I’m Allison, one of the newest trainers here at Fuse Fitness Coaching. I grew up in a very fitness focused family where at times going to the gym to shoot baskets literally came before finishing tomorrow’s homework. It was only natural that my life passions and interests lead me to work in the fitness industry. But I have always been reluctant to become a full time personal trainer because I couldn’t find a company that aligned with my beliefs. A lot of gyms are very gimmicky and based on what’s “in style” in the fitness industry. I didn’t want to work at a gym that just posted the work out of the day on a wall or whose clients were just faces in a sea of Cybex machines and treadmills. Those gym trends change with time and move farther away from what is most important in movement. I wanted to work in a gym that believed in form, technique, proper training, and personalized care and connectivity as much as I did. And I did, and that gym was Fuse.
A part of the reason why I personally enjoy Fuse so much is the periodization programming. There is a specific goal throughout all three phases individually within each week, each phase, each time we go through the whole programming cycle. It is always changing, but changing with premedication and purpose. I’ve heard the comment that Ignite is the best phase to start with because it is balance and simplistic core stabilization movements. All movement in the world depends on balance and stabilization. Without equalized pressure and balance, things collapse or break. In reality, balance can be very hard to obtain in any aspect of life. I think that is what makes Ignite so challenging to most, myself included, is that struggle knowing that I can squat over 220 lbs for rep but I struggle to engage my glute properly on a simple body weight crossover lunge. I have to constantly think so hard about how I am engaging my hips and my glute, just to fire those specific muscles. It is the most strenuous type of mental concentration which is that connectivity with specially targeted muscles and getting them to fire properly. And that’s hard—it’s really hard. Ignite is like learning to read. Once you learn the alphabet and are able to put letters together to form sentences, there isn’t any book you can’t conquer. But you have to start from “A.”
With all that there is to do today in the world, we rush through everything. We rush to bring our kids to hockey practice and to get dinner on the table. We rush to meet a friend for coffee and to finish a last minute work deadline. In that rush, we become disassociated with our environment, too busy to be conscious of what surrounds us. Much like we do in the world, that same sense of urgency often carries through into our lifts. We do our pull-ups just to get to red, to finish the set, or to just get it over and done with. It’s in those moments that our shoulders creep up, our backs arch, and we muscle our way up only to become disassociated and mentally disconnected with the actual muscle we are trying to engage. In the end, we overcompensate only become an awkward morphed version of Quasimodo with massive traps and gnarly forearms.
Maybe we won’t be quite as hunchbacked as Quasimodo, but failing to ignite proper muscle mechanics can lead to serious muscle strength irregularities. This phase of our training should be used to build the core structural movements of every lift. If you are not able to connect with those muscles mentally and fire them at the appropriate times during a lift, it can lead to injury and imbalances. Competencies evolve because those smaller stability muscles are under engaged and our brains aren’t always capable to firing those important stability muscles in the midst of a 180lb squat. At that point, it’s too late. Your hips have already shot up, chest dropped, and finished the squat or deadlift with an agonizingly, painful lift of the back.
Ignite is the basics. It’s teetering through one- legged RDL’s and thinking about how your shoulder is rotating in space as you windmill your kettle bell. It’s the slow TRX movements that we have to strain so hard through to engage our rhomboids or deltoids. It doesn’t matter how much you can squat, if you can’t push your hips back far enough to create space for the movement to achieve parallel. That muscle memory needs to be automatic and strong enough to hold during complex and complicated movements. Pelvic tilts need to be held tight during a kettle bell swing or shoulders rotated back during a press. But again, it all comes from basic muscle patterns. The start of the alphabet, “A.”