It's Thanksgiving Week, one of my favorite weeks of the year. There are a lot of reasons why I love Thanksgiving: good food, spending time with family and close friends, going home again, etc. But I think the one thing I love about it the most is that it is one of the few times of the year that we all take a second and a breath to give thanks for everything we have been given.
For me this year besides being thankful for my family, I am also thankful for my good friends. There is something special about having people who support you, strengthen you, and share your interests. I see this a lot with my clients, who remind me of what a gift friendship can be just by the way they support each other and work with each other.
Those of you know me or have been reading my columns for the past few years know that I also like to provide something special to do during Thanksgiving Week, and this week is no exception. This always feels like the perfect time to do teamwork activities.
For instance, one of the things I like to do with my clients is 4-man pushups. A 4-man pushup is where four individuals organize their bodies in a way that allows for all four people to do pushups all at once as one unit, as shown in one of the photos with this article. Pictured are four of my clients training together and doing a 4-man pushup. This 4-man push up is also an example of the friendship I mentioned. All four of my clients in that photo – Justin Coale, Nick Kopytyuk, Chris Anderson, and Chris Simpson – got to know each other from being clients of mine individually. They became friends from a common experience, and became workout partners supporting each other in their endeavors – three as models and one as an athlete and trainer.
Another exercise I like to do in teams during this week is working with kettlebells. Kettlebells are portable and user- friendly. They work the entire body and anyone from an exercise novice to a gym expert can learn to use them quickly and effectively. My second photo in this article demonstrates how a group of friends or family can work out together using kettlebells. Pictured are my clients Chris Anderson and Shaun Frazier doing Kettlebell swings, just one of the many exercises you can do with kettlebells. Again, like the 4-man pushup, this type of exercise can be a bonding experience. Chris and Shaun became friends from being my clients and are now workout partners, supporting each other and helping each other reach their individual goals.
There are so many things that friends and family can do together in the gym, at home, and outdoors: playing football, jogging, walking, etc. But it's the creative things like those I mentioned that keep things exciting. And, of course, we should always capitalize on working out with friends and family by bonding and encouraging each other to go longer and push harder than we thought we could.
Page 2 of 2 - Creating friendships among my clients is not something I ever instigate. It has repeatedly been a natural chain of events that just happens among them. It's been my experience that this type of bonding is unique. Random folks just don't usually become close friends like this, but I am glad to see it. I hope others take this practice as something they can use in their daily lives. I remember a saying by Aristotle that goes "What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies." It's a simple and profound statement that rings true. This Thanksgiving Week, I wish you all great food, great family, and memorable friends!
Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness and fashion model manager. He can be reached at www.michaelroyshaw.com.