalance or if there is a weak link (a muscle that can’t do what you are asking it to do) then another muscle will take over to try to help.  That is why so many people have low back pain.  Often the small low back muscles are doing the work of the core, the glutes and sometimes even the legs.

The most important muscles are often the weakest – the little stabilizers – particularly in the back and core – leading many to live lives with sore backs, knees, ankles, feet, etc.  Ignoring the training of these muscles while developing the muscles that aesthetically look nicer (the one’s you see in the mirror) is setting a body up for injury. 

It is imperative to train the body from the inside out.  The stabilizers need to learn (neuromuscular activation) and be trained (neuromuscular training) to fire when called upon to help prevent injury. 

So do your training a favour.  Add some Real Life to it!


Exercise of the Month - The Lunge
It’s time to get back to basics and throw a few lunges into your training program. 

Much low back, knee, and ankle pain goes misdiagnosed and is the result of weak gluteal muscles.  Theses are the muscles of your butt – Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.  The classic lunge is a great gluteal strengthening exercise that if performed regularly can not only help to offset injury but build you a beautiful summer booty to boot!

Start:  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Engage your core and set your shoulders (shoulder blades down and flat against your back).  From this position take a large step backward with one leg.  Lower the back leg by bending the knee towards the ground.  Lower until the front thigh is parallel to the floor and the back knee is nearly touching the floor.  Hold for 1 second.  Rise up and repeat 8-15 reps then switch legs.
Notes:  Be careful not to let the front knee track too far over the ankle.  Your thigh and lower leg should be ninety degrees to each other as should your back leg so that both legs make a ‘square’.

Add the lunge to your walking, running or regular fitness program.  Make harder by holding in the low position for 5 seconds, adding hand weights, putting the front or rear foot on an instability disc, or even alternating legs while walking.

New Studio OPEN!

The new studio is open!  Complete with all of the latest in functional fitness, you can have your own personal training session designed just for you at a time that fits your schedule. 


‘Muskoka Fit’ – Muskoka Outdoor Conditioning Classes

Like it better outside? 
No worries. 
Train outdoors. 
Our functional equipment is very portable.  Enjoy the best Muskoka has to offer – fields, hills, lakes and trails - minus the blackflies. 

Training Options
Got your own group that likes to train together?  Add new challenges, interest and fun to your training!   Book  customized sessions for your group based on your ability, interests and goals.

Recipe of the Month - Warm Quinoa Taboleh
This is a variation I have created that is wonderful for a weekday lunch.  It is easy to pack, easy to make in large quantities and delicious any time of day.  Even with the heat of summer this dish cooled and eaten the next day makes lunch a summer breeze!

1 bunch of fresh curly parsley (rinsed and chopped small)
1 pint basket cherry or grape tomatoes (washed, and chopped in quarters)
1 sweet onion chopped small
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Quinoa (rinsed well)
2 cups water
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Options:  sautéed fresh spinach, chopped sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, etc.

Prepare Quinoa as directed on package adding a pinch of sea salt to water.  While Quinoa is cooking add olive oil to a non-stick or cast iron skillet and cooked chopped onion and garlic until transparent – but not browned.  Add in chopped tomatoes, parsley and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Cook gently until Quinoa is done.  Add warm Quinoa to skillet and mix into the tomato, onion and parsley mixture.  Enjoy warm or chilled the next day.