It’s a beautiful feeling, progress. When the fruits of your labour finally come into bloom and you start to see the result of all your hard work.
It’s not a time to be humble. It’s a time to tell the world. A time to crack out the guns for a gratuitous #flexfriday post.
A time to take video after video of you trying (and failing) and trying (and failing) again and again for the perfect pull up. Four-nearly-five with the resistance band on the door at home, one-nearly-two strict, if you’re wondering.
#transformationtuesday 🏋🏼♀️ . Pretty proud of this #pullup progression. 😊😊😊 . LEFT: 22 December 2017 – a few weeks after starting PT twice a week with @ptpete150. That’s a 25kg band helping me up, & I could only do 3 full pull-ups. . RIGHT: Tonight. Another few weeks of #strengthtraining twice a week still with @ptpete150. First time ever getting to 4, then pushing hard for a wobbly 5. . . PROGRESS! 💪🏽 . . My goal by the end of the year is to do 5 strict pull ups without the band. . Is that realistic? . . . #tess2point0 #instafit #chinup #thisgirlcan #shelifts #sheliftsbro #shesquats #girlswholift #weighttraining #transformation #progress #training #strongwomen #strongnotskinny #gymwanker #gymtime #fitnessmotivation #fitness
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A time to get your PT to take yet another photo of you doing exactly what you did last week, and the week before, only this time, with a heavier weight in your hands, or on your shoulders, or racked up on your legs.
However it starts to show, whether it’s subtle signs of a new you shining through, like more energy in the afternoon, gritting your teeth for a new squat PB (60kg nice and deep last week thank you very much), or great big smack-you-in-the-face-obvious gains like your body shape changing, getting strong is 100% the most brilliant and best feeling.
And it doesn’t just show in the gym – it happens in the everyday too.
Carrying heavy shopping home or to the car without having to take a break. Being able to hold downward dog for longer as a rest instead of having to come down into child’s pose. Pushing the van for YET ANOTHER bump start on a freezing cold morning.
Being able to lift your heavy mountain bike off the wall rack with relative ease (I say relative – ain’t nobody got a magic cure for being short AF), or swooping it up onto your shoulder to saunter up and over the bridge at the train station.
No thank you, kind fellow passenger, I don’t need you to carry it for me. I did far worse than this at the gym this morning.
The hidden benefits of #weighttraining Number 190937364885:
— T e s s A g n e w (@FitBits_) March 2, 2018
These are the every day gains that strength training brings.
I’ve been training with a PT twice a week since September and I’ve never been stronger than I am right now. From the very second session (not the first – that was benchmarking), Brighton PT Pete Dudley had me lifting weights I’d never even attempted before.
The double figure dumbbells that were in the ‘big weight’ area, you know, where the big boys and girls are. The area I stayed away from until that day. The 11 or 15kg medicine balls, and the previously scary / alien squat rack with its mega heavy plates and uncensored mirror that tells no lies. (Note to self – hack squat directly in front of the mirror is not a good look). Moving on from the 8kg kettlebells onto 16kg and 20kg, for swings, single leg deadlifts and squat shoulder press.
I’m loving getting to know the new stronger me.
Finding out what I’m really capable of, pushing all the way to that last rep, sometimes to failure, because it’s then that I’m able to grow.
Sometimes after a good leg session I can literally feel the strength building in my muscles. Does that make sense? Like actually feel it. And I’m not talking DOMS either. Well, of course it’s DOMS, but you feel strong rather than that omg-I-can’t-move kind of DOMS.
Every session is hard AF and even training twice a week for the past five months I don’t think we’ve ever done the same workout twice. Pete keeps it interesting and throws in some proper evil concoctions to keep my body guessing.
I walk out of the gym feeling epic most days, proud of what I’ve achieved and a fire in my belly that lasts all day – and I know for a fact that I wouldn’t do this by myself.
So, on that note:
Here’s my 7 reasons to train with a PT.
1) You’ll work harder
There’s no doubt about it. Training with a PT will 100% make you work harder than you would if you were alone, and you’ll see the benefits quicker. Gym face allowed.
