Getting PersonalBy Sarah Dave
October 08, 2008
For the next six weeks Richard Jones will be the most important man in my life – after my dad and boyfriend.
The 24-year-old David Beckham lookalike will be taking me to task and fulfiling all my fitness dreams. I’ve been stuck in a rut for some time now and have an atrocious diet.
This is my life; drive to work, sit at desk, wander to vending machine or canteen a couple of times a day, eat lunch at desk, drive home. I might visit the gym for an hour class and then drive home – if I leave on time. Diet isn’t much better – I snack erratically and don’t eat enough of the good stuff.
There were three things I wanted improved; my fitness and nutrition, rekindling my love of the gym (up to now it was just gentle flirting a couple of times a week) to make my monthly membership fee worth it, and improving my shape.
I admit I could make more of an effort in going down more often but work or general procrastination prevents that. And I lurve the cake.
The solution? Getting a personal trainer to sort me out from Pulse 8 health and fitness club. This way there would be no excuse and he would really make me push myself. And this person turned out to be said Richard Jones.
Gobbling the last few pebbles of chocolate from my bag of Minstrels (211 calories) as my working day ended, I hopped in my car to the Mole Road club in Sindlesham. I felt a frisson of excitement that there would be someone dedicated to making my goals a reality – more incentive to go to the gym.
So what’s it all about? Well Rich and I first talked about my goals, my current use of the gym, other sporting activities, diet and any medical history. He gave me a great pack of nutrition tips too.
This included keeping a food diary, eating a balanced diet, drinking water, cutting out carbohydrates at night and eating more fibre. The pack also had a guide to understanding food labels – often misleading where items purport to be ‘low fat’ – the importance of protein in a diet, good fats (which can be found in nuts, wholemeal bread and oily fish) and bad fats (the yummy stuff like takeaways and puddings).
To work out what needs to be done we had to take a few measurements including my body mass index (BMI) which tells you if you have a healthy weight for your height.
All this was done on a Tanita Body Composition analyser. Yes, long-winded name but what an amazing piece of kit! You keep tabs on your progress on this machine at the gym’s Weigh-in Wednesdays.
Rich punched in my age, sex, height and weight, I then had to step bare-footed on to the metal pads and grip some metal handles as an electric current apparently coursed through my body.
Something like a till receipt then printed out, with details such as the percentage of fat and muscle in separate legs, arms and torso.
I believed I could do with losing a stone, but no. Rich looked dismayed that I even thought it necessary, based on the readings. I had a healthy BMI.
My desirable range for fat percentage was 21 per cent to 33 per cent and I was 23.1 per cent.
Similarly, my fat mass figure measured 11.7kg, which was within the ideal range for me – between 10.3kg and 19.1kg.
We agreed I could benefit from getting body fat and fat mass down slightly and lean mass up. The idea is for people to have the greatest difference between these two figures of lean mass (weight of your bones, organs and muscles) and fat mass.
It really helps to break this down as you can see specifically where you can improve so you can focus your exercises.
That sorted, it was time to get down to business on the equipment. For me, it is a mix of resistance (different exercises with weights), cardiovascular work (running machines, cross-trainers, exercise bikes) and mixing it up with some boxing sessions.
Pulse 8’s personal trainers tailor the programme to fit your goals and will even do a scheduled class with you for moral support.
Rich says his other clients have included a woman who wants to improve her strength to join the police, a rugby player who wants to speed up on the pitch, marathon runners-to-be, rehab for a man recovering from a prolapsed disc, as well as pre- and post-natal and soon-to-be-marrieds.
People can have sessions as little as once a month, perhaps just to kick-start motivation, or more. He also said some people have a personal trainer just for someone to talk to while they are exercising.
Rich gave me a 10-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer followed by resistance training on weight machines, work with free weights, medicine ball and gym ball, a short stint on the running machine mixing walking, jogging and running paces, a fast boxing session – my favourite – floor work with stomach crunches and finally stretching.
I was really impressed by Rich’s knowledge about the human body and how it works to get the best results for your particular goal. His passion for getting the most out of a client is infectious and really helps you work harder. He constantly encouraged me and explained the benefits of each piece of equipment.
It was only my first taster session but I could see how even a one-off like this would help someone get back into the gym groove.
Read Sarah’s Personal Trainer Diary in City Woman over the next six weeks.