You’re never too young to get your body on the right track

Apr 23, 2015
Ashley Lawrie

personal training client


Free Form Fitness has always advocated that every age is the right age for a proper and well-rounded routine of fitness.

When it comes to kids, that most often means just putting down the game controller or iPad and getting active. But sometimes, kids, just like their parents, need a little extra help.

That was the case for nine-year-old Alex.

He is an active kid. In the winter, he plays centre for an Atom-level hockey team in Ottawa Centre. In the summer, he takes part in soccer camps in his mother’s homeland of Germany.

But Alex had a problem, weak core strength. This had manifested in a muscle imbalance in his legs—one of his hamstrings was so tight he only had 30 degrees of movement. This meant he couldn’t do things like squat down all the way, or skate backwards well.

While lifestyle habits, such as too much sitting, could account for a weak core, tight hamstrings are something his father Brad, an active rugby player, also suffers from.

But how to address it?

Alex’s parents first turned to physiotherapy, with less-than-satisfactory results.

“I’ve found that if a child doesn’t have awareness of their body and don’t know how to use it properly, physio isn’t going to be effective,” said Brad. “They will likely aggravate the problem and make it worse.”

Next, Brad tried to put Alex through his own routine of exercises, drawn from his experience with the British Alexander Technique.

“Daddy boot camp wasn’t fun for either of us,” Brad said. “Kids never want to do what their dad says, so I thought an actual personal trainer, a younger guy, might get better results.”

Brad turned to the personal trainer he had worked with at one of the big fitness chains, but faced an uphill battle with head office. A referral then led the family to FFF’s new Glebe personal training studio location.

“It was better suited to a kid, with shorter personal training sessions, and (as a family business) it’s less corporate and bureaucratic,” Brad said.

Alex has seen noticeable improvements in his strength, muscle balance and mobility after only a few months, thanks to a personal training program that is tailored to him.

“It’s cool,” he said. “It has improved things for hockey—the best part is being able to score more goals.”

How have friends and family reacted to the news that he has his own personal trainer? According to Brad, the response has been generally positive.

“I make it clear that it’s not about making the kid muscular, or giving him a six-pack for vanity reasons,” said Brad. “It’s about improving his game and giving him back his natural mobility. I’m a huge believer in early intervention with kids if you notice an issue, to break bad habits and treat causes, not just symptoms. I can see how much Alex’s posture has already improved.”

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