For prospective clients wishing to train with me the first step is a fitness assessment. This might sound scary to some but there’s no need to be nervous as I like to be a teammate throughout all of my training programs; you want to know you can trust and that you enjoy who you’re working with. I create bespoke programs that are tailored to best meet an individual’s needs; a personal approach that surpasses anything that YouTube, Instagram or any Phone App can do. It’s all about putting the “personal” in personal training. One of the first steps is to work with clients to help them set goals they want to reach and that are obtainable. Having ownership over these goals, something that they’re genuinely committed to; that I can help them motivate and guide them towards, is the key to achieving them.
Today’s blog is about the consideration you should make before setting your own goals. The reality can be slightly different from the fantasy but not if you know a few things beforehand.
What would your answer to the question below be?
What would be your motivation for getting fit?
a) To look and feel better, dressed or in the privacy of your own bedroom.
b) Extend your life expectancy. Perhaps there’s a family history of a specific illness.
c) To feel fitter, happier and more productive.
d) To prove to yourself, a family member or friend that you can make a change.
e) To reduce stress or just to have some time to yourself.
f) To train for a specific athletic event such as a marathon or 10K.
The most common answer I usually get is “a)”, not because my clients are vain but because it’s one of the most motivating factors and has a huge impact on our self-esteem. Clients also often come to me frustrated with their weight, cellulite, their yo-yo dieting or just bored from mindlessly running on a treadmill. They’re looking for someone to help them break away from their redundant routine and give them a structured action plan.
Why is making a change to our physical appearance so difficult? Well, it’s because it’s a balancing act that depends on the number of calories you consume, how many calories you store, and how many you burn. For example; to lose weight, you need a calorie deficit. You can create this by working on portion control, following a diet plan and cutting out the snacks and treats that we so often “reward” ourselves with but it’s difficult to achieve the results using this method alone and also means that your slimmer version of you feels less energetic and focussed. It takes 3500 calories to add or lose 1 pound of fat and if you’re achieving this by diet restriction alone it’ll also take a lot longer. By adding exercise to your regime not only can you burn calories faster, but you’ll feel more energised and focussed and happier too. Depending on the intensity of your 1-hour personal training session you can burn 300 to 500 calories.
So, at a very basic level now you know you need to burn those calories.
You start to look for “fit-spiration”. Perhaps an Instagram star or someone on the screen you want to have a body like.That’s great, but you need and advantage.
I help clients to understand their skeletal frame, body composition and starting point. I help them to identify which of the three body types; endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph, or mix of, is closest to their genetic make-up and what training program will be the most productive to meet their goals. I also help them to be realistic.
Ectomorph’s have a naturally low body fat percentage; long lean bodies and a delicate frame with small joints. They find it hard to build muscle and have a fast metabolism. You will see fashion models, joggers and tennis players tend to have this body type. They tend to excel in endurance events such as long-distance marathons. My client Ellen (see below left photo) is a typical Ectomorph. She struggled to put on weight, was tall, slim and an excellent runner. She didn't have a clue how to train without the treadmill. When she started training with me, I introduced her to weight training to bring some variety to her routine, build her strength, gain definition, confidence and to gain some weight. After 1 year she finished training with me feeling far more confident. Here's what she had to say about her time training with Becks A.C.E. Fitness: "I have never thought I would be lifting weights, but now I’m learning how to lift correctly, and what happens to the muscle when we train, nutrients needs etc. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m getting stronger. Beck have motivated me after many years of just running to a much more suitable training program for my body type. I really feel like I’m in good hands, and that the impossible goals are now possible!"
The Mesomorph body type tends to be athletic, naturally strong, lean and muscular. They tend to be able to gain or lose weight effortlessly and build muscle quickly, so have a genetic jump-start in reaching goals and excel at most team sports or aesthetic body building. My client Kit-Kat (she photo’s below right) was weak and unfit when she came to train with me. She needed reassurance and pushing, the photo below was taken towards the end of her package, when she looked so sporty, she got hired to work for a sports clothing brand. In her own words: "It's only been a short time but I'm so much stronger and a lot more conscious about what I eat. I can feel it on a day to day basis, the increase in strength. When it comes to things like carrying the groceries home or walking up the stairs, I used to get winded doing those things which sounds pathetic but the complete truth. Now I'm doing more stairs on purpose to test myself and not taking elevators."
Finally, Endomorphs are usually shorter and of a more solid build. They tend to be softer and less defined but have more muscle than the other two body types. So they have the best strength advantage but they also tend to have a slower metabolism and find it hard to stay lean. They tend to have especially strong legs, useful for exercises like squats which makes them excellent weightlifters. My client Katy is very strong and knows her body type well, rather than just endlessly jogging we use low intensity interval training; with less plyometric moves but more of a focus on adding resistance to exercises and conditioning her body. I am always extremely proud of how hard she works; so much focus, dedication and determination. She continues to train with me today and had these kind words about our sessions: "Becks is an absolutely brilliant trainer, I’ve worked with several different trainers over the last few years and she’s by far the best. The programmes are varied, and really challenging but no so much so that you don’t want to come back! She clearly puts a lot of effort in to making sure the workouts are tailored for you and she really cares about whether you are getting the benefits from training. I’m ‘plus size’ and was really unfit when I went to Becks, I often feel really intimidated working out or going to gyms but she’s never made me feel anything but motivated and comfortable. She also really cares about her clients as people."
One of the most common and yet unrealistic goals I come across, is people wanting to spot reduction; this is the belief that fat in a certain area of the body can be targeted for reduction through using specific muscles in the desired area; they’ve done 100 sit ups a day but they’ve still not got their six pack. To lose weight you need to focus on a balanced diet, frequent exercise, managing your environment and, as discussed, genetic predisposition play’s a factor in the overall results.
It’s important to mould your body composition equally with full body routines to begin. Taking “before” photos can help with keeping track but it’s best to know at the beginning you have no control of where the weight sheds.
So, this has been a short and sweet intro on what to expect when aiming to “look and feel better”.