Reconnecting

My Day

I always start the day with a glass of water, then depending on how early my first client is I’ll follow up with a bulletproof latte. PT work changes all the time – until recently I was working mainly Monday-Friday but currently the bulk of my work is Thursday – Sunday – not a job for those who like routine! I train where I can, usually in the afternoon, and always take my dogs out for 1.5-2 hours come rain or shine. If I don’t have evening clients or classes, I love to make dinner for Ben or see friends – again depending on how early I’ve had to get up that day!

My Fitness

I try and exercise 5-6 times a week, mainly strength training, boxing/kickboxing, running, swimming in summer and my metcon class Thursday mornings without fail. I’ve been trying and failing to get into yoga/pilates for a long time but thus far haven’t managed to squeeze it in, might make it my new years resolution for 2019! I’ll pretty much try anything active; rock-climbing, tennis, if its’ sweaty I’ll enjoy it. The only thing I really can’t do is run for too long – my body just isn’t designed for it.

My Food

I currently follow a strict pescatarian + dairy free diet, also omitting squid, octopus, crab + lobster.  I’d love to quit either eggs or fish next (I was vegan for 3 years and would like to move back into it at some point, but it’s a touch diet to follow with my lifestyle) but for now this diet is definitely helping me feel the best I’ve ever felt. I’ve got a huge sweet tooth and would happily put away chocolate all day long if I could. Coffee + beer are my other two vices.

My Job

Becoming a PT is without doubt the best decision I ever made. Yes it’s tough physically, emotionally and financially, but seeing a client work hard, enjoy a session and slowly but surely seeing results makes every early start and late finish work it. There is honestly no other career I can see myself in – unless a piglet-petting-chocolate-taster role is going somewhere? LMK if you hear of anything.

My Philosophy

Coming into my third year in the fitness industry has taught me so much about how I want my life to be. Time started moving so much quicker after I hit 30 and I realised I wanted to get as much out of life as I could. I think communication about diet + exercise is always extremely rigid and designed to make people feel guilty or weak regarding their lifestyle choices.  When I have an initial consultation with a prospective client I tell them that it’s my job to make sure fitness slots comfortably into their lives and is something they enjoy. The same with their diets – food is a gift and losing weight doesn’t have to mean losing the things you like eating.  I’m a HUGE believer in working hard and playing hard; a disciplined routine with no room for variety just isn’t for me.

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PT Magazine - What To Expect - Article 1

I recently celebrated my first year as a freelance personal trainer and can honestly say it’s been the most thrilling, frightening, interesting year of my life. Everything I thought I knew about myself and the way I work has been challenged, changed, chewed up and spat out numerous times. For all you trainers just starting out, I hope my journey will inspire and encourage you as well as give you a realistic and honest view about what may lie ahead, and for all you old-timers, just a solid reminisce about the good ole’ days!

In my humble opinion, the key to this and indeed many new experiences is actually to keep expectations to a minimum. You never know what or who may be around the corner and how you management of each situation will change and in fact the further down the line you travel, the greater your ability to handle whatever life throws at you will become. Whatever happens, it’s of the utmost importance to remain positive and focused.

As mentioned, a realistic outlook is a good way to handle disappointment – but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high. You probably won’t get 10 clients within your first week qualified, but give it a month and who knows? Remember, only you have the power to obtain what you want, it won’t fall into your lap. A friend gave me an invaluable piece of advice, which has stuck with me ever since – ‘ be proactive, not reactive’. Preparation is really just another form of expectation and without it it’s likely you won’t be successful in your venture. Make lists, plan every session and draft emails to clients.

Your clients and their behaviour and attitude are two huge aspects of your job that are out of your control. One of the overriding changes I’ve noticed in myself since I qualified is how much more patient and open-minded I’ve become about other people and I’d be very surprised if the same didn’t happen to you. There will be times when clients turn up unhappy, sad, impatient or disappointed and it’s your job not only to train them, but to support them and take on board why they are feeling the way they are feeling, without asking too many questions. Unfortunately, we can’t make people act a certain way and your transition from a good trainer into a GREAT trainer will hinge on how you adapt to each and every person you encounter.

