A Personal Trainer’s Guide to Healthy Living
Anyone who has tried to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle knows how hard it can get. The first day is easy: you make the plan, motivated to follow it through to the end. You take a trip to the mart and stock healthy foods. You also renew your gym membership, determined to join the gym from tomorrow. You’re all inspired to change your life for the better but there’s just one problem.
You have no idea where to start!
That’s the problem health enthusiasts have to face. They have the motivation to do something about their health and fitness, but they have no direction. That’s where a personal trainer comes in.
It’s true that there’s a goldmine of resources on the internet. All you have to do is search and you’ll get hundreds and thousands of advice on what to do and how to do it. Unfortunately, all this unsolicited advice will do you more harm than good. What you really need is a personal trainer who can guide you along the way and help you achieve your fitness goals.
It’s true that with the help of an expert, you can correct your bad form. They are there to demonstrate the correct posture and technique and that’s an invaluable service. However, if you don’t have a trainer yet, here’s the next best thing for you: a personal trainer’s guide to achieving your fitness goals.
Personal Trainer – A True Guide?
Mastering the basics and understanding the workings of the human body is crucial for achieving your fitness goals. This is where this guide comes in. When you start your training, the workouts are going to cause changes in your body. This guide will share the information you need to get on the right track, understand how your physiology is linked with your fitness gains, and the tips you can follow to achieve your goals.
Fitness Assessment & Prescription
Whatever your fitness goals are, they need to begin with a self-assessment. Whether your goal is to lose body weight or you’re just looking to tone your body, your first step should be a thorough self-assessment. It’s usually the first activity I engage my clients in.
Personal trainers all over the world advise that before you take the step to transform your life, it’s important to assess your current level of fitness.
There are various ways you can assess your fitness level. Just keep in mind that there’s no fixed scale that can show you the exact level; however, there are some tools that can help you to estimate your current fitness level. The more thorough this evaluation is, the more aware you will become of yourself, what needs to be done, and a reasonable timeframe for achieving your goal.
Here I must point out one very important aspect of fitness: your physical activity is often not the best measure of your fitness level. Let’s hear it from a researcher, Jim Pivarnik. He is a PhD and also serves as the president of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is also the director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He believes that ‘personal fitness level is an individual measurement that does not always dependent on how much physical activity you do.’
Overall, your physical fitness comprises of five elements:
- Body composition
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Aerobic or cardiovascular endurance
By measuring them, you can easily evaluate your fitness level. Let’s apply this to your weight loss regimen.
Personal Trainer’s Guide to Weight Loss
Let’s start with a self-assessment, which obviously goes beyond just measuring your current weight. Here’s what you need to do in the five areas mentioned earlier.
You’ll be measuring the flexibility in the backs of your lower back, hips, and legs.
Sit at one end of a yardstick on the floor, with both feet on either side of the stick, resting at the half mark. Reach forward down the length of the stick and hold the position as long as you can. Note your maximum reach.
Avoid confusing it with your Body Mass Index (BMI index). This includes your fat percentage, your bone mass, water, and muscle tissues. You can calculate it using a mirror, a measuring tape, a scale, and a pair of calipers.
Muscular strength and Muscular endurance
Try the following exercises, with complete form:
- V-sit and reach— for hamstrings and lower back
- Modified curl-ups — for testing torso and abdominal strength and endurance
- Push-ups — for testing your upper limbs and body
Do them twice. Once for the number of reps you can complete with full form, and the second for how long you can hold one rep
Aerobic or cardiovascular endurance
Start with a shoulder stretch to gauge joint mobility of your upper arm, especially the joints. Check your heart beat, once before a brisk walk and the second afterwards. Count beats over 15 seconds and then multiply by 4. Then take a brisk walk of 1 mile and record the pulse again.
These exercises will give you a good idea about your current fitness levels. Although I would recommend that you consult and take help from a professional trainer or your physician to get a more accurate understanding, but the ones mentioned above will get you set up and ready.
Once you have this, focus on clearly understanding your reason for losing weight.
Visualize where you want to be, how you would look like, feel, and be able to do once you’ve achieved your goal. You see, there are three levels of commitment: at the level of thought, emotional, and then physical.
Unless you clearly state and write your goal and visualize, your body will not move you towards achieving it.
So, what is your reason for losing weight? This change might be in preparation for a perfect summer body or as a way to boost your confidence. Whatever the reason behind your decision to lose weight, below are two holy grails of weight loss. Read on and enter a new world of healthy living.
Sleep to Lose Weight Faster
You might be surprised. Even before the workouts I mentioned sleep. Believe it or not, sleep can take you a long way when you stumble to lose weight. Depriving your body of the rest and sleep will have serious repercussions. Before you even think about hitting the gym, it’s important to have a proper sleep schedule. Lack of sleep will have a negative impact on your weight loss efforts and can also affect your results significantly.
Without adequate sleep, your muscles tend to get tired more quickly. This eventually affects your performance. If you’re too tired to continue on the workout for the day this means you burned fewer calories or lifted fewer weights. Without a set schedule, getting 7-8 hours of sleep wouldn’t be possible.
