What's in a Workout?
Want to get fit? Don't want to join a gym? Don't like the idea of exercising?
As a Personal Trainer it is my job to deliver a workout based, initially, on what a person is capable of doing and tailoring it and developing it over time to enable someone to reach their goals.
Everyone has a different goal; for some it's losing weight, for some it's being shown different ways of exercising, some want to build strength, some need to build strength after injury, improve balance and posture, some are wanting to boost their confidence and self-esteem, some simply want a bit of time to focus on themselves and their health.
Regardless of an individual's goal, the one thing designed and given by me for each person is a workout...a routine of exercises that, when done correctly and regularly, will get them where they want to be.
Each workout I deliver is totally different...because everyone is different! That's why it's called personal training, it's personal.
So what's in one?
WARM UP - vitally important in any workout, a warm-up is a series of exercises that are designed to get your head and body into the right place for exercise.
Warm ups do just that to your muscles, they stretch them out. Warm-up stretches are mobile, we call them dynamic stretches, you're moving to get blood pumping around your body and into all of the muscles to loosen those and the joints, the aim is to prevent injury and/or soreness.
So you can expect some bouncing on the spot, jogging on the spot and exercises like lunges, squats and arm circles.
Now this is the bit that varies massively and it depends on what you want to get from me, what you want me to help you achieve. It is a bit like a prescription; I will select exercises based on what the end goal is, in a way that targets all areas agreed in a format that is right for each person.
So here's a taster of what it may contain:
CARDIO - put simply, cardiovascular exercises get the heart-rate up and gets the fat burning in your body, the harder it works, the more calories you burn, the more calories you burn the more fat you will be attacking.
Over time you will improve your cardio fitness and it's surprising how soon this can be once you commit to workouts on a regular basis. Improving cardio fitness means you are looking after your heart and will notice changes to your endurance levels.
In a workout at home you probably don't have the space to be running around the house so to get to get the blood flowing and your heart pumping we do exercises like:
Jogging (on the spot)
Sprints (on the spot)
You would be surprised just how effective these can be without having to worry about pounding the streets or running in front of other people worrying you're going to fall off a treadmill (one of my greatest fears still 3 years later!).
A well-planned workout incorporating these elements can really get you working up a sweat - IT IS OK TO SWEAT! Sweating means that your body is working hard, I like to consider it as your fat crying as it leaves your body for good! Or you can simply say you are sparkling!
There are specific workouts to move onto once you have mastered the basics and are ready for something a bit more intense; Tabata Workouts and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
One thing I love (and clients learn to love quite quickly) is making the best use of time in a session. These training methods are designed to be broken down into sections which include a hard and fast workout period and then a recovery interval. HIIT has a longer activity and recovery period whereas Tabata is shorter on both. Either way, you do a short, sharp burst of exercise and after a recovery period you go in again.
These workouts push your heart rate into an anaerobic zone because the workout period is shorter you have the chance to recover. They are also great at boosting your metabolism as you're consuming more oxygen, so you're burning more calories...these continue to be burned after a session too...that's why they're a crowd pleaser!
HIIT and Tabata are brilliant for home workouts because they can be done quickly (and effectively) and don't require any equipment.
It's very difficult to get bored because there are so many exercises that can be incorporated, so if one of the things that has perhaps put you off before is boredom, with this sort of training you need never worry!
Another benefit is that combining cardio with strength exercises you lose fat, but not muscle. You tend to find that steady cardio is often associated with losing muscle, so HIIT/Tabata training aids fitness levels as well as strength.
STRENGTH TRAINING - Do not think of this as bodybuilding...get those images out of your head right now!
Building muscle is crucial to weightloss; you want to build muscle to replace fat with lean tissue...this is what toning up is all about.
Even in Tabata and HIIT workouts there will be an element of strength training to any programme that I design, the intensity of the strength training is down what you want to get from the programme though. If you want to build muscle then we work on those areas, if you want to tone up all over then we focus our attention on that.
But how do you do strength training at home without loads of heavy equipment I hear you ask. Simple!
Bodyweight exercises use your own weight to provide resistance against gravity and therefore build strength in the muscles and with repetition you're improving your muscular endurance.
Think sit ups, push ups, bridges, pull ups, squats, lunges.
