Saturday 19 August 2017

Karl Henry: 'Scarily, many people believe what influencers are peddling - without any formal qualifications'

Bum deal: Welcome to the modern world of health and fitness, filled with 'influencers' who are advising without any formal qualifications

Karl Henry
Karl Henry

Karl Henry

So it started like all of my other client meetings. Before I start personal training with any new client, I like to meet them, spend some time chatting about goals, food and exercise history to get as much information as possible about the new client's background. This is all part of building the foundations of the goals we are going to achieve, and it's something I have always done with my clients.

Halfway through this recent client meeting, when discussing goals, one of the goals she brought up was to have a "much bigger bum".

When I delved deeper into the reason behind the goal, my new client simply replied that it was what she had seen on certain social media 'experts' accounts and thought that she needed it to be fit and healthy.

Welcome to the modern world of health and fitness: influencers that are advising, without any formal qualifications. No insurance. No professional training. Armed with filters and lighting. Scarily, many people believe what they are peddling.

Rearing up: Fitness blogger Jen Selter became famous for her ‘butt workouts’, which helped her gain 11 million Instagram followers
Rearing up: Fitness blogger Jen Selter became famous for her ‘butt workouts’, which helped her gain 11 million Instagram followers

Getting a bigger bum is something that has fascinated me for some time.

Why would anyone want to increase the size of their rear end? Does it have any relationship with your health? Of course not.

In the current push for strength, power and maximum lifting, we have forgotten probably the most important element of all: symmetry.

At the foundations of body-building and lifting, the goal was to create a body that was symmetrical and proportionate.

Dating back to the American body-builder Steve Reeves and his enviable Herculean physique (Google image search him if you haven't heard of him), there were even calculations for what every measurement should be in relation to the rest of your body.

With so many trainers setting up and even more posting on social media, everyone is an 'expert', I am always fascinated by their confidence and sense of righteousness. They have no fear or worries that what they post is dangerous, wrong or simply ridiculous. The new generation of millennials don't possess that fear.

Getting a bigger bum is part of this confidence ­- regardless of the fact that it is out of proportion with the rest of the body.

Don't get me wrong, the glutes are an important part of the body!

There are three major muscles in your bum: the glute maximum, glute medius, and glute minimus.

They stabilise your pelvis during running and walking, they help to relieve back pain and they are an incredibly powerful muscle group too, capable of lifting large amounts of weight.

So yes, the glutes are important. But so is the rest of your body. So is your shape. Your tone. Your symmetry. Your strength.

The more videos I watch, the more frightened I become. There are some amazing, experienced trainers who I follow and learn so much from ­- the ones without the egos. Because you never know it all in what I do. It's a learning curve, every day, every session and every hour.

But then there are the ego trippers, the selfie posters.

Trends come and trends go, it was always good to be strong. All types of training will improve your strength, it just depends on how strong you want to be. Personally I don't train my clients for big strength gains. I recommend other trainers who are experts in that field.

This current trend is showing no sign of abating, maximising strength and muscle gains while almost criticising weight loss.

Muscle and fat weigh the same. You should still be losing weight if you need to, ensuring that weight is fat obviously, but measuring it all the same.

Above all, you should be making sure that you are working all of your body, working towards your goals.

Keep working it in proportion and in symmetry.

Is a bigger bum your goal or a goal you thought you wanted because of a selfie you liked on Instagram?

Rearing up: Fitness blogger Jen Selter became famous for her 'butt workouts', which helped her gain 11 million Instagram followers

Irish Independent

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