Earlier this year, I acquired a new personal trainer.

I have utilised the services of numerous trainers in my health and fitness journey, and they have been very good. However, my current trainer has drawn me back to the joys of my childhood.

Her programming model is raw and instinctive. It’s a refreshing change from the empirically driven and rigid protocols that I’ve used in the past (rightly, a necessity in clinical settings).

She gives me no leeway in getting everything done when we train. She always drags me outside; and sessions are generally impromptu. They are never excessive in length, and may occur more than once in a day.

There are no set rest intervals, little predictability, and without fail, I am left puffing, sweating, and smiling.

And I’m yet to suffer an injury.

I should mention she’s not qualified. But that’s mostly to do with her being two years old!

My half hour daily walk with my daughter and dog has become a solid session of high intensity interval training with some concurrent resistance training thrown in. And I think I may have initiated this – although I never envisioned it to become what it has!

Our walks began as leisurely strolls, her in her pram and the dog on his lead. We stopped to pick a flower here and there, and we still always feed the ducks down at the pond. There’s some play equipment en route, which I decided as a one-off to show my girl what chinups were.

Every day since, when we go past the chinup bar, my daughter summons me. I used to walk past it and think, ‘Not today!’. Now there’s no avoiding it.

Another day I broke into a brief run to distract her from grizzling.

Again, since then, on her command of ‘GO!’ I’m required to put in a short sharp burst. This can happen at any point and at any frequency, and there is no consistency in the repetition or duration. All I know is that she doesn’t tire of it quickly!

As a silly game lying face down one day, she sat on my back and I began doing pushups. Now, unlike most personal trainers, her request for ‘MORE!’ comes with no numerical guidance!

Reminders from my 2-year old trainer:

  • Exercise can be spontaneous.
  • Joy and hilarity are intimately linked with movement.
  • Training is less of a chore when it’s with someone you love. (And perhaps when it’s not actually called ‘training’!)
  • My scientific approach to exercise restricts the regularity at which I can enjoy clinically meaningful movement!

I heard actor Matthew McConaughey (pictured) respond to a question on how he stays in shape. His response was simply this:

“I make sure that I sweat at least once a day.”

Pretty easy when you put it like that. Children seem to have it worked out!

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