1. You need to get out of your comfort zone
The reason Personal Training produces such great results is because trainers need to push their clients out of their comfort zone by continuously challenging them. You stop seeing results when your body gets used to a movement or exercise regime. As trainers, we spend a lot of time to work on our training programs so that clients continue to see progress even after years of working with the same trainer.
2. There is an element of obedience
You are required to do the exercises, reps and sets that your trainer tells you to do. You won’t be able to cheat as your trainer will be watching you and keeping count the whole time. So, you will not be able to go lazy on your form, cut short on your repetitions or tell the trainer you are done with your sets when you are not. This does not sit well with some individuals who have made a habit of “closing one eye”.
3. You can’t skip a week or 2 cos you are “just not feeling it”
In personal training, you are required to clock in your weekly sessions. Personal trainers make it a point to clock you into their schedules. It keeps you disciplines and it keeps you consistent. And that is how you see results.
As Personal Trainers, we work with several personality styles. But as fitness professionals, we can only help our clients achieve their fitness goals if they are willing to put in the work. So before looking for a Personal Trainer to work with, ask yourself: "Are you truly ready to take control of your fitness regime?"
So you are looking to get in shape. Look up for options online and you are hit with so many advertisements and websites.
You try out a few gyms and you end up yo-yoing through your fitness goals all year around. Many people do that. It’s hard to stick to a plan and your fitness goals especially when you get busy.
This is the approach I take when deciding my training regime. I realized people either opt for group classes or personal training. But frankly I think everyone should be doing group classes, personal training and some exercises on your own as well.
Aim to exercise 3-4 times a week. Yes, your body needs it. Just play with the intensity according to your energy levels. Days when you are feeling tied, do a lighter session like cycling, slow jog or yoga. And on days when you are less tired, do more intense sessions like high interval training or resistance training. I think it is good to have a variety of training in a week instead of just sticking to yoga or lifting in the gym. Gives your body challenges and it gives you an opportunity to build a good relationship with your body by learning your strengths and weaknesses.
Use them for socializing, tapping on your competitive side and to burn calories. Group classes provide a great environment for these. You don’t have to stick to a particular gym or a particular group class either.
You may switch them up as and when you please. If you particularly love a class, for example boxing, then do that as often as you like. Do what makes you happy and keeps you in a positive environment.
Personal Training and Privates
1 to 1 sessions are great for a variety of reasons. Helps you correct you bad habits in terms of form. A good trainer will be able to pick up on your weaknesses quickly. For example, mobility issues or weak joints. These things affect your movements and posture and trainers have got an eye for such detail.
I am a personal trainer and I still do privates for martial arts. It helps me fine tune my technique. You could do the same with resistance training.
Exercising on your own
This I feel is a form of meditation and self-care routine. Keeps you in a good relationship with your body and helps you wind down and analyses your lifestyle. If you overate, ask yourself why you did that. What emotions contributed to you losing control of your self-discipline. Being aware of how tired, tight or sore your body is helps you determine your next step in fitness.
It could be something like a long slow jog, a hike, swimming, cycling, or a 30-minute stretch or bodyweight exercises at home. Add it to your weekly routine and you will know what I am talking about.
I hope this approach helps. Remember not to run away from strength training. And high interval training does not constitute of strength training. Also don’t just do strength training and not do any cardio either. The heart is a muscle that needs to be trained too. All the best in your fitness endeavors!
Let's talk Depression
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media of people voicing out their battles with depression with hashtags “mental health awareness”. That’s great and all. And there needs to be an awareness and sensitivity when it comes to matters relating to mental health.
However, I do feel that today people throw around the words; OCD, ADHD, and depression around without proper knowledge on these illnesses. Being a student of psychology and fitness one thing I know for sure is that your body reacts to what you mentally tell it to do. In weightlifting, it is the same thing. When you challenge yourself with a weight that you haven’t lifted before, if you tell yourself that you can’t lift it, you will definitely not be able to lift that weight. Any strength coach will agree with me on this.
Likewise, if you continuously fall into negative thought patterns, it is expected that your brain is going to create chemical imbalances that is going to further drag you into a depressive state. And in due time, the condition just elevates to the point where medication is required.
So I urge you. Instead of declaring your depressive state to the world and making it look like a courageous act, ask yourself; Have you put in the work to make yourself truly happy? A lot of times we fall into depression due to our lack of gratitude for the things we already have and have accomplished. We also fall into this cycle of thought where we think happiness is something that just happens. It’s an emotion that pops out of nowhere. A lot of times we don’t invest the time and energy into doing the things that truly make us happy because a lot of times we don’t stop to ask ourselves what makes us truly happy. It takes spending time with yourself. It takes putting yourself through different experiences in order to figure out what those things are. And once you find out what they are, you will be able to filter your time and energy towards doing them.
The keyword here guys is INTROSPECTION.
Ask yourselves questions like:
To sum it all up, what I am saying is happiness takes work. Getting out of depressive mental frames takes work. It requires that you become aware of your mental constructs and perspectives that drive you towards depressive states. Everyone has problems, everyone faces difficulties in life. Whether you fall prey to the things life throws at you or you chose to stand up and face them by building resilience is totally up to you. Problems don’t go away. We just get stronger. Day by day with each and every wound, we heal and we grow stronger and wiser. Cheers!
2018: It's July!
As a Personal Trainer, I meet a lot of people with zealous goals such as getting fitter, leaner, obtaining visible abs in a few short months. And they want to achieve their goals in a short time frame without making alterations to their priorities and lifestyles. Many do not realize the amount of work it takes and the number of sacrifices they have to make in order to achieve their goals.
On the other hand, I have had the pleasure of working with several clients who have been able to reach their fitness goals, attain a substantial amount of progress in their fitness goals with my help and guidance. And one of the major factors that lead them to seeing results is Consistency. Consistency in showing up for PT sessions, consistency in doing cardio on their own, consistency in their diet and nutrition.
With that said, let’s look into ways in which you can achieve consistency in order to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Stop the guilt
When guilt starts sweeping in because you missed a day or two of training, or if you had a hick up with your diet, immediately stop! Feeling guilty about a mistake you made is not going to undo it. The train of thoughts that follow that emotion will only hinder your progress. So stop the guilt thought process and start thinking about how you are going to make up for the lapse in discipline. Work out longer the next day, or eat more vegetables instead of carbs the next day. Been missing your PT sessions? Make it up by doing extra sessions the following week. That’s how you build discipline. By “punishing” yourself in a productive manner and that is how you gain control of your fitness journey.
2. Realistic workout schedule
Many times I have clients telling me that they would like to have PT sessions 3-5 times a week if they can. I usually discourage them from doing so. Firstly, because more sessions does not always mean quicker results. In fact, it creates a burn out and a lot of times I am not able to push them as much as I would like to because of that. Even doing PT 3 times a week can be really texting if your body if not used to staying active. I usually recommend doing twice and maximum three times a week. On other days, I ask them to do something they enjoy. Like a workout video, running or swimming.
3. Build a relationship with your trainer
There will be tough days, days when you really do not want to work out. Days when nothing seems to go right and all you want to do is go home and relax. Those are the days when the relationship you have with your trainer comes in handy. Try thinking about the things you can share with your trainer or the jokes you can crack during your training session, sharing jokes you saw online about working out. It is going to be hard to be consistent with your training if you dread seeing your trainer. Especially if it is after a long day at work. Professional personal trainers use several techniques to make sure they always present a pleasant energy when working with their clients.
4.Track your progress
Keeping a journal and keeping track of your progress in terms of training, hours of exercise, energy levels, how training made you feel and your food intake will help you stay focused. It may seem like a hassle at first if you are not used to journaling. You could use an app on your phone and just jot your thoughts down during your commute for a start. Sometimes having something to look at to see how much work you have already put in will discourage you from giving up.
5. Knowledge is empowering
Read fitness forums, blogs, articles to see how people deal with the difficulties they face in training. Maintaining a constant interest in fitness related matters would help you stay on track for a longer time and eventually integrate it permanently into your lifestyle. It also gives you something to talk to your trainer about during your rest breaks!
6. Set a date
So you got busy or got tied up in life’s messiness for a few weeks. You lapsed in your training. Stop ignoring your trainer’s messages! Let him or her know when you will be able to resume training and give updates when you can. Commit to a date in which you would be ready and keep your trainer accountable to your return. When you set that goal it will be easier to get back on track.
I hope these pointers were helpful. Cope with the obstacles that lay before you in achieving consistency. The key is in never giving up. Do not think about the time it is taking you to achieve your goal but rather focus on the process. Try and enjoy it as much as you can and the results will follow in due time. Your trainer is there to guide you, make use of them
Mandy is a mother of 2 young children and originally from Europe. Mandy gained about 10-15kg over the years and was looking to get back to the weight she feels comfortable in. She tried several diets but they did not help much.
Mandy came to me and spoke to me about her goals, background and sought my advice. Looking at her body type, it was apparent to me that she had not much muscle to work with and hence all her efforts in cardio and dieting just was not going to do the trick in getting the numbers on the scale down. Upon taking her measurements, I came to realize she has problems with varicose veins on her left leg, making her left thigh 2cm larger than her right thigh. Most of her fat was stored in her hips and waist areas which is normal for most women. And with age, if no lifestyle change is done, the fat storage will only increase with time. Which is not a healthy aging process and it is just paving room for more health complications in the foreseeable future.
Training and dietary Program
Mandy initially started training with me three times a week, after which she reduced it to twice a week. It was a suggestion I made in order for her sessions to sustain longer. That way she would be able to give her body time to gradually but consistently drop body fat and build muscle.
During her sessions the only thing I focused on was building muscle. I asked her to do cardio on her own. My instructions to her was to start going for morning walks before breakfast just to make a habit of moving early in the morning. After which, to incorporate short distance running into the walks and gradually increasing the distance each week.
As for diet, we tried different approaches but the one that worked best for her was to eliminate carbs for dinner. As we progressed and her weight started going down, Mandy started using an app to watch her calorie intake.
Over a period of 5 months, Mandy lost 7kg. Her waist went down 2cm, hips went down a whooping 12cm, both arms went down 3cm and her thighs 5 and 3cm with both of them at even measurements now. She is much stronger now and able to lift much heavier weights. Overall looks firmer and is starting to show some muscle definition.
Things that lead her to achieving her goal
There are a few things to note. I signed Mandy on before I bought my body fat analyzer, hence I do not have numbers in terms of body fat percentage. Also, Mandy has no health issues, and is not taking any medications. She did not come across any injuries during the period she was training with me. So it is important not to compare yourself with her measurements or story. Also Mandy is European. She is accustomed to meals that are not hot or spicy, usually simple dishes made from very few ingredients. She snacks on raw carrots and celery. Asians tend to be accustomed to eating carb dense meals, prefer hot meals and like their vegetable cooked. Observing eating habits are crucial in achieving results. Find the best approach that works for you.
It's 2018 guys!
Hi guys! With regards to the new year, I would like to give you some updates on my business. Just to let you know that I am constantly working on improving my service to my clients. Cheers!
Getting Fit: Where do you start?
Getting Fit: My advice summed up in 4 steps.
So you want to get in shape. You try out random workouts at home, random jogs on your own, some diets here and there, even attend some fun exercise classes but nothing seems to sustain you long enough in order to see some decent improvement. You are starting to wander if you should get yourself a personal trainer. Stop right there!
As a personal trainer I see a lot of clients come in, purchase a package but are not able to complete them. In fact having sign ups that don’t make use of gym premises is a very common thing in the fitness industry. It is frustrating for a trainer to dedicate time and effort into training someone who is not consistent. This is because very little progress is made and at the end of the day, if the client does not achieve any progress that is a reflection on the trainer’s credibility. I can’t speak for other trainers, but to me the reason I chose to do this is to cause an impact on people. Getting fitter, makes you more capable as an individual. Helps you perform better as you are sharper, you will be able to move more and at a faster rate which means more things get done in a day. You don’t get tired easily and you will be able to sustain those long and demanding hours at work to complete urgent projects.
Well ideally, this is the goal. But getting your body out of the state of a statuary lifestyle to an active lifestyle is a process by itself. It takes time and most importantly consistency. You got to start thinking about food differently. Make work-out appointments a priority just as you would a doctor’s appointment. Considering the different people I have met: seeing some who dropped out of the program while others succeed and are truly happy, I came up with a few steps that you should think about trying out before you invest in a personal trainer. Let’s face it, one to one sessions are not cheap but they bring the best results. Here are some tips in making your investment worthwhile.
Step 1: Analyze your lifestyle
What are the time-slots you can set aside each week for training (minimum 3 times a week)?
Not all of them have to be sessions with a trainer. Most of my clients train twice a week with me and once a week do a run or spin class. But doing something at least 3 times a week would be my recommendation. So try and set aside time for that.
Diet: Do you have an active social life? How often do you drink? Does work require you to attend several lunch or dinner appointments a week?
When you are in a professional setting, it is hard to be picky about your food. But think about it this way, if you had an allergy, would you suppress it and eat something you are allergic to just because you are in a social setting? Blame it on your trainer if you have to. But discipline is crucial. Practice moderation when you are not able to pick your dishes. Stay away from oily and greasy food. Leave the deserts for special occasions. Use fruits and smoothies to cope with your sugar cravings. Alcohol hinders your fitness progress. Although it is alright to drink once in a while, the more serious you are about achieving your goals, the more you should save drinking to special occasions- once a month or less.
*Diet and Nutrition is another big topic hence I will do another write up with better elaborations and tips on it.
Step 2: Set realistic short-term and long-term goals
When you write them down, they become concrete. You are putting yourself accountable to it. Start off by asking yourself how you would want your lifestyle to be like 10-20 years from now. What are the things that makes you happy (truly happy) and are you currently on the path towards that? Before I picked up Muay Thai, I asked myself the same question. I realized I wasn’t much of a traveler; neither do I enjoy being a tourist. However I wanted to create a lifestyle whereby I travel to different parts of Thailand and am able to stay there and train. Challenge myself physically and put to the test the training program that I follow at home. It took me 4 years to make that happen. I thought it would only take me a year! But you know what, life gets in the way. I needed to get my education and proper work experiences along the way. But it did not stop me. I picked up boxing/Muay Thai in 2009. In 2013, I did my first solo trip to Phuket for training and have done 7 trips now each time staying anywhere between 2-6 weeks. It has truly become part of my lifestyle now that I don’t even worry about it anymore.
So there you go, break down your long-term goals. Set realistic short term goals. And most importantly, don’t be too harsh on yourself. It is ok, it of takes longer than expected. Just stay the course. Don’t give up. Surround yourself with people who support your vision even if they don’t share the same goals. It sincerely helps.
Step 3: Jot down habits that you need to cultivate and eliminate
So, I am a firm believer of journaling as I like to write things down. I remember them better when I write them down. You could use an app if you want to. Basically the idea is to be more conscious of your day to day habits. These habits are building blocks to achieving your goals. I like using something called a bullet list. You start of by listing down the habits that you need to incorporate into your life on a daily/weekly basis. For example: Jog 3 times a week; Prepare lunch to bring along to work. Then list down the habits that you would like to eliminate on a daily/weekly basis. Example: No deserts; No sugary drinks. Check them out when you manage to succeed to implementing that habit for that day. At the end of the week, the more checks you have the closer you are to achieving your goals! It’s a rewarding feeling to see that. And it keeps you on track.
