Personal trainers don’t have magical powers. Sure, they can help you get in shape, but they can’t reverse the poor decisions you make outside of the gym. Yes, they can help you lose weight, but they can’t make any promises about how long it will take. You’re the only person with the power to sustain a healthy life. Get the most out of working with a personal trainer in these seven ways.
1. Be early.
You make a habit of being on time for work, right? I hope so! Since your fitness is just as important for your physical health as your job is for your fiscal health, treat it with equal importance. Schedule your training sessions at a convenient time, plan to arrive ten minutes early, and make it fifteen if you need to change clothes. This will give you time to perform a quick warm-up. Hint: Ask your trainer for warm-up suggestions!
2. Level up your workout gear.
Most people upgrade their workplace attire, but never stop to consider their workout attire. Why not? It should come as no surprise that a person who feels attractive might also feel confident. If you’ve been wearing the same outfit to the gym since college, it’s time for a change. You shouldn’t be lifting weights in running shoes anyway. Replace those with a new pair of sneakers. And if you’re a woman who runs, don’t underestimate the value of a good sports bra.
3. Eat a light snack before you go.
Consume a good source of protein and carbs an hour or two before performing vigorous activity. You don’t have to be a master chef. If you train in the morning, you could eat oatmeal with chopped banana or blueberries. If you swing by the gym after work, you could eat an apple and handful of almonds in the car. Pay attention to your body’s signals so you can adjust accordingly. If you get a bellyache while you exercise, for example, you might need to decrease portions or eat earlier.
4. Practice tricky exercises at home.
Different types of people struggle with different kinds of exercise. Some of the differences come down to gender. Not many women are push-up fans. Most men would begrudgingly admit that their flexibility could be better. If you can’t perform a push-up, practice with your hands placed on a counter (if it’s sturdy enough!). If you’re trapped in an office, practice seated stretches at your desk. If you don’t understand the form of a barbell exercise, practice it with a broom.
5. Ask for help.
No matter how smart your personal trainer might be, they’re not a mind reader. They won’t know you’re struggling unless you say so. If you want to make better eating decisions but aren’t sure how to start, they might be able to recommend a recipe book. If you want to get your children interested in a healthy life, maybe they’ll suggest some fun group activities you could do together as a family. Good trainers will help you solve the problems that stand between you and success.
6. Speak up.
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, even if that requires constructive criticism. If you feel pain at any time during a training session, say so. If you don’t understand your trainer’s description of how to perform an exercise, ask her to explain it in other words. If you’re getting bored because your trainer uses the same exercises too much, ask him to give you a new challenge. Honest feedback is a healthy part of any working relationship. How else would you get better at anything?
7. About those “extra credit” workouts…
Walking is a positive addition to almost any fitness plan. It doesn’t place a heavy demand on your recovery system. You could walk two miles tonight and feel fine in the morning. You probably wouldn’t want to schedule a Crossfit class on the same day as a training session, though, because you’d end up feeling exhausted. Mention any additional activities you’re pursuing to your personal trainer. More movement is usually a plus, but it can become counterproductive if you’re not careful.
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous.”