Sophie Kay, owner and trainer at Fitology says, ‘I remember being worried about over-selling myself and sounding big-headed or boastful, but you soon realise self-belief is imperative to obtaining business. Develop your own style, be proud of it, and be ready to adapt ’.

Now for the less theoretical part – or ‘boring bit’ if you will, and you may have already guessed that this is the part where I need to talk about money. Like any vocational job, this definitely isn’t one you should undertake for the money and you may well be working at a loss for a few months, once you’ve got your equipment, your park license if you’re freelance or rent if you work for a gym and your insurance. I had to save most of what I earned my first year to pay a big tax bill + accountant fees – the glamour!

Just because you have become your own boss doesn’t mean you need to feel funny or awkward discussing fees. Deciding what your hourly rate is may depend on where you live or your skill-set but once you know what your price range is, stick with it. You many want to offer people a trial session before they commit to a block so they can see how you both work together; never forget that hiring a PT is for many a big financial commitment and, within reason of course, you need to take steps to reassure them that your service is worth the price.

Once the sessions are booked, write them down and towards each session you might find you need to remind the client of the time and location. Your cancellation policy is completely up to you to decide; be flexible, but not to the extent that it affects the rest of your business. Although I’ve spoken a lot about what you do for your clients, ultimately you are the most important part of your brand. Your personality and your ability to work with others is your USP as a personal trainer; never copy anyone else’s style.

I’d like to wish everyone either recently or soon to be qualified a huge good luck during your first year as a PT and beyond – if in doubt, remember the 3 P’s – Positivity, Preparation and Proactivity. And most important of all – believe in yourself. You got this! 

Keeping Fit on Holiday

There are two types of holiday makers when it comes to food and fitness – those who make an effort to maintain there usual routine throughout their trip, and those who use it as a break from it. Although much of this blog is aimed at the former, before I begin I’ll make it clear that I don’t often fall into that category myself. Since becoming a trainer my commitment to my body and mind has become much bigger; not only because I’m more active than I was at my desk job but also because it’s my professional duty to be the best I can be, physically and mentally. I was recently in New York for 6 days and made a promise to myself that I would enjoy my time there, rest, relax and not focus on exercise or diet.

As many of you know I am a big believer in rest and relaxation and if you’re off on a trip I would always encourage you to treat it as the luxury it is – explore new places, enjoy eating and drinking and forget about your weight. However, I know that many of you may prefer to slide a workout or two (or more!) into your vacation and for those that do there are below some ideas on timings, workouts and eating that may help you next time you pack your bags. Remember, this is just advice – you do what makes YOU comfortable and happy.

First of all – always try and get that workout done as early as possible, then it’s out of the way and you can enjoy the rest of your day without it playing on your mind. If you go somewhere hot, the evening will likely be the warmest time of day and best avoided.

If you’re staying somewhere that has a gym, I’d aim for a half and half cardio to strength split. That could mean 30 minutes on the bike, or 15 on the bike, 15 on the tread, then weights. Adding in some high intensity intervals such as sprints or heavy incline work is more effective that a steady pace so you could always do a 15 minute run then 15 minutes sprints at a minute on, minute off ratio.

With weights, I’d personally keep it lighter as I wouldn’t want DOMS on a holiday. A circuit with lighter weights would still get you hot and sweaty without putting too much pressure on your muscles. For example:

 

60 secs work, 15 rest, repeated 5 times:

Kettle bell swings (8-12kg bell)

Weighted jump jacks (i.e. 1.5 – 2kg dumbells)

Russian twists (5kg)

Clean (10-15kg)

Burpees

 

Then to finish off, core and arm bodyweight work such as push ups, planks and crunches. Make sure you’re working towards the lighter end away from your rep max and you won’t get any soreness the next day.

If you don’t have a gym at your disposal, fear not. There are HUNDREDS of bodyweight exercises you can do in your hotel room or outside that are just as effective as using weights in the gym. Again a split between cardio and strength will refresh and revive you – you could always run or swim for that cardio interval but please make sure you are hydrated and out of strong sunlight as nobody needs sunstroke on their holiday!

