Plan on lunging your way into peak physical fitness in 2023? We sat down with renowned personal trainer Keith Lazarus to learn more about the fitness plan that could help you reach your goals that bit faster
At the age of 60 and with a beaming smile across his face, Keith Lazarus is proof that staying fit is just as good for your mind as it is your body. Here, Keith reveals how he helps clients as old as 90 and how the body can still be trained, no matter what age you are.
Why did you decide to become a personal trainer?
I played football at a high level when I was a teenager, but I had a serious knee injury at 19 which stopped me from going professional. I then had a career in the City of London and trained four to five times a week in my spare time, but after a while I started to ask myself: ‘What do I really want to do?’. It never occurred to me to be a trainer, but I jumped at the chance and I haven’t looked back since.
What skills do you need to be good at what you do?
You need to be aware of things that are osteopathic and chiropractic and you need to be able to retrain the body to have functional range, whether it’s your hip, wrist, shoulder or elbow. Even before we start loading up on weights, I make sure my clients can do simple things like lifting their arm up to their ears and turning their shoulder correctly. Once we get to that level, then we start training.
What motivates your older clients to get fit?
I often hear: “Keith, I want to get out of bed without pain. I want to move properly. I want to be able to walk quickly across the street without restriction.” Where people go wrong is that they train like they’re still 25 and their structure can’t cope with the intensity. But the body can still be trained. I’m training a client who’s 90 to do deadlifts and shoulder presses.
That’s incredible. Would you say training with you has improved their life?
I could tell as soon as we met that he used to be very fit, but he was frustrated because he couldn’t do certain day-to-day things anymore. Every time we work together, he can feel his body taking shape. We do a lot of internal exercises for his colon and bladder and we do a lot of compression around the hip joint. He gets emotional because after every session he feels lighter and more confident and that’s fantastic to hear. It makes it all worthwhile.
Is there a mental benefit to training in this way?
I work with a number of people that have highly stressful jobs. They drink a lot, they travel, and they train aggressively, but what I try to get them to do is to take on different forms of mediation and mindfulness exercises. The more athletic you are the more you need it.
Keith’s three exercises for boosting strength and flexibility
Superman pose: boost your flexibility by hopping onto all fours, straighten your back and slowly extend your left arm and right leg at the same time before bringing them in toward your body before repeating on the other side.
Plank: this classic abs exercise is great for strengthening your core, but it can also help with lower back pain. Simply lay on the floor with your elbows under your shoulders and your hands flat, then engage your core and hold.
Box jumps: hate jogging? Box jumps are a great cardio hit that burn loads of calories. Find a box around a metre high and spring yourself onto its surface before standing up straight and slowly stepping off.