This three-step system can help you and your trainer develop a customized program that is just right for you.
Angela walked into the gym for her personal training session with a goal. She wanted to walk down the aisle ten pounds thinner, with visible clavicles and sculpted biceps revealed by her strapless gown. When her trainer heard Angela announce that goal, he took a deep breath and invited her to sit on the weight bench.
He placed his hand on her upper arm, “Angela, we can’t choose what areas our bodies lose weight from, and we can’t spot-train and ignore the rest of your body without risking injury. What if, instead of focusing on how you look in your wedding dress, we focus on getting to a place where you can dance the night away in any dress on any day, with energy to spare, and without spending the next day nursing sore muscles? Can you close your eyes and envision life like that?”
Angela paused, and closed her eyes, envisioning a life of energy, strength, and endurance, “That sounds really terrific,” she smiled.
Embarking on a fitness journey isn’t just about toned thighs and a smaller waistline. Fitness is about deciding to live a life on purpose. The great thing about working with a personal trainer is that you get to decide what exactly you wish to accomplish with your fitness journey, and find a way to get there that is effective, fun, and keeps you showing up week after week.
Discover your purpose
Your trainer will want to know why you want to start a fitness program. Your trainer will help you discover your purpose with a series of questions about your lifestyle and your goals. There is no wrong reason for showing up for your fitness appointments, as long as it’s one that motivates you.
Rather than focus on losing a certain amount of weight, or toning certain body parts find a purpose that aligns with the sort of life you want to live. To discover your purpose you may need to spend time alone, without the pressures of societal messaging about how our bodies should be. You’ll need to quiet your brain and really focus on your value system.
The purpose of embarking on a fitness journey varies from person to person. Someone with a chronic illness may hope to regain some lost function or increase strength in certain areas to improve mobility and stability. Some clients at I Got You! Fitness work to improve their stamina so they can chase their children around a playground and still have the energy to go for a walk with a friend. Other people may be interested in training for a triathlon. All of these people are looking to improve their current health and fitness to reach a goal. That is their purpose.
Define your strategy
Once you and your trainer are clear on the purpose of your fitness journey it is important to develop a strategy. This will include types and duration of exercise, frequency of workouts, frequency of training sessions, as well as a plan for nutrition to support your goals.
Think of this list as a to-do list of action steps that will help you close the gap between your goal and your present state. Your list may be long, but it’s important to tackle the items one at a time rather than trying to make too many changes at once. Your trainer can help you organize your action steps in a way that ensures you meet your goals safely.
Deploy your action steps
Your personal trainer is your link to effectively deploying your action steps. You can define a purpose in your first session, and perhaps develop some action steps in a second and third session but that isn’t enough to crush a goal. Your trainer can help you schedule your workouts throughout the week to maximize strength training, cardio, and stretching sessions.
Also, when you develop an ongoing relationship with your trainer you lock in accountability. Accountability is the number one factor that motivates people to stay with their fitness program. If you know that your trainer will check-in to see if you’ve completed your workouts, and may even ask to see a nutrition log, you are much more likely to stay on track.
Reflection is as important as action
Throughout your fitness journey, you’ll need to set aside time to reflect on your progress. This doesn’t have to be anything formal unless structured meditation is your thing. You can accomplish the same reflection during a car ride, or during your morning shower. Here are some quesitons to consider:
How does your body feel immediately following your workouts?
How does your body feel the following day?
What parts of your workouts do you enjoy the most?
What parts do you dislike?
What feels most challenging?
It’s important to share the answers to these questions with your trainer so they can adjust your sessions accordingly. If leg day leaves you walking like a baby giraffe for a week, it’s important to back off a bit or explore nutrition options to aid in muscle recovery.
Your list of action steps may change drastically between now, and the achievement of your goals. It’s also possible, that as you become more capable, you’ll wish to revise your purpose. All of these changes are possible with the support of a qualified trainer.
Contact I Got You! Fitness today to discover, define and deploy your fitness strategy.
Maria Chapman is a writer, coach, educator, and disability advocate living in Connecticut with her husband, five children, and aging rescue dog. She blew up a 13-year career in education to chase a dream. You can subscribe to her publication Lies We Tell Ourselves here where she examines the stories women believe that hold them back (and how they can move forward). You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter more of her writing can be found here.