Ohhh Monday…Today was a long day. Blaahhh. I couldn’t wait to get home, but also had to get to the gym. If you’ve been reading F&S, then you know I’m more of a morning person. It is usually too easy for me to find a reason not to get to gym after work. But today I ate a good snack of protein and carbs: roasted chickpeas and an apple around 430. Then, I left work at 530 and decided I could do Day 36 of Live Fit down in the gym in our building – so no excuses.
Another reason I do not like night workouts, is that our gym is filled with too many gyms AND they do so much standing around! Best part of the work out though was when the hip hop station played “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute to Whitney Houston. You know that awesome theme song from the Body Guard??Such a classic… Anyway. so there I was with about a dozen guys who were grunting and lifting and Whitney Houston is blaring in the background. I could not hold in a giggle.
I’m getting back to organizing myself and with that I’m bring back fitness focused Mondays. Something that really helped me get in shape was a personal trainer. I learned so much, probably more than the things I’m going to list here, but I think these are the most important things that stuck.
Back in March 2010 is when I decided to get serious about exercise and learning more about nutrition. One of the first steps I took was to utilize the personal trainers at the gym I joined. I needed someone to give me a plan and teach me some basics. I got my first session free and signed up for 8 additional for a few hundred dollars. While it seems like a lot of money, but if you are serious about making a change than it is totally worth it. Here is why:
- Have goals in mind - The first thing my trainer asked me is what do I want and what do I want to get out training. And he needed something more specific than lose weight. Ultimately, I wanted to tone, increase my fitness level, and learn how to weight train.
- Get to know your numbers and your body – After establishing my goals, we spent a lot of the first session getting my measurements, heart rate, my weight, bmi, and body fat percent. The body fat percent was most astonishing to me. Even more than losing weight, we decided I need to gain muscle and lose fat, which was right in line with my goals.
- You can do more than think you can – One of the greatest thing about a trainer is that they will always be able to push you harder than you can push yourself. I was playing rugby for new york city at the time and he knew I was capable of more. He had me working out like a guy doing olympic lifting moves and something called the 300 workout (the workout the actors from the movie 300 did to get into Spartan shape)
- Form is key – Your form while weight/strength training is far more important than weight and speed. The weight will come as your gain strength, but if you don’t focus on proper form you might not be able to move up in weight and are more likely to injure yourself. I was always embarrassed if I felt like I was not using heavy enough weights. My trainer taught me that everyone has to start somewhere and in the end making progress is more important than what others think.
- Don’t use the same weights different exercises - Before having a trainer I would grab the same pair of dumbbells for my entire workout. Some muscles are stronger than others and in order to get an effective workout you need to have the proper weight. If you complete one set and can do more – go heavier. If you cannot complete one set go lighter. Once you do 10 reps easily, time to get heavier.
- Learning new equipment – I learned how to use some of my favorite equipment now: kettlebells, bosu balls, the cable machine, and medicine balls.
- Abs are always working - No matter what exercise you are doing tighten your core. It will help with form, balance, and of course strengthen your abs.
- How to build a my own routines – This was the most important thing to me. I took notes literal and mental of the order we did things. These were all total body circuits with a mix of polymetrics for cardio and strength training. I learned to do bigger muscle groups in the beginning of the circuit (quads, chest, back) because tiring out smaller muscles like arms first, will make the chest and back exercises harder. This will also hinder my form and be less effective. Its all connected!
As much as I love having a trainer, it was not financially possibly to keep one all the time. But I think it was a great decision. I was able to learn more than I could on my own and really see what my body was capable of. I got what I wanted a plan and a foundation to build from. Something I have wanted to do since, is to maybe buy one or two sessions just to check in and advance my learning. My trainer said people do this a lot because you can always set new goals and learn new things.
So if you can budget it and you want to learn how to get your most effective workout, then I really recommended getting a few sessions with a personal trainer. Even if it isn’t 8 like I did, maybe 3-4, you will be surprised how much you can takeaway in just those few hours.
What are your thoughts on trainers?? Have you used one? want one? are one? If you used one, what was your one takeway? I was lucky to get a good one.
Also share something funny that happened to you today!.The Whitney Houston thing was priceless!