Yep. I go to a personal trainer once a week. And yes, sometimes the phrase “my trainer” works its way into a conversation. Honestly, it’s not because I want people to believe I live like one of those uber-fit stars who spends all day working out, sipping fresh-squeezed juice and then getting a massage (I wish)! It’s more because my training sessions with him have become a valued part of my life. Believe me, I tried out this trainer at the suggestion of a friend or I’d never have thought it would be something I’d like. That’s why I wanted to write this post, because maybe some of you are like I was—that is, not realizing how great having a trainer can be—for your fitness of course, but other areas of your life as well. So, here goes… (and no, he doesn’t know I’m writing this post)!
For the Encouragement
I remember that when I first started working out with him I used the phrase “I can’t” at some point during almost every session. Now I can’t even remember the last time I said that during a workout. Instead I say “Okay, I’ll try.” What’s great is that most of the time he knows exactly how much I can do if I really put some effort into it—he pays attention from week to week and knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows how far he can push me, and he doesn’t get me to do more by yelling at me (he probably knows by now that I’d just yell back anyhow). Instead, he shows me how, and then he encourages me with a “you got this,” or “you’re halfway there!” And when I finish a circuit well or my session comes to an end I get to hear “Nice work today,” or a rousing “You crushed it!”
For the Accountability
Working out is hard…that’s why the word “working” is in the phrase. I like solo exercise, but I know I take it easier when I’m by myself. When my trainer is standing right beside me (sometimes doing the exercises with me or other times watching my form, counting reps or timing me), I know I can’t give a half-effort or he will call me on it. Plus, when I’ve had a lazy week it sometimes shows, and when I’ve made improvements over time he notices that, too.
For the Inspiration
Visiting my trainer each week is a chance to chat about what I’ve done exercise-wise during the days between sessions, agree on a plan for the workout and discuss fitness goals. He was the one who convinced me I could do a burpee challenge a couple years ago, increasing the number of burpees until I could do 50 in 3 minutes or less. It took me about 2 1/2 months to work up to it, but I got up to 52 burpees in 2 minutes and 50-something seconds. He even recorded it on his board and every time I saw it there (for a year!), I was proud of my accomplishment. Last fall, he suggested that my husband and I take part in a 9-11 memorial stair climb fundraising event: up 110 floors, basically as fast as you can manage. We did it in 52 minutes (rests after every 11 floors helped)! Yep. We crushed it.
For the New Ideas
Lest you think it’s all burpees and no fun, I have learned how to use many types of fitness paraphernalia including the TRX, kettlebells (my favorite), club bells, sliding discs, battle ropes and the dreaded ab roller. We do not use any gym-type machines—I use those when I go to the gym by myself or with my husband. Every other week or so he teaches me a new exercise or exercise combination, a new technique, a new way to breathe through an exercise, or a new way to use a piece of equipment. Every time I train with him we mix it all up a bit differently. Variety keeps it fun and I like learning things I can do at home or at the gym on my own time.
For the Friendship
Yes, I do pay him for my training sessions, but over the past 4 1/2 years, my trainer and I have become good friends—real friends, not just fitness friends. I invited him to my wedding last year, he lent me exercise equipment to try out, I gave him some of our homemade apricot protein bars, he hooked me up with a Ninja blender, we trade recipes, stories, advice and support. You know, real friend stuff. And, during my workout, we chat and catch up on each other’s lives (in between my huffing and puffing, that is). It makes the workout go faster!