W – Working out {ABCs of Health}

dumbbells, training, fitness

This is the transcript of my interview with Shannon Poulson.
Website: https://repsandsetsfitness.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannon.j.polson/
For more small ways in which you can upgrade your health, see this post: U-Upgrade

Aline
All right everyone! Welcome to the ABC’s of Health. Today is letter W and it is so much fun to do! Today I have the privilege of interviewing Shannon and we are talking about working out, or exercise, but we’re doing W so we’re saying working out. So I met Shannon through social media and we’ve been following each other, and doing things together and learning from each other and it’s been super fun. I recently had a workout session with Shannon which was super enjoyable. I highly recommend that. I’m going to hand it over to her so that she can tell you all what it is that she does. There you go.

Shannon
Yes, well thank you for having me, it’s going to be so much fun today. My name is Shannon and I am originally from Lake City, Minnesota, so down in the southern part of Minnesota. I have been a NASM certified personal trainer for about 12 years, for most of my career. I have lived in Alexandria, Minnesota and I worked in a hospital setting, also physical therapy, cardiac rehab, and managed a wellness center there, so that’s where I got most of my experience with personal training, instructing group fitness classes, all that kind of fun stuff. I bopped around most of my 20s, I mean I lived in Colorado for a while, I’ve been everywhere, but now I’m in Northern Minnesota and I just recently opened my own business about a year and a half ago, Reps And Sets Fitness and I’m in love with it. I just love it so much.

Aline
Yeah, and you can follow along, I’m gonna post her Instagram handle, the website, all the good things. So let’s jump right in. So the first question I would like you to tell people a little bit about is, we always hear when we talk about health it’s always exercise and food, exercise and food, but explain why should we have working out as part of our health regimen.

Shannon
So being a personal trainer I’m all about exercise, I mean I live and breathe exercise, but even I know it starts in the kitchen. So I would say exercise is obviously phenomenal for so many reasons. Your mental, physical, health inside and out, but of course you always want to start your journey in the kitchen. So start establishing good eating habits. And it doesn’t have to be night and day difference. You can start out with maybe I have two pieces of toast in the morning, start out with one piece of toast and then that second piece of toast now you’re having an apple. So just taking away like 100 to 200 calories a day obviously adds up to quite a bit at the end of the week. So once you’ve established a great eating pattern, or a better eating pattern that you enjoy and that you can maintain for your life, is when you want to start slowly adding exercise into your week. So I recommend if you aren’t currently exercising, to start out with like three days a week for 10 minutes. I always tell my clients if you are beginning an exercise routine or are starting to get back into it, to give yourself the 10 minute rule. So if you’re like I’m sore, I’m tired, I have no time. I mean there’s so many excuses in the world, right? But give yourself 10 minutes, that’s like 1% of your day, and 9 times out of 10 after ten minutes you’re feeling so good that maybe you’ll go another five or ten minutes. So just starting to establish nice and slow, and that is the main goal that I want everyone to focus on. Just start out slow. This is a lifelong journey, this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight, so start establishing habits that you can maintain for your life.

Aline
And with fitness what happens as well is that it’s so easy to get injured. It’s so easy to go too far when you’re beginning, so if you start doing all the things, chances are you’re gonna either hurt yourself or it’s gonna be too much, or you’ll be too sore and then you’re like I’m just going to stop.

Shannon
Exactly. And that’s why I’m not a huge fan of like the new year’s resolution. We always hear of that, right? Okay, so January 1st comes and I’m going to start working out. Like, good, that’s amazing. But why is one day determining how you’re going to change your life? Just start out slow, like you said, you’ll injure yourself, you’ll get fatigued, you’ll get burnt out. And you don’t want that.

Aline
And why do you have to wait until January 1st? Just start now, okay, and then you’ll get to January 1st and you can create a bigger goal for yourself.

Shannon
Yes, we call that the last supper. Like don’t have the last supper, just start right now.

Aline
Yeah, and what would be some… let me ask another question first, I’ll get to this one. When people say ‘oh, but I walk my dog’, or ‘oh, I’ll just park further away’. Now all of these are good things for us to add, but what’s the importance of having an actual structured physical exercise program? Be it 10 minutes, be a half an hour, be it an hour. What’s the importance of having this structured exercise?

Shannon
Oh, that’s such a good question because every step adds up. You park further away, you take the stairs instead of an elevator, I mean those are all things that add up at the end of the day. But as with your routine of brushing your teeth every morning and every night, if you have three meals or your snacks, just establishing that routine is so important and it just goes back to going nice and slow. So maybe you start out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8 a.m. for 10 minutes. I’m going to work out and maybe you don’t really know what the heck you’re doing, and that’s okay. I mean, there’s so many resources out there. I have a free program going on right now that’s a virtual session where basically you just have your access to a portal, and then you have a bunch of free 10-minute workouts, because that’s just how easy it is. It’s not easy, but that’s how we can get started on that routine. So yeah, just establishing that habit is so important.

Aline
Yeah, and it’s easy to let go of things after a while, right? So just building those those small pockets of things that you’re doing day in day out. That’s a big one. What would be some red flags that someone would say ‘okay, this is happening to me, this is going on in my body, I think that having more structure and exercise would help me.’ What are some things that… I know what my red flags were, but I’m not going to influence you, so what are some things that people might say: ‘okay, I really should start paying attention to maybe getting a workout in, or a program in’.

