As a personal trainer and a person, I’m a systems thinker.

The problem I find as a personal trainer and bodyworker is, how do I choose to look at the body and organize all of the information a body provides?  I like to take a look at the structure of the movement and delineate the movement into compartments. How do these compartments and the subsystems or pairing within the compartment

Organize the visual and auditory feedback.

interact I ask myself. For the entire duration of a session, I am constantly asking myself a question. How is their breathing interacting with their movement? How is their knee interacting with their hip? How is their foot interacting with their torso? These are examples of the questions I ask and how I pair them together.


It’s a system. A system to me means any two components that are interacting.

The compartment is an area where a system is interacting. Take for example the leg. The leg has a knee, hip, and foot. How the foot interacts with the knee is one system possibility. How the foot interacts with the hip is one system possibility. How the knee interacts with the hip is one system possibility.


A system of 2 or more components is always present. I utilize my observation skills of the client, I imagine the sensory experience they are having, and I ask a lot of questions.

If you’ve ever worked with me, or know someone who has, they can validate that more than 60 % of our communication during a session involves me asking a question about the sensory experience they are having. What’s the point of asking so many questions?


The client has a system running internally. The client is having a sensory experience that varies depending on the intervention or exercise we do. I ask a question, “How does your body feel, now? What feels different or what feels the same to you now compared to how you felt before this exercise?” I’m asking the client to connect their brain to the sensory experience of their whole body, or the whole system. I want to know what’s highlighted, what stands out, and I’m curious about what the perception is of that part. “Oh, my leg feels lighter, heavier, achy or I’m walking smoother”, are all a short list of word possibilities the client might utilize to describe their sensory experience.


In my personal training world:

  1. A system is 2 or more parts interacting.
  2. A compartment is an area where a 2 or more systems can pair up or sync.
  3. It’s important to verbally describe your sensory experience before, during, and after an intervention or exercise.
Tagged on: