Archives for posts with tag: strength

Whilst browsing the internet a few weeks ago, I came across the website of a weight loss coach. I am always interested in the work of other health and well-being practitioners so I started to read her introduction, but within a few paragraphs I was angry and upset and felt as though I was being personally attacked for being a personal trainer.

For the record, there was no real reason for me to take this woman’s comments personally; I don’t know her and I very much doubt that she has ever heard of me. She was merely expressing an opinion based on her own experiences and observations, but her words touched a nerve nonetheless.

To paraphrase: this coach stated that most personal trainers want to keep hold of their clients long- term and so they will purposefully confuse and misinform people to ensure they never reach their goals and never gain the confidence to go solo! In comparison, she – the weight loss coach – prefers to work with her clients for just a few weeks and get real results.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what she had written and I began to question my own practice as a trainer. You see, it is true that as a personal trainer, I prefer to work with clients on a long-term basis. Does that make me a bad person? Am I just in it for the money? Have I been sabotaging my clients all this time? No, of course not! Why would anyone go into this profession thinking, ‘I hope my clients fail’?

But here’s the truth: I really don’t care whether my clients are fat or thin. I want them to keep working with me for as long as possible because I love seeing them grow stronger and fitter, and because I love introducing them to new and different exercises, and because I know there is always something else I can teach them. Some of my clients lose weight when they work with me and some of them don’t, but that doesn’t mean the ones who don’t have failed in any way. We need to dispel this damaging message that the only reason you should take up exercise it to lose weight (or more accurately, lose inches). Exercise is about so much more than what size jeans you wear or whether your arms have definition or whether people are going to compliment you on your six-pack when you slip into a bikini.

My aim as a personal trainer is to instill in others the joy of moving. For me, my greatest success stories are when I see my clients learning to use and trust and enjoy their bodies in a whole new way. If people need or want to lose weight along the way, that’s fine and I help them to do that by encouraging them to address their diet and life-style as a whole, but first and foremost, I want my clients to realise that exercise can be fun and enjoyable and rewarding. I want them to witness first-hand how it can boost their mood and make them feel strong and flexible and alive. I want my clients to learn that if they start enjoying their bodies and tuning into how good it feels to get up and move, they will naturally begin to take care of themselves better in other areas of their life.

Exercising can be inspiring and energising and it can free your mind in ways you never thought possible. So, as a personal trainer, I feel it is my duty to encourage you not to have weight-loss as your main goal in life. Mental and physical health, strength and fitness, and a positive body image are much better life-goals and the likelihood is, when you start enjoying your body and appreciating everything it can do for you, you will begin to see positive physical changes anyway.

So let’s spread the word: love your body, nourish it, treat it well … and above all else, enjoy it!

Advertisements

I often tell people who are struggling with getting into a regular exercise regime, give it 3 months of regular exercise and you’ll be hooked. Once you’re hooked on exercise, you actually enjoy it and get miserable if you don’t get your regular endorphin fix.

However, 3 months is a long time to stay motivated if you’re not enjoying it. I’m one of those lucky people who actually enjoys exercise, but even I’ve been known to get bored of working out from time to time so it’s no wonder so many people give up before they’ve even started.

I don’t have a magical solution, but here are a few tips to staying motivated even if you’re already a fitness junky: if you want to stick to an exercise regime you’ve got to keep your goals achievable, you’ve got to choose a form of exercise you enjoy and you’ve got to keep it varied.

Interval training is one of my favourite ways of keeping workouts short, intense and interesting and it’s one of the most effective ways of getting results.

What is interval training?

Interval workouts alternate between high-intensity and lower-intensity levels.

Why is interval training so good?

  • The variety makes the time pass faster.
  • You can easily fit an interval session into a lunch break or when you’re pressed for time and still get better results than you would from a longer, less intense workout.
  • Working harder even for short bursts of time burns more calories and the body continues burning calories long after you’ve finished your workout.
  • The stop-and-start pattern trains your body to recover quickly, which improves your cardiovascular fitness.

This Infographic at www.greatist.com explains it really well.

So, let’s get started:

Here are a couple of great interval sessions for you to try out and adapt to suit you. Remember to include a warm up beforehand and stretch out afterwards.

Treadmill workout 1:

Put the incline up to 1 or 2. You’ll hardly notice the extra effort but you’ll be burning more calories and getting better fitness results.

To start with, you need to find your comfortable pace. This is a pace you could keep up comfortably for quite a long time. Depending on your fitness, this might be a fast walk or a jog.  For this example, let’s just say you’re comfortable pace is jogging at 9 km/h.

  • 1 minute: jog at 9 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 9.5 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 9 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 10 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 9 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 10.5 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 9 km/h
  • 1 minute: jog at 11 km/h

 … and so on for  15–30 minutes.

This is a good way of starting with intervals because you get to know your comfortable pace and find out how fast you can go.

Treadmill workouts 2 & 3:

Once you’re more confident with how fast you can go, you can change the intervals to make them more intense by reducing your rest time and/or going  straight to your fast pace rather than building up to it.

For example:

  • 30 seconds: 10 km/h
  • 1 minute: 13 km/h
  • 30 seconds: 10km/h
  • 1 minute: 13 km/h

… and so on for  15–30 minutes.

Treadmill workout 4:

Another fantastic variation of this (although a horribly hard one that I haven’t motivated myself to do for a while) is to vary incline rather than pace.

Find your comfortable pace again (e.g. 11 km/h) and start with the incline on 2 or 3, then build up:

  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 2
  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 3
  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 2
  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 4
  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 2
  • 1 minute:  jog at 11 km/h on incline 5

  you get the picture!

This one starts off feeling OK, but all of a sudden it begins to hurt. Don’t slow the pace when it starts getting harder. Just keep going up and down the inclines and see how long you can keep going for.

Writing about it has reminded me just how good this workout is. I guess I can’t expect you to try it if I don’t do it myself, so I’ll give it a go next time I’m in the gym. That’s a promise!

Intervals outside the gym:

Intervals don’t have to be done on the treadmill, of course. You can apply the interval workouts above to any piece of equipment and you can do other forms of intervals away from the gym too. You could keep it basic with running, swimming or cycling or you can do any form of high impact exercise followed by a short break and then back up to intensity.

Jo Parry did some great 10 minute workouts on Mission Clean & Lean (see my previous post about this, here). Here’s an example of a 10 minute workout, inspired by Jo:

  • 45 seconds: high knee runs
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: burpees (I hate them but they get results)
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: power squats
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: tricep dips
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: power lunges
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: plank
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: squat runs
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: star jumps
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: press up
  • 15 seconds: rest
  • 45 seconds: high knee runs again

Repeat this 2 or 3 times. Give it everything you’ve got on each exercise and you’ll have done a brilliant workout.

If you have any questions about how to perform any of the exercises mentioned here, please do not hesitate to contact me or if you’re a member of a gym ask a member of staff to help you out.

Good luck. Let me know how you get on. x