Personal trainers are physical health and fitness professionals. They take on the role of your own one-to-one fitness coach, nutrition mentor and hardcore motivator. When you join the gym you’ll often get discounted rates or free sessions for their in house personal training, or you can find ‘freelance’ trainers running sessions from their homes or local sports centres. Either way, it can be really expensive, too far to travel 4 times a week, or you might just not like the idea of someone else seeing you looking your absolute worst after a tough workout!
With personal trainers, the problem is sometimes that it’s just too personal. It can be difficult being honest with a trainer when it comes to things like food diaries, and do they really know you well enough to understand what it is you want to achieve?
If you can commit yourself to it, then you can become your own personal trainer. How? You’ll need to invest some time to learn the facts, get to know your body and most importantly, learn how to be organised, disciplined and self motivated.
1. Set a Goal
In your first session with a personal trainer, they will discuss with you exactly what it is you want to achieve — such as losing a certain amount of weight or gaining some lean muscle and toning up.
Be ambitious, but not too ambitious. It needs to be a goal that you will have to work really hard for, without it being near impossible. The worst thing for your motivation is setting a goal too far out of reach and not getting there.
Once you know what you want the end result to be, you need to set a realistic time frame. Quite often personal trainers will ask you what you want to achieve in three months — this is a perfect amount of time to set a specific goal for.
If you work hard at it, three months is enough time to settle in to a routine and start to really see a difference, but it’s not so long as to get bored and fed up of the routine. Then at the end of the three months, you can set yourself a new goal and a new fitness plan.
2. Learn The Facts
What can really help with creating workout and diet plans is knowing the science behind it.
If you’re clued up on where all your muscles are and how to work them, you’ll be more confident in the gym and yearn for that post leg day ache! And if you know just exactly what foods are bad and good for you, then you can enjoy healthy food shopping and making nutritious meals. Get on to Google, or go buy some beginner books that will give you all the basics you need without overloading you with scientific jargon. Or come to HealthWorks.my, we’re always here to help!
3. Get Organised
This part is critical when it comes to personal training! You should set meal plans, food diaries and an exercise schedule and you need to stick to it. Getting into a routine makes keeping yourself disciplined a lot easier.
Plan a week at a time. Every week doesn’t have to be the same, although that’s sometimes easier. Just ensure you stick to a little bit of a routine with your meals e.g. eating times and calorie intake.
Your meal plans will depend on your goal:
- if you’re wanting to lose weight then you’ll want a balanced, reduced-calorie diet
- if you’re wanting muscle gain, then you’ll be buying protein, protein, protein!
Schedule what nutritious breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks you need, then go shopping at the beginning of every week so you’re prepared.
Keeping a food diary will help you to understand your eating habits and where you might be going wrong.
Every day you should write after you’ve eaten exactly what you ate and drank, and maybe write in there your hunger levels during the day — this will help you try and test what you should be eating and when. After each week you can analyse the diary and honestly judge for yourself what you need be changing to help you reach that goal.
MyFitnessPal is a great (and free) resource for food logging and calorie-counting. It’s available both online and as an app.
Exercise Schedule & Journal
You should forward plan your physical exercise plan for each week. This doesn’t have to be in depth, just enough so you can’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow instead”.
You could allocate three evenings after work to go for a run or to the gym, and actually prioritise it just as much as going out for dinner or seeing friends and family.
For example, you could write in that on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday you will spend two hours in the gym after work — doing one hour cardio and one hour weighted exercise. Then each time you go to the gym or each time you work out, you should log how long you ran for or “Today I leg pressed 100KG!!!”
When you get into a routine keeping these schedules and journals, they will begin to slot in with each other and you’ll learn how to make healthy, nutritional eating fit in with your fitness regime.
4. Self Motivate
Staying motivated to reach your physique goal is the key to becoming disciplined in your training.
Being your own personal trainer could end up being a nightmare, because you’re only fooling yourself when you say “I’ll run tomorrow instead” or “I’ll eat what I want today, it won’t make any difference”.
Motivating yourself is easier than you might think, though — only you know what you enjoy and what makes you push harder. So, take a run around the place with your favourite view, try new workouts until you find things you enjoy, listen to that pumped-up playlist, include your favourite fitness classes in your regime, stick pictures of your end goal on your desk or in your bedroom!
Whatever works, keep doing it! Keep the end product in sight, and when you start to see a difference in your body and start to like what you see it will push you even more.