Viðtal við Charles Staley

Undanfarið hef ég átt í áhugaverðum samskiptum við Charles Staley styrktarþjálfaragoðsögn í Bandaríkjunum. Charles hefur skrifað fjölda bóka og skrifað ótal greinar í helstu heilsu tímarit og vefsíður vestanhafs. Ég hitti Charles þegar hann kom til Íslands árið 2011 á vegum íþróttaakademíu keilis þegar hann hélt námskeið fyrir einkaþjálfara og sjúkraþjálfara. Hann er þekktur fyrir að leggja mesta áherslu á mannlega þáttinn og andlega nálgun. Sem er mjög oft vanmetin og mikilvægur þáttur sem oft gleymist.
Hér að neðan eru svo spurningarnar sem ég lagði fyrir Charles þar sem hann kemur m.a. með sín sjónarmið á nálgun hreyfingar á þessum fordæmalausu tímum.

Q: Due to the corona pandemic more people are working at home, taking fewer steps and moving about less daily than before (less activity). Therefore, people are burning fewer calories than under normal conditions and need to take this into account when consuming food. This sometimes makes people believe that they are losing control of their physical shape. What is your advice to people who do not have the incentive to start moving or exercising in a gym-closed situation?

A: Well, the disciplined approach is to do what you can do, and ignore stressing about things you have no control of (similar to having and injury come to think of it!). So maybe you can do deadlifts and bench presses for the time being, but that presents a few hidden opportunities. First, you can finally allow your beat-up joints to heal up, which will pay great dividends Ince you’re back in the gym, and secondly, you have the opportunity to bring up „weak“ attributes (such as mobility and cardio in this case)

But more directly to your question, most of us can certainly get out and walk, cycle, snowshoe, etc. And, many of us (at least in the US where many of us are furloughed from their jobs) now have the TIME to do these activities.

Q: I have talked to many at this time to emphasize home exercises as they work systematically on their weaknesses and what people need to improve. While others are willing to do more nourishment,witch it is great. After attending a course in 2011 when you run a training camp in Iceland for personal trainers and physiotherapists, you told us that people need to do things that they don’t necessarily find fun to do, but still have to work in those parts better to make movements more efficient in exercises to get more benefits from them. So would it be nice to get your opinion on the importance of this on body composition and physical health?

A: Well here’s a simple example: people who have long limbs (relative to their height) will often need additional, direct work on biceps, triceps, and quads. Meaning, if you have long arms and you only do compound pressing movements, your triceps will eventually become the weakest link in the chain, limiting further progress on your pressing movements. So, given the importance of „big“ compound exercises n body composition, an argument emerges for doing direct arm training for example. Similarly, thinking more in terms of attributes, if poor mobility is causing constant injury issues, the weak link to further body composition progress in this case might be your mobility, as strange as that might sound. My formula for constant improvement is: identify and address the weakest improvable elements of your overall preparation, given available resources. Spend less time/energy on your strongest components, and/or things that are (for whatever reason) not improbable given the resources you currently have.

Q: I’ve never seen so many exercises and programs available on social media like now, which is great because it gives people the incentive to exercise daily, but what should people look for when choosing exercise in these unprecedented situations?

A: Well it all comes down to what’s accessible to you. If you have a small car and an open parking lot, you can use it for side pushes. If you have a local playground, you might be able to do pullups. If you have some dumbbells and resistance bands, now you have other options as well. So I would simply say do anything and everything that your circumstances allow.

Q: During this strange time, many people aren’t motivated enough to eat “clean” food for the purpose of health and body composition. Do you have any motivational advice that could help people in that situation?

A: Well again, many of us have an unusual amount of spare time which could be directed toward learning new skills such as food prep and macro tracking for example. The current pandemic shouldn’t have a negative impact on your motivation in my mind, however it is true that stress does make some people overeat and/or make poor nutritional choices as a form of self-medication so to speak. And speaking of stress (which reduces your immunity by the way), one of the best ways to reduce stress is to exert control over your circumstances. Eating in a disciplined way is one example of doing this, and (for example) logging maybe 15000 sets a day is another. SO my advice in trying times is this: take control over things you can control, and relax about the things you cannot control. I understand that this concept is simple but difficult, but it IS the best way to navigate crisis situations.

Q: Thank you Charles, and take care, hope you visit Iceland again someday in the future, is it on your list?

A: I LOVE Iceland and certainly hope to get back there before too long! I often tell my American friends that visiting Iceland was one of the best experiences of my entire life, so maybe someday soon I’ll be back for another visit!