It has sometimes been asked of me, how does going to a personal trainer once per week affect positive change? I can only report on my own experience.
I was never much of an athlete in my younger years. I played rugby with little enthusiasm, and much trepidation, when I was at high school. I was light and fairly fast as a runner and avoided major injury by getting rid of the ball whenever threatened by an opponent who was bigger and heavier than me. I practiced some of the martial arts including judo, karate, taekwondo and kung fu. I was also quite good at cross-country running. This was all in my teen years.
In my 20’s. 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, I really didn’t get involved in any fitness activities. I still studied martial arts for a while but decided that if I was to be involved in a a vocation that used my hands, then I should take better care of them. I had suffered too many hand injuries from blocking kicks and punches. The only physical activity that I have done on a reasonably regular basis has been that of walking. Hence my participation, as you will see from my website, in my 800 kilometre "El Camino" walk through Spain back in 2010.
Fast forward to now and I decided that I should take personal training sessions with Heather and see what transpired. I really did not know what to expect. I find that when I go to the gym, I don't push myself as hard as I could, and find that I need someone to encourage me just a little beyond my comfort level - to stretch me just a little further. She has given me "homework," which I have sometimes been remiss in doing. I think that is my attempt to seek an easier life.
"Ouch, that hurts." My natural inclination would be to avoid things that brings me pain. After all, if something is too heavy then a good manager will delegate. Probably you can sense that I have not been an easy student.
So, Heather is a very special person. I have done a one hour session with her every week since October and, from time to time, I have gone to my gym to do some cardiovascular activity and work with some of the machines. She has been very encouraging, offering gentle cues for correction and ways to get the most from my workouts.
" Keep your stomach in," she says. This helps maximize my results in between training sessions and can be something to do when doing normal day to day activities at home, such as the many times I find myself climbing stairs. It has been surprising that through very little extra effort I have been able to make many seemingly small activities into a workout. That is one of the unique ways that distinguish Heather from other personal trainers. She shows us how to use the everyday items that we have in our homes. Cans make very good free weights. You can strengthen your triceps using a chair while watching television. You can use a belt or long piece of fabric effectively to stretch out muscles.
What have been the results to date? I look at myself in the mirror and see someone with much more clearly defined muscles. I don't think it is a case of my increasingly poor eyesight playing tricks on me. My weight seems to have stabilized at a good 15 lbs. below my maximum. I still want to get down to 159 lbs. Why that magic number? Because it is in the 150 category, rather than the 160. It’s silly, I know, and maybe a little narcissistic. I think I am allowed a few quirks as I get older.
Most importantly, as I gather momentum and start to see positive results, I am taking on even more physical activities without this feeling like some unwanted chore.
At my health club, I sometimes watch the personal trainers as they conduct training sessions. For the most part, they look uninspiring and disengaged from their clients. They looks as if they would rather not be there. With Heather, her enthusiasm for her job is clearly palpable. She works out along side me, so I am able to see what she is doing at the same time that she gives me instruction on a specific exercise.
Thank you, Heather. You have made a big difference.