It’s not what you do but how you do it that matters
Personal Training is different
I have been going to gyms for years, although not in recent years, read that as a decade!
So starting a new fitness drive with a personal trainer has been something of a surprise.
At previous gyms I have always been given an induction and then left to my own devices to complete a programme.
Going to the gym almost became more of a social occasion than anything that could be considered a serious health and fitness regime.
The approach that personal trainers take is something completely different. It’s a bit like the difference between eating at a fast food joint and dining at a Michelin starred restaurant.
All of the trainers that I have met are have proper personal training qualifications, and years of experience of dealing with people who have let them get into my sad state of unhealthy middle age.
Most importantly they exude an infectious confidence that I can do what they are asking me to do and do it properly so that I will get the maximum benefit.
Competitive spirit squashes technique
Left to your own devices the temptation is to work with as much weight as possible or to do as many repetitions of an exercise as you can. You naturally want to compete with yourself or your training partner.
But this approach, simply adding weight for the sake of it means that you invariably end up lifting the weight whether it is on a machine or loose with an incorrect technique. You end up using the wrong muscle groups and achieving nothing, you might even be doing damage.
Repetition of small exercises
What impresses me most about the approach my personal trainer is taking is that the weights we are using seem to be fairly light. What we are doing is lots of mini circuits that focus on one muscle group with three or four repetitions of the circuit of exercises.
I am not allowed to lift a weight without the trainer watching me; never it seems more than an arm’s length away.
They demonstrate each exercise before we commence it, even though they did exactly this the last time as well so I should be learning.
But the point is that they are trying to ensure that I am doing the exercise correctly every time, and consequently maximising the results that I can achieve.
Attention equals motivation
This attention to the detail of my experience is motivational in itself.
I hear the words; you didn’t do that right, and find myself adding another one at the end just to make up for it.
The other strange thing that I was not expecting is that I feel very comfortable saying no I have had enough of that, I need to move on.
I am learning my own limits and am confident enough to say so. I say that because that is what happened today. I put my all in to the exercise, but just could not complete the third set. The brain was saying yes, but the body just wasn’t willing.
I did expect to hear a voice telling me no you can do it, but that didn’t happen. My personal trainer seems to be so in tune not just with what he can see but also with what I am thinking so that he knows instinctively when it is time to stop.