*Pictures below to illustrate.
Step 4: Get professional help if you need to
Now that you have made some attempt and know which areas you fall back on, you are at a better position to get the right help. If what you are struggling with is getting a workout in 3 times a week, then start off with group classes just to get active and get physical again. But if you have injuries and are not too familiar with exercise forms, then do a session with a personal trainer once a week just to get some knowledge. If setting aside the time is an issue, then work on what adjustments you have to make to your current lifestyle in order to make that happen. You would have to make sacrifices. It may mean saying no to a post-work dinner/ shopping or waking up earlier over the weekend to get your work-outs in. Get into an active routine before you invest in a personal trainer. I have had clients who have been able achieve their goals training with me for 6 months coming from a completely statutory lifestyle. But majority of success stories comes from people who have made efforts on their own before coming to me.
Alright there you go. Now this is just my suggestion based on the techniques I use with my clients. Frankly, as a trainer what we would like to see is our clients taking the training seriously. When you have made an attempt on your own, you know yourselves better and you make better use with your time with your trainer. We see the effort. We are able to see you performing better when you manage to get your cardio in unsupervised. We can see it when have been lazing on your diet. Your body does not lie. Try to take a more systematic approach to your fitness journey instead of trying to squeeze in as many sessions as possible whenever you feel like it. The goal is consistency. When you are consistent, the results will follow.
Labels, they are just labels. Everyone in the industry call it different names but basically there is 2 main distinctions from a consumer's perspective. To make things easier, let me define them for you and then go on elaborating the 2 main distinctions that you should be aware of as a consumer in the fitness industry.
A Coach (fitness or sport specific)
A coach specializes in a sport or in fitness in general. Their job is to teach you and educate you about the sport or exercise which they are making you do. Execute training programs and conduct sessions. Their job responsibilities ends there. For an hour they do all they can to teach you as much as they can, give you feedback on your strength and weaknesses with relevance to fitness.
A Personal Trainer
As the name suggests, there is a more personal element to it. First of all personal trainers have relevant certifications regarding personal training, nutrition, strength and conditioning. That would cover the theoretical and scientific part of the training. However these are just paper qualifications, what these enable them to do is to gain knowledge and access to information that they may require when meeting a client with complex needs.
Above training, a personal trainer customizes their approach in dealing with different clients. They motivate, guide, educate, look for solutions for arising problems, and even serve as therapists from time to time by counselling clients in order to keep them focused and driven towards their fitness goals.
So here you go, hope this gives you a general idea of the main distinctions between the two. Some people switch the names around but overall the concept is the same. As for me, a lot of times I share my personal life and experiences with my clients because that enables them to gear motivation from my life and lifestyle choices in order to achieve their fitness goals. And a lot of times, in order for me to work with their schedule and get them motivated to stay disciplined to their training and nutrition, I do get to know them at a personal level too. Their lives, the daily struggles and challenges they go through. It does play an important role in my relationship with my clients.
How does this information affect you?
If you are starting out in your fitness journey, there are 2 main things to consider. Are you looking at group classes or a personalized and individually catered approach? A lot of people are able to attain their fitness goals just by attending group classes. Some gravitate towards picking up a sport and that keeps them motivated to stay in shape. And then there are some people who have injuries or who get injured when attempting group classes. Some have busy and unpredictable schedules that does not allow them to attend structured classes. Also, a lot of my clients find themselves cheating during group classes and blatantly quitting when they get tired or annoyed at certain exercises that are challenging to them in a group setting. So do consider all of these factors when deciding which approach to take, which fitness professional to approach with regards to your training and fitness goals.
All the best in your fitness endeavors! Do feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have regarding the topics that i have discussed. :)
Author: Suba Day
Hi, I am a Personal Trainer and my blog posts are based on questions my clients tend to ask me.