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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 March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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