Sunday, 27 December 2015

Having a personal trainer. Is it worth it?

Happy holidays to everyone; I hope you’re all enjoying the Christmas period and no doubt over indulged on Christmas Day as I did (thoroughly enjoyed and deserved of course!)
So today I want to talk to you about personal training. I’ve heard many stories over the years, good and bad, of having a personal trainer and witnessed some first hand; watching people get fantastic results with their trainer and then also watching some people never seem to get any leaner, bigger, stronger, fitter etc. despite numerous weeks or even months with a trainer.
There is a lot of controversy on the subject and I just wanted to share my own personal views on having a trainer. As some of you will know from my previous posts I do currently have a personal trainer and this is my third period of having one; after enjoying two other stints in 2014.
So why did I first enlist the help of a personal trainer?
Looking back to May 2014 I was pretty fit and healthy; training about 4 times a week and in a decent shape. I was a little bored with my training though, stopped seeing many results and I’d just recently got a promotion at work so with a little extra money on my hands and a European summer holiday just 8 weeks away I thought I would give personal training a shot. I didn’t go into it with big expectations; in fact I’m not sure what I really hoped to achieve or what gave me that final push but all I can say is it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
For the next 8 weeks I had 2 personal training sessions per week with Adam El Koussy at my local gym; Total Fitness. Adam introduced a whole host of new exercises, routines and eating habits into my life and I never looked back. I got brilliant results over that period and I went on my holidays feeling fit and healthy.
After the summer holidays I stuck with my training programme on my own before returning to train with Adam for 6 weeks in December ahead of going off on my gap year to Australia and again training hard and sticking with a good diet it got me to where I needed to be.
Results after my 2nd round of PT sessions before Australia
As I’ve talked about on my previous post my health and fitness took a back seat during 2015 as I headed off on my travels and coming home carrying an extra 5kg and feeling very much unfit, unhealthy and untoned it was never in doubt in my mind that I would be absolutely getting a personal trainer when I returned home.
During my brief return home for a wedding in summer 2015 I had a training session with Michael Barrett who was soon to become my new PT. I’d enjoyed Michael’s bootcamp classes for a few months before I went to Australia (well I say enjoy, I’m not sure ‘enjoy’ is the right word when you’re left gasping for every last breath at the end of the 45 minute session but you get what I mean!) so I knew I liked his workout style. My taster PT session in summer was torturous to say the least and left me hobbling down the aisle at my best friend’s wedding a couple of days later. But I knew that was going to be exactly what I needed to get me back to where I wanted to be when I returned home full-time.
So Michael gave me a few on-the-go routines to do whilst I was away in preparation for my return home and at the start of October 2015 we sat down and talked about where I wanted to be and how I’d get there. By this point I didn’t feel good in myself at all and was very honest with Michael about this. And I’m pretty sure he must have been able to see in both my body and my training performance that I was a million miles from where I’d been before I left 10 months earlier but if he did he never said it once.
Phase 1: Strength
Now I am 10 weeks into my training which is the longest period I’ve had with a trainer and I can honestly say that it was the best decision to get a PT on my return home, as I knew it would be.
In the early weeks of my sessions my body must have thought it had gone to hell as the workouts crippled me. Not only did I have 2 PT sessions per week I also had Michael’s bootcamp class and then he prepared 3 other sessions for me per week with one day’s rest. Pretty much all of my sessions involve weight lifting and very little typical cardio which suits me just fine. Michael used one term that has stuck in my head ever since and he’s stayed true to his word when he said ‘we are constantly going to shock your body’. You can say that alright!
Some sessions I was genuinely close to tears, my body would ache from the day before, my heart was pounding away trying to keep up with what my body was trying to do and I remember there were some sessions I would just sit in the changing rooms for half an hour afterwards just unable to even move. And you pay to be put through this? I hear you say. Yes and it’s 100% worth every penny.
