Project You Personal Trainer Testimonial
“Remember abs start in the kitchen and not in the gym” stated Craig as I struggled with a 20 Kilo weight above my head and complained that my washboard stomach was yet to arrive. That has to be probably one of the most depressing things that someone like me can hear. I’m the sort of person that is convinced I can achieve all physical results I need purely through exercise, mainly because I can’t bear the thought of not being able to eat what I want all the time. But of course that is my irrational mind and I know that this is unfortunately not true, having a balanced healthy diet is just as important as regular exercise. But it is wonderful to be reminded of these facts; to have that support to stop my irrational side winning and that is what is so beneficial about having a Personal Trainer.
I have never had a personal trainer before, for all us fitness freaks it surely has to be the holy grail, someone training you and coaching you on a one-to-one basis and this is what attracted me most about the Project: You programme. The course involves a weekly one hour PT session which I think has to be the main building block of each week so far for me. Not only are the weekly sessions tailored to your fitness and progress but your personal trainer will also keep in contact with you during the week, giving you tips and keeping you motivated. The sheer fact that I know the first thing Craig will ask me at the beginning of our sessions could be any one of ‘How’s the food going this week? ‘How was your run yesterday?’ ‘How’s Armageddon homework going?’ is enough to ensure that I really do try my best with my diet/training/homework. This extra added support along with your own willpower in invaluable.
The question I get asked the most about doing Project: You or having a Personal Trainer is ‘what do they make you do??’ – this is often derived from people wanting to know the formula so they can then go off and try it themselves, but of course the beauty of each PT session is that they are always entirely different and bespoke. What works for me may not work for someone else. However, let me give you an example of a session that I had this week that I found particularly hard to give you an idea of what I am going through…
Sessions always start with a 5 minute warm up run on the treadmill or a 5 minute stint on the Cross-Trainer to get the muscles and body kick-started. This is also the moment when Craig will catch up with me about my week and how I am getting on.
Straight into Kettlebell exercises. Grasping the kettlebell I have to swing it between my legs and straight up again at a 90 degree angle to my legs and hips. This exercise really works your thighs and bum and as I have to do 20 swings, a 30 second rest and another 20 swings it is also a real cardio workout. Craig also makes me walk across the studio floor, essentially taking the static exercise and giving it movement, and again this time including a jump squat as well. Tough. This is a form of high intensity interval training that Exclusive Training specialises in.
We move onto some quick dumbbell exercises, consisting of lifting one singular dumbbell from the floor in one arm and in one swift fluid movement thrust it above my head, this is then repeated with the other arm, 10 times. This not only works your arm muscles but your core as well.
Sticking with the weights theme I am tasked to do a press up on a raised box, however, on the up stroke of the press up I must lift the dumbbell I am holding directly up in the air so that only three points of my body remain on the floor/box. I found this incredibly hard, especially on the weaker side of my body, my knee kept collapsing and I couldn’t find the strength in my right arm (I am left handed). This is the ideal exercise to find these sorts of weaknesses in your body, and as Craig had observed this, it is something he can now help me with in the future, something that I wouldn’t know how to correct or work on under my own steam.
After doing a painful amount of squat jumps onto the box, we moved onto the TRX Suspension Fit Trainer. If you are not familiar with this piece of kit them I highly recommend you get familiar pretty quickly. Without doubt the simplest yet effective concept I have ever seen; the TRX trainer is essential two ropes attached to a pole. That’s it. But the wealth of exercises you can accomplish with it is astonishing. Think rows, pull-ups, presses, curls, shoulder raises, flys, pull-overs, tricep extensions, the list goes on and on. It was first developed by marines needing to keep in peak physical performance whilst on the road but has since been introduced to mainstream fitness. Today we used a new piece of the kit though, the aptly named TRX Rip Trainer. Imagine a bungee cord attached to a bar with a plastic stick at the end. Then imagine pulling that stick parallel to your body so that the bungee material is taught and pulling against you. You then proceed to do rowing movements either side of your body. The beauty of this is that you must have so much control in your core, legs and arm muscles to stop the cord pulling you over; a brilliant stabilising exercise. After doing the same with squat jumps (a very odd feeling, like jumping into a pliable brick wall) I felt truly physically tired all over my body.
The Gravity Training System (GTS) that I praised in Week 2 of Project: You was next in the agenda for my pull-up practices and stomach drills. I am gradually making my way up the notches on the machine and Craig is determined that I will be able to do 10 pull ups on my own at the top level by the end of my 8 weeks. I remain hopeful.
The session then finished with a casual 20 burpies using a core bag (like a mini punch bag with handles) where the normal burpie jump was replaced by lifting the bag. Exhausting.
This was a particularly difficult session, mainly because we mixed so much cardio with strength work where we would normally focus on one particular aspect; in fact one of the other trainers even remarked ‘he’s pushing you hard today isn’t he??’ to which I won’t utter what I replied suffice to say that Yes. Yes he was. We then moved onto five minutes stretching which is sometimes painful but a must, and again something that I am ashamed to say I neglect in my every day workouts. In fact I have never been able to stretch out my quads, for some reason normal stretches just won’t work on them and I had given up years ago. But Craig has helped me find a way and I’ve already noticed a difference each time I use that stretch. This is the best part of having a Personal Trainer, the individual attention, care and bespoke training is second to none. As Caroline, one of the lovely Personal Trainer’s at the gym said; ‘it is not just a workout programme, it is a lifestyle programme’. If you are interested then do get in contact and don’t be daunted by the cost, you will be pleasantly surprised compared to most other gyms….