From time to time, most people struggle with energy imbalances that keep them from functioning optimally. These imbalances can be displayed as boredom or tiredness, anxiety or stress, and excitement or hyperactivity. Though when occasional, these imbalances may not cause a lot of problems, chronic imbalances can be very disruptive to a person’s day to day activities.
One group of techniques to try are physical approaches. There are physical techniques for the many different energy imbalances you or your clients may face, but you first must determine what profile your client fits.
The Bored or Tired Client
We’ve all had clients that either feel bored and don’t have a desire to exercise or feel bored and indifferent about exercise all together. Try this technique:
Just like you might grab a snack every few hours throughout the day, reach for a movement “snack” when boredom hits. Whether you work at a desk most of the day, or you’re on your feet, movement “snacks” are a great way to beat boredom, wake up the body and mind, and improve range of motion.
Every 1-2 hours, get up and move for 10 minutes. Stretch, do push-ups, lunge up and down the hall, do a few squats, take a walk around the block, run up and down the stairs, vary your movements throughout the day to give you body and mind some excitement.
The Anxious or Stressed Client
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and even if you don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, everyone can experience anxiety. Anxiety causes stress in the body, which causes tension and overactivity in parts of the body like sweat glands. Try these approaches:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Find a quiet place, away from distractions. Lie down on the floor, sofa, or chair. Rest your hands in your lap or at your side and start taking slow, deep breaths. Starting with the forehead, begin to consciously relax tension. Progressively relax the forehead, jaw, neck and shoulders, arms and hands, back and stomach, glutes, legs, and feet. Take time to enjoy the feeling of relaxation each body part and breathing deeply.
Alternatively, if someone has a difficult time relaxing this way, he or she can actively tense and relax each muscle in the same progressive fashion. By contracting the muscle with intention first, it becomes much easier to actively relax it by raising awareness through a mind-body connection.
Exercise of any kind is very helpful for most people’s anxiety because it helps them to break the loop of anxiety in their brain that’s telling the body there is a threat and give the body a reason to utilize the anxious energy. Perhaps suggest a calming and centering approach to movement such as T’ai Chi.
The Excited or Hyperactive Client
Excitement is fun, but much like anxiety, excitement triggers physical responses that can be taxing such as feeling distracted, or having a low attention span. Try these techniques:
If you feel distracted and jittery after drinking caffeine, avoid consuming too much or any at all. Reach for a glass of water, or herbal tea instead.
Much like with anxiety or stress, exercise can help overly excited individuals release energy. Just like a parent might take their child to a park to “blow off steam” when they’re overly excited, from time to time, adults may need to do the same. This type of client might benefit from a total bodyweight workout, no equipment needed.
Embrace Different Angles
Teaching clients some of these physical techniques can help them become more productive and balanced during training and in daily life. You can also teach your clients some cognitive techniques to promote energy balance.
Bear in mind as a personal trainer that it is outside your scope of practice to provide mental health advice or counseling, but you can implement techniques like these. If your client needs mental health counseling, encourage them to see a mental health professional.