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As the creator and lead educator of the TRX Suspension Training program, Fraser Quelch is a big fan of strength training. But this all-around athlete, husband and dad also loves to climb, ride his mountain bike, play basketball and – for a real workout -- chase his young children, ages 3 and 1, around the playground.

Quelch, of Canmore in Alberta, Canada, was recently honored by the fitness industry as one of the top program directors in North America, in part for his work as director of training and development for TRX. In an email, he explained what TRX and suspension training is, his sobering experience during the recent flooding in Thailand and why children hold the secret to fitness.

TRX is… a set of adjustable straps that allow you to use your body weight to perform exercises for every body part. The combination of the equipment, programming and education has created a system of exercise that is accessible to everyone from the de-conditioned or post-rehabilitative client to some of the most advanced athletes on the planet and everyone in between. Its moniker “All Core All the Time” is well earned.

I have always been… an athlete. Whether it was playing hockey, basketball and volleyball in my youth or Ironman Triathlon racing or rock and ice climbing as an adult, I have always trained hard.

I’m committed to… making change. My goal is to be a vehicle for change and to be positively disruptive in this regard. I truly believe that it is not wealth, awards or achievements that are an accurate measure of a life fully lived but the number of lives you positively touch and the sum of your experiences that really count.

If I could only do one form of exercise forever... it would be climbing, no contest. There is nothing like it. It provides a challenge that demands physical strength, power, endurance and skill that is coupled with creative problem solving and emotional control in some of the most striking landscapes in the world.

A common mistake trainers make… is becoming so enamored with one position or train of thought that they become blind to others. There are great things to learn from every leader in the industry.

People don’t exercise because… hard work is still hard work, and as a population we are growing increasingly adverse to such efforts, especially as adults. Almost everyone struggles a bit with getting going but as Ironman triathlete Scott Tinley once said, “I've almost never come back from a run feeling worse than when I started.” It takes some discipline, but the rewards are there for everyone.

Health clubs could improve by… engaging people and meeting them where they are as they enter into the system.

A common myth… The fat-burning zone as it has been historically advertised (long, slow, steady-state cardio) is a fallacy. High-intensity interval training combined with good nutrition is the single most effective way to burn fat without a close second.

The flooding in Thailand… was sobering. Here I am presenting at a fitness conference and the population at large is under siege. People losing their homes and worse. The Thai people are incredibly resilient. From tsunami to civil unrest to flooding in the last few years, and it is still the land of smiles.

My workout today… hauling my luggage through airports. I’m traveling home from Asia.

Yesterday… I went deep-water soloing (climbing steep cliffs above the water without ropes - when you fall off, splash) and rock climbing at Railay Beach in Thailand.

Words to live by
… Find out what you love to do physically and do it - a lot. Avoid non-foods or processed foods whenever possible and shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. Basically when it comes to food, if you can't pick it off a tree, from the ground, or kill it, it probably isn't that good to eat.

Lessons from my children
… Kids use real movement – they almost all want to exert themselves in play. This doesn't mean isolated exercises like biceps curls but full-body efforts like what we see at playgrounds. Everyone has a playful child inside them; this child holds the key to unlocking and expressing our physical passions, the root of change. It all comes back to movement and play.

For more fitness advice from top fitness professionals, read "Reaching children through fitness and "Fitness tips from top trainers."

 

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