By Kurt Hall
What are the benefits of consulting and training with a personal trainer?
When hiring a personal trainer one can aim and discuss on setting a specified goal and pre plan a strategy which will give the client his desired result while taking into account what can be realistically achieved. For example a client might wish to lose fat, improve performance at a sport, achieving a toned and defined physique or increase in muscle mass, etc.
So what would be the initial approach a personal trainer would take on training a client?
The personal trainer would start by assessing the client’s fitness level by giving them an array of exercises and depending on their performance we can get an idea of what would be the right approach in terms of structuring a training programme suited for their goals and to accommodate their lifestyle. On starting the one-on-one personal training sessions the clients will be taught how to perform the exercises in the correct and safest manner possible. This will utilise the efforts of achieving the results to their maximum capacity by the guidance given. The personal trainer will always be committed to help the client progress forward and will be there not only to guide but to also get on the same level of understanding with the client and motivate them to improve their efforts and becoming a better versions of themselves as with the daily impact of life they might not always feel up to it.
How can one achieve a toned and defined physique?
The personal trainer would start by taking the client’s physical details in relation to their body structure and analyse the data. From there the trainer can let the client know realistically what the client can achieve and track their progress as training sessions start. On achieving a toned and defined physique the client must not only rely on cardiovascular training but also resistance training with the right strategy to go with it. The client will use cardio and resistance training to burn a decent amount of caloric intake, increase metabolic function and condition the muscle to get a tighter and more aesthetically pleasing look.
Can you reduce body fat from one area of the body with training?
In reality fat spot reduction does not exist, a person cannot train core by doing abdominal crunches and expect the fat from the belly area to melt. Fat is lost all round the body when the right training is supplemented with the right diet. In relation to the two the body will lose fat and condition the muscle thus making the skin tighter and looking toned and aesthetically pleasing.
I have been doing 1 hour of walking per day and managed to lose a good amount of fat but lately I stopped seeing results while keeping the same routine, why can’t I progress?
Slow cardio is most effective if you are overweight or new to exercise as you start burning calories from your daily food intake. Although eventually the body adapts and uses oxygen and energy more efficiently during cardio, making it less effective for fat loss. A great alternative is performing HIIT, this method involves intervals of high intensity and low intensity in a controlled timely manner for example 60 seconds walking, 30 seconds sprinting and then you start walking for 60 seconds again. As you sprint your body is requiring more energy and thus will burn greater fat, and as you walk you recover and lower your heart rate and increases metabolic function.
What keeps people away from joining and going to a gym?
Many reasons to mention, some of which would be low self esteem as people feel uncomfortable about themselves and would be shy to train around other people. Not having the ability to commit towards the lifestyle change that is brought on by leading a healthier life and cannot find motivation in their daily lives to do so. Also fear of not knowing how to train as for some people they have never stepped inside a gym before and wouldn’t know how to go about starting but as I always say do not be afraid of asking for assistance from the fitness instructor available as he or she will always be ready to help them getting started.
Can training be based depending on gender? Can women do the same exercises as men?
I get asked this question very frequently and the answer is yes women should do the same exercises the men do. This will not make them bodybuilders as naturally speaking the female body is not genetically meant to grow like a man due to the different hormones and hormone levels of both genders. But of course when a woman seeks an aesthetic and toned look she has to build the required muscle just as the men so when the body fat is lost the woman can achieve a tighter and firmer physique and this is done by doing all sorts of exercises such as squats for the glutes and legs, torso twist for the obliques, plank for core, etc. A clear example of this is viewing how a normal model can train and become a fitness model.
When training at the gym sometimes you see members start heavy training without a warm-up and without stretching, why is it so important to do these two?
Before starting any form of training you want to physically prepare your body for the demands of a strenuous workout by gradually increasing your body temperature and increase blood circulation to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This makes your muscles relaxed and flexible, ready for the impact of the training. Avoiding this can lead to a number of serious injuries which can damage your wellbeing such as muscle tears, tendonitis (Inflammation in tendons) and many others.
Something that over-weight people find in common on using a treadmill is that after a duration of time their knees start to hurt, why is this so?
The knees are a complex system of joints and are susceptible to injury because of the weight they are required to bear. On using the treadmill the body-weight compresses the patella and provides a big impact on the joints especially on prolonged timed sessions.
What alternative can one do to still do cardio and lose fat without damaging their knees?
There are a number of ways, most commonly people can use either the upright and recumbent bikes and also the cross trainer as the leg strides in motion instead of stepping, thus removing all impact from the knees while training.
What is muscle soreness and how is it brought on?
Muscle soreness is a common result of physical training that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is used to. To be exact it occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric contraction. Such as the lengthening of the arm during bicep curls. This impact will bring small microscopic tears in the muscle which on recovery and healing will form new muscle fibres with a greater volume thus increasing in muscle mass and strength.
Fitness classes are becoming a big trend, would it be beneficial for a fitness beginner?
Of course participating in a fitness class is not only fun as you get to participate with others but also serves as a good workout for specific impact depending which class is taken for example pilates is great for strengthening the core and posture as with other aerobic classes these provide a great burn and aid people lose fat to some degree. But these are not best suited on start of a fitness journey especially when the person has a low fitness level. This would be intimidating for the person to keep up with the other members especially since most likely the others are more experienced and at an advanced level. Also the class instructor will not be able to correct the participant all the time as the attention will be shared with all the other participants.
If one does countless number of sit-ups and crunches can one expect to get bigger and tighter abs?
One can make them stronger and more conditioned in terms of endurance but to make the abdominals bigger one must keep the same principles as you would for all the other muscle groups such as the heavy resistance impact on the muscle which makes them grow. Now of course the abdominals react a bit differently than all the other muscle groups being endurance based as it is constantly engaged in our daily lives to keep the posture aligned. So instead of doing say 100 situps, one would find greater results of performing rope crunches and other abdominal exercises which you can increase the resistance and perform anywhere from 15 to 20 repetitions this can also be followed by a plank to increase the impact on the core and target it more effectively.
What physiological changes can one expect on starting to train or lead a more active lifestyle from training?
First and foremost the greatest benefit of all is for one’s physical health by taking care of yourself. Other factors also come into play such as improved self esteem and confidence, boost happy chemicals in the brain which gives a sense of well being, happiness and euphoria as training releases endorphins which give the body these good feelings. This has been scientifically found to help reduce stress and depression.
What can hinder results for an athlete who has been training for a while but cannot see results?
It can be a number of reasons which is hard to determine what may be effecting your results but you have to start by asking yourself questions like is your diet in check? Are you training frequently as required with the appropriate training programme? Are you getting enough rest in the night? Has your body adapted to the training you are doing? All these and many others are all factors which can hinder results that it is why it is advised to consult with a professional such as a personal trainer which can pin point what you are doing wrong and aid to improve the situation and give you the result you want.
Weighing yourself both night and the morning give two different values of body weight, why is this so? And at which time would be accurate to weigh yourself to record weight loss?
The body makes all the physiological changes at night time while it is recovering and forming new tissue. So if for example you weigh yourself at night you will find yourself weighing different in the morning depending on what the diet and goal is. But a thing to remember weight is not always an accurate way to measure fat loss, to be exact one would rather use a skinfold calliper to get an approximate Bodyfat percentage.