2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Personal training

Personal training

I thought it was a good idea to bring in personal training to the body image theme we have been running for the last couple of weeks. People visit a personal trainer for all sorts of reasons but one of the main ones is because they would like to change how they look. They may like to tone a particular area of the body; they may want a swimsuit body ready for the summer or they may want to lose weight. These are all areas that I have helped people with in my work as a trainer.

What is a personal trainer?

Someone once asked me what I did for a living. I responded that I was a personal trainer, working in a mainstream gym as well as peoples houses. They summed it up as someone who comes to you, puts you through h*ll, makes you sweaty and get out of breath, gets paid and tries to make you feel better. Now this is a good conclusion. We are the ones who make you work hard so that you can achieve your goal. I have a few rules as a trainer when I work with a client and that is one of them. You work hard in our sessions, but I am also expecting you to work hard if you are not in a session. This way you achieve your goal. If you are expecting to come to the gym for one session a week and expect great results, then unfortunately it is not going to help you.

How does a personal trainer help you?

We start by having a consultation. This is where we will chat to you and find out how we can help you. This is also where we will find out if there are any barriers to fitness. In terms of barriers I mean money issues, medical issues, family commitments, work commitments and so on. These are barriers that may make it harder to achieve your goal or could stop the goal in its tracks. However, I find if you want to make a change and achieve the goal badly enough then the barriers will be hard, but you will find a way. After the consultation phase we start to put you through your paces. I will teach you exercises to help you on the road so you can gain your potential. I will also check your posture and alignment to make sure you are looking after your body. What a personal trainer can also do is go through a healthy eating plan with you and make recommendations on how to achieve one. We usually do this through a food diary which you keep. And here is one of the secrets about personal training. We tailor all sessions to meet your needs, no one else, just you.

Do I need to be fit to visit a personal trainer?

This is a question I get quite a lot as a trainer. Do I need to be fit to work with you? With me personally the short answer is no. I work with people who have never exercised right through to someone who exercises several times a week. As I say one of my rules is you work hard. I can guide you through exercise, help you with nutrition, check your posture, make you’re your alignment is good, support and motivate you along the way. But at the end of the day it is up to you how much effort you put in. The question you need to ask yourself is, are you ready?

What do I need to look like to visit a personal trainer?

You can look however you want to look. You can be toned. You can have muscles. You can be overweight. You can turn up in the t-shirt you dug out of your cupboard forty years after your college won a sports match. You can wear brand new trainers. You can come in with make-up on. You can come in straight from work with your hair all messy. My point is as a personal trainer I do not mind how you turn up. Just turn up and be willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

Lifestyle change

As I have mentioned in a previous blog it is a lifestyle change that you need and not a quick fix. To eat correctly, exercise and then see results you may need to change several elements in your life. What I mean is this: If you are eating healthy during the week but at the weekend having two bottles of wine, then this is not going to help you. You need to sustain a change. If you go out for a 5km walk on Sunday afternoon only and again expect your cardio to improve again I am afraid it will not help. However, if you eat healthy during the week and the weekend, have two glasses of wine at the weekend, walk 5km every day, go to the gym and workout then yes you are going to feel better, but you are also committing to a lifestyle change. A change where you are going to see parts of the body getting toned, a summer body peeking through and weight getting lost. All I can say is trust me on this one, I have a lot of experience in lifestyle changes and a lot of negatives to say about quick fixes.

At the end of the day it is your call.

What would you like to achieve?

Body Image

It is a hot topic at the minute with this being Mental Health Awareness Week. The Mental Health Foundation only yesterday announced that it had done a piece of research on it. According to the report 4,500 UK adults were asked, and about a third of them were anxious about their body image. Another 1 in 8 were experiencing suicidal thoughts about it. (BBC News website)

The very thought of the words body image can make someone jump out of their skin. It will have people running to the mirror and asking why me? Someone may read this blog and think I have tried every diet but why am I still big or why can’t I put muscle on or I wish I could lose that baby weight and so on. Here’s the secret: there is no magic formula. The truth is your body belongs to you. You oversee it. It is unique. 

Your body can tell a story

It is very true; your body can tell a story. It is the life of you. So, the story of me is as follows. I have a small scar across the bridge of my nose from where I decided to nosedive into a table at the age of 2.  I also have 3 keyhole scars on my abdomen from 18 months ago where a cyst on my ovary bust, caused a right issue and had me in emergency surgery to sort it out.  I have facial tics which depending on my stress levels can be very visible. My left hand holds two rings, my engagement ring and my wedding ring. I recently cut my hair really short and got myself an ear piercing.  My toes are webbed (no I still can’t swim well), I have fat around my belly which due to a medical condition makes it hard to shift but I keep trying. I wear glasses, I had teeth braces as a kid and for a female I am taller than average. I work hard at the gym doing my own workouts so I stay strong. I also love nothing more than running around in jeans and a t-shirt. There you go, a small version of my story.

The other side of the story

People have mocked me in the past, bullied me, people have said why can’t I lose weight, why were my teeth like a bunny’s and why couldn’t I dress more feminine. Some of those words hurt, I had to listen while people said these things but did I pay attention? The short answer is no. It has taken me a while to realise that I am who I am. Some people will like me, and some will not. However, at the end of the day I cannot please everyone with the way my body looks. The only person who needs to be happy with it is me and I am more than happy with my body image. 

The media

I personally think the media has a lot to answer for. As a personal trainer I often get a person coming to me for their consultation, showing me pictures of someone on Instagram or other social media. It comes with those famous words; I want to look like this. Now bringing in a picture gives me a good idea of how you would like to look and what exercises to give you to get you there. However, most people want the easy fix. Now correct me if I am wrong but that message is usually not one that social media portrays. People want that internet body which will happen overnight whilst still being able to eat fast food and binge-watching telly. I have to disappoint these people and say that it could take up to a year to get that way. What I offer is good nutrition, at least 3 days in the gym, scaling down the fast food, limiting the alcohol and a lot of hard work. After the initial shock wears off that it will take a lot longer they sigh and say I will try it. The people who have stayed with me as a trainer have lost weight, toned their muscles, changed their diet to a healthier version and so on. But here is my point: it is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. And at the end of the day they are much happier. 

You

So, here is the bottom line in my opinion. If you are happy with your body image don’t let anyone take that away from you. Show off your scars proudly and let them tell their story. If you are not happy with your body image, then take a small step today into making a lifestyle change and keep going. Once you catch the nutrition and exercise bug I can guarantee you will find your happy somewhere along the way.

-Helen

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