Emma, our #hellofitty member, reveals why, after so many years, she’s decided to hire a personal trainer and how she’s benefited.
I’ve hired a personal trainer. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, not because I’m not motivated, but because I want to learn more about my body and achieve greater discipline in my training and diet to reach new fitness goals. I want to win triathlons. I had plateaued: restricted by not being able to fit more exercise in than I already do (6 days) and unfocused as to what I was training and why.
I’m still making up my mind as to whether it really works (I only see my personal trainer once a week, and I’ve only just started) but I feel it’s teaching me three main lessons. Here are my 3 reasons to hire a personal trainer:
You eat better when you think someone is watching you
I love food, and its difficult not just eating what you feel like, even if unhealthy or over-portioned, when you don’t think it will make much of a difference to your weight. The constant justification takes place in your head: “I’ll treat myself to another piece of cake, I’ve just burnt 800 calories spinning”, “I’ve had a really tough day, another glass of wine is OK”. The problem is, this happens every day, and then you get addicted to the sugar highs, and you can’t stop yourself.
When someone else is watching you, the game changes. All of a sudden, especially if you start a food diary that is being monitored by your personal trainer, that piece of cake or extra bowl of pasta really hurts. You start thinking “I won’t get stronger or fitter by eating cake or drinking wine.” Furthermore, after a few days of healthy salads you feel better for it – more energetic, less bloated around the waist, and dare i say smug?
You work muscles you didn’t know you had
I’ve never done much weight training. I always thought it would make you butch rather than lean, but I’m told that is a common misconception. Women actually don’t have the testosterone to develop huge muscles, which is why steroids are so common amongst those that do need to bulk for professional reasons. Weight training accelerates your ability to burn fat, and thus can make you leaner than you would expect. My personal trainer focuses only on weight training, which brings variation in my training from my normal routine of running, spinning, or high intensity workouts. So far, he has developed two routines for me – one to develop my upper body/back strength, and the other to develop the power in my legs. He noticed that I had ‘angel wings’, a polite way of saying my shoulder blades stick out, and to succeed in triathlons I should work out the trapezius muscles, those connecting the ‘wings’. Even with a tiny amount of weight, a lat pull down or a rope pull can feel tough when you’ve never focused on those muscles before.
You gain focus
Personal training is very much about achieving a goal- be it losing weight, getting a certain triathlon time or developing massive biceps. I like the fact that I can calibrate my progress by comparing my body fat percentage, body measurements, 12 minute sprint time, plank time and squat press weight over time. I could measure those things myself, but I don’t. The training focuses your mind to that goal.
It’s not cheap – I pay £190 a month for an hour session a week (£47.50 per session), but it’s worth a try. It’s obviously worth it if you need help to get exercising and want the one on one attention. Surprisingly though, it’s also worth it if you are a disciplined exerciser like myself who needs that extra focus. At least it means you’re disciplined enough to put the lessons in practice out of personal training hours, which in the end is going to make the difference between achieving your goals and not. Practice makes perfect after all.