Using a Personal Trainer

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have my own personal trainer, but never bothered to find out. And I probably wouldn’t have anytime soon, if not for the big prize bundle Suzi and I won back in January! I get two private sessions per month for a year (through May 2012).

The intro session (which didn’t count toward the overall total sessions) took place the Monday before last. I had to fill out a questionnaire with my current stats, medical history, and personal goals. It was a good start as it got me excited to tackle the exact level of fitness I want to achieve. Next, I was interviewed by the PT director. Then I did a series of exercises for my fitness assessment: squats, full sit-ups and push-ups. To my surprise, I could do a lot of push-ups in one minute! (or at least I thought so … whatever I usually think is great is probably weak by everyone else’s standards, but it’s great for me!)

Following that assessment, the director chose a trainer for me; I sat with her and we talked about my goals. She assigned me 35 minutes of cardio, from three to five times per week. It has to be done at the gym (so that she can check), and it has to be done on the machines there as opposed to aerobics classes. Well, between that Monday and last night (Wednesday) I came in there just one time! Tuesday and Wednesday were already out so I don’t feel bad about those.

The first official session was Wednesday evening. I was wondering what she was going to say about me only doing one cardio session over the past week, but she didn’t say anything this time.

I did everything the trainer asked and I didn’t complain or try to quit. I tried hard to keep proper form and she helped a good deal with that, and counted down the reps for me. I did maybe 5 to 10 minutes of cardio warm-up on the elliptical – next time I’ll get there earlier so I can do more before my appointment begins. Then the trainer had me do 20 kick stretches, 20 knee-highs, 20 jumping jacks, 15 to 20 standing/leaning push-ups against a bar (I don’t remember what you call those), another five in a more difficult position, 12 burpees, at least 20 crunches (with my legs up, knees bent), and 15 to 20 scapular push-ups. That last one was the most difficult, not because it was strenuous, but because it wasn’t easy to execute properly. The trainer said I don’t need to do any of these moves on my own time just yet. Well, I’ll be trying them at home often anyway. Especially those burpees – they are hard and I like a good fitness challenge. When I can accomplish them with ease, I know I’ll feel A-1.

Next we went into a back office and talked about nutrition and my personal weight-loss goals. Most of the strategies I will be following – more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, lean protein, pre-making meals and snacks for the week, etc. – are not new to me. The trick is sticking with them (and using some of the 50-odd recipe collections I own but rarely use).

Having a trainer means having someone to cut through all the hooey and help you reach your own specific goals, someone who designs your own personal exercise program for you that changes as you progress. And maybe best of all was the effect on me and how hard I pushed myself. I knew someone was watching me while I did the exercise reps – someone who’s not a friend, someone who isn’t there to let me get away with anything – and that factor alone changes everything. I was concentrating on doing my absolute best work. I couldn’t just stop and say “Waaah, I’m tired” or crap out on the last five reps the way I have many times by myself, or with a real friend. And of course, if I don’t go in and do my cardio, someone will want to know what’s up with that too. Being accountable to someone else makes a world of difference. It’s funny how we sometimes don’t want to be accountable to ourselves first.


2 responses to “Using a Personal Trainer

  1. I think I could do about 5 pushups right now, maybe a handful of situps. Maybe your posts will one day inspire me, haha.

  2. i’ve always wanted to try a personal trainer as well, but it’s just too expensive. what an awesome prize you won! i’ll be interested to hear what you think of your sessions. maybe you can pass on some tips to the rest of us! 😉

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