Shannon
I think the first thing that comes to my mind is stress. I think we live in a very fast-paced world. Maybe not as much over the last year, I think we’ve all kind of learned to settle down a little bit and take our time, but just the stress of everyday, you know? Family, to work life, to what am I eating, to how much activity am I getting. Exercise is just so amazing when it comes to your mental health. I can’t even describe, I mean, my boyfriend will vouch for it. If Shannon doesn’t get in a workout then she’s more crabby. I mean it’s personal time for you, or for a friend, or for a family member to take that time. So I guess the first thing that comes to mind for me is just alleviating that stress that we have in life.

Aline
This reminded me of the Legally Blonde movie. I absolutely love that movie, but she says ‘exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands’, right? So those happy, the happy juices rolling around.

Shannon
Yeah, it’s 100%. That’s exactly what it’s all about.

Aline
And my final question for you is this. Someone who is like you said, just starting out, and they start with 10 minutes. What is the best thing for someone starting out, because you don’t want someone who’s starting out to go to the gym and start just randomly picking up weights. That’s not safe. Don’t do that. So what what would be something okay for someone just starting out? What is a good thing that is safe, effective, that everybody could start out with?

Shannon
Yeah, so two different points. The first one is I worked in the wellness center setting for 12 years and I can’t tell you how many times I saw people come in and they just started doing bicep curls. So staff is there for that reason. If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s fine! That’s why we’re there, and we love what we do, and that’s why we’re there. We’re there to help you…

Aline
You’re not supposed to know, right? You don’t… it’s not your job to know what exercises you should do.

Shannon
R. The first part of the journey is stepping into the gym. So once you get in there, ask. The second part would be if you’re on your own, you’re trying to do this on your own at home, or with a friend, is to find a credible resource. Someone that is certified and trained to instruct exercises properly. Technique is so important. That’s like the thing that’s my go-to item when it comes to training. I am all about technique, and all about safety. If you feel pain, do not do it. Stop. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something incorrectly. So find…

Aline
There’s a difference here between pain and discomfort, right? Because there’s a level of like, ‘okay, I am pushing through a muscle [discomfort]… I’m going’… Like in our session, there was a… guys, she had me doing this weird push-up thing, and I was like, ‘oh, okay. This is hard’, but I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t working through pain. So that’s an important difference for people to make, that pain is not the same as discomfort, or muscle burn. Like yeah, you have to sense the difference.

Shannon
Yeah, you’re 100% correct. So you do need to know that difference. Pain is like oh my gosh my sciatic nerve is killing me and I can’t feel the back of my leg. Or my shoulder is twinging. Yeah, but muscle fatigue we love that! Feel the burn. That’s why we’re doing this. Other than that I would say a few simple things that you can do at home is everyday movement that we do. So like a body weight squat is really really great. Push-ups are really really amazing. I mean get down on on the floor on your knees and just start doing push-ups. They’re hard, right? They were hard the other day when we tried. You get better at them…

Aline
I can do the regular ones. The weird ones are hard now, but I can already do the regular ones. So yeah, we get better.

Shannon
We do, yeah, and consistency is key. That’s another thing too is you have to remain consistent. If you don’t see what you want or what you want to see in three months, don’t give up. You have to remain consistent. So everyday movements, like the bodyweight squats, some push-ups, go find a park bench and start doing some step up single leg step-ups, some tricep dips, and then end that with like a nice fast-paced walk. Or if you want to become a runner, 30 seconds of a light jog followed by 30 seconds of light walking and just continuously do that over time. Now you’re jogging for a minute, you’re jogging for 10 minutes, so remain consistent and just keep building nice and slow. As a trainer I normally progress my clients every two weeks, so think of it that way. You don’t need to progress every day, every week, but every two weeks start pushing yourself a little bit more.

Aline
Well, and our muscles, correct me if I’m wrong, but our muscles they aren’t built during exercise. So during exercise we’re actually straining the muscle, and tearing or whatever the proper word is, but then we recover. And during recovery is when we actually get stronger, right? And then you need that stage and then you go back and you push yourself a little harder, and then you go back. But you’re not going to push yourself harder every day, right?

Shannon
No, you don’t want to do that, you’ll only lead to an injury and then that burnout that we were talking about. But yeah, it’s interesting. You know the muscle is definitely built in the recovery stage, so you that’s where the kitchen comes into play. You could get in a killer workout session, but then go eat a whole pizza and a bunch of beer, and I mean, it was a good workout session, but your muscles aren’t recovering probably the way that you want them to.

Aline
Oh, yeah. That’s… it’s all good stuff. So there you have it, you guys. Working out is more than just trying to get, I don’t know, big or muscular. Especially as women, it’s really hard to build muscle. Building muscle is not something you’re gonna do and like ‘oh, I worked out for a month and now I have all these muscles pop’. That’s not how it works for women. So you know, it takes time, but it’s it’s essential to a well-rounded health. You have to get some exercise in, and like Shannon said, walking doesn’t hurt anybody. So you know look both ways before you cross the street, but walking doesn’t hurt anybody, and it’s a good place to start. Any last words of advice that you want to leave us with?

Shannon
Um… just start somewhere. Start slow and remain consistent.

Aline
Everything you want is on the other side of consistency.

Shannon
It is. It really is.

Aline
So Shannon, thank you so much. Everyone, I hope you enjoyed it. Go find something to do, get off the couch, move a little bit. I will link up Shannon’s website and also her Instagram account, and again, thank you thank you thank you so much, and book a session with her. She will make you sweat, but you will leave very very happy. So thank you so much, and see you all next week!

Shannon
Yes, thanks for having me.

Keeping it simple,
Aline

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