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Are you fit for purpose...

If you have you ever said 'if my dog had a different handler he would be amazing' or 'I wish I could keep up with my dog.' then you'll want to find out more about a new physical regime called AgilityFIT which could improve your performance and extend your agility life. Personal Trainer Mike Wood has sent us this article. Read this article. It makes sense.

By now most people understand the importance of warming up their dog before training or competing, and there are many courses already out there for those who don't and want to learn. But how many of you spend any time warming yourselves up prior to training, preparing your own body for a competition or exercising specifically for your chosen sport? If your dog shows the slightest sign of a limp or any sort of discomfort, we rush them to the canine chiropractor/osteopath while we limp round with bad backs and niggling injuries.

It's not rocket science to tell the difference between the physical capabilities of a dog compared to a human being. Dogs are built to accelerate from a standing start to full speed without any significant training. It's in their DNA and a consequence of their evolution. The human body is not. Usain Bolt has had to train for years to hone his body into the elite athlete he is today, albeit from a starting point underpinned by natural talent and ridiculously long legs. Usain is unique. Most human beings will never achieve this level of ability, but even he has to warm up.

So you're standing in the queue... I bet you've warmed your dog up - given him a run round, thrown his toy, maybe massaged some crucial areas, but what have you done to warm yourself up? You may have to queue for  20 minutes or more, dead time which you could be using to prepare yourself. Everyone knows that the body performs better if it is properly warmed up, and yet we don't bother to keep ourselves AgilityFIT.

Getting ready to compete
Warming up is simply more than physical preparation. It is as much, if not more, a psychological tool to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead. Simply by concentrating on a few simple routines, exercises and stretches, a warm up can help you visualise, focus your mind and breathe confidence into a run that may otherwise have been hampered with doubt.

Getting the blood flowing through your system keeps the mind and muscles oxygenated, and maintaining a regular fitness regime tailored to your sport, as opposed to simply padding along on a treadmill for hours, helps train your body to cope with the specific movements and stresses dog agility handling places on your mental and physical self.

For dog agility, it's not about being faster, it's about being sharper, more agile and teaching your body to react by employing training techniques that apply themselves to the movements you use when running a course until they become second nature. It's no good if your mind is three or more jumps ahead if your body can't keep up!

What is AgilityFIT?
Designed specifically for agility, AgilityFIT is low impact, fun and for everyone, with no specialist equipment or clothing required - just you, your enthusiasm and a good sense of humour.

Intended for people of all abilities, ages and fitness levels, AgilityFIT will give you simple, easy tips and tricks on how to warm up properly, how to stay warm and ready whilst queueing, and exercises you can do at home, when walking your dog or anywhere you have the space and time to improve your general fitness and therefore performance. This is not about running miles, pushing weights or spending hours in the gym, AgilityFIT works with you and your needs specifically in Agility, helping improve your mobility, awareness and coordination to give you the edge when you step onto the competition course.

A single workshop event, AgilityFIT is aimed at anyone who trains or competes in Dog Agility, and you only have to bring yourself - no dog needed! Come in your usual training clothes; no skimpy lycra or specialist equipment. In fact nothing specialist is required at all. Do as much or as little as you like. Every exercise is tailored to the individual, with differing levels of difficulty for those who like a challenge - and those who don't!

The workshop has been designed by Eleanor Balchin, who has been competing consistently at the highest level of agility since the 1980s and running the very successful Pachesham Agility club for 17 years and Personal Trainer Mike Wood, a fully insured instructor specialising in mixed martial arts. Now retired from the ring or cage, he knows the importance of mental and physical fitness to succeed in competition and now teaches and coaches classes and individuals for combat sports. Working with Eleanor, he has applied numerous techniques to AgilityFIT to work with all levels of ability and fitness, making it a course anyone can participate in and learn from.

Don't be the weak link in your team. Be AgilityFIT.

To learn more or book your place on an AgilityFIT workshop on 25 September at Pachesham Agility, please visit http://www.pachesham-agility.com/agilityfit.html  or email agilityfit@gmail.com