Why physical exercise matters for speakers

Performance is strongly correlated with confidence. There haven’t been many public speeches that went down in the history books delivered by someone who looked or sounded uncertain.

How you feel plays a big role in how confident you are. If you are tired from poor sleep, hungry from not eating enough of the right foods, or lack energy because you are unfit, you will likely also lack the confidence to deliver your message with vibrancy and enthusiasm.

Exercise is an excellent way to increase energy, vibrancy, stamina, strength and, as a result, confidence in yourself. So, where do you start?

Strength training. Or, more appropriately, resistance exercise. Studies have shown time and again that if you engage in regular resistance exercise, you will be healthier, stronger, and generally feel better. And when we feel strong and good about ourselves that is a huge boost to our confidence in everything that we do.

Be careful of the snake oil. There’s lots of it out there. The fitness industry is plagued with bad, mis-informed advice that is not based on evidence. Usually it comes in the form of something ‘new and improved’ attempting to sell you a gimmicky toy to ‘tone your 6 pack abs’.

What is really needed is high quality, high effort weight training. As we age we lose muscle; as a result our metabolism takes a dive. This muscle loss starts as early as 25 years old (!) and accelerates after the age of 40. Muscle helps to regulate our blood sugars (helping us stay lean); it gives our body shape (looking good is feeling good, after all); and it significantly improves our hormonal profile. More of the ‘smiley’ hormones and less of the ‘frowny’.

Who has time to exercise though? You do. We all do, when it is performed properly. There really is no excuse not to exercise – considering how important it is for our health, quality of life and longevity. It shouldn’t take any longer than two workouts per week at roughly 20 minutes per workout. We have clients in our studio who perform one 20 minute workout per week. And that is enough to keep them strong, energized and confident. It’s all in how you do it.

So, how do you do it? 

  • Start slowly and with a light resistance. 
  • A resistance that you can perform 10-12 repetitions of per exercise with a very slow pace and good form. 
  • Don’t hold your breath! Breath freely and match your breathing with your effort.
  • You only need one set of each exercise to get the job done. Progressively increase the resistance on each exercise with each subsequent session. 
  • Aim for a full body workout addressing all of the major muscle groups using primarily multi-joint movements such as a leg press.
  • Exercises should include: leg press, chest press, pull down, shoulder press, row, leg extension and flexion, back extension and abdominal curl
  • After 4 weeks of consistent training you should be working at a high level of intensity (8 to 10 out of 10 on the intensity scale)
  • Don’t work through pain, but do push yourself through the ‘burn’

For more information visit our website: oneupfitness.ca or contact me directly at matt@oneupfintess.ca