You may think well all of the above you could do yourself so why pay for a personal trainer? And technically yes I could do 6 workouts per week by myself. Would I work as hard? No. Would I push myself to my absolute limits? Probably not. Would I have learnt so much about the human body, diet, nutrition and exercise? Not a chance. And ultimately would I have got the results I’ve got so far? Simply, no.
And I’m not some lazy, weak girl who if I don’t have someone telling me what to do I just won’t do it. I am very motivated, very determined, self-disciplined and organised with my nutritional and exercise preparations. But having a PT educates me, motivates me further and pushes me to be the best version of myself that I can be.
During the last 10 weeks there have been many challenges. My confidence in my body and my ability back in October was nowhere near what it used to be but Michael gave me that confidence. He encouraged me during every session, during every set, right down to the very last rep when he knew I was ready to cave and he would have that belief in me to push through it and he has ultimately got me through each and every session.
I’ve always hated training upper body; I think because it’s always been my weak area so whilst I was away and for a good proportion of the time before I went away it was legs, legs, legs. Well who doesn’t want a firm, toned booty and fit legs hey? After 2 sessions with me Michael had already picked up on this and much to my initial annoyance he soon drafted in 2 upper body sessions per week into my schedule and just one focused on legs and ass. I’m pretty sure my facial expression didn’t hide my feelings towards this horrendous prospect and I’m pretty sure Michael soon learnt these thoughts as I shot him deadly glares whilst he had me bench pressing and doing press ups haha.
The dreaded chin ups...another upper body day
But that’s what you need from a PT. You have to focus on your weak areas and when you’re training on your own it’s easy to focus on what you enjoy and what you’re good at. I knew that once I got stronger I would enjoy it more and thanks to our perseverance I’ve gone from bench pressing at 20kg to now hitting my one rep max at 40kg. Results speak for themselves. And I actually now enjoy my upper body sessions…I never thought I’d hear myself say that.
One thing that has astounded me is Michael’s overwhelming knowledge of everything related to exercise and nutrition and already I’ve learnt so much from him and I’m able to apply these every day into my training and my diet and notice big results.
Don’t get me wrong; having a PT is only one element of the whole concept. You’re with your PT a few hours a week; the rest of the time you have to control what goes on your plate, whether you push yourself to go to the gym after a long day at work and whether you aim for big results in your sessions rather than just going through the motions. It’s very much a joint effort and you have to be willing to put in the time and dedication yourself if you want results. A PT will help you; but you ultimately have to be the one to do this.
Not only is Michael my PT and my nutritional guru though, he’s also become a friend to me over the last few months and I think it’s important that you have a good relationship with your PT as you need to be able to work well with them to get the results. We very much see it as a partnership and he’s just as focused on getting the results as I am and that means a lot. Knowing he’s always at the end of a text if I need some advice on what to eat, if I’m struggling to stay on track one day or if I simply need to rant at him for the DOMS he’s inflicted onto me is a big encouragement and I know I’m not going through this journey on my own. He’s also become well versed on hair dip-dying after I had this done a few weeks ago, my daily work battles and he’s shared the highs and lows (mainly lows) of my love life since I returned home haha. I’m pretty sure he must feel like he’s also my therapist sometimes (sorry Mikey).
PT life...
But on a serious note I absolutely love training with him and I know I’ll be training with him for a fair while longer. In 10 weeks of training I’m back to my pre-travel weight, back into my size 6/8 clothes and feeling fitter and stronger than ever. We have some big goals lined up for 2016 that I’m excited to work towards with him (all of which I’m not sharing with the world right now) and I know that I’m in the best hands possible.
Feeling toned and fit 10 weeks in
So ultimately, is having a personal trainer worth the money? In my opinion absolutely yes. Would I recommend having a personal trainer? If you can afford it, it’s definitely something that will transform your approach to health and fitness and improve your life for the better.
Obviously there are some PTs out there better than others so you have to do your research but of course I’m going to recommend my PT as the one I would use. Michael Barrett; based at Total Fitness in Wakefield and you can contact him at for PT and health and nutritional advice.

1 comment:

  1. Another interesting and exciting post keep up the good work ✊