by Martyn Evans | Head of Personal Training Department
Consistency is key! This statement can relate to many things in life however it is absolutely vital when it comes to ensuring you see positive results from exercise. Contrary to what the TV adverts might say performing 2 x 20min workouts a week will in most cases not transform your life and give you the “perfect beach body” you have always dreamed of. As the saying goes “you get out what you put in” and this is very much the case when it comes to personal training. Historically, those who are able to commit to a long term structured and periodized plan that systematically steers you towards your long-term goals, while not overlooking your short-term limitations, will inevitably gain the most from both their personal time and financial investment in personal training.
A successful training programme should in theory follow an undulating pattern. Simply put this means that your exercise methodology should be varied over time to ensure that you are improving in all aspects of fitness. For the recreational gym user with no specific event driven goals this might mean achieving consistent gains in postural balance, strength and cardiovascular conditioning while maintaining good movement skills in all directions. By following a programme that is varied and focused on all of these different facets you will minimise your risks of overuse injury and additionally limit your risk of negative adaptations caused by training in too repetitive a manner. By combining a detailed needs analysis (clarification of goals, motivations and limitations) with the findings of a structured movement screen a competent trainer will be armed with the right information to plan a progressive, training plan that can lay a solid foundation and develop over time in order enable you to achieve whatever your ambitions might be.
I feel that personal training is definitely an excellent way to learn how to combine effective mobility drills with correct exercise technique in the short term however those clients who commit to the long-term option will in nearly almost all cases gain the most. An all too often overlooked benefit of the prolonged use of personal training is the education the client receives in correct exercise practice. This can remove the hurdles of not knowing what to do and when to do it and sometimes the intimidation felt when walking into a busy gym. From a self-confidence aspect, the benefits can be immeasurable.
Much to most people’s annoyance there is no one size fits all, quick fix when it comes to positive results from exercise. The reality is that an undulating programme based on structured analysis and screening practices should be measured in months not weeks. A positive lifestyle change will generally not happen overnight and to put it bluntly it is unrealistic to expect to reverse years of possible inactivity and poor nutritional habits in a month or two. Our bodies are capable of incredible things therefore, it makes sense that we apply proven science when trying to develop them further.
Long-term personal training may not be for everyone for a number of reasons, however, those who do take the leap and make an ongoing commitment to working with a trainer will seldom regret it. With the right trainer and the right plan, exercise will very quickly become a hugely positive aspect of your daily routine.
In closing I want to offer a final piece of advice. While its widely accepted that the health and fitness business is an ever-increasing industry so too are the trainers who rightly or wrongly operate within it. Like most industries there are many outstanding professionals available however on the flip side there are also people who in my opinion, have no business having an influence over someone’s health, fitness and well-being. If you are looking to work with a trainer ensure you find out as much as you can about their skill-set, experience and their short and long-term plan for you.
While short term goals are important and satisfying to achieve by thinking long term you will be making a significant investment in yourself and in turn your future.