Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get in shape, especially during times of stress in your life when it’s hard to find the time, input or motivation to get into a healthy rhythm. A skilled personal trainer will look carefully at your individual needs, and sculpt a plan that will serve your fitness goals.
It is important to realize that personal trainers have their own motivations, as well. Most importantly, to keep you as a client. While this is admirable and even desirable for some who seek their services, here are a few essentials he or she may not tell you which can empower you to take charge of your own wellness along the way.
1. Your body shape is most significantly determined by your genes.
Countless hours at the gym will not give you the body of Tom Brady or Giselle Bundchen. In fact, subscription to such an illusion will only make you frustrated and more likely to give up any regimen that makes such a claim. Understand that your embracing your wellness includes taking the best possible care of the body that is uniquely yours!
Yes, routines can be structured around your top fitness priorities. For example, if you seek to lose fat, build muscle tone, and increase your metabolism, an interval training regimen is likely to be more effective than simply lifting weights. In any case, understand that your body will respond primarily according to your genetic predisposition.
2. Choose an activity that both honors your fitness goals AND your enjoyment.
It’s important to find a fitness regimen that incorporates both of these factors. If strengthening your core through crunches and planks will help you achieve the slimmer waistline you want, go for it! However, if you cannot stand these activities, do them in moderation and/or find another activity that addresses this goal so that you will stick to it! The reality is that if you try to embrace a routine that you hate, you are much less likely to make it a habit. Balance goals with enjoyment for a better outcome.
3. At the end of the day, it’s calories in/calories out.
Sorry, but even running a marathon does not mean you can eat however much you want. Yes, increasing your activity requires more energy, but if you want to slim down, you need to burn the energy your body is already storing as fat rather than eat to your heart’s content. Counting calories is helpful for some, but it can lead to a long term obsession. Consider learning to listen to your stomach hunger, nurture your body with healthy food, and reward your efforts with other pleasures than food.
4. The scale is one indicator, but it can be deceiving.
Many who are trying to get in shape get frustrated when they don’t see the numbers drop on the scale. Understand that when you exercise more, you are building muscle and losing fat, and muscle weighs more than fat. Of course, you may also not be truly following your regimen or overeating. Be sure to balance what the scale says with other indicators: how your clothes fit, your caloric intake, calipers to measure folds of fat and most importantly, how you feel overall. Don’t become a slave to the scale!
5. Complex carbs before; protein after; fluids always.
Our “all or nothing” culture tends to promote diets that worship unbalanced nutrition. Instead, nurture your body with a combination of nutrients that supports your unique fitness goals. Complex carbohydrates are the body’s most efficient source of energy, so a significant percentage of your pre-workout meal should include these. Post-exercise, your muscles need time to recover, and protein is the building blocks of muscle. So, try a protein shake or bar after exercising. And stay hydrated always.
Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complex and torturous. Understand that the foundation of your wellness is learning to love and take care of your body, mind, heart and soul. Honoring these essentials can help you do that.