Over the last few weeks, I’ve been really enjoying my gym membership. I’ve been going 3 times a week, making full use of the facilities, and have been loving it. It really does feel like a treat to go and spend some time alone, focusing on myself, after a long day with two small children.
The big thing is, though, that I feel that the exercise is really making a difference to my body. I’ll do a proper update after 6 weeks, but I am already fitter. I’m able to run further. I can do more sit ups. I can see the muscle definition in my arms. (I know! Muscle definition is not something I would associate with me either.) I’m making progress.
The thing that’s made the difference so quickly is the Personal Training sessions I’ve been having with Adam from Preston Marriott. A weekly personal training session can make a huge difference to your workout. It can motivate you, focus you, and help you reach your goals. I’ve never had Personal Training before, but here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Personal Trainers really know their stuff
You have to be qualified to be a Personal Trainer. This involves knowing a lot about muscle structure, how joints work, and generally having a far superior knowledge of the body. For each exercise, Adam, my PT, would explain why it was important to work in a certain way. He backed this up with the physiological explanation. This is so important for avoiding injury and maximising your workout. Needless to say, I’ve been following his advice.
2. They know how to help you achieve your goals
My own goals are a bit mundane really: get fitter and tone up. Adam helped me to refine these goals, knowing how much body fat was a realistic amount to reduce, and how much I could aim to improve my running. If you want to run a marathon, build muscle mass, lose a significant amount of weight, for example, your personal trainer will be able to tailor your goals towards this.
Personally, I want to run 5k without stopping. I also aim to run 10k before next year... eek! Adam showed me how to set up the treadmill to do Intervals of running and walking, which is a really good way to improve. I’ve already raised my highest speed, and have doubled the length of my fast intervals, so it’s definitely working.
3. Having a Personal Trainer keeps you motivated
I don’t know about you, but knowing that someone is going to be checking up on me makes me work harder. Knowing that someone will be checking my progress makes me determined to keep up. Simply having to attend the sessions is motivating.
Personal training isn’t cheap (£180 for 6 sessions), but you are getting 1 to 1 attention. There’s also the factor that, if you’ve spent that much money, you want to get your money’s worth. I don’t think you can really put a price on physical health, but if you’ve paid the price, you want to get it!
4. A Personal Trainer can give you confidence
Like many people, if I’m left to my own devices in the gym, I stick to the machines I know. I use the treadmill, cross trainer and bike. I’ll do some crunches, but I’ll avoid the weights completely. If the weights are in a different room, I won’t even open the door.
Having a few sessions with a Personal Trainer can help you learn how to use the equipment you usually avoid. I actually found that I pushed myself more when I had someone saying, “Yes, you can do a bit more.” Alone, I’d have been tempted to lift the weights that I knew I could lift, but Adam gave me the confidence to try to lift a bit more. Yes, it’s hard, but when I’m working out on my own, I can think, well, I did this last week, so I can do it today.
5. A Personal Trainer can help you avoid boredom
At the moment, going to the gym is still a novelty for me. But in a few weeks, I know I’ll be a bit bored. Fortunately, one of the best things a Personal Trainer can do for you is to teach you some new exercises to keep it fresh. In my programme, Adam made a few suggestions for classes such as Zumba, which is great. I really enjoy exercise classes but I’ve never done Zumba, so this is a good call for me.
6. A Personal Trainer will help you to maximise your workout
If you’ve only got an hour to work out, you want to make the most of every minute of that time. Like so many people, time is the biggest factor in me avoiding exercise. A personal trainer will teach you how to get the most out of your workout in the shortest time available. They will also look at the number of gym sessions you can commit to in one week, and make sure that you’re working really hard at each one. After all, that’s what gets results.
I’m going to be honest: I was really nervous about having Personal Training. I wrote about my hatred and fear of exercise a few weeks ago. But Adam was purely encouraging: no bullying, no shaming, no embarrassment. Almost all of his clients are women, and I was surprised by that – I had mostly assumed that Personal Training was for men (or for very rich people). But I can completely see how it would be worth it.
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