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10 Things Personal Trainers Want You To Know

10 Things Personal Trainers Want You To Know

In this day and age a people should consider themselves lucky if they don’t get sucked into a life of ordering takeout and binge-watching half a season of their favorite show straight through the night. Yes, there is something to be said about personal responsibility, maturity and willpower, but at the end of the day there is no real need for serious physical activity anymore, at least not for the majority of the population. This is why I applaud anyone who decides to make a positive change and try to build a strong and healthy body by dragging himself or herself to the gym several times a week. A lot of people these days seem to be taking health and fitness more seriously, and some even decide to do things the smart way by hiring a personal trainer.

It looks like a sound decision at first glance – you have someone to show you how to do things properly to maximize your results and avoid injuring yourself – yet a whole lot of trainees don’t seem to be getting anywhere in their training, with or without professional help. It might very well be that you are making some big mistakes, which are holding back your progress, and not even realizing it. In order to prevent these mistakes and ensure that you reach your goals, let’s look at some of the things that good personal trainers wish everyone knew.

1. The most important part of your workout is getting in the car and driving to the gym

On the couch

    We can talk all day long about intensity, rep ranges, linear vs. undulating periodization, the importance of incorporating compound movements, low intensity steady state cardio vs. high intensity interval training, using percentages of your one rep maximum vs. going by feel, but getting good results fast is mostly about consistency. Here’s a quick and simple warm up routine that is the most difficult to perform, but gives the greatest results when mastered:

    • From a seated position on the couch, lean forward and drive through the heels, raising to an upright position
    • Do a light run towards the hallway, ducking slightly to pick up your gym bag along the way
    • Squat down and put on your shoes
    • Get outside, lock the door and do another run to the car
    • Sit down on the driver’s seat and head on over to the gym

    The biggest challenge here is to shoot down the dozens of different excuses that your brain comes up with for not going to the gym that day. Believe me, you can get a hang of it, and very few things will actually keep you from training fairly effectively once you are actually at the gym.

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    2. You don’t need to know everything about physiology to make an exercise work

    So, you’ve paid a guy or gal to show you some basic exercises, or have asked the gym staff for advice, but you are not quite sure what physiological, bio-mechanical and biochemical mechanisms are at work here, and what and how they will help you achieve. Well, you know what? As a beginner you are much better off focusing on getting the movement right, because it will work regardless of how much of the science behind it you understand. Do the work now, and then Google things later.

    3. In the words of the great Arnold: “You can’t sculpt a pebble”

    Patience is a virtue that nearly all beginners lack. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about martial arts, playing an instrument or building a stronger body – everyone wants to get done with the “basic stuff” and work on some of the more intricate details. You’ll often hear a person who’s been lifting in the gym for only about 2-3 months ask about exercises that target the inner head of the bicep or some other specific part of a specific muscle.

    The truth is, you need to build some decent overall mass starting from the big muscles groups down to the smaller ones, before you can start to see if you have some lagging areas that you want to target. Focus on building as much strength and size as you can for the first year or two, and then start trying to make tweaks based on how your body tends to work.

    4. You’re not going to be a world class athlete with 3 workouts a week, so don’t compare yourself to the top 2%

    Bodybuilding competition

      There is a bizarre paradox that we encounter when observing the casual lifter or fitness enthusiast – they don’t want their life to revolve around training, so they adopt a training program that yields good results with the minimum effort, yet they compare their own progress with that of athletes and models who work 3 times as hard and have their life revolving around training. You are never going to be at that level, and not even the elite athletes are always in the absolute best shape or giving 100% of their effort. Lower your expectations a bit, and try to look better than the next guy out in the street, rather than compete with the best of the best.

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      5. People lie about what they eat about 100% of the time, chances are that your eating habits are holding you back

      It’s easy to start shifting blame to a number of things when you don’t see the results you were expecting, after supposedly doing all the right things. It’s usually the trainer’s fault for putting you on an ineffective program, or it’s your darn genetics that make you hold more fat, or you’ve magically slowed down your metabolism, or it’s got to be those hormones, right? Hormones are definitely a thing we all read about online, they totally make you fat.

