Personal trainers, or personal fitness coaches, are the absolute dons of the gym world. They’re like royalty, but royalty you can look in the eye and possibly hug on occasion. Kind of like the Duchess of Cambridge, only with immense calves and a sleeve tat.
Have you ever used one? I have, back when I was pregnant with my second baby. I’d just started to uprev my fitness game and I was adamant that I wouldn’t let my pregnancy turn me into a gelatinous, doughy glob. I remember standing in the shower one day, when I was approaching the end of my first trimester, and saying a little goodbye to my abs. “Write to me every day, you hear?” Well, not quite. But I did vow to keep those home fires burning.
I told my spin instructor that I was pregnant fairly early on, because I felt as if that made someone else slightly responsible for me. It doesn’t – when you’re pregnant and exercising, you do so at your own risk – but it was nice to know that someone had my back. He told me about a personal trainer who worked in my gym, qualified in pre and ante natal fitness. He was built like a brick shithouse and covered in ink, but he was (is!) lovely.
We agreed that, because I was halfway skint, I’d have a few sessions with him during each trimester. He’d set me a programme to follow throughout the week, and then at our next session we could take out the routines that were getting challenging due to my growing size and limited flexibility. Protecting my stomach was obviously vital, but he focused on strengthening my lower back and shoulder areas, to help my posture and stop me from slouching into my bump. He was fab at observing when I was slacking a bit because I was tired, vs. not being able to complete a move because it was genuinely too much of a challenge for me. He trusted me to put max effort in, but he also stopped me if I was using incorrect form or actually working too hard.
He taught me that, as a preggo workout gal, I should never be SO breathless that I couldn’t respond to “Hi, how are you?”. He said that as long as I could get out “I’m fine thanks… [breath in] And you?” and that’s always stuck with me as a pretty decent benchmark for my exertion.
If you’re looking for a personal trainer, and you visit a gym regularly, then there are probably about 20 right under your nose. My gym has a poster board with an introduction to all of the class leaders, and whoever is trained as a PT will also have a set of business cards with their details on. Of course, not everyone is a member of a gym, and so Google may be your tried and trusted friend here. The good thing about “non-gym” PTs is that they tend to be much more flexible with their locations, and are usually happy to meet at a park near you. If you can only find an hour a week to train, then you don’t want to waste precious time driving halfway across town to get to your guy.
I also like it when a PT has a bit of gravitas online – one of my favourite gym instructors has a great presence on social media and will often post training videos to his YouTube channel. A good PT’s website will often speak volumes as to their teaching style and interests – a blog page is a great way to keep in touch with what your PT is shouting about. Stephen Coleclough is a good example – I was searching for tips about muscle repair and I found his latest post about workout recovery so useful. It’s the sort of thing that a good PT will tell you during a session, but because you’re likely to be dying on the floor in a pool of sweat, it’s great to be able to remind yourself of the key messages once you’re home and have cooled off.
I don’t know anyone who has used a Personal Trainer and then thought, nah, not getting much out of this. If you DO feel like that, you’re probably not using a PT who is suited to you and your goals. Honestly, they’re gold – and they’ll completely change your outlook to training.
Big up PTs.
-SJW September 2017
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