For your bodyweight exercises, a simple circuit such as the one below will work all the muscles of your body.

 

45 seconds of each exercise, b2b, repeated 6 times with a 60 second rest inbetween

Burpees

Mountain climbers

Travelling plank

Ab cycles

Jack squats

 

If you have a bench/bed/chair to use, you can add in tricep dips, v-ups, elevated push-ups, etc. Make sure whatever you use is fixed to the ground – you don’t want to damage yourself or the hotel!

Food-wise; this is a tricky one for me. One of the joys of going somewhere abroad is eating all day long and my honest answer about dieting on holiday would be DON’T. However, if you’re keen not to cut too loose, the usual rules apply – not too my booze or sugar, keep white carbs to a minimum and watch your portion size.

Finally and most importantly – no matter what you do when you’re on holiday, have as much fun as you possibly can. If, like me, you return home a little out of shape, it’s nothing more than a sign of how hard you were working before and an incentive to build yourself up again.

Some Hope

There’s one question I get asked, by both clients and non-clients alike, more than anything else; ‘when will I see results’?

I don’t have a definitive answer for this, because there isn’t one. But I can tell you that, as long as you stay focused and don’t give up, you WILL see them.

Each and every one of our bodies responds differently to various different types of foods and workouts. You might need to try a few combinations to find a pattern that is effective for you. Then there’s your metabolism to take into account. There are no certs – although it’s common, people who have more weight to lose won’t necessarily lose it quicker than those who don’t.

Now here comes the hope – the certainties, what I can guarantee you will happen. If you keep exercising, and eating well, you WILL reach your goals. No matter how slowly the changes happen, they WILL happen. Each and every time you nail a workout, eat a healthy home-cooked meal and remind yourself how far you’ve come you’re one step closer to hitting your target. It doesn’t matter how you do it. You can dance, run, box, pump, climb or spin your way to the top. You can exercise early, late, alone, with someone, inside, outside or up a tree. Just keep moving.

As you progress, there may be extra changes that you start making as you become fitter and stronger. You might need to start adding weights when your body-weight becomes too easy for you to carry. Once you’ve adapted to your initial dietary adjustments, you might start to make more. My point is – start small, and you’ll only get better and gain more momentum.

Finally, and most important of all – don’t let ANYTHING hold you back. One missed workout or a pizza + wine night DO NOT equal one stone weight gain. In fact since you’re working so hard, you’ve earned that rest and those calories. Keep climbing, keep smiling and one day you’ll wake up, look in the mirror, and that you you’ve been looking for will be looking right backatcha. 

News + Views

Happiness Rules

Over breakfast a few days ago I read a feature which discussed cynicism, or the lack thereof, observed in London recently (read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1Vmg5i4). The author lamented our transgression from negative, narrow-minded piss-takers to happy clappy hippies, high-kicking our way through exercise classes and beaming at fellow shoppers in Tesco with an energy not normally in keeping with our usual moany old outlook on life.

As someone who has a fairly sunny disposition I would say this – life is TOUGH. As mentioned in the article – house prices are huge, work is long, kids are snotty, weather is HORRENDOUS. So if you want to be chirpy you go ahead and BE CHIRPY. Go to that insanely mega-happy workout, smile for no reason, do kind things and accept compliments when they are paid. It might not fully distract you from your mortgage, but it’s a start.

Training

Small brag – as I’ve got fitter and stronger it’s becoming harder for me to find workouts that really push me apart from swimming and trail running. So I was delighted to discover the almighty Dom who I train with on Sunday, and Barry’s Bootcamp which I have been meaning to check out for years.

Spending so much time instructing others, it’s great to be told what to do and how to do it by experienced fitness professionals. Not only do I feel stronger and fitter but I’m learning so much about my own role as a PT. Now if only I could find a trainer to make me better at dealing with this HORRID COLD WEATHER.

Testimonials

I’ve added a few testimonials at the bottom of my homepage. Nothing but nothing makes me happier than a text or email from a client telling me their abs or legs are sore – it’s like telling a regular person they look 10 years younger.  Check them out here and see you next time! http://www.trainedbyeleanor.com/