With a sleep deprived body and mind, there isn’t much you can accomplish when it comes to losing weight. Cortisol is a hormone our body releases when we are under stress. You might be surprised to know that lack of sleep initiates the same process. In short, our body reacts to stress and lack of sleep in a similar manner. This hormone is also called muscle wasting hormone and for good reason too. Losing weight doesn’t mean your muscles have to be affected. If you actively workout, the fat deposits in your body will start to burn.
Sleep is the first step to how you are supposed to lose weight. But when you deprive your body of sleep, you start losing muscle mass. Needless to say but it’s dangerous and can damage your health. So set that alarm clock, make a schedule and get dreaming.
Strength Training is the Key
This is another contradictory statement that might be mind boggling for some. Most people have mistaken strength training as a mass building exercise. They aim to build muscles and make them lean. The body works in mysterious ways and so the more lean muscles you have, the more calories your body burns. You might think that running on a treadmill might be the ultimate solution to your problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the truth. If you want to get rid of those fat deposits in your body and get a lean body, strength training is the way to do it.
Strength training is an essential aspect of fitness, especially when it comes to weight loss. Most people fear that lifting all those weights is going to bulk up their body.sif you too are hindered by these thoughts, you can finally relax. Strength training won’t harm your body is done under the supervision of a trained personal trainer. If anything, it will just tone your body and help you get stronger. Let your personal trainer incorporate full body workouts in your daily sessions. These big movers are the key to burning more calories.
Personal Trainer’s Guide to Exercise Technique
There are various kinds of exercises that cater to different parts of your body. You need to trust your personal trainer to design the best exercises for you. Whatever your ultimate fitness goal is, your personal trainer would have the necessary resources to design goal-specific exercises.
Most people are fond of starting their workout sessions with single movement exercises. The basic idea behind this is to slowly get the body used-to the strenuous workout sessions. As it turns out however, the more muscles you work during a workout, the more calories you’ll burn. So, starting with exercises that use more muscles and then slowly taking a more focused approach is for your benefit. An ideal workout session would be one that starts with a pushup (multiple movements) and end with a leg curl (single movement). So when you’re exercising on your own, make sure you follow this simple advice to get the most out of your workout session.
Personal Trainer’s Guide to Nutrition
An effective workout plan is backed up by a nutrition and supplement plan. People have different nutritional needs and it’s the job of your trainer to prescribe the right diet plan. Even though personal trainers aren’t registered dieticians, there are some basic tips they can offer you. Nutrition management is generally ignored in all the hype that’s created for workout plans but nutrition and weight loss go hand in hand.
Your trainer can provide you with nutrition tips that can help you live a healthy life. When engaging in physical activity and sports, it’s important that the body’s need of daily nutrition is fulfilled. The changes in your health won’t just be ignited just through workouts. The nutrition your body requires will also establish the level of fitness you gain.
If you have the clearance for advising about nutrition do ensure that you use an evidence based A better way to deal with nutrition advice is to base it on the evidence provided by researches instead of personal success. Remember that your personal trainer’s nutrition advice isn’t a treatment. Their advice regarding a healthy diet plan is only to support your workout sessions. So, if you have any medical condition, make sure you inform your trainer beforehand. Provide accurate information about your metabolism, age-based calorie intake and blood sugar.
Here are a few tips prescribed by ChooseMyPlate that can help you on the journey to lose weight:
- Reach your goals
- Don’t forget dairy
- Balance your meals
- Energize with grains
- Power up with protein
- Know how much to eat
- Vary your fruits and vegetables
- Mix it up with plant protein foods
- Maximize with nutrient-packed foods
Staying hydrated is a great way to lose weight. You might be wondering why though. To put it simply, drinking water ensures that our kidneys have some work to do. Whenever the body is low on hydration levels the kidneys have to suffer. Therefore, to ensure the smooth running of your body, the liver is called for help. This interruption means that your liver has to stop its job of burning fat for energy and instead help your kidneys through the dilemma. There can be no better reason to keep a water bottle nearby and to stay hydrated. Let the liver do its job and drink water to lose weight.
Even if you spend hours on the treadmill and continue with your unhealthy diet, the results you want are never going to show. This would be a disappointing outcome for you but not unexpected. How can you expect to lose weight when you consume more calories than you burn? That’s why you need a personal trainer’s guide to nutrition. It’s the best way to lose those extra pounds and get the look you’ve always wanted. And clean eating is one of the most important points in the guide for weight loss.
A balanced and healthy diet is the need of the hour. Eating plant based proteins has been linked to a healthier and longer life. Whole foods are not only low in calories but they can make you feel full for longer. Since you don’t feel hungry so often, you tend to eat less. That’s another way of losing weight and all the credit goes to whole foods. Similarly, 2-3 legume based meals per week are low in fats and a great source of B vitamins.
The most important thing you need to remember is that changing your lifestyle is not an easy task. You would be faced with many problems on the way. The only thing that will help you fight these issues is your determination. Are you driven enough to achieve the results you want? If the answer is yea, then you’re definitely going to achieve your goal. And if you take on the opportunity by getting help from a personal trainer, nothing can stop you.
Getting the right help and having a support system is a great way to keep your motivation levels high. Remember to be consistent and follow the tips. As long as you are willing to work hard and follow the valuable advice from your personal trainer those extra pounds don’t stand a chance. So get ready to go forth and conquer the weight loss game. Best of luck!