      What you’ll find most of the time is that people engage in secret eating when no one’s looking, they fail to properly count their calories, and they even mess up perfectly healthy foods like broccoli by cooking them in tons of butter and throwing the best bits away. I’ve done it, your trainer’s probably done it at one point and we all mess up sometimes. Be honest with yourself, and find an effective way to keep your portion sizes down and to get a better estimate of your calorie intake before you start playing the blame game.

      6. You can’t target the fat on a certain body part with exercise, everyone’s body stores fat differently

      Hey, want to lose that stubborn arm fat or those love handles? Tell you what, doing triceps curls, leg raises for 3 sets of 25 reps or 5 minutes of side planks until your whole body is shaking won’t help you much. You have to keep losing weight through diet, cardio and low intensity activities like walking or household chores, and let your body sort things out.

      Everyone’s body has some preferred storage space for fat, and for these areas to shed fat you’ll need to get very lean overall. You might have veins showing on your forearms and chest and still sport a small slab of fat on your abs, the only solution is to lose a few more pounds.

      7. Exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you think, especially when you go at it halfheartedly

      One of the biggest reasons why people hit a wall in their fat loss is the fact that they don’t quite understand or just never bothered to learn some rough estimates of how many calories there are in certain foods and how many calories some common exercises and activities burn.

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      If you spend 10-15 minutes on a treadmill at a decent steady pace or finish up a 50 minute workout and then treat yourself to a standard size chocolate bar, you’ve burned about 100 and 400 calories respectively, and then you’ve ingested about 550 calories. And that’s if you put in the effort – most people actually burn much less calories because they don’t do it at the right intensity. The bottom line is, avoid high calorie snacks even when you are doing regular cardio.

      8. Serious results take a lot of time, but most people can get to where they want to be within a year or two of hard training

      Look, here’s a little secret – within 2-3 years of consistent training on a good program and with relatively good eating and sleeping habits, you are going to look better than 90% of people around you, it’s just not going to be the same look as someone with 10+ years of incredibly strict training and diet, and with a little help from drugs and Photoshop, has. Which is not a bad thing at all. Even if you don’t do everything just right, have some off days, cheat a little on your diet, and have your family and social life cut into your training, you’re still going to achieve solid results within a few years, as long as you keep at it and train smart.

      9. Stop obsessing about fad diets and the latest online article on some magical food

      Strict diet

        While there are a bunch of different things that go on in the body that can affect weight loss, you should stick to the basics that have been scientifically proven, are well understood and sound incredibly logical when you think about it. Chances are, your grandma probably gave you this advice when you were a kid – eat your fruit and vegetables, cook your food using fresh unprocessed ingredients, eat lean meat and fish, avoid eating too much bread, stay away from sweets and sodas, and just try to do everything in moderation.

        No one food type will explode your brain, nothing will magically get you fat if you consume small amounts of it from time to time, and having a diverse diet is key to staying healthy – too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

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        10. If you just want someone to talk to, go hit Facebook or a dating website – it’s cheaper

        Talking to a stranger or at least someone new that we only interact in certain social situation with, and who has no contact with the rest of our friends and family, that is a very liberating experience. You can get a lot of your chest, and some light chatting and gossiping is a natural part of how we humans interact with one another.

        However, there is a time and place for it, and it’s definitely not at the gym with other people who are trying to work out or with the trainer who’s paid to get us in shape. If you want to talk, get a date or find a support group on Facebook, visit a dating site or go to a meeting – it will cost you much less and get you better results. Chatting at the gym limits you focus and increases your rest periods too much.

        Truth be told, when I look at the list above, the points seem so logical and self-evident, yet a huge number of people struggle with them. Fitness is not just about sport science, techniques and numbers – there is a huge psychological aspect to it that people fail to address. It’s best to have a few good tips and guidelines when starting out, and I hope these points will help out anyone new to fitness, so that they don’t make the same mistakes most of us made in the past.

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        Nemanja Manojlovic

        Editor at MyCity Web

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        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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