Even when we think we’re disciplined and dedicated, if there’s opportunity to do so, we often take the shortcut. It’s human nature.
Think about the times you’ve trained in a class, with a buddy or with a PT, vs. training on your own. Can you honestly say you pushed as hard as you did when someone else was there with you? Did you really finish *all* of your reps right to the end of that timer, or did you stop a few seconds early? (If you did, amazing work – tell me your secrets!)
2) You’ll be made accountable
For me, having an appointment to train means I’ll actually turn up (unless work deadlines get in the way, and I have no choice but to rearrange – but then I’ll keep that appointment instead #freelancelife).
Knowing that you’ve paid money in advance helps too – and the image of someone waiting for you at the gym while you contemplate hitting that snooze button or ‘missing your train’ home from work will keep you motivated to think otherwise.
3) You’ll be more consistent
In fitness, consistency is rewarded. And consistency is something I’ve struggled with for the past couple of years. I know that back in the day when I used to go to bootcamp 4/5 times a week I was mega fit, and even able to bust out a 7:34 plank at Hillmotts one weekend (like I say, it was a while ago…)
When I run regularly and look after recovery, my marathons go better than ever and I finish nice and strong. But when I let things slip, they don’t, and I drag myself to the finish. When I learnt to swim and trained for my first triathlon, my swimming and bike fitness went through the roof too, and surprise, surprise – through consistent, progressive training, I was able to reach my goals.
This past couple of years I’ve sort of lost my way a bit with my consistency a bit through work and life challenges, but I’m working now to get it back, and loving the journey.
At the moment I’m training twice a week with a PT, but I’ve also joined the new F45 studio by Brighton Station, to inject the bit of HIIT back into my life that was missing to fast track me to my goals. Next on the list to sort: food.
The improvements I’ve seen in my strength from just twice weekly strength training is already enough to motivate me to keep going (and increase my training load for faster progress) – so try to give consistency a go in your training, and see what you can achieve.
4) You’ll learn new tricks
Some of the things I’m made to do in the gym are hilarious. In a not-funny-but-bloody-painful-how-is-this-even-possible kind of way. The sort of exercises that make you laugh and cry simultaneously and you know will make you strong AF purely based on how difficult they are.
Stuff like:- Single leg deadlifts on a balance board
Kettlebell shoulder press on the bosu ball (turns your legs into Elvis)
Single leg ‘press’ on the pull up machine. That’s right, pull up machine. Great for glutes and a bigger range of movement than the leg press machine allows.
Weighted lunge walks. The devil’s exercise. #truestory.
These are the things I have a PT for. These and the supersets and triplesets and can-only-do-one-bloody-set.
These are the things that make you motivated to keep training and make it interesting every day!
6) You’ll build confidence in the gym
When you know what you’re doing in the gym it’s much easier to just get on with it. Now that I’ve been shown a range of exercises and know how to do them myself, I feel confident bossing it round the weights area on my own. I no longer gaze longingly at the squat rack, I get in there and rack my weights to get on with it.
I no longer avoid the heavier dumbbells or kettlebells, have no qualms setting up the different weights machines, and am no longer perplexed by the cable machine and its many mysterious tentacles.
Even if you don’t train with a PT regularly, have one session, or at the very least a gym induction, to get to know the kit and what you can do with it. Then you can boss it round the gym floor too.
7) You’ll progress safely
After a recent crisis of confidence in my squats when I started to get knee pain I got scared to go low. We took it right back to basics, removed the weight and built back up slowly, making sure each squat was nice and deep. It worked – I’m now back up to 60kg with good form, nice and deep with no knee pain. Confidence restored.
It’s these small adjustments and constant monitoring and encouragement from a PT that will keep you progressing safely towards your goals – even if that means going right back to basics sometimes to get it right.
This isn’t the first time I’ve trained with a PT and seen the benefits. Looking back on my old posts when I used to train with another great Brighton PT, Amy Jordan, makes me realise that this is all just one massive work in progress. We’re always striving for better, faster, stronger. Nothing’s ever finished – you never reach perfection.
If you’re in Brighton Pete trains clients at Cheetahs Gym in Hove.