Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Personal Training At The Gym

Last night was my first workout session with a personal trainer at the gym.

I wasn’t sure what to expect actually since I have never had one and know of anyone who had used a personal trainer before. They were giving a fairly reasonable rate for personal training when I signed up for the gym membership and I was (and still am) in the mind set that I want to do things properly this time. What better way than learning from people who know what they are doing and teaching others about it is part of their job. With that in mind, I signed up for 24 sessions of personal training which should be enough to give me a strong foundation to move ahead in my gym workouts.

Fast forward nearly 9 months later, I finally get a PT assigned to me after about a month of going to the gym and working out to my own devices. It was a good thing that the PT and me clicked almost immediately at our first meeting. We talked for a bit about what my workout goals were and how I wanted to achieve them. From our discussion, I learned that my PT was more into floor exercise to build up the core muscles first before going to the weight stacks or free weights which was exactly what I had in mind. I firmly believe that you won’t really gain much if your core muscles aren’t conditioned well enough before you start on the weights.

We started off with exercise ball squats which looked deceptively simple but really painful to execute if done correctly and if you have never done them before. My knees felt like jelly after 20 reps of doing it which was good since I know that need to work on that more in the future. It was then that I really appreciate how much I have yet to work on to get anywhere near close to his fitness levels. After squats, I had to do balanced pushups, lunges, abs crunches, shoulder raises, lower abs raises, lower back stretches, jumping jacks and shoulder presses. I was suppose to do 30 reps of each but since it was still a newbie, PT gave me allowance to do a minimum of 20 reps and as many I can manage after that. I don’t think that he would be as lenient as he was yesterday in future sessions though.

I’ve seen those exercises done before and other than abs, I never really thought much about them. I guess because they don’t seem as butch as say working with free weights at the gym. Having done them and having my form corrected by PT, I can safely say that it’s harder than it looks. Free weights and weight stacks only work on one group of muscles while these floor exercises work groups of muscles at the same time. I could feel my whole body aching by the time I got through the first set and I still had another set to go. By the time I completed the second set, I was more than ready to call it for the day. The session was harder that my previous gym workouts on the weight stack machine.

PT also made the session more enjoyable by keeping me focused on what I was doing and correcting my form when I start to slack off. It was not all work as he also helped me to understand the functions of the exercises that I was doing and where I was suppose to feel the burn when I do them. In between the circuit exercises, PT kept the mood light as well by cracking the occasional joke even when I felt like I would be in too much pain to even laugh. He was there to motivate me to reach for that last rep when I just wanted it to end and he does that it a way that in the end it’s your choice to complete it. There was no browbeating or just rep counting for PT.

It was really an enjoyable session even if I felt like a quivering mass of jelly after it. I ended up physically spent once I got back from the gym last night that I could hardly keep my eyes opened for my post workout meal. I still feel a little ache in my muscles as I type today’s entry but I can’t help looking forward to the next session when I get to do it all over again. It’s a whole new thing to learn for me and to challenge myself with on top of the still novelty factor of going to a gym. I’m really looking forward to see how I can progress under PT’s guidance now that I’m fairly sure that I’m getting my money’s worth in these guided workout sessions.

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