I’ve just calculated that I’ve completed close to 10,000 personal training and group training sessions – seems like a lot!
But I still really enjoy training people, its still fun for me.
I think a big part of this is I’ve been extremely lucky to have such an awesome group of clients, who I genuinely like and enjoy being around (and I know all of our trainers feel the same) – which I know is not always the case when speaking to a lot of other personal trainers I know.
Sure I’ve had some bad experience over the years…
Like one lady a few years ago who threw a water bottle at me, and yelled at me… “F**K You!” Then stormed out… I think she was having a rough day…
But this is bound to happen every now and then, and needless to say, she is no longer with us… (training at the gym that is)
So again, I feel very lucky and grateful for this, and if you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance I don’t hate you. So give yourself a big pat on the back from me 🙂
Anyway the point I’m trying to get at with the whole 10,000 sessions thing is this…
Of all the people I’ve trained whether it be through private sessions, group sessions or bootcamp, one common trait I’ve found amongst those who get the best results is they absolutely give it everything when they’re at the gym training.
There is a HUGE difference between showing up to your sessions and going through the motions for an hour, choosing weight that’s nice and comfortable for you, and pacing yourself through cardio.
Sure this will tick the exercise box for the day and make people feel good about themselves
BUT the people I’ve seen who…
Show up motivated, with a purpose and a goal in mind, push themselves every session, and get out of their comfort zone. These are the people who consistently make progress.
No this isn’t the only factor and your diet WILL play a massive role, you need to get BOTH sorted, but I’m guessing that for the people who push themselves during training and have that certain mentality, this will carry over to the decisions they make every day with their food and they are more likely to eat better.
I’m not sure of the exact variables at play, but I’ve definitely seen a strong correlation between kicking your own butt at the gym and getting great results.
So… if YOU want to get the most out of your training sessions, here is what I would consider the perfect training session.
1. Arrive on time
2. Warm up – and just so you know, when you warm up this is what you are trying to achieve…
• You want to increase your body’s temperature and warm your muscles and connective tissues.
• Get the heart rate up and increase blood flow and oxygen to muscles
• Excite / activate your nervous system (which tells your muscles what to do) in preparation to lift heavy weight.
• Stimulate your hormonal system
• Increase joint range of motion, particularly ankle, hip, shoulders and thoracic spine (upper back) so you can move properly and safely with good form. (When doing your dynamic swings/stretches its not just mindless swinging, you want to be focusing on taking your muscles/joints through their full range of motion with control of other segments of your body (like lower back).
• Stretch out commonly tight muscles, like hip flexors, glutes/butt, calves.
• Activate commonly inhibited muscles, like glutes/butt. So you want to really think about squeezing/contracting/activatingb your glutes when doing your glute bridges. Don’t just lift your hips up and down, do it with PURPOSE.
• All of these factors will lead to increased strength, higher work capacity (ability to do more) and less injury, which will in turn lead to more productive training sessions and better results.
3. Resistance Training: These are they key points to keep in mind
Lift as heavy as you can manage with perfect form….
Your aim from session to session, (especially if you’re reasonably new to weight training) is to push yourself to lift heavier (with good form).
Just say for example…you do 50 squats in total during a session with a 10kg dumbbell, 3 days per week – that’s an accumulation of 1500kg of weight you’ve squatted in 1 week.
If you do the same thing with 12.5kg – that’s 1,875kg of weight you’ve squatted in 1 week. That’s an extra 375kg in 1 week, in the exact same amount of time.
Over 12 weeks that equals 4,500kg more weight you’ve squatted.
Do you think that may affect results? And that’s not even counting all the other exercises you may be doing this on.
Now I’m not saying this method of calculating how much work you’ve done is the only or best way to quantify your training, and sure, it gets to a point where the heavier weight means you do less reps and other variables come into play.
But the main point I want to get across is the heavier you lift (with good form) the harder you’re working, the more of a stimulus you are giving your body, the more of a metabolic effect you’re going to get from your training, and the better results you’ll get – all else being equal.
That could be the difference between really pushing yourself and getting awesome results, or just staying in your comfort zone and getting mediocre results….
So if you think this may apply to you, next time you train try and go up 1 notch on the dumbbells. If you’re afraid you’re going to hurt yourself ask your trainer for help, a lot of you will realise you’re more capable than you think.
Even if you do less reps initially than you were able to get with your previous weight, that’s fine, at least you’re progressing and you’ll improve with the new weight.
(and yes, I will be getting some 17.5kg dumbbells)
4. Cardio / Interval Training: These are the key points to keep in mind
The whole concept of interval training is working at a high intensity for a reasonably short period of time (at least compared to your traditional cardio) with recovery periods in between.
As we all know this gives us a metabolic boost, meaning we burn extra calories at rest for the next day or two, which is why it’s so effective.
So if you’re doing an ‘interval’ and you feel like you don’t need to rest or you could’ve kept going for the same time again when it’s over, or if you’re aren’t breathing heavily and your heart rate isn’t noticeably higher, if you’re not out of your comfort zone… then you’re cheating yourself out of better results.
If you’re going to get the most out of your intervals you need intensity, you need to be pushing near maximal effort, otherwise you’re just doing regular old steady state cardio but you’re giving yourself a rest break every so often.
If you’ve ever seen the 100m sprint at the Olympics or Commonwealth games and seen the athletes interviewed at the end, you’ll notice they are really puffed out. Now 100m is not far, everyone reading this could easily run 100m.
This is what I mean by intensity, its not like these Olympic athletes are really unfit and 100m is a huge effort for them, it’s that they were working at 100% intensity, they are literally running as fast as possible.
So there’s a big difference between running 100m and sprinting 100m, or peddling on a bike for 60 sec and sprinting fast for 60 sec.
Take home point: Don’t just go through the motions, everything you do in a training session is there for a purpose. You’re going to be at the gym for 1 hour anyway, so maximise your time at the gym and get the most out of it. You can still enjoy yourself and have fun, but train with purpose.
Hope this has given you something to think about, if you feel like you could ‘up the anti’ with your training then these are some things to take in to consideration.
In the meantime, have a lovely day!