When I hired my first Personal Trainer some 10 years ago or so I had about a million questions and many doubts about the whole thing. I was somewhere in between anxious and terrified as I didn’t really know what to expect.
Now that I have been on the other side of the table for almost a decade I always remember that first experience when I meet a prospective client and try to make the process as fun and laid back as possible. It’s a bit of a game of questions and answers to paint an accurate picture of the experience of working with a Personal Trainer.
I tend to treat initial consultations in the same way I would treat a date: a fact finding mission with the sole purpose of initiating a dialogue, understanding my prospective clients wants and needs, history and circumstances.
Bespoke programs are all about the client and so it’s important to get a full picture before we make any plans. After all I want to be sure of the best way to go to help them reach their fitness makeover goals.
The end of the consultation is when we finally decide if we are likely to make a good team. If it’s a yes, together, we can start the journey towards their fitness success. If it’s a no, then we will go separate ways hoping that maybe one day we will find some common ground.
How do we get to that point?
Usually by swapping questions and answers. It goes something like this…
Ready to ask me your burning questions?
Q. I have never done anything like this before and therefore I am a bit nervous. How does it work?
A. When you work with me it looks a lot like the uncovering of a secret plot in a procedural drama with all the twists and turns that you are accustomed to. Although human physiology dictates that we are very similar to each other as a species, there are many differences in how our individual metabolisms work. My job as your fitness coach is to help you discover your unique metabolic code so that you can work with it to achieve the results you want.
Q. You are going to tell me that I have to give up cakes, chips and chocolate. Aren’t you?
A. For best results I would say yes, yes and no. The reason for this is that cakes and chips pack in a high number of calories in a very small serving due to the combination of fats and starches. Moreover this combination can be addictive and can make you crave more of it after the initial serving. However, they don’t need to be completely banned from your life, there is a place for them at the right time, in the right circumstances. Chocolate, or rather cocoa, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Not only it will help you curb cravings, it will also help you grow your lean muscle mass and slow down the onset of sarcopenia (loss of muscle as you get older).
Q. I hate cardio, how much do I have to do?
A. Well, that depends largely on your objectives, your lifestyle and your genetic predisposition, i.e. your body type. Some people benefit immensely from doing a fair amount of cardiovascular exercise but for others it can be detrimental. Long cardio sessions are stressful for the body so if you are stress reactive you will probably find that if you spend hours doing cardio the spare tyre around your waist gets bigger and your wobbly bits wobblier. Better use a different strategy. If your passion is long distance running and you want to become good at this but you also want to lose weight then it’s another strategy altogether.
Q. I am very busy with work, family and hobbies. Do I have to workout for hours?
A. Not unless you want to and, again, it depends on your objectives. For fat loss and to see an improvement in your overall fitness levels you will have to do enough structured exercise to stimulate the metabolic conditions that promote the release of fat and a little bit of muscle gain but not so much that you put yourself under too much stress. My clients consistently obtain the best results with multiple sessions per week that are around 30 minutes long but intense. However, if you are working towards getting ready to take up a specific sport then it’s a different story and yes, you may as well have to workout for hours to acquire and develop the skills you will need.
Q. Can you not just recommend a good recipe book?
A. No. There are plenty of awesome recipe books out there but none of them will be particularly useful until you have unlocked your unique fat burning code. Some people do better on carbs, whereas others do better on fats and others still do well on a combination of both. The recipe book doesn’t know which one you are so it can’t adapt the recipes for you. Until you discover which category you fall in you cannot be effective in choosing (or adapting) recipes that meet your needs. Do the detective work first and I’ll recommend you a recipe book afterwards. If you still need one.
Q. I want to go on a detox before I start. What’s the best one?
A. Sleep. A good night sleep, the kind that leaves you energised and refreshed the next day is your best form of detox available AND it’s free. As long as you drink plenty of water, eat fresh produce and avoid intoxicants you will give your liver and kidneys the best chance to do their job. That’s the only “detox” you need. Having said that, if you feel that your body might need a little bit of extra help you may want to try kombucha: it’s cheap and easy to make and very effective at supporting your liver.
Q. What’s my real ROI if I jump on board?
A. My role as a coach is to guide you through the process of discovering how your metabolism works, what helps you stay lean and what hinders you from losing fat. Plus I will help you establish new habits that will support your lifestyle ensuring you have plenty of energy all day long, you don’t go hungry every five minutes, you sleep better, your mood is stable and you get into the shape and size that you dream of. As you move towards this sweet spot you will find that you are more creative, better equipped to deal with stress, your confidence soars to unprecedented levels giving you extra ammo to make progress in your business or career. This type of transformation is almost a given for those clients who fully embrace the process. It’s magical and the skills will be yours for the rest of your life.
This is the nature of the work I do with my clients. There are many factors involved in a Fitness Makeover project that can make all the difference between you achieving your goals and be inspired to surpass them big time. Your mindset and the quality of your relationship with your coach are probably the most important ones. The game of questions and answers is the second most important part: the better your questions, the more useful my answers.
Ready to ask me your burning questions?