These are exercises you really can do anywhere and are brilliant for young and old, you can increase muscle mass which increases mobility, bone density, building a strong core to support your body, you'll notice posture improves, balance improves and often improvements to sleeping habits and stress relief.
Resistance Bands are a progression from bodyweight exercises, I find them so much fun and they are so effective for everyone - male and female. Think giant elastic bands of different thicknesses, the thicker the band the harder the resistance.
The bands give a real boost to the range of motion of your body, improving flexibility and stamina and they are suitable for all ages.
Full body workouts can be done with these bands; they work in the same way that weights do by stabilising and controlling the movements of an exercise. The resistance is what is developing and strengthening the muscles.
Strong muscles support your body, support your joints. We all have abs, we all have wonderful glutes and bottoms...a bit of strength training just brings them to the front.
Free Weights - think dumbbells and barbells (not bodybuilding!). You can get 0.5kg weights and you can get 50kg weights. If you want to build serious muscle then you can by carrying out exercises targeting the specific area you want to build.
However, if you don't want to build serious muscle free weights can be used to tone your muscles. Just like with bodyweight and resistance bands, you can do full body workouts using weights.
As workout programmes progress and get updated on a regular basis (usually every 6wks) you may find that your forward lunges in the first workouts progress to a lunge with a dumbbell raise; making an original exercise more difficult so that your body (which adapts all of the time to exercise) can continue to make positive changes.
Kettlebells - oh how I love a kettlebell! You may find you might love them too...they are fabulously empowering!
As with other weights you can get them in all different sizes and they are just brilliant. You can use them as you would regular free weights, but they are fabulous in their own right for a kettlebell workout targeting the entire body.
Believe it or not you can do a 20-30 minute kettlebell workout and get your heartrate into a cardio zone by carrying out simple and controlled exercises. This way you get the best of both worlds, cardio and strength all at the same time! They are great for using in exercises to improve posture and balance, building muscle strength around the all-important core.
COOL DOWN STRETCHING - so when a workout is finished and you breathe a big sigh of relief, it's really important not to just collapse in a heap (if it was a hard one) or walk off to carry on with whatever is next on your to-do list. You should always carry out cooldown stretches for the same reason you do warm up stretches, you need your body to recover.
In a workout your muscles tear and tighten (that's part of them developing) so they need to be stretched afterwards to help bring them back to their pre-exercise state. Stretches also enable your heart rate to come down close to where it was at the beginning. This is simply to do the best you can to avoid injury and soreness, they can also be as much fun as the workout and are a really satisfying way to end a good session as they help with mobility. Just make the most of the stretch by holding them for at least 30 seconds. Don't rush!
So there you have it, for each individual person I train a plan is thought about, designed, tweaked, often practiced by myself beforehand and then delivered...showing you how to do each exercise correctly to get the absolute most from it.
Before I design any plan and carry out training sessions I offer the free consultation before to get to know starting points, find out likes and dislikes of exercise in the past, get a feel for what someone wants so that I can start from a really good position and not a generic one.
Usually the first workout I design hits the spot straight away, other times it may be changed a couple of weeks in if it turns out you can do more than you let on, or if I think you can be pushed sooner and simply needed the encouragement to know what you can already do.
The key to results once a programme is designed for you is that you must do it regularly (at least 3 times per week), do it properly (good form means you target all of the areas and prevent injury) and enjoy doing it.
Do it regularly and your body will adapt, your fitness levels will improve, your strength will improve.
Do it properly and you prevent injury and you get the most out of each element of the programme by focusing your attention on the areas that should be being worked.
Enjoy doing it. Exercise shouldn't be seen as punishment for something you ate. Exercise makes you feel good, it is you looking after your body (the only one you have), it is you discovering what you're capable of, which in itself is a huge boost to your confidence and can genuinely leave you feeling empowered and satisfied.
Want to give it a try?
Initial consultations are completely free and there is no obligation to sign up to a programme or commit to a certain number of sessions; it has to be right for you.
If you do go ahead with training sessions they can be booked on a pay-as-you-go basis or in block bookings of 4, 8 or 12.
Get in touch if you have any questions, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07584 414124.
I look forward to hearing from you.