personal trainers

Don’t Get Discouraged

Something happened at the gym recently that saddened and angered me. Let me paint the picture for you. I was working in the free weight section doing my routine and saw an overweight guy with a personal trainer. I overheard bits and pieces and it was apparently his first session. I smiled at him to be encouraging as he struggled to do a plank.

Later, I was doing my stretches on the mat and the same trainer was talking to his next client but what he was saying stopped me in my tracks. The trainer was making fun of Client #1 to Client #2. He was laughing at how the client couldn’t do a plank.

My workout was done and so I left. But as I was walking to my car, I was kicking myself for not saying something. In my mind I practiced what I SHOULD have said to the trainer, calling him out on talking smack about someone who was DOING HIS BEST.

Why do I bring this up? Because it really bothered me. You may wonder why I care. Well, I was that guy once upon a time. I was morbidly obese and totally terrified of people at the gym or pool making fun of me. I had to get my 250+ pound body in a swimsuit and walk to the pool with my thighs rubbing together, feeling self-conscious about my body, thinking that everyone in the pool was laughing at the “fat girl.”

You know what helped me? Encouragement from people. My friends and family were all supportive. My neighbor and close friend Star was enthusiastic about my progress. I also made a friend at the community center’s gym. Christian, a personal trainer there, was a true cheerleader.

Maybe I was spoiled. Christian was such an awesome trainer that I’ve compared all others to him and they have fallen short. But truly, I think he was great. For example, I worked out a few days a week in that tiny gym and every time I was there, Christian had a kind word to say. “Good job, Lisa” and “I’m seeing progress” and “Keep at it!” They may not be anything special, but that encouragement made me feel good about myself and good about what I was doing. It kept me going. It made me work harder when the scale got stuck. And you know what? I wasn’t even using Christian’s personal training services. It was over a year before I finally paid for 3 sessions with him.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad personal trainers out there. Be picky, ask questions, and if you don’t like the trainer find a new one.

Don’t ever let someone diminish your efforts. There are haters out there everywhere that are just waiting to tear you down. It could be a so-called friend, a jealous coworker, a family member; it could be an internet bully, or a complete stranger. (The event made me think of a post a blogger wrote, When People Say Mean Things.)

Discrimination against overweight people is nothing new. But it still hurts. And I may be 100 pounds lighter, but I still have the wounds of hurtful words and embarrassing memories somewhere in me.

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 pounds to lose or 10, if you are working towards your goal you should be proud of yourself and your efforts and never, ever let some jerk discourage you from trying!

QUESTION: How do you deal with the haters, the bullies, the Negative Nancys?

I Don’t Know Where to Start

“I don’t know where to start.”

It can be so overwhelming when we first start a weight loss program. It seems like an overwhelming endeavor–especially if we have a significant amount to lose. The idea of trying to lose over 100 pounds seemed daunting. It doesn’t have to be. You can start by reading this series I wrote about where and how to start: Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek Five.

Let’s chat about the fitness part. I think tackling the fitness portion is the best way to start. Once you start working out on a regular basis you’ll start to feel better and that will inspire you to keep going. I got addicted to the high exercise gave me. It was such an awesome feeling! After a good session on the elliptical, I’d go home sweaty and tired and most importantly: inspired. I felt powerful and strong, like I could do anything I put my mind to. Once fitness is a big part of your life, your body will crave the activities. The other cool thing about exercise: working out makes you crave better food.

Ask yourself two questions: Do you need classes to stay on track/stay motivated? Do you prefer to do your own thing?

GETTING HELP TO STAY MOTIVATED

If you responded yes to needing classes to stay motivated, continue reading here.

I’m slowly growing to like taking classes more. I hated them. I was uncoordinated, I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class and felt frustrated whenever I tried. I gave up. Finding a spin class I really liked changed the way I thought about it. The trick is that you have to find the class that works for YOU. If Zumba isn’t quite your thing, try Body Pump or Water Aerobics. There has to be something that you can do with skill, you just have to try all the classes to find which one works for you.

Give all the classes a try before you give up. Sometimes it will take a few sessions to really discover what you like and dislike. Keep going. Add the classes to your calender and go to them. Sign up for several classes a week and rotate through several of them to keep things fresh. For example, do yoga Mon/Wed, Body Pump Tues/Thur and water aerobics on Saturdays.

Choose the right gym. The gym is a very personal thing. Find the one that works for you. Make a list of “Must Haves” and really take your time making a decision. Gym memberships are often costly. Take the time to decide which one you’re going to use.

Choose the right Personal Trainer. You should have a connection with your trainer and feel safe with them, feel confident in the training plan. I had the best trainer ever! He was encouraging, positive, listened to what my goals were and made the sessions fun. If you aren’t having fun or if the trainer is playing with their phone the entire session, find a new one.  They work for you!

Ask a friend to join a gym with you. Or join the gym/classes your friends take so you have a partner to go with. Doing it that way can be fun and motivating.

DOING YOUR OWN THING

If you answered yes to preferring to go solo, continue reading here. You’re in luck! There are a million ways to lose weight and stay fit without paying for a personal trainer or taking classes.

I’m much more inclined to workout by myself. I like the “me time” and doing things at my own pace. I usually start out with some cardio to warm up. These days that’s the elliptical. In nicer weather I like doing bike rides or running outside. After the cardio I spend at least 30 minutes doing a weight circuit. I mix it up with machines, free weights and simple body weight exercises (like lunges and squats).

To get ideas for weight lifting routines I use one iPhone app that I absolutely LOVE. It’s the Nike Training Club App. It’s FREE and totally amazing. It was also rated the #1 free app! You can learn knew and fun exercises to do with and without weights. There are so many different exercises that you’ll never get bored with it. I use this app at home AND at the gym!

You don’t need a gym membership to get fit. There are a lot of ways to lose weight working out at home. There are DVDs you can get on Netflix to change your routine each time, you can do full body exercises, hook up your bike to a trainer and do your own Spin class!

Try free weights at home. You don’t need a fancy gym or a trainer to workout. Spend $50 on a few free weights of varying amounts and begin a weight routine in your living room.

Read this awesome lady’s blog. Suzanne is an excellent resource and a huge advocate of weight lifting. One of the things I regret in my weight loss journey was not lifting weights from the start. My weight loss would have been faster had I done that.

In conclusion, whatever route you end up taking in 2012 there is a way to make it work for you. Spend the time to improve yourself and enjoy the results you